La Sportiva Spire GTX

Though La Sportiva is already known for making incredibly rugged hiking boots, their lighter footwear is just as popular. Their Spire GTX hiking shoe is a great example, featuring all the protective qualities of a boot and the comfort of a running shoe. Its Vibram XS Trek outsole ensures lightweight and flexible movements while still giving extremely reliable traction. The compression-molded EVA midsole pairs with an Ortholite insole to increase its breathability, provided by an abrasion-resistant mesh upper. As the name suggests, it comes equipped with Gore-Tex Surround technology for waterproof wear that doesn't impact ventilation. Other features such as Nano Cell 2.0 technology and two different PC Techlite rands further ensure the hiker's protection. Though some reviewers say that its durability needs improvements, this shoe has scored very high marks overall.

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Moosejaw Link
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Where to Buy
Moosejaw Link
$190.00See Deal
Backcountry Link
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Pros & Cons

-Comfortable wear

-Very breathable


-Great ankle support

-Incredible traction


-Lacks durability

-Very expensive price tag

Key Features
La Sportiva has chosen Vibram's XS Trek outsole for their Spire GTX model. Not only is this particular design lightweight and flexible, but its aggressive gripping lugs are built for ground sensitivity for safe and secure movements across almost all types of rugged outdoor surfaces. They're also non-marking, which means that they won't cause streaks when walking around indoors. The brand utilizes its Impact Brake System, a feature who's jagged lugs allow for easier stopping and lessen the impact of each landing.
Compression-molded EVA makes up the main portion of the Spire GTX's midsole unit, providing durable cushioning and responsiveness during long hikes. This particular design comes complete with aeration channels, allowing it to work in conjunction with the 5mm Ortholite insole. This set-up draws moisture away from the foot more efficiently and permits a more breathable wear overall. An STB control system is also in place, formed by two full-length TPU stabilizers on either side of the foot to steady the underfoot region. All three of these features combine to create a wear that's equal parts stable, protective, and comfortable.
An abrasion-resistant mesh serves as the primary material for the Spire GTX's upper, which already ensures plenty of breathability on its own. As the name suggests, it's been enhanced by Gore-Tex Surround technology, which gives a waterproof wear that works especially well during hikes through small streams. The shoe's side ventilation holes are also reinforced with Nano Cell 2.0 to keep trailing debris from entering the foot chamber. Added protection comes in the form of two PU Techlite rands, placed at the heel and toe areas, which safeguard against impact. A heel pull-tab, padded collar, and lacing system with webbing eyelets complete the shoe's design.
Although they don't look as bulky as some of La Sportiva's other hiking shoes, the Spire GTX is definitely on the heavy side. According to several review sites, men's sizes average at 15.5 oz. while women's are just over 13 oz. Compared to a trail running shoe, this seems extremely cumbersome to a lot of buyers. Even certain models of hiking boots don't weigh quite this much, and they each have a higher cut and thicker midsole unit. It does give consumers an indication of this model's stability level and protective wear, but it could also be a massive clue that it might not be as suitable for more everyday surfaces.
Despite all of its protective features, such as the Nano 2.0 and waterproof Gore-Tex Surround, the Spire GTX is still able to give an incredibly breathable wear. The abrasion-resistant mesh upper is already well-ventilated, especially along the forefoot and sides where hotspots typically occur. But, unlike many other shoes, this model gets some extra help from its midsole unit. Ventilation holes are featured all up and down the sides, exposing the Ortholite insole and allowing moisture to be drawn out more efficiently. The end result is cooler and dryer comfort that makes this shoe ideal for warm weather hikes.
Across all review platforms, buyers are raving about the Spire GTX's level of comfort. Not only do the Ortholite insole and compression-molded EVA midsole already provide plenty of cushioning, support, and responsiveness, but they are also designed to work together in order to enhance the wearer's breathability. The abrasion-resistant mesh upper provides most of the air flow, and the use of Gore-Tex Surround and Nano Cell 2.0 block out everything from water to trail debris. The fact that this model is also known to run true-to-size, at least most of the time, makes for an even better wear.
Compared to many of La Sportiva's other hiking shoes, the Spire GTX's design is noticeably more streamlined. Its most flashy features are its ventilated midsole and heel overlays, with the brand name featured prominently along the lateral side. Carbon/Apple Green seems to be the most popular colorway, with Slate Tropic/Blue and Carbon/Purple being two other well-liked options. A Slate/Jade Green version is also available in women's sizes via certain retailers.
Most reviewers seem to have positive experiences when it comes to the Spire GTX's level of durability. All of its features from its Vibram XS Trek outsole and compression-molded EVE midsole to the abrasion-resistant mesh upper have been carefully engineered with the intention of withstanding multiple hikes through difficult terrains. However, a number of buyers have reported that their shoes started to come apart relatively fast. According to them, the mesh will start to tear or become discolored, and the Impact Brake System wears down and greatly affects their level of traction. Though these aren't frequent occurrences, they're still often enough to concern buyers.
It already goes without saying that the Spire GTX will provide hikers with an incredibly protective wear. It all starts with the Vibram XS Trek outsole, which holds up against rocky terrains and forest trails while still being lightweight and flexible. The use of compression-molded EVA for its midsole means long-lasting shock absorption and energy transfer that prevents chronic pain and fatigue. It also works with the Ortholite insole and mesh upper for enhanced breathability that keeps odor and infections at bay. The abrasion-resistant upper prevents early damage, and Gore-Tex Surround and Nano Cell 2.0 keep water and trail debris from entering the foot chamber. Finally, two PU Techlite rands are placed at the foot and heel to protect against accidental impact. Though some would argue that it could benefit from a protection plate, most seem to feel safe enough while wearing this model.
The Spire GTX's midsole unite seems to get a lot more attention for its breathability and stability than it does for its responsiveness. However, any good hiking shoe still needs this quality in order to keep the wearer moving forward for longer and to reduce the likelihood of chronic pain afterward. The use of compression-molded EVA for this model ensures that hikers are able to move more easily across challenging terrains without worrying about the effects it might have on their feet.
Aside from increasing the Spire GTX's level of breathability, the pairing of compression-molded EVA and an Ortholite insole also ensures a great deal of support for the underfoot area. This is also enhanced by the use of a stabilizing STB control system. Though its lining is tasked more with keeping possible hazards out of the foot chamber, the upper is still equipped with several features that keep the top of the foot properly supported. These include the lacing system, synthetic overlays, and padded low-cut collar situated right underneath the ankles.
Hikers need to know that their footwear will safely carry them through all types of challenging terrains, and the Spire GTX does this perfectly. Whether they're hiking across mountainous trails and forests, or even through small streams, its Vibram XS Trek outsole continuously provides a firm grip on the surface below without becoming clogged. It's equipped with Gore-Tex Surround technology for a completely waterproof wear, and Nano Cell 2.0 keeps all types of dirt and trail debris from entering the foot chamber. The breathable wear provided by its upper and midsole also makes this shoe especially practical for hikes in warmer weather. There is, however, no indication of how well it can function on everyday surfaces.
One of the Spire GTX's few major drawbacks is its incredibly expensive price tag. While similar La Sportiva models have run anywhere between $140 and $160, this one is priced at a staggering $190. There's no doubt that several buyers hesitate to buy a shoe with this kind of cost, especially if they're not a regular hiker. However, those who frequently partake in outdoor sports would find that they're worth every single dollar spent. Its strong protective features, level of comfort, and very versatile wear are more than enough to justify its price to those who love hiking and backpacking. Of course, those who are looking for a great sale can always find some reliable listings on eBay.
It's no real surprise to both hikers and La Sportiva enthusiasts that the Spire GTX is able to provide them with such a high level of traction. The brand's previous uses of Vibram outsoles have resulted in numerous shoes and boots that offer a strong grip on almost all types of challenging surfaces. This particular model features an XS Trek design, which stays lightweight and flexible while also stabilizing the wearer. Aggressive, multi-directional gripping lugs are placed in the center for more steadiness, while horizontal lugs line the edge for safer uphill and downhill climbs. And a jagged Impact Brake System at the back of the heel makes stopping even easier.
Though the Spire GTX reviews don't indicate how flexible it is overall, it's quite safe to assume that it focuses much more on stability. Product descriptions have stated that its Vibram XS Trek outsole is one of the lighter and more flexible designs that the brand has to offer, ensuring that hikers will still be able to move around easily on their long, difficult walks. Aside from this, and the abrasion-resistant mesh of its upper, all of its other features focus more on protecting and stabilizing the foot.
The Spire GTX's stable wear starts off within its Vibram XS Trek outsole unit, who's aggressive gripping lugs are clustered mainly in the center of the foot. The Impact Brake System steadies the wearer even more by ensuring that they stop safely. The combined use of compression-molded EVA and an Ortholite sockliner works to absorb the impact of each step in order to keep the hiker moving along without interruptions. An STB control system increases stability by ensuring a completely smooth gait cycle. And its synthetic overlays at the back form an aggressive heel clip that also integrates with the shoe's lacing system in order to prevent in-shoe wobbling.
Though product listing and reviews don't mention the Spire GTX's heel-to-toe drop height, this can still be estimated by looking at product photos and similar models from La Sportiva. Since their hiking shoes tend to have a drop range that's between 5mm and 8mm, its safe to say that this model falls within that range as well. It's extremely common for this type of footwear to have a drop height lower than the average of 10mm, as this gives the hiker a better sense of balance.
Key Features
-Vibram XS Trek outsole
-Impact Brake System
-Compression-Molded EVA midsole
-STB Control System
-Abrasion-Resistant Mesh upper
-Gore-Tex Surround Technology
-Protective Nano Cell 2.0
-PU Techlite rands
Bottom Line
One could argue that the La Sportiva Spire GTX is the perfect hiking shoe. Its sleek design could easily fit into a number of casual settings. Its level of comfort rivals that of any running shoe. And it's fully equipped with protective and stabilizing features that safely carry the wearer across almost any challenging terrain. Despite its mostly positive reception, there are several reviewers who aren't happy with its overall level of durability. And the fact that it has such an expensive price tag doesn't help matters at all. Still, when looking at the bigger picture, it's clear that hikers of all level could confidently use this model as their go-to outdoor footwear.
Where to Buy
Moosejaw Link
$190.00See Deal
Backcountry Link
See Deal Link
See Deal
By Jessica Pilla
Last updated:
Where to buy
Best offer on: Jul. 27. 2021

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