La Sportiva Spire GTX Mountaineering Sneakers Evaluation

Closeup of a hiker tying the laces of the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Certainly one of La Sportiva’s most uncommon sneakers, the Spire GTX, is a climbing boot masquerading as a path runner. These sneakers have obtained excessive reward in each the fastpacking and climbing worlds – however do they reside as much as the thrill? We put the Spire GTX by rigorous testing over tons of of miles from the muddy trails of the Cascades to Colorado’s tallest peaks to search out out for you. Hold studying for our in-depth evaluation.

Fast Specs


Males’s La Sportiva Spire GTX

Finest shoe-boot hybrid


Value:

$209


Weight (Pair):

1 lb. 15 oz.


Choices:


Heel-to-Toe Drop:

6 mm

Execs

  • Snug
  • Breathable
  • Waterproof
  • Steady
  • Glorious traction

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Single-lace eyeholes
  • Restricted sturdiness
  • Lengthy break-in
  • Not the very best for scrambling
  • Costly

Full-body shot of a hiker sitting down on rocks to tie the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Execs


Consolation

Consolation is a trademark of the Spire GTX. The preliminary break-in interval was longer than we needed, at about 15-20 miles, the place the sneakers felt inflexible and agency. As soon as they relaxed, although, it felt like we’d been carrying them for years.

That is the proper footwear should you love the construction and burliness of a boot, however need the breathability and dexterity of a path runner. La Sportiva describes the Spire as a “mid-duty hiking boot”, however we expect they look and feel like a stout climbing shoe. Because of the sturdy midsoles and thick foam, the Spire feels nice, nimble, and quick on well-groomed trails, however they actually excel on different and uneven terrain.

La Sportiva makes use of compression-molded EVA for the midsole of the Spires. This is similar agency cushioning used to construct their longest-distance path runners, which suggests your ft received’t tire as shortly, and also you’ll keep comfy even by the longest days. This molding retains the sneakers feeling sturdy on every part from river crossings and slippery logs to dusty, gravelly ascents. The Spires are greater than cushioned sufficient to run in, however hefty sufficient for slopey, technical climbing routes. 

The lower half of a hiker crossing a flowing creek in the La Sportiva Spire GTX shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Breathability

The Spire GTX ventilates so effectively they’re aggressive with lots of our favourite path runners. They’re extraordinarily efficient at moisture management. Due to the Gore-Tex Encompass membrane, our ft stayed dry on path. This Gore-Tex system permits sweat and built-up moisture to exit shortly not solely by the highest of the shoe however vent by the edges and the footbed itself. The Spires saved our ft impressively and persistently dry on scorching days, within the direct solar, for hours on finish.

The La Sportiva Spire GTX men's hiking shoes in the foreground with a blurry view of snow-capped Colorado mountains in the distance
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Waterproof

These sneakers are additionally reliably waterproof. We put the Spires by the wringer over two weeks in soggy fall situations within the excessive Colorado Rockies, with a number of hikes by frozen creeks, deep mud, fields of tall grass soaked with the prior evening’s rain, and patches of mushy snow. The decision? These sneakers carry out. They by no means allowed moisture in and saved our hooves persistently dry. This degree of breathability and waterproofing additionally makes the Spires an excellent selection not only for summer season, however for frigid and moist spring and fall adventures.

The tongue design is essential to the water resistance of this pair: it’s linked all the best way to the collar, so there’s no probability of moisture soaking your socks except you’re in water over your ankles. And, since they measure over 4 inches excessive, it seemingly received’t matter should you slip right into a deep puddle or mis-step close to a creek.

A hiker checking the fit of the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes by inserting a finger behind his heel
Picture credit score: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Sizing and match

Sizing was common and correct, though they don’t are available in slim or extensive variations. La Sportiva’s sneakers have a status for working a bit slim. Prior to now, this made the model a favourite for individuals who like tight-fitting footwear, however lower than supreme for these with wider ft. The Spire GTX bucks this development with a well-known, comfy match.

The toe field offers loads of room and the midsole presents a beefy, structured really feel. Nevertheless, we discovered the heel runs surprisingly extensive. This extra broad design is likely to be a problem for people in search of a slim heel pocket, or should you’re utilizing this shoe for climbing a variety of steep terrain. To keep away from slippage or scorching spots, the laces needed to be cinched tightly and knotted securely. That mentioned, after many dozens of miles and a number of other thousand ft of climbing, the broader heel was not in the end a problem (minimal rubbing and no blisters!), and getting used to this match seems to be a part of the break-in interval.

Word that La Sportiva is an Italian firm, so that they use European shoe sizing. European shoe sizing measures the foot from heel to longest toe in centimeters, as an alternative of inches, so there are smaller increments than with American sneakers. In our expertise, which means a precise match. For instance, in case your foot measures 25 cm, you’ll sometimes put on a European measurement 40 however might measurement up or down one cm (about .39 in) for consolation. This makes the Spire an excellent selection for various foot sorts and shapes.

Closeup of a hiker bending the sole of the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoe on a steep incline
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Steady

These sneakers are unquestionably four-wheel-drive footwear, constructed to deal with most landscapes. Sitting at 4.1 inches tall, they’ve a excessive lower in comparison with path runners, however a low lower versus climbing boots, touchdown within the candy spot between the 2. In case you choose a medium-to-high drop and a stiff heel, you’ll love the Spire GTX.

The normal lacing system, tall tongue, and heel tab make them really feel acquainted and powerful, however the brawny Vibram outsoles set them aside. The aggressive lug sample creates an extremely grippy, dependable, and steady climbing expertise. The Spires felt safe on trails, grass, mud, and angled terrain. 

The Spire GTX has TPU inserts. TPU stands for thermoplastic polyurethane. It’s a really versatile and sturdy kind of plastic utilized in climbing sneakers so as to add help and safety. The inserts work effectively to reduce foot ache, and the sensible use of waterproof supplies and heavier weight will make you are feeling assured and quick on the paths.

Closeup of the lugs on the bottom of the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Traction

These are critically grippy sneakers. The Spires are outfitted with the identical sticky Vibram XS Trek outsoles that La Sportiva makes use of on lots of its climbing and mountaineering boots. This compound is extremely dynamic and cheesy, so the sneakers really feel steady on every part from moist rock to sand and pebbles. We discovered the self-cleaning outsoles are additionally remarkably environment friendly at releasing mud, rocks, and unfastened filth, with no problems with clumping or caking after climbing by even the deepest sludge.

The Spire GTX options giant, tightly-spaced lugs for a reliable grip whereas crushing an ascent. The busy, aggressive tread can also be thoughtfully designed for lengthy descents. La Sportiva additionally makes use of their Influence Braking System – a grip sample that gives management and enhanced traction when coming down inclines. We discovered the Spire GTX made straightforward work of climbing, descending, and working.

Cons


Weight

Two kilos is heavy. The Spire GTX is among the heavier pairs in our high ten record of Finest Males’s Mountaineering Sneakers. Versus aggressive waterproof climbing sneakers just like the Merrell Moab 3 or the Solomon X Ultra 4 GTX, the Spires are notably heavier. If light-weight is your high precedence, there are a lot of different much less heavy waterproof choices. Try our Finest Males’s Mountaineering Sneakers and Finest Girls’s Mountaineering Sneakers to see our favorites.

Regardless of the burden penalty, these sneakers by no means felt cumbersome. The Spires are a superb selection for multi-day adventures in addition to shorter excursions. A number of additional ounces mustn’t deter you from attempting these out. However we expect they’re too heavy for prolonged adventures like thru-hikes (and 20-mile days), which demand extra flexibility and lighter soles to maintain you cozy because the miles stack up.

A full-body view of a hiker wearing the men's La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes on a mountain ridge in Colorado
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Single-lace eyeholes

Sadly, the Spire GTX solely comes with single eyelet lace holes on the high of the foot as an alternative of two like on many aggressive path runners and climbing sneakers. Double-eyelets permit for a number of lacing configurations that may provide a personalized tighter or greater match for various foot shapes or becoming wants. For instance, the broader heel of the Spire wouldn’t be a problem if there have been two eyelet holes since we might have laced the sneakers tighter to forestall even occasional heel slippage or rubbing. With just one eyelet, an adaptable lacing system will not be potential. 

Closeup of a hiker tying the La Sportiva Spire GTX shoelaces
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Restricted sturdiness

Don’t get us improper – the Spire GTX are very sturdy. We even named them one of many 4 most sturdy sneakers on our high ten record of Finest Males’s Mountaineering Sneakers. Nevertheless, all-synthetic uppers are merely not made for longevity, and for us, this can be a con of the Spire GTX.

Although the chunky Vibram outsoles really feel bombproof, it’s essential to focus on that the development of those “boots” is similar as most path runners: mesh wraps from the edges to the highest. This materials is powerful, however typical climbing difficulties like roots, sharp rocks, mud, and constant abrasion will blow out this material.

After solely 70 miles, we discovered the synthetic uppers have begun to indicate put on. There’s predictable fraying the place the mesh forefoot creases, stitching is coming undone on the toe, and there may be slight separation of the midsole from the facet mesh on one shoe. We’re nonetheless assured we’ll get 500+ backcountry miles from the Spires, and they’re going to outlive most lighter sneakers – however, in our expertise, this fast put on and tear is par for the course with absolutely artificial footwear.

The weakest factor of the Spire GTX? The shoelaces. Like most of La Sportiva’s laces, these sneakers make the most of artificial fiber wrapped in a sheath. This sheath tends to wear down, normally lengthy earlier than the shoe does. We advocate shopping for a backup pair of shoelaces on the time of buy or swapping them out for a more durable pair instantly.

La Sportiva Spire GTX
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Lengthy break-in interval

Certainly one of our favourite issues concerning the Spire GTX is how stiff they’re because it makes for a really steady shoe – however that is additionally a con. The thick midsole and beefy, inflexible outer sole made for an extended break-in interval when in comparison with different choices. They’re definitely comfy, nevertheless it took about 10-12 hours of climbing, or round 15-20 miles earlier than the sneakers absolutely loosened up and tailored to our ft. That is considerably longer than among the Spires’ competitors, lots of which match effectively proper out of the field, or took solely a few miles to melt.

Picture credit score: Dave Collins (CleverHiker.com)

Not for scrambling

We seen an absence of flexibility when climbing extraordinarily rocky trails and traversing prolonged, sharp scree, talus, and boulder fields. The stiffness of the sneakers made foot placement on rocky terrain difficult. The excessive rise of the Spire GTX felt wobbly on prolonged, precarious, jagged surfaces because the outsoles stay considerably inflexible even after the break-in interval is over. Nevertheless, on most different terrains – from slippery stream crossings to difficult ascents – the stiffness of the shoe made them really feel very steady and safe.

Moreover, the Spires don’t have a strengthened toecap. As an alternative, they characteristic an additional layer of tough, abrasion-resistant materials that provides construction to the shoe and just a little additional safety in your toes. In case you’re on the lookout for a greater scrambling possibility, think about a lower-profile, extra versatile path runner for extra agility. Check out our Prime Path Runners for Girls and our Prime Path Runners for Males for recommendations. 

A hiker testing the La Sportiva Spires on loose scree
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Value

The Spire GTX is among the costliest pairs on our record of Finest Males’s Mountaineering Sneakers. If you’re out there for sneakers or path runners, you’ll seemingly have some sticker shock. Nevertheless, they carry out like a high-end climbing boot with a water-resistant lining, burly traction, and excellent stability. Although they’re spendy in comparison with our different high climbing sneakers, they’re on the low finish for value in comparison with boots with related options. If you would like a burly boot-like shoe and this pair matches your ft effectively, they’re an excellent selection. Nevertheless, if you’d like a lighter-weight shoe, there are different budget-friendly choices that carry out equally.

Backside Line


The Spire GTX are dynamic. They provide stellar efficiency on most terrain, whether or not moist or dry, steep or flat, steady or semi-loose. Because of some fancy tech, your ft will keep ventilated, joyful, and supported irrespective of the place you’re climbing. These sneakers felt steady, dependable, and cozy whether or not we had been chasing a number of summits and 20+ mile days, taking brief afternoon hikes to the river, or grabbing some greasy pizza and a chilly beer on the town.

At round one pound per shoe, although, they’re notably heavy. The Spires even have a longer-than-average break-in interval. Like most artificial uppers, this pair is vulnerable to put on and tear, and so they fall brief on scrambles. Plus, they carry a big price ticket in comparison with our different high climbing sneakers.

Nevertheless, general, we’re nonetheless huge followers of La Sportiva’s Spire GTX. They do an beautiful job of mixing the very best options of a standard climbing boot – like stability, nice traction, and a water-resistant liner – with our favourite elements of high-quality path runners – like breathability, consolation, and correct sizing. These sneakers are so versatile that they’re price taking a look at for nearly any journey, whether or not you’re a day hiker, obsessive weekend warrior, or love multi-day backpacking journeys and part hikes. The Spire GTX earned a spot on our record of the Finest Males’s Mountaineering Sneakers – and so they might simply turn into your go-to pair of climbing sneakers.

The lower half of a male hiker sitting on a rocky slab in hiking pants and the La Sportiva Spire GTX hiking shoes
Picture credit score: Ian Krammer (CleverHiker.com)

Extra Data


We hope this overview helps you establish if the La Sportiva Spire GTX is best for you. As at all times, please go away a remark beneath if in case you have any suggestions, questions, or recommendations. And are available test us out on Facebook and Instagram to hitch the group dialog. In case you discovered this overview useful, please share on social media!

In case you preferred this record, you’ll love the CleverHiker Gear Information the place we check and advocate tons of outside journey gear from a wide range of classes. Listed here are some assets to take a look at: