La Sportiva Trango TRK GTX
Best known for climbing shoes and gear, La Sportiva is a brand that really covers the bases when it comes to general mountain sports activities. We were sent a pair of their Trango TRK with Gore-Tex to try out. These kind of suit two categories, mountaineering, and hiking. Although they might be a little too heavy duty for a walk through a groomed path in a national park, they seem to have what they need to get over rugged ground. We put them through the works, so check out our review and see if these are what you're looking for or not.
Constructed with Gore-Tex lining, keeping feet dry in rough conditions
Climbing toe design in the outsole allows you to get over rocky terrain that might require you to climb a bit
Rugged toe cap for added protection
Full length attached tongue keeps debris out
Overall sturdy and durable construction
A bit heavy
Under the toe, there is a "Climbing Zone", which is great when you actually have to do a little climbing to get over rocks or obstacles that are in your way. To be honest, I would really expect a feature like this from a brand like La Sportiva, who focuses on climbing. As far as the rest, the Vibram outsole is pretty sticky, so they really have solid grip over most surfaces. They do lack some of that traction in the snow though.
These were even used in wet and snowy winter conditions, working out just fine with the addition of some thick wool socks.
The ankle does take some time to break in, although the boots, overall, are more flexible than they appear. Or at least as flexible as you would really want.
If you go wading in these, your feet are going to get wet. But for regular intended use, these worked perfectly as expected without fault. The tongue is connected all the way to the top, which also offers added protection from the elements.
The overlay, mentioned above, covers a decent amount of the boot's upper. This does a nice job of resisting the elements and also keeping the boots intact through rough environments. The abrasion resistant rubber sections over the toe and heel are also a great touch.
The lacing system is pretty standard, and the quick lace pegs hold well. There weren't any issues with the laces coming off while on the go.
The issue experienced was walking through packed snow. The grip was noticeably less than it was in other circumstances. But, these are not snow boots, so I guess that's okay. From climbing shoes to trail/mountain running shoes to boots, grip and traction isn't something that we have really experienced issues with when it comes to La Sportiva.
There is an overlay covering a large portion of the boot, which helps maintain shape, resist water, and of course the elements. The overlay also makes it much easier to clean, by simply wiping with a damp cloth. One concern I had, was that this overlay would catch on something and tear off, or even wear away from being wet and dry repeatedly. So far none of those issues have happened to my pair.
I guess we can put the tongue in this section, as it does have protective properties. The tongue is fully attached, all the way to the top, for that "sock-like" fit many brands are going for these days. But, there is a purpose served by doing this. First, you don't have to worry about the tongue falling, then having to stop and adjust. Second, that is one less entry point for trail debris to get in.
They do have a film overlay that covers most of the upper, although there is a break from that right around the middle that also allows some airflow. These were put to the test in autumn and winter, without much issue regarding breathability. We'll be sure to update as to how they perform in a warmer climate once we get the opportunity.
We've run some trail running shoes from La Sportiva without durability issues, and these boots fall into the same quality of production. One worry was that the film overlay on the upper would rip or just peel off over time. That hasn't been the case so far. The unprotected portion of the upper also has taken a beating well, with no real wear and tear to worry about. So are they durable? We say yes!
These are clearly not "walk through the park" boots, and are intended for some rugged use. But they're decent for off-trail hikes as well. If you know the brand, then you already know what to expect as far as style goes.
The Bottom Line
The price tag is a little high for some, but you're getting a quality pair of boots for the amount. You can enjoy the benefits of these without having to be a hardcore mountaineer.