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
ABOUT 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.
The La Sportiva Boulder X approach shoes feature sticky rubber and soft padding to keep your feet comfortable while hoofing it to a climb.
The Boulder X is a super sticky approach shoe designed for high performance.
|Average footwear weight (pair):||1 lb. 15 oz.|
|Can be resoled:||Yes|
|Country Of Origin:||Asia|
|EVA SOLE:||Vibram Idro-Grip V-Smear Impact Brake System|
|Footwear Type:||Approach Shoes|
|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|
|Weight:||19.97 oz / 481 g|
|La Sportiva Boulder X||$73.50 - $105.00|
|La Sportiva Xplorer Approach Shoe||$95.96|
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.
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!
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.
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
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.