Verdict from 16 experts and +100 user reviews

10 reasons to buy

  • A high percentage of users reported that the boot needed little-to-no break-in time. 
  • Its waterproofing ability was excellent, according to many wearers.
  • Numerous buyers applauded the lightweight Nucleo High GTX. 
  • Despite having a premium price tag, a significant number of purchasers mentioned that it was worth the high price.
  • A lot of users noted that the La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX was the most comfortable boot they have ever worn.
  • The traction was superb, as commented by several testers. They have used it on snow, sand, streams, and challenging trails.
  • More than a handful commended the breathability of the pair.
  • The fit of the Nucleo High GTX was approved by the majority. Most of them have narrow feet.
  • An expert loved the boot’s ankle support. The lauded feature was tested when she crossed a rough terrain.
  • Its impressively durable upper was deeply admired by professional footwear reviewers.

1 reasons not to buy

  • A couple of users observed that the insole did not offer much support so they had to replace it.

Bottom line

The lightweight yet superbly durable hiking boot from La Sportiva may have an expensive price tag, but loyalists thought that it was still worth their money. The short to non-existent break-in period and the comfort users received were admirable. The boot was also able to deliver commendable breathability and excellent waterproofing. Wearers with narrow feet liked its fit. The superb traction and satisfying ankle support were also praised. The only downside for some users was the default insole’s lack of support.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

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Good to know

  • 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.

This La Sportiva footwear is for men and women. It uses a lace-up closure for a snug and customized fit. A special set of eyelets placed in the ankle section keeps the heel locked when laced properly.

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.

How Nucleo High GTX compares

This shoe: 88
All shoes average: 82
46 96
This shoe: $200
All shoes average: $204
$45 $495
This shoe: 16.5oz
All shoes average: 20.8oz
8.3oz 43oz
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.