La Sportiva TX2 Review Facts
The La Sportiva TX2 is a shoe that is a part of the Traverse X approach series, which also includes the TX3 and TX4. These shoes are dedicated to climbers who enjoy hiking as well, so the brand made the TX2’s as versatile as possible. They are the lightest of the series and offer amazing grip and comfort, which is crucial when tackling technical approach routes. They can be packed easily with the patented C2 Combo Cord and attached to the harness, which is a welcome feature for those that already have their favorite hiking shoe. The TX2 is a great choice for anyone looking for a high-quality, lightweight and durable approach shoe.
The outsole of this ultralight approach shoe is relatively soft and made out of the uber-sticky Vibram Mega-Grip rubber, which is to be expected, considering their basic function. The La Sportiva TX2 features a circular lug pattern throughout the sole that is designed for getting a better grip on technical terrain and have been seen on numerous approach shoes. There is also a flat, no-thread section on the toes which is designed for climbing easier grades – it even says ‘climbing zone’ on it. On the outside edge of the TX2 outsole, there is a slight flare that is intended to increase stability and prevent a sprained ankle in case your foot starts twisting and rolling on the outside, which does tent do happen when climbing.
The midsole is reminiscent of trail running shoes
, which comes especially useful if you don’t plan on putting the shoes on only after you’ve made it to the technical part of the trail, but prefer to hike in them as well. It’s shock-absorbing, to an extent, and is made with "Traverse-Lite injection MEMlex" and is cushioned enough as to dampen the ground, rocks and other sharp objects you might step on, but not nearly enough so that you lose sensitivity in the foot. In the La Sportiva TX2, you’ll be able to feel the surface you’re hiking or climbing, but thanks the midsole cushioning, you won’t feel like you’re walking in a sock.
The hard-wearing upper is made to maximize breathability
and comfort – it’s a one-piece ‘knitted’ mesh polyester fabric with no stitching whatsoever. The knit type of fabric construction allows for varying degrees of elasticity throughout the upper, even though it’s all one piece of fabric. The padded tongue is made of a thicker and softer material that’s sewn in place so that it won’t slip on the outside. The lacing system is derived from the Mythos climbing shoe and along with the padded tongue, it allows you to really tighten up the laces and stabilize your foot without creating uncomfortable pressure on the top of your foot. The inside of the shoe features a soft lining that provides additional comfort to the foot.
The TX2 is the lightest of the La Sportiva
TX series and weighs 9.8oz, with the TX3 and TX4 weighing 12.5oz and 13oz, respectively. This increase in weight isn’t for nothing, because the TX3 and TX4 models do provide a bit more stability as well as durability, but if you’re looking for a lightweight climbing shoe you can also walk in, the TX2 is your best choice. As an added perk to their light weight, the shoe also features a patented C2 ComboCord around the heel that is placed in a groove indent. The C2 ComboCord allows you to put the shoes together (upper to upper, reversed) and secure them by stretching the cords from both shoes to grab the outsole of the opposite shoe. This will allow you to attach the shoes to your backpack harness, which is not only useful, but can also serve a purpose of balancing out the weigh of the water bottle dangling from the other side of your backpack.
One of the best things about this approach shoe is its incredible breathability. Even though La Sportiva opted for a darker-colored style of the mesh, you don’t need to worry one bit about your feet overheating. The upper is so breathable that you’ll be able to feel the lightest breeze – which is great during spring and summer but could be a disadvantage if you’re going on an autumn adventure. The tongue isn’t as breathable as the upper, which makes perfect sense because you’ll want to lace up this shoe firmly to avoid any slipping. The upper isn’t water-resistant
at all and you can expect water to get in the shoe easily. However, the TX2 is also very quick to dry, making the fact that it isn’t water-resistant fairly irrelevant – except if you’re wearing socks underneath.
The La Sportiva TX2 is extremely comfortable
, not only because of the EVA midsole but because of the firm upper that adheres to the foot, even when laces are completely loose. Due to the sleek build, it’s not recommended to wear thick socks with this shoe. The soft lining around the ankle increases the comfort and stops the dirt and sand from coming in the shoe. The toe box is wide enough so that you can splay your toes, but if you’re going to do some serious scrambling or climbing, you can always lace up the shoe firmly, which will stabilize the forefoot as well. Even with the snug and secure fit, the lacing system will spread the tension evenly throughout the foot.
The La Sportiva TX2 has a thin, sleek build and comes in three different color combinations: Black/Yellow, Carbon/Tangerine and Sulphur, which is essentially black and lime green. The darker upper may cause overheating concerns, but the shoe’s breathability will prevent your feet from getting sweaty no matter how much sunlight the TX2 attracts. The C2 ComboCords are the same color (and material) as the laces, and while this feature might seem gimmicky to some, it provides a great color contrast on the heel and gives this approach shoe a cool look.
It’s normal for an approach shoe to show signs of wear and tear after it’s been out on the rocky terrain and in various cracks. In this department, the TX2 is a surprise, mostly because of the thin upper which seems fragile. The shoe is very durable and won’t fray, have rough spots or start separating on the outer edge of the outsole. The reason why the upper manages to be durable while being so thin is probably that it’s seamless. In fact, there is only one well-protected seam on the whole upper, and that’s behind the heel. This doesn’t give much room for the upper to stretch out and lose its shape. Additionally, the lining fabrics and the stitches are high-quality and tight. If you need an even more durable shoe
, you can always spend some more cash and buy the La Sportiva TX2 Leather, although that will come at a cost of decreased breathability.
The "Traverse-Lite injection MEMlex" midsole, while soft, isn’t enough to protect the foot from bumps and stones while hiking, especially at a fast pace or with a heavy backpack. The polyester upper with an all-round protective coating provides great abrasion protection but does little when it comes to impact protection. While this shoe doesn’t protect from water, it can become bone-dry again in an hour or less, which makes it semi-protective from water, in our books. Also, the soft lining around the ankles will dirt-proof the inside of your shoe, making it even more comfortable to wear.
The important thing to note is that this isn’t a running shoe, nor a shoe fit for longer hikes, so the responsiveness
isn’t (and shouldn’t be) its focal point. What makes the TX2 better than most approach shoes in this department is the "MEMlex" midsole. While this soft, foamy midsole might provide some energy-return while hiking, there’s still no room to discuss bounciness and speed. However, the ‘climbing zone’ flat area on the toes provides a responsive contact with the rock while climbing, smearing and edging.
La Sportiva TX2 may be a lot of things but it definitely isn’t a support
shoe. While the upper is firm, its sides aren’t stiff enough to support the arches, and those with flat feet will find that this minimalist approach shoe is simply too soft for them to be able to wear it all day comfortably. However, this isn’t to say that the TX2 doesn’t offer any support – it does, as long as you don’t have flat feet or carry a lot of weight in your backpack. For a lot of climbers, the amount of support they will get from the TX2 is exactly the amount of support they need, especially when you take into account its light weight.
As with every approach shoe, the La Sportiva TX 2 is ideal for short to medium hikes, bouldering, climbing, and light mountaineering
. Its hybrid nature makes it great for trails which include a bit of both and are low or moderate-intensity; however, on more extreme terrains on either side of the hiking-climbing spectrum, this shoe will prove to be insufficient to tackle these types of terrain that require a highly specialized shoe. However, in its own category, the TX2 will both climb very well and provide comfort while tackling technical terrains.
The pricing is always tricky for these types of shoes that cater only to specific users. The La Sportiva TX2 steps into the triple-digit territory. It’s priced almost as if it were a high end climbing shoe, or a really good trail shoe
, when it’s neither. That’s the curse of the approach shoes. However, if you’re in need specifically for this type of shoe, its durability and comfort make it worth the money.
that the TX2’s Vibram Megagrip sole offers is outstanding. The sticky outsole is well-built and allows you to climb, smear and edge a climb without worrying about gripping any more than you would anyway. Some climbers have even climbed 5.10 climbs in the La Sportiva TX2, which is nothing short of impressive. The circular lugs on the outsole will securely grip any surface and the flat toe part of the outsole provides great sensitivity.
The sole of this minimalist
approach shoe is very soft and flexible, especially in the toe area. As the sole progresses through the midfoot to the heel, the flexibility noticeably decreases. This flexibility combined with a roomier toe box doesn’t suit some climbers who feel like that combination makes them less stable; others, however, are very satisfied with this blend and find the lacing system completely satisfactory in terms of providing the much-needed stabilization.
The flared area on the outer edge of the outsole is specifically designed to increase the stability of the La Sportiva TX2 approach shoe, and it succeeds in its intention while increasing torsional rigidity as well. If you crank down the laces, the already snug upper will provide some stiffness and security. However, if you’re in need of a shoe that gives more stability
and don’t care about it being lightweight, we recommend you try the TX4.
This shoe has a 4 mm Ortholite Approach which will provide a comfortable hike to most people, although the heel striker might have an issue with the TX2’s drop
. This medium-to-low drop will feel natural to most people that are looking for a good approach shoe.
- Vibram Mega-Grip rubber outsole
- Traverse-Lite injection MEMlex soft midsole
- Seamless knitted mesh upper
- Roomy toe box
- Extremely breathable
- Dries quickly
- Flat toe part of the outsole
- Priced like a high-end climbing shoe
- Mythos climbing shoe lacing system
- 4 mm Ortholite Approach drop
The La Sportiva TX2 is one of the best approach shoes on the market, hands down. This will not be true only for people who need extra support and stability. This lightweight shoe will make walking to the cliff you want to climb a comfortable experience, rather than a drag. The lacing system will ensure a snug, stable fit while climbing and the soft midsole will lessen the sensibility of the foot just enough so that you’re comfortable while hiking to the rock. All in all, this is a very balanced, well-built blend of a climbing and hiking shoe.