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La Sportiva Spire GTX Review

A versatile hiking shoe built with the comfort and agility of a running shoe at an unbeatable price
la sportiva spire gtx hiking shoes review
Sharp and rocky trails, mud bogs, and snow travel still didn't put a dent in the Spire GTX.
Credit: Jen Reynolds
Price:  $209 List
Manufacturer:   La Sportiva
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 1, 2022
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 15
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Support - 20% 7.0
  • Traction - 15% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8.0
  • Durability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The La Sportiva Spire GTX quickly became one of our lead tester's favorite hiking shoes, due to its incredible performance on all types of trails. This shoe is built like a running shoe but has the stability of a low-cut hiking boot while remaining lightweight. The Spire is a perfect choice for long-distance fastpackers who want to shed weight from their feet but are uncompromising on water-resistance and comfort. We find it to be an incredible crossover shoe that is as much a trail runner as it is a hiking shoe. The traction is also top-notch, as they feature Vibram's XS-Trek compound. While they are certainly not as durable as other models due to the heavy use of lightweight synthetic materials, we were truly satisfied with the Spire GTX and heartily recommend it to those who desire a top-of-the-line shoe that can handle it all.
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent comfort and traction
Waterproof
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Not the most durable
Editor's Note: This review received an update on November 1, 2022, with new sections about our favorite hiking shoes and which we'd recommend to friends.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Excellent comfort and traction, waterproofExcellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, supportSuper comfortable, durable, stableSupportive, great traction, lightweightSupportive, versatile, well-cushioned
Cons Expensive, not the most durableCuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favoriteNot great for off-trail, average tractionStiff, lacing is hard to tightenAverage traction, regular width is relatively wide, hard to lace tightly
Bottom Line A versatile hiking shoe built with the comfort and agility of a running shoe at an unbeatable priceThis is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking tripsThese super plush hiking shoes feel like you are walking on clouds, perfect for long days on hard surfacesThis is a burly hiking shoe capable of getting off the trail and onto rugged terrainA comfortable and versatile pair of budget-friendly hiking shoes with a casual look that's great for both the trail and the town
Rating Categories La Sportiva Spire GTX Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Salewa Mountain Tra... Columbia Facet 60 O...
Comfort (25%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Support (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Traction (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
Water Resistance (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Specs La Sportiva Spire GTX Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Salewa Mountain Tra... Columbia Facet 60 O...
Weight (per pair) 2.06 lbs (size 11) 1.76 lbs (size 11) 1.79 lbs (size 11) 2.16 lbs (size 11) 1.78 lbs (size 10.5)
Upper Abrasion-resistant mesh Synthetic, textile Nubuck leather, GTX Textile Synthetic Seamless mesh
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Waterproof Lining Gore-Tex Surround Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Extended Comfort OutDry
Flood Level 4.75 in 3.25 in 3 in 3.5 in 4.25 in
Last Board/Shank Molded EVA ADV-C chassis Not specified Nylon Not specified
Midsole 5mm Ortholite Insole, Compression Molded EVA, TPU inserts EnergyCell Compressed EVA EVA Techlite+
Outsole Vibram XS Trek with Impact Brake System Contagrip MA rubber Vibram MegaGrip Pomoca MTN trainer Lite Omni-Grip rubber

Our Analysis and Test Results

If it has seemed difficult to find a shoe that can excel from everything from day hiking to trail running shoes | trail running to light backpacking backpack backpacking, then look no further. The Spire GTX is an all-around performer, able to do all that you ask while remaining light on the feet and keeping you dry with one of the best waterproof liners on the market.

Performance Comparison


la sportiva spire gtx hiking shoes review - gearing up for a long-distance hike far from the trailhead? the...
Gearing up for a long-distance hike far from the trailhead? The Spire GTX won't let you down.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Comfort


While reviewing this pair, we had to keep reminding ourselves that we were testing hikers, not top-rated running shoes. The Spire GTX is built with comfort in mind, and thanks to its extra cushioned compression-molded EVA sole, it provides the same feel as some of our favorite trail running shoes. The sole kept our feet from feeling sharp rocks underneath on rough trails. With a moderate amount of rocker and great arch support, our feet felt comfortable and were not fatigued even after long days. On early-season trail runs where we knew we would encounter snow and water crossings, we chose the Spire since we knew it could handle the running comfortably while giving the protection of a hiker.


We found the Gore-Tex Surround membrane to be highly effective — it is easily the most breathable hiking shoe with a waterproof-breathable liner in our lineup. The Surround technology allows the foot to expel perspiration through the 5mm Ortholite footbed, facilitating a much drier foot even in warm climates. Slipping into the Spire GTX is also easy — the gusseted tongue extends high up for protection but is easy to put on, and the lacing system is a traditional shoelace and snugs up nicely around the forefoot.

la sportiva spire gtx hiking shoes review - the angulated rock of mcgee creek canyon is notoriously painful...
The angulated rock of McGee Creek Canyon is notoriously painful under lightweight shoes, though we ran over these rocky trails with ease wearing the Spire GTX.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Support


Do not be fooled by the scant weight and low-cut height of the Spire GTX; this shoe is built from the latest in technologies and provides phenomenal support for hiking in all-terrain conditions. The ankle collar extends up 3 inches, reaching the lower part of the ankle bone and providing it with just enough lateral support to resist rolling, but not as much as a mid-cut boot that might feel like overkill when you're not hiking with much weight.


The Spire has TPU inserts that inform the stability of the sole, which was soft enough to consider trail running but stiff enough that our feet did not tire when hiking over uneven ground. The forefoot width measures 4 inches, which is narrower than most other models in this review, though the shoe is overall more slender and nimble than most, to begin with.

la sportiva spire gtx hiking shoes review - the comfortable spire gtx can really do it all: trail running, day...
The comfortable Spire GTX can really do it all: trail running, day hiking, backpacking - whatever outing you have in mind.
Credit: Ryan Sorenson

Traction


The Spire GTX uses the Vibram XS Trek rubber compound for the outsole. This rubber is very grippy and made scrambling on both wet and dry rock easy, although in steeper rock sections where smearing was required, these shoes did not do as well as those with smoother soles and slightly stickier rubber.


The lug pattern on these shoes is impressive and is one of the most aggressive soles in our review. Deep, widely spaced lugs cut through mud and soft dirt easily and shed it quickly without caking up on the bottom. We also appreciate the Impact Braking System, which is a pattern set into the sole, allowing speed control on steep descents.

la sportiva spire gtx hiking shoes review - running down the steep and loose baxter pass trail in the sierra...
Running down the steep and loose Baxter Pass Trail in the Sierra Nevada, we were happy to have such stable footing thanks to the Impact Brake System.
Credit: Jen Reynolds

Weight


With a verified weight of 2.06 pounds per pair (size 11 US), the Spire GTX is an average weight when compared to the rest of the contenders in our review. While certainly not as light as some of the lower-cut and minimal models, we were happy to take on a few extra ounces in favor of the great level of support offered in this shoe. Long-distance hikers would do well to look at this model for lightweight fastpacking adventures where a blend of lightweight and support is necessary.


Water Resistance


We subjected the Spire GTX to the same rigorous water immersion test that the rest of our hiking shoes had to go through, and it passed with flying colors. We stood in a stream of spring runoff for five full minutes and had no leakage issues. We were also impressed by the flood level of this hiker (4.15 inches) for its overall height.


The Gore-Tex Surround waterproof membrane allows for 360-degree moisture control, meaning that vents in the sole allow the foot's perspiration to pass through. We were initially worried that this could be another avenue for water to seep in, but we were pleased to discover no water leakage through this lower lining.

Even after 5 minutes of the submersion test we had no leakage issues.
Even after 5 minutes of the submersion test we had no leakage issues.
Our test period included lots of walking through slushy springtime...
Our test period included lots of walking through slushy springtime snow, which the Spire had no problem with thanks to its heavy-duty outsole.

Durability


We tested the Spire GTX for several months in various conditions (and have continued to wear them beyond that), and we did not see any major durability issues arise. The material used for the outer of the shoe, an abrasion-resistant mesh, is lower weight and synthetic — it held up to our testing, though long-term abrasion resistance to rough terrain could be in question.


Should You Buy the La Sportiva Spire GTX?


Without a doubt, the Spire GTX is a top-of-the-line, high-performance hiking shoe that is comfortable tackling long-distance hikes with ease. Our reviewers wore these shoes on casual day hikes around their local trails, long adventure hikes deeper into the backcountry, and during general around-town use. Like many of our casual running shoes, they feel comfortable, snug, and secure. Using advanced technologies that ensure comfort and support, the Spire will help you keep putting down the miles without weighing you down. It is one of the more expensive hiking shoes in our review, though we feel its features and performance merit the higher price tag. Still, not everyone will be willing to pay the premium price for such a high-tech hiking shoe.

la sportiva spire gtx hiking shoes review - if you're going for fast and light missions where support is...
If you're going for fast and light missions where support is critical, but comfort and water resistance are also necessary, look to the Spire GTX.
Credit: Jen Reynolds

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


Our top-ranking shoe is the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex, which offers slightly less comfort but is lightweight and has better support and traction. This shoe will also save you some money over the Spire GTX. Alternatively, the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX is even more comfortable and offers some extra support.

Ryan Huetter
 
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