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89 / 100 based on 12 expert reviews
The La Sportiva Nucleo stands out as the most comfortable of the boots tested while also excelling in all other categories.
La Sportiva’s Nucleo High GTX is a quintessential modern boot: light and nimble but with enough support for day hiking and most backpacking trips.
For the right foot and the right situation, the La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX is a great boot with an incredible design.
In short, La Sportiva packaged all the best features into a workhorse shoe that’s exactly what most of us want.
La Sportiva claims the design reduces impact on knees, and our testers agree. Ding: Break-in required; our test team suffered a handful of blisters.
This is one of the most comfortable and versatile boots we’ve tested, and has risen to the top of our favorites.
- The upper of the Nucleo High GTX has the Nano-Cell Technology and Gore-Tex Surround membrane, making the boot breathable. Both features allow ventilation and expulsion of moisture from the inside. Also, the 3D Flex system facilitates smooth movement of the ankles while maintaining its stability.
- A compression molded EVA with TPU inserts makes up the midsole of the boot. It is chiefly responsible for cushioning and support. The adapted STB control system aims to deliver a more comfortable and stable feeling. It also has torsional resistance.
- The Vibram Nano sole works with the Impact Brake System to provide traction and improved braking effect. The said outsole technology aids in shock absorption as well.
La Sportiva footwear is created based on European half sizes for a better fit. They are smaller increments of US half sizing. The ladies’ variant is from 5.5 to 11, while the men’s version ranges from 4.5 to 13.5. This boot generally runs true to size. It uses a lace-up closure for a snug and customized fit.
The outsole of the Nucleo High GTX features the Vibram Nano sole with the innovative Impact Brake System (IBS). This system absorbs ground impact, aids in traction and enhances downhill grip. The asymmetrical design of the lugs allows the boot to have more contact on the ground, thus improving shock absorption and reducing fatigue.
The Nucleo High GTX midsole is a compression molded EVA with TPU inserts. These materials are durable, resistant to wear and do not absorb water. They provide comfort and torsional stability by having control over foot rotations.
The STB Control System, a derivative feature from the mountain running line of La Sportiva, is added to the boot. This structure envelops the medial portion of the midsole with its anti-torsion components. It also enables a more comfortable, stable ride.
The upper of the Nucleo High GTX is made of nubuck leather which works in conjunction with the Nano-Cell Technology. Nubuck leather is known for its flexibility and durability. Meanwhile, the breathable cells wrap the boot and provide structure. It also allows the expulsion of humidity from the boot.
La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX is equipped with Gore-Tex Surround. This technology gives waterproofing and breathability. It is mainly featured in outdoor footwear designed for warmer conditions. Warmth and moisture can vent out through the “spacer” and to the sides of the boot, hence the name Surround which is marketed as providing 360-degree breathability. It keeps the foot comfy and dry in humid temperatures.
The 3D Flex system is incorporated in the boot. It features multidirectional hinges that allow smooth movement of the ankle while maintaining its stability. Furthermore, it renders enhanced foot control and steadiness on challenging terrains by allowing more surface contact. It also secures heel and delivers a better fit.
For added protection, the upper has a PU leather toe cap and heel. The soft, padded cuff adds comfort.
- This leather hiking boot received Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year 2017 award.
- The Nucleo High GTX belongs to the mountain hiking line of La Sportiva. The DNA composition of this line is designed for lightweight hiking. The three main lines of chromosomes that work in synergy came from Approach (20%), Mountain Running (50%) and Mountaineering (30%). These composition addresses fit, flexibility and cushioning and sole grip, respectively.