Made of lightweight materials. They don't have much top-of-the-foot coverage so they're mostly suitable for well-maintained trails and summer hikes. Also useful for crossing rivers and streams. They come in open and closed-toe designs. See the best hiking sandals.
The low-cut equivalent of hiking boots. Comfort is paramount in the creation of these shoes so they often have flexible materials. Generally used for day hikes. See hiking shoes.
Mid to high-cut models designed for more aggressive hikes and backpacking. See hiking boots.
Specialized footwear. Often insulated and used in technical routes, ice climbing or expeditions. See mountaineering boots.
Good to know
For hikes that won't last for more than a day, go with hiking sandals or hiking shoes. Tackling trails with greater challenges will require hiking boots or mountaineering boots.
For multi-day trips with a heavy pack. Manufacturers emphasize durability and support in the creation of backpacking boots. See backpacking boots
Designed for users who want to cover a greater distance by going fast, usually with a light pack. See speed hiking shoes.
Boots that grant insulation to the user during hikes. See winter hiking boots.
Mainly sandals. Aside from hiking they can be used for other purposes such as water activities. See multi-sport hiking sandals.
Good to know
Casual hikers can choose day hiking footwear or multi-sport sandals. More info here.
Shoes with a cuff that goes below the ankle. See low-cut hiking shoes.
Good to know
Generally, for trails that are easy to tackle, go with low-cut shoes. Go mid to high if there are more trail obstacles.
WeightMen: 14.5ozWomen: 12.1oz
WidthMen: NormalWomen: Normal
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89 / 100 based on 4 expert reviews
As one of the more expensive shoes on our list, La Sportiva Primer Low GTX offers some really nice extra features.
From shorter hikes, longer day hikes, or multi-day thru hikes, the support, tread, and comfort will keep you going strong.
So far, so (very) good. The Primer Lows are doing everything I hoped they would do, and doing it really well.
Their ability to keep my feet well ventilated and dry on colder days also means my feet stay warmer, and blister free when the season turn over also. They’re comfortable, provide good enough protection assuming I dodge the pointy stuff, and so far they have held up exceptionally well.
Updates to La Sportiva Primer Low GTX
- The La Sportiva Primer Low GTX is a low-cut day hiking shoe that promises to break restrictive barriers by sporting a lightweight AirMesh upper. This upper is infused with La Sportiva’s Nano-Cell Technology—a protective covering that reinforces the upper without impeding all-around breathability. It is also engineered with a Gore-Tex liner called Surround, leaving the shoe waterproof.
- The Primer Low GTX has a compression molded EVA midsole. It is the shoe’s primary source of cushioning, ground stability, and impact absorption. Contributing to the shoe's stability is La Sportiva's STB technology.
- Surface traction is courtesy of Vibram’s Nano outsole. This proprietary rubber layer has a series of round and horizontal lugs which provide grip over rough terrain.
La Sportiva Primer Low GTX size and fit
La Sportiva’s Primer Low GTX is a below-the-ankle day hiking gear designed for both men and women. It comes in standard width and offered in whole and half sizes. The men’s version comes in sizes 6 through 13.5, while the women’s pair is offered between sizes 5.5 and 11. Some US half sizes bear the plus (+) symbol which indicates that these sizes are marginally bigger than their base counterparts. For a secure lockdown and snug fit, the Primer Low GTX uses a standard lacing system.
Vibram’s Nano outsole is the component solely responsible for keeping the wearer’s footing steady and secure on various off-road and urban surfaces. This rubber construction, rightfully stamped with the bright-yellow Vibram logo, promises grip no matter the weather condition, thanks to its numerous lugs. These low-profile yet sturdy lugs offer traction from every angle with their multi-directional design. This Vibram outsole also features the Impact Brake System—a segment around the heel zone that has an aggressive tread pattern which aids in downward maneuvers and descents.
In addition, the La Sportiva engineers crafted this rubber outsole to extend and cover the tip of the shoe’s forefoot zone. This rubber tip acts as a protective bumper which minimizes forefoot impacts and prevents toe injuries.
The shoe’s shock-absorbing and stabilizing midsole unit is made of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), a synthetic material characterized by flexibility and high resistance to weight and stress. This resilient rubber platform runs thick around the heel zone to cushion wearers against ground impact. Its form around the arch zone, on the other hand, is considerably thin, enabling the shoe to bend easily during transitions. The designers also infused the midsole with the STB technology. This tech unifies the midsole with the upper, thereby making the shoe stiffer for added stability.
When it comes to providing hikers additional underfoot comfort, La Sportiva Primer Low GTX uses an Ortholite footbed. This removable insole has slightly contoured hindfoot borders for extra heel support.
The La Sportiva Primer Low GTX is undeniably lightweight and breathable, thanks largely to its AirMesh upper. This featherweight upper has a cell-like membrane (courtesy of La Sportiva’s Nano-Cell Technology) which toughens the shoe yet allows the upper to breathe. It also has a synthetic leather overlay which adds to the overall durability of the footwear. The ankle collar and the upper end of the shoe’s tongue are made of soft synthetic material. The interior of these parts are also padded for extra comfort.
The shoe features a standard lace-up system to give wearers their desired fit. This closure system makes use of plated eyelets and synthetic lace loops which make lace adjustments and configurations a smooth affair.
The Primer Low GTX stands against intrusive wet elements with the help of Gore-Tex Surround. This waterproofing technology provides 360-degree water protection. It also has a breathable design, so the wearer’s feet can stay nice and dry, rain or shine.
Giving users extra toe protection is the stitched-on toe rand found around the front end of the shoe. This protective, synthetic covering works alongside the shoe’s rubber tip—the outsole’s extended part—in shielding the toes from bumps and hazardous terrain elements.
- La Sportiva discourages users from leaving this footwear in direct sunlight. It should be stored in a cool, dry place to prolong its lifespan. In addition, if the footwear gets wet, it may not be dried with a heat source; let it air dry instead.