La Sportiva Men's Boulder X Approach Shoe

Priced: $59.93 - $104.99 Rated:   - 4 stars out of 5 by 50 reviews.
La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoe
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La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoe -

Climbing shoes may get you up the rock route you planned to climb at Joshua Tree, but they almost certainly won't get you to the route in the first place. So give your feet some protection and support on the hike in with an approach shoe like the La Sportiva Boulder X. It features a sticker rubber sole than standard light hiking shoes, so you can scramble more securely across the slabs at the bottom of a climb. Extra padding underfoot and the exclusive Impact Brake System on the sole increase the comfort factor on long days. 

Feature list from La Sportiva


Innovation with passion. That’s the mantra of La Sportiva, the Italian sport shoe company from Ziano di Fiemme whose iconic yellow boots and shoes can be found on mountainsides worldwide. The majority of La Sportiva footwear is still produced in their small, 150-person factory in the heart of the Italian Dolomites, where the spirit and heritage of master alpinists like Walter Bonatti and Reinhold Messner lives on. 

Lining and Layers:

  • High-cushion EVA layer is placed above the 2mm polypropylene insole to cushion the foot on long approaches


  • Patented Mythos to-the-toe lacing design lets you fine-tune the fit and tie the laces as snug or loose as you need to; heel and toe loops aid entry and storage


  • Padding underfoot for long approaches and uber sticky rubber add deluxe comfort and performance.


  • Leather upper combines with a beefy rubber rand for lasting performance and comfort

Traction and Grip:

  • The Vibram Idro-Grip compound stays sticky on every type of rock even when wet.


  • The all leather uppers and sticky rubber toe rands offer durable protection.


  • Ideal protection and performance built for the rigors and abuse of the mountains.
  • Vibram IdroGrip rubber sticks to dry and wet surfaces for excellent performance on trail and low-angle rock
Al's Sports
Super sticky approach shoe designed for high performance protection. La Sportiva tweaked the designs of proven technology from years past to produce the Boulder X. Additional padding underfoot for long approaches and uber sticky rubber add deluxe comfort and performance. The Vibram Idro-Grip compound stays sticky on every type of rock even when wet. The all leather uppers and sticky rubber toe rands offer durable protection. Ideal protection and performance built for the rigors and abuse of the mountains.
Make good time navigating miles of house-sized boulders when you wear the La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoe. Even with a heavy expedition pack, the sticky rubber tread and Impact Brake System give you confidence on wet or dry rock. With two layers of soft EVA in the footbed and midsole, your feet can make it from the car to camp without bruising or blistering. On the most demanding approaches, the leather upper and rubber toe rand hold up to your foot dragging and stone kicking, and the mesh liner covering the tongue and rear-foot add some breathability to summer rock hops.
The Boulder X Approach shoe is updated from past versions with additional padding underfoot and a better rubber sole. Bottom line: this shoe is more comfortable for long treks and all-day wear and sports a Vibram® Idro-Grip sole that gives you good grip on a variety of terrains.

The Boulder X is a super sticky approach shoe designed for high performance.


The La Sportiva Boulder X approach shoes feature sticky rubber and soft padding to keep your feet comfortable while hoofing it to a climb.

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Average Price History: Price History
Review RatingNumber of Reviews
Also available for: Women
Average footwear weight (pair):1 lb. 15 oz.
Can be resoled:Yes
Construction:Board Lasted
Country Of Origin:Asia
EVA SOLE:Vibram Idro-Grip V-Smear Impact Brake System
Footwear Type:Approach Shoes
Footwear closure:Lace-up
Ideal Terrain:approach and hiking on technical terrain requiring friction footwork
Insole:2mm Polyproylene/2mm La SpEVA
LINING:Mesh (back half and tongue only)
Liner:Mesh (back half and tongue only)
MIDSOLE:Micropore EVA foam
Outsole:Vibram® Idro-Grip V-Smear Impact Brake System
SOLE:Vibram® Idro-Grip V-Smear™ with Impact Brake System™
Shape of last:Flat
Shoe Stability:Stability
Shoe Width:Medium
Upper:Leather LINING
Weight:19.97 oz / 481 g
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La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoe Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

Best hiking approach shoe out there

This shoe is awesome! I was looking for a shoe capable of hiking, doing some light backbacking, and climbing boulders and mixed terrain. This shoe very capably does all of that. I also tried on the Scarpa Cruz and Scarpa Zen at REI, including traversing their rock wall and taking many laps around the store. The Cruz is definitely lighter (and possibly better looking?), but it's also much less supportive and won't hike as well for any significant distances. The Boulder X has more cushion and, for me at least, hugs my foot better for a more precise fit than either the Zen or the Crux. The Zen is really rigid but, again, doesn't conform to my foot the way you expect a pseudo-climbing shoe to.

The Boulder X also climbed/traversed the rock wall at REI better. The rubber felt grippier to me and the shoe laces all the way (almost) to the tips of your toes for a very precise fit. The leather(ish) upper is soft yet supportive on your foot just like a climbing shoe. It edged well and the wall and smeared great. It doesn't toe edges as well as a climbing shoe, obviously, because your toes don't go all the way to the end, but it's still a very capable climber and will do well doing some on-site bouldering or at least scrambling up moderate mixed routes.

So I bought the Boulder X and have been extremely happy. I've worn it with packs up to 35-45 lbs. and it does just fine. I added green Superfeet inserts, also from REI, and those give more arch support for higher pack weights. I've also taken them hiking in the San Gabriels and they have EXCELLENT traction. Mud, wet grass, and wet granite were all no problem for these shoes. Wet pavement is also not a problem -- the shoes just won't slip. These are my go-to shoes for taking my Deuter Kid Comfort II out on hikes as well because they are so stable, supporting, and won't let me fall.

La Sportiva makes fantastic climbing shoes, and the Boulder X's clearly benefit from the company's research into sticky rubber. Buy these shoes if you like to hike to rocks and do some climbing when you get there without changing shoes.
ClimbRideRepeat at REI on 04/04/2013

Pretty darn good.

Bought these to replace the ?carpa #rux who's sides blew out on me. REI was obviously great about doing an exchange. The #ruxes were/are lighter (synthetic as well) but not nearly as stiff or as good of climbers.

The La Sportiva Boulder X's climbed & hiked very well on wet schist yesterday up in Peterskill in the 'Gunks (easily to 5.6 if not greater). I would not hesitate to recommend them as an approach / guiding shoe if the fit is even close. The edging, stiffness, and stickiness of the rubber is to be commended.

They are a bit bulkier than the #carpas but are made of leather, which in this example I think is a good thing, as I believe they'll last longer. They remind me of an update to classic climbing boots building into them a bit more of the functionality of modern trail shoes. That being said I wouldn't waste the sticky rubber walking around town unless you really need to, save them for rock approaches.

Size wise, I typically wear a 10.5 EE & bought these in a size 44. These run a bit narrower in the mid and forefoot as most LS shoes/boots do. They did seem to "break in" a little bit but obviously the full rubber rand will ultimately limit a large amount of stretch.

If you find yourself climbing / hiking / guiding on the rocks, and you size these with reasonable comfort wearing thin socks, I see no reason not to heartily recommend the Boulder X's.
Recursive Memory at REI on 09/09/2013

This replaces the cirque pro as far as I can tell. I wore out my cirque pro's I love them so much so I picked these up. It's a great shoe for approaching big climbs and scrambling. I've even strapped aluminum crampons on it for quick jaunts across glaciers on the way to alpine rock routes. This shoe has a nice stiff sole, good sticky rubber, good lug pattern for trails, good full rand and leather upper for durability and very precise lacing system. You can really dial in the fit. It climbs really well. The footbed is comfortable too. All in all, I would say this is an improvement over the cirque pro which had lots of durability issues. The great climbing ability sacrifices a bit in the walking department, however. The toe box runs just narrow enough for me to get blisters in the side of my big toe from the 2nd toe rubbing against it. This happens after about 4 or 5 miles. Thus, it's great for short approaches, but I just picked up the wildcat trial runner for the longer approaches. They still have decently sticky soles but provide a better fit for long days on the trail. Fit is narrow but true to size. I wear a 46.5 in these for a close fit and a 47 in pretty much everything else trail runner and mountain boot.

jrc at on 07/19/2013


These are awesome, no compliants. I love La Sportiva. The sizing on these are similar to Vans Slip Ons (my reference shoe for sizing lol). I wear a 7 in Vans Slip ons, and they are snug with no wiggle room. I got the boulder X's in 39.5 (size 7) and they are a PERFECT fit. My boulder X's are really snug, my toe is touching the end and any smaller size would make my toes curle. Some say to size up 0.5 size, but I say get them snug and go with your street shoe (if your inbetween, get the smaller one). Also, I wear 37 in La Sportiva Solutions for climbing. I tried on the Scarpa Crux's and I can safely say that they fit 0.5 size bigger than Boulder X's (Crux 39 = Boulder X 39.5). I love the Vibram, and narrowness is pefect for my foot. The lacing is cool, but pretty intricate, so don't try to relace them. The laces go around the heel so you can adjust the ankle tightness. I haven't climbed in them yet, only been to the grocery store. I foresee these shoes being awesome for approaches and warmup climbs. Going to Hueco Rock Rodeo next month, and i'll be rolling up in style with the Boulder X's!!!! Get them, they are what's missing in your life.
Biizzle at REI on 01/01/2013

These are by far my favorite approach shoes. I have narrow feet, and Morton's toe (second toe is longer than my first) and these fit me perfectly in my street shoe size. They are snug, with just a little room in front of my toes. Think of them feeling like a hybrid between climbing shoes and trail shoes.
The construction is absolutely top-notch. The large rand not only protects high abrasion areas on the top of the toebox, but helps provide traction in cracks when you've decided to do more climbing than scambling without changing into your climbing shoes.
The insole is kindy crappy, but putting in aftermarket insoles must be done very carefully. Any insoles other than the thinnest, lowest volume insoles will fill far too much of the shoe and ruin the fit. Its best to simply stick with the stock insoles initially.
The traction on these is second only to my climbing shoes. Between Yosemite, the Sierra in general, and large crystal granite like Joshua Tree (cheesegrater!) my Boulder X's are still in fantastic shape. I love them so much I bought a second pair. When I destroy those I'll likely buy another pair.
I can't speak highly enough of them. If you have narrow feet and need some high quality approach shoes then look no further!

Banning Lyon at on 09/06/2013

Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'

La Sportiva has long made bang 'em up climbing shoes that are durable and life-saving monsters. These approach shoes fit snugly in your normal sizing, if a bit narrow for those of us with regular wide-toe-box style feet. This narrowness is comfy, and I see it as a plus, whereas other shoes are too roomy. If they fit you correctly, as mine do, you could hike forever in them.

The build quality is superb in my opinion. While made in China, the stitching is still extremely detailed and bomber. The rubber rand and sole are of course the hallmark features of an approach shoe, and perform fantastically.

Good weather resistent qualities; I favor natural materials over Gore, and think top notch boots should be all leather, which is naturally breathable and waterproof if cared for correctly. (The tongue on these keeps debris out, but there is no gaiter, so water will find a way in through the top.)

You'll want to invest in some better laces if you don't like double knotting all of the time. The lacing system is killer, but the laces themselves are round, so they loosen too easily.
ctarnas at REI on 01/01/2013

Hands down, the best shoes I have owned

I have had these for 2 months and have worn them almost every day since.

I use these for hiking, bouldering, walking around town, approaches and to change into after a heavy weight lifting workout when I am so sore I cannot walk (except in these due to the cushioning--see below).

Without a doubt, the best I've owned.

They are incredibly comfortable. These are one of the few shoes or boots I have found that don't need a Superfeet or similar insole added. The cushioning La Sportiva built into this shoe is simply unbelievable. You literally bounce along the trail. For a long trail run on rough ground, or a hard hike, these shoes are absolutely ideal.

The sole and rand are fantastic. If you have narrow feet and ankles, as I do--these are great. The laces go around the ankle, and the way the laces are set up, they tighten extremely well and do not loosen.

I will be buying a second pair in case they stop making them!
NYCMD at REI on 09/09/2010

Nice Work La Sportiva

I did many hours of research before I pulled the trigger on the Boulder X. I was nervous to order them online because I had heard from multiple sources that they run a little small, and they do. I normally wear 9 to a 9.5 so I ordered the 42.5 which is the perfect fit. Tight enough to be technical and precise while leaving enough room to be comfortable with a lightweight hiking sock. The lacing is very cool and really locks your foot in place, my only concern with this, is that the lacing is rather intricate and it seems difficult to re-lace. I will probably use them as an everyday shoe as they are burly and feel sweet even after hours of wear. They are well built and will last a while. If you are in the market for a well made, comfortable and practical approach shoe, to use both climbing and casually, then give the Boulder X a shot, they have not let me down yet.
ADB6591 at REI on 04/04/2012

Awesome climbers!

Used a rented pair of these on Guide's Wall in the Tetons and they performed flawlessly on this multi-pitch granite route. I lost a toenail this spring due to a ski boot fit issue, and my foot was too tender to stuff into a 'real' climbing shoe, which people were telling me was suggested for this route. Well, I was comfy for the entire approach in these, then tightened the laces before the climb and basically forgot about them throughout the climb. They edged well and smeared like a champ up to 5.8 and the toe box even fit into cracks. They excelled best at getting a foothold in a corner position without a ledge and felt bomber. They were like slippers on the rock and I was amazed at the comfort. I'd EASILY recommend this shoes for multi-pitch climbs and long approaches. I'm not much of a sport climber and I may buy a pair of these and dispense with 'real' climbing shoes altogether!
AltaDave at REI on 08/08/2010

I wear the La Sportiva Scorpion in a 44 for bouldering, and decided to go up to a 45 in the Boulder X for more comfort hiking. I primarily use this shoe for hiking/climbing/scrambling Colorado's 14ers, as well as for work. This is a very sturdy shoe, yet still remains functional for both scrambling up scree and hanging off ladders re-glazing windows. I have yet to see any extraordinary wear that some of the previous reviews have stated.
Even though I did size up for these, I absolutely had to remove the insole it came with. This was simply to give my foot more room within the shoe. I had incredible blisters on both heels after Grays and Torreys. Removing the insole gave me just enough room to keep wearing them. Now that they are broken in I have reinstalled the stock insole and these shoes are now awesome. This is strange considering I dont have a high instep or a large volume foot.

John Duke at on 09/30/2013

Negative Reviews:

You know, I love la sportiva and use their climbing shoes pretty much exclusively, I don't even look at other brands as these shoes fit my fit perfectly and every one knows they are some of the best performers out there. However, these approach shoes just hurt my feet. I found tightening them up helped and I also found they climbed well and used them to lead easier sport climbs so that I would be ready to solo sketchy approaches. Perhaps it's the price you pay for being so good on rock but for hiking I could not wait to =get them off my feet as soon as I got back to the car. I would also say they didn't last all that long and I blew out the toe pretty quick and the trade was gone almost immediately. I would highly suggest that you buy a size larger and try them on before hand if possible

lar4219026 at on 08/06/2013

Poor design

This shoe looks and feels great. Excellent traction, good materials and workmanship, perfect for everyday use or scrambling on mixed terrain. Unfortunately, there is one deal-breaker: the laces are threaded through un-reinforced leather loops. The laces are braided and the act of tightening the laces creates a sawing motion that cuts right through the leather. Mine lasted for about 4 or 5 wearings before one of the leather loops ripped. Maybe there's some goofy technique for tightening the laces that I don't know about, but if you tie these like any other shoe/boot, expect them to break eventually. Too bad really ... these are excellent shoes otherwise.
Smees at REI on 12/12/2013

Neutral Reviews:

Not for daily wear

I like that these are built with plenty of leather, Vibram soles, and have a real rubber rand.

They weren't particularly comfortable right off, and they didn't get much better. Not horribly uncomfortable by any means, but not very good either. Eventually they stretched a lot and fit like floppy sneakers. I wouldn't welcome the discomfort of buying them a size smaller and breaking them in to fit. Like any all-leather shoe, they sweat a bit.

Overall, they held up fairly well except for the rand, which is thin and quickly developed holes from occasional kneeling and kicking things. Unfortunately, once the rand starts to go, the rest of the toe falls apart pretty quickly. I expected they might be a bit more rugged than an average shoe, but they didn't hold up any better than most other decent light hiking shoes. Perhaps that's an unreasonable expectation, but with a heftier rand, they probably would've lasted much, much longer. I got several good months out of them before they started showing signs of defeat. With lots of Shoe Goo, I got almost six months before they were totally unsalvageable. I've done better with $20 sneakers.

As you might expect, they excel at light bouldering and climbing or scrambling - something that cheap sneakers won't do. Not so great for daily use - something that sneakers do much better. They do what they're designed to do fairly well. They just won't do it for very long before they expire or stretch out.
SourCitrus at REI on 04/04/2013

I tried these out alongside 3 other approach shoes, and I ended up returning them after wearing them around the house a bit. There's a lot to like about the Boulder X. It's very well made, and the lacing system is great. The arch support is decent. My only complaint was that the tongue was very short (barely extending beyond the top of the laces) and is only slightly padded. For me, at least, if the shoe is well laced, I can feel too much pressure from the top laces against the top of my foot. For hiking on a trail, that might be fine, but I was planning on using this as an approach/descent shoe, where the going can get steep -- thus the unpadded tongue would be painful. If having a substantial and well-padded tongue isn't a priority, then this shoe would probably be fine. I opted for the Five-Ten Camp Four and Guide Tennie instead, as both have nice tongues and also fit well.

voep565521 at on 06/13/2013

Not for my feet

I bought this shoe online (I know, I know) before trying one on. First let me say that for as narrow as it was it felt like a very comfortable shoe otherwise. I put these shoes on out of the box and wore them around the house, up and down stairs, etc. I ended up deciding to take them to the local store and swapping them for the Scarpa approach shoe. Much better for my feet. My feet are mid to wide so if you don't like narrow shoes for approach / bouldering, then I highly recommend the Scarpas.
BradC at REI on 10/10/2013

Know Before you Buy

Before you buy this shoe, because of it's comfort and versitility, know that it will break in a half to a full size. Maybe try it on bare foot. Or just know that it hase to be tight and uncomfortable at first (just like any climbing shoe) in order to fit for the long run.
Shade at REI on 02/02/2011

Rubber not very sticky

LaSportiva makes great rock climbing shoes. Unfortunately, they didn't put good rubber on these shoes. They are good hiking shoes, but forget about 4th class or harder climbing with them. The Vibram Igrogrip rubber is terrifying on routes such as the Exum Ridge.
tetonclimber at REI on 05/05/2013

So so

A good shoe for the most part, but the sole started to delaminate in less than two months. Its too bad as I really dig these. The fit was rather tight, but they broke in quickly
3literpwr at REI on 06/06/2011