La Sportiva Primer Low GTX

9.3
9.3 score
[Editors rating (9.3)] = Runnerclick score (9.3)/10

Our RunnerClick score is based on our editors overall rating compared to the user ratings in order to generate the most accurate and unbiased score of each product we review.

If there are less than 10 user reviews for the product in total, the weight of user reviews is decreased from 50% to 25% to make sure that new products are not rated too high.
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Editor rating: 9.3 / 10
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La Sportiva Primer Low GTX Review Facts
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The La Sportiva Primer Low GTX combines all of the qualities that are needed in both trail running shoes and hiking boots. Its Vibram Nano outsole provides durable, long-lasting traction that keeps runners going on rough terrains, yet is able to function well on paved roads. Its EVA midsole, combined with an Ortholite footbed, provides comfortable cushioning that’s flexible enough for an easy wear yet still offers a good amount of stability. The AirMesh upper is outfitted with Nano-Cell technology for greater structure and protection against damage without sacrificing its highly breathable wear. And the addition of the brand’s trademarked Gore-Tex Surround also means that it can be worn in heavy rainstorms or through small streams. Of course, its appealing yet functional design also received high praises from many reviewers.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

-Breathable comfort

-Surprisingly lightweight

-Incredible traction

-No break-in period

-Very versatile wear

Cons

-Expensive price tag

-Fits narrower than average

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

Like many of La Sportiva's other hiking boots on the market, the Primer Low GTX features a Vibram Nano outsole to better equip the runner for difficult conditions. Aside from being extremely durable, it's also responsible for providing strong traction while moving across all types of surfaces. Its relatively short gripping lugs are multi-directional, ensuring a firm grasp no matter the runner's movements or current environment. This feature is also extended to stretch over the toe area to give the runner added protection and security. And its Impact Brake System, which takes the form of an aggressive heel tread pattern, is especially helpful during downhill runs.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

Though a standard EVA midsole doesn't seem nearly as impressive as a customized technology, this one still greatly benefits the Primer Low GTX's wear. Aside from its known levels of shock absorption and energy transfer, this particular model is thicker at the heel to give the runner more enhanced cushioning. It's also thinner around the arch to provide greater flexibility and overall easier movement while running across harsh terrains. STB technology is used to attach this feature to the upper to make it a bit more rigid and, therefore, more stable. Finally, a contoured removable Ortholite footbed is inserted for extra cushioning and heel support.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The Primer Low GTX’s lightweight feel can be attributed mostly to its AirMesh upper, which also gives the runner unrestricted breathability. The brand’s specialized Nano-Cell technology forms a protective membrane over this material to provide structure and support, which is enhanced even further with the inclusion of synthetic leather overlays. Gore-Tex Surround is arguably its most stand-out feature, giving the runner 360-degree water repellency. This allows safer and dryer runs through heavy rain, puddles, and streams. Added protection comes in the form of a stitched-on toe rand, which safeguards against accidents and potential hiking hazards. A soft and padded ankle collar and standard lacing system are also in place.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The Primer Low GTX's measurements are pretty hefty, with men's sizes coming in at 14.5 oz. and women's sizes averaging at 12.1 oz. And its weight is no real surprise, considering that this is a hiking boot and not a trail running shoe. But despite this, reviewers say that it still feels surprisingly light whenever they wear it. Whether they're hiking along day trails, running across mountainous terrains, or even walking on paved roads, this model manages to be sturdy and protective without feeling cumbersome at any point during the day.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

Across a number of online platforms, reviewers have expressed that they are more than happy with how breathable the Primer Low GTX is. Despite its enhanced levels of protection, the air mesh upper still permits total control of hotspots, keeping the foot cool and dry even on long day-time hikes in summer weather. Even better, its added protective features still make it ideal for runs through cold and snowy conditions without sacrificing any amount of airflow.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The Primer Low GTX has gained a solid reputation for being an incredibly comfortable hiking boot. Its responsive and flexible EVA midsole already provides plenty of cushioning, as well as a reduction in the amount of pain the runner will feel. Yet the inclusion of an Ortholite footbed makes for even greater comfort, and it’s specially contoured for higher levels of support. And its breathable yet supportive upper is perfect for both warm and cold conditions. According to online reviews, this model’s only real downfall is that it fits narrower than average, making it unsuitable for those with wider feet.
Style
Style

Style

The Primer Low GTX is very similar in design to some of La Sportiva’s other models on the market, aside from some minor details. Its collar is more low-cut and not as plush when compared to the Synthesis Mid GTX, and it comes with a standard lacing system as opposed to one made with elastic. One of its bigger differences is the wider range of color options that it comes in. Different versions of grey/blue are available to both men and women, as they seem to be the most popular choices. There is also grey/yellow, black/red, and deep blue/neon, all of which are appealing enough for both hiking and everyday usage.
Durability
Durability

Durability

Considering its intended purpose, reviewers would be very disappointed if the Primer Low GTX wasn’t durable. Its Vibram Nano outsole is engineered specifically to resist degradation from use on rough and jagged terrains. Though not quite as sturdy as more recent technology, the EVA midsole is still able to resist wear caused by constant stress and movement. Nano-Cell technology paired with synthetic leather overlays are fixed to the AirMesh upper to help it retain its shape while still permitting breathability.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The Primer Low GTX is chock full of features that will completely protect the runner from any hiking hazard that comes their way. The Vibram Nano outsole resists wear and tear as its low profile gripping lugs provide the runner with a secure run across a number of difficult terrains. The EVA midsole gives the perfect amount of cushioning and shock absorption for rough surfaces, and it's thicker at the heel for greater protection where it’s needed most. The AirMesh upper’s high levels of breathability provide temperature and moisture control, keeping foot odor and possible infections at bay. Nano-Cell technology combines with synthetic leather overlays to protect the mesh upper from damage while giving necessary structure. And, most notably, its Gore-Tex Surround technology gives complete water-repellency to keep the runner nice and dry.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

As stated before, standard EVA foam is not as responsive as the more advanced technologies created by footwear brands today. However, reviewers say that this material still performs perfectly well when integrated into the Primer Low GTX. Its thicker cushioning at the heel means a higher level of shock absorption and energy transfer where it’s most needed, while its arch zone is thinner to allow more natural movement. Reviews have indicated that this feature greatly contributes to the boot’s comfortable wear and leaves them with very little pain or fatigue by the end of their hikes.
Support
Support

Support

Aside from providing durable traction, the Vibram Nano outsole serves as a very supportive base for the rest of the Primer Low GTX. Its EVA midsole is designed to provide the proper amount of support and cushioning where it’s most needed. And the Ortholite footbed is contoured to better adapt to the foot’s natural shape and prevent it from wobbling. Though its primary purpose is to safeguard the AirMesh upper from potential damage, Nano-Cell technology also ensures that the shoe maintains its shape as it adapts to each of the runner's movements. Finally, a soft padded collar supports the ankle while keeping the foot from accidentally slipping out.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

As a day-hiking boot, the Primer Low GTX is designed to perform on almost all types of terrains. The multi-directional gripping lugs of its Vibram Nano outsole keep the runner moving safely across hard, jagged, and even loose hiking trails with a great deal of dirt or mud. It even works in snowy conditions, making it an ideal choice for all-weather footwear. When combined with the upper’s Gore-Tex Surround feature, it also works wonderfully when running through deep puddles or streams. What’s truly surprising to reviewers is that its powerful lugs are short enough to easily transition onto roads and other everyday surfaces.
Price
Price

Price

At first glance, the Primer Low GTX's $175 price tag seems unreasonably expensive. Yet when they really experience this shoe's levels of performance and comfort, they begin to understand its high cost. And its durability and extremely versatile wear further ensure that this model is well worth every dollar spent. Of course, those who are still looking for a lower price can definitely find some reputable listings on eBay.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The Primer Low GTX’s level of traction has proven itself to be surprisingly strong and versatile. Its outsole’s multi-directional gripping lugs are designed to keep the runner going across a number of difficult surfaces. Reviews state that it performs just as well on rocky terrains and dirt hiking trails as it does through mud, small streams, and even snow. What’s even more impressive is that these lugs are low-profile, meaning that they can easily transition onto road surfaces without feeling awkward.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

It’s easy to tell, just from looking at its design, that the Primer Low GTX was created to be more protective and stable than flexible. Yet the construction of its cushiony EVA midsole, being thicker at the heel and thinner around the arch, has left it extremely pliable and easy to move around in. Only the shoe’s STB technology, which connects the midsole to the upper unit, makes the wear more rigid and stable. And, despite its extra protective layers, the AirMesh upper easily adapts to the runners every single movement.
Stability
Stability

Stability

All good hiking boots have to come with stability features in order to keep the wearer safe and secure on challenging terrains. Though it’s not exactly corrective, the Primer Low GTX still gives runners that much-needed security. Its outsole’s Impact Brake System not only permits easier stopping but also ensures that downhill runs are much safer. STB technology fixes the EVA midsole to the upper unit for a stiffer wear, and the Ortholite footbed is contoured to keep the heel from wobbling around inside the foot chamber. Nano-Cell technology and synthetic leather overlays give the upper a great deal of structure, while the lacing system and padded collar work together to keep the foot in place.
Drop
Drop

Drop

There are no online reviews or product listings that give the Primer Low GTX's heel-to-toe drop height. Similar models that are made by La Sportiva typically feature a drop height that measures anywhere between 5mm and 8mm. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that this particular hiking boot has the same measurement range. It gives the runner enough comfortable heel cushioning for runs across difficult surfaces while still allowing slightly better balance and posture.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

-Vibram Nano outsole for durable traction
-Impact Brake System located at the heel
-Responsive and flexible EVA midsole
-STB technology for greater stability
-Removable and contoured Ortholite Footbed
-Air Mesh upper with Nano-Cell technology
-Gore-Tex Surround for water repellency
-Expensive price tag of $175
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

It's easy to see why the La Sportiva Primer Low GTX has been so well received by so many buyers. Its incredibly durable traction safely gets runners across rocks, dirt trails, and mud while still being able to transition onto roads and other everyday surfaces. Its midsole unit provides comfortable cushioning and responsiveness as it enables a wear that's equal parts stable and flexible. And its upper stays completely breathable as it safely keeps dirt, mud, debris, and even water out of the foot chamber for a much more enjoyable hike. All of this comes wrapped up in an eye-catching design that's available in several appealing color schemes that work both on the trails and in day-to-day life. With all that said, its reviews still would have been much higher if La Sportiva had either not designed this model to be so narrow or, even better, offered it in multiple widths.