La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX

8.4
8.4 score
[Editors rating (8.4)] = Runnerclick score (8.4)/10

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Editor rating: 8.4 / 10
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La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX Review Facts
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Founded in Italy in 1928, La Sportiva has since become one of the most popular hiking and mountaineering brands. Now located in 70 countries worldwide, it’s more than familiarized itself with difficult terrains of all types and has created footwear, apparel, and equipment strong enough to take them all on. It’s clear that they considered every possible trail hazard and weather pattern when it came to designing the Synthesis Mid GTX hiking boot. Its tread pattern moves just as easily across uneven rocky surfaces as it does through thick mud or deep puddles. Its lightweight nature ensures an easier wear for the hiker, preventing them from tiring out too quickly. And the Gore-Tex Surround featured within its upper enables the boot to be equal parts breathable and waterproof. With all of these incredible advantages, it’s a bit of a shame that this model’s durability doesn’t seem to match.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

-Waterproof

-No break-in period

-Feels surprisingly lightweight

-Incredible traction

-Supportive and breathable wear

Cons

-Expensive price tag

-Lacks overall durability

-Does not fit true to size

Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The Synthesis Mid GTX is outfitted with a Vibram Nano outsole with asymmetrical gripping lugs. This specific design enhances traction and ensures a much stronger grip on the various rough surfaces that the runner will move across. Enhancing this is the Impact Breaking System, or IBS, at the heel which permits easier stopping and lessens the likelihood of slipping. Together, they work with the midsole to increase impact absorption by around 20%.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The Synthesis Mid GTX's midsole is formed when traditional EVA foam material has been compressed into a mold. This process forms a thick outer layer that makes this feature more durable and adaptable to the runner's movements. Elastic TPU inserts are also included within this feature for added support. STB technology is fixed into the heel for an even stronger lockdown fit as well as added sturdiness. Finally, comfort is provided to the runner via an Ortholite footbed, which also enhances breathability and offers moisture control. Reviewers appreciate the fact that they are able to remove it so they can use their use custom inserts if needed.
Upper
Upper

Upper

All of the Synthesis Mid GTX's materials are vegan-friendly, but nowhere is it more apparent than in its upper. Constructed from Air Mesh and PU leather, and outfitted with Nano-cell technology, it retains its structure while still providing an incredible amount of breathability. It is also outfitted with Gore-Tex Surround, a waterproof material that enables airflow from the shoe's underfoot. This, of course, is what makes this shoe fit for hiking through wet conditions. Like many hiking and trail running models, its outfitted with a single-pull lacing system for a customizable fit as well as easier insertion and removal.
Weight
Weight

Weight

When reading the product descriptions, it’s understandable to think that the Synthesis Mid GTX will be an incredibly heavy shoe. Men’s sizes average out at just over 14 oz, while women’s come in at around 12 oz. But surprisingly, according to multiple online reviews, this model actually feels very lightweight once it’s put to use. This is mainly due to its breathable nature as well as the construction of its materials.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

For a hiking boot, the Synthesis Mid GTX proves to have an extremely high level of breathability. The shoe's Air Mesh upper is already well ventilated on its own and is even equipped with sweat-wicking properties. But the inclusion of Gore-Tex Surround successfully takes this quality up several notches. It works by enabling ventilation through the underfoot chamber along with vents on either side of the shoe, allowing the strongest form of climate control possible. And, just to ensure even greater comfort, an Ortholite footbed is inserted to draw sweat away from the sole of the foot. Odor, blisters, and infections are eliminated thanks to this highly-praised quality.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Reviewers have marveled over the level of comfort that the Synthesis Mid GTX has offered them, with several even saying that it required no break-in period at all. Aside from cushioning the foot throughout long-term wear, the EVA foam midsole and design of the outsole manage to work together to lessen the impact of each step. Therefore, the amount of pain and fatigue within the foot is greatly reduced by the end of the day. Though the Air Mesh fabric of its upper already enables a great deal of airflow and moisture wicking, the inclusion of the waterproof Gore-Tex Surround allows aeration from both the sides and from underfoot. This permits total climate control within the foot chamber as well as protection from wet environments. All of this is topped off by the Ortholite footbed, which keeps the foot cushioned comfortably and enhances sweat control without losing its shape.
Style
Style

Style

The Synthesis Mid GTX is definitely one of the more eye-catching hiking boots that are currently on the market. The Nano-cell technology reinforcing its Air Mesh upper resembles a series of distorted hexagonal tiles, making this feature look almost like reptile skin. The brand's name is featured prominently on the shoe's lateral side, stretching from the heel to the midfoot. The padded collar features a metal ring and speed hook that work together to secure the lacing system. Though this model is available in several color options, its most popular are grey/neon green for men and bright blue for women.
Durability
Durability

Durability

As functional as the Synthesis Mid GTX is in rough environments, it unfortunately lacks the durability required of a hiking boot. A high amount of reviewers have reported the entire sole unit coming apart or even falling off completely after they wore it for only a few weeks. They also noticed tears in the upper material and said that its water repellency wore off after only a few months. Other reviews claimed that the elastic band which holds the lacing system in place came loose very quickly. Considering this model's very expensive price tag, its overall lack of sturdiness is incredibly disappointing.
Protection
Protection

Protection

As one can see from other segments of this review, there are pluses and minuses to the Synthesis Mid GTX's level of protection. Its outsole provides incredible traction on most types of rugged outdoor terrains and works together with the midsole to absorb shock and reduce chronic pain. The Gore-Tex Surround featured on its upper ensures complete water repellency as it aids the Air Mesh in allowing unrestricted aeration. And the single-pull lacing system is designed to eliminate the risk of tripping or being slowed down by loose laces. Unfortunately, several reviews indicate that all of these features could potentially break down after only a few weeks of wear. Though it may be due to this model not being used properly, it's still enough to drive some potential buyers away.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Reviewers were extremely pleased with how responsive the Synthesis Mid GTX turned out to be. Aside from ensuring high-level traction, the tread pattern of its Vibram Nano provides an extra 20% of impact absorption. The Impact Brake System located at the heel gives easier stopping power and prevents slipping. The act of forming its compression-molded EVA midsole not only ensures greater shock absorption and durability but also enables better control over both the gait cycle and foot rotations. And the breathability and water repellency offered by its upper allows it to fully adapt to most types of environments and weather conditions.
Support
Support

Support

Hikers note that they feel completely supported whenever they wear the Synthesis Mid GTX. With the Vibram Nano outsole serving as a protective base for the rest of the boot, its EVA midsole cushions the foot and enables completely natural gait cycles and rotations while absorbing the impact of each step. TPU inserts provide the extra support needed for walks on more difficult surfaces. STB technology focuses more on the heel, keeping it rigid and locked into place to prevent wobbling. PU overlays and Nano-cell technology not only give the boot its structure but also ensure that the top and sides of the foot are completely supported.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

As a hiking boot, the Synthesis Mid GTX is made to be used in environments that some trail running shoes aren't even intended for. Reviewers have happily worn these while out on a regular hike, out camping, or even during some intense sporting events. The asymmetrical design of its outsole's tread pattern ensures safe walks and runs across rocks, mountains, forests, steep hills, and even through thick mud. Gore-Tex Surround provides total water repellency, which also makes them fit for walking through high puddles or heavy rain. And, though it looks as if it's only meant for cooler temperatures, its breathable nature also makes it the perfect selection for summer hikes.
Price
Price

Price

At $185, the Synthesis Mid GTX is incredibly expensive even when compared to similar models on the market. And, needless to say, it’s put a lot of buyers off when it comes to making a purchase. Frequent reviews about its lack of durability only put them off even further. Yet when some look at this shoe’s superior traction, water repellency, versatile wear, and overall comfort level, they do feel that it would absolutely be worth the price. Should they decide to actually buy this model, it is recommended that the do so from an outlet with a very good return policy.
Traction
Traction

Traction

Superior traction is a given quality on any good hiking boot, and the Synthesis Mid GTX is no different. Its Vibram Nano outsole features a series of asymmetrical gripping lugs that provide a firm grasp on all types of rough outdoor surfaces. Rocks, logs, and deep puddles prove to be no match as it carries the wearer safely across. It's also designed to claw through thick mud and avoid any kind of slipping even if the lugs become clogged. The inclusion of the Impact Brake System further strengthens this boot's traction by enabling greater stopping power.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

There isn't much information that can be found that details how flexible the Synthesis Mid GTX's wear is. Its intended purpose and overall design indicate that it focuses on a protective, breathable wear and strong traction. Though this version is compression molded instead of injection molded, EVA foam is known to have a bit more pliability than many old midsole materials on the market. Furthermore, the fact that several reviewers say that they experienced no break-in period when they first wore this boot indicates that it's quite easy to move around in.
Stability
Stability

Stability

If a shoe or boot is meant to be used on rough and rugged terrains, it has to be packed with stability features. The Impact Brake System on the heel of the Synthesis Mid GTX's outsole steadies the wearer by ensuring easier stopping and prevents the runner from potential slipping and falling. Its compression-molded EVA midsole cushions the foot and absorbs shock while enabling the runner greater control over their foot rotations and overall movement. STB technology wraps around the heel of the midsole to better secure it to the upper and ensure that the foot is truly locked into place. Because the Air Mesh upper lacks any stability on its own, Nano-cell technology and PU overlays are set into place to give it the structure it needs for rugged environments. Finally, the padded collar and single-pull lacing system provide a customizable fit that keeps the foot locked into place without the risk of tripping over loose laces.
Drop
Drop

Drop

No online record of the Synthesis Mid GTX’s drop height can be found. Based on product pictures, it appears to be lower than the average height of 10mm but still not a zero drop platform. Many trail running or hiking models feature a heel-to-toe drop that’s between 8 and 4mm, which allows the runner greater balance yet still offers them the extra heel cushioning that they’ll require. Photos indicate that this particular model’s drop height is within this range as well.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

-Vibram Nano rubber outsole
-Impact Brake System for greater traction
-Compression-molded EVA foam midsole
-STB technology for a more secure fit
-Airmesh fabric and PU leather upper
-Gore-Tex Surround for underfoot ventilation
-Expensive price tag of $185
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

La Sportiva very nearly made the perfect hiking boot when they designed the Synthesis Mid GTX. With strong and reliable traction, a highly responsive midsole, and an upper that's as breathable as it is waterproof, hikers could truly take this model through almost any rugged environment and still be completely protected. Unfortunately, several reviews have indicated that it's seriously lacking in durability. The sole unit and lacing system have been known to come off completely, getting rid of any sort of protection that it once offered. Here's hoping that, if they ever design a second version of this model, they learn from their mistakes and take the time to make sure that its wear is truly long-lasting.