5 best La Sportiva approach shoes

Based on reviews from 53 experts and 67 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to La Sportiva approach shoes. Updated Nov 2019.

  • La Sportiva
  • Gender Size
  • Sort 
  • View 
  • Brand 
  • Features 
  • Technology 
  • Material  
  • Waterproofing 
  • Top 

To aid you in traversing that rocky, off-trail terrain in the lead-up to your favorite climbing spot, wear a pair of La Sportiva approach shoes. Sporting these kicks will enable you to negotiate tricky surfaces that you would typically have a hard time navigating in, say, your trusty hiking shoes. Indeed, the construction of these La Sportiva pieces is intended specifically for the approach where the terrain could get extra challenging to deal with. So quit struggling in your regular trail hikers and give La Sportiva approach shoes a shot.

La Sportiva approach shoes and the perks that come with every pair

A case of durability

La Sportiva knows a thing or two when it comes to making shoes extra sturdy. In the case of their approach-centric hikers, heavy randing is the key player to this sturdiness. Almost every pair in their line-up has 360-degree coverage of this heavy-duty rand—giving wearers extra confidence in tackling the ruggedness of the terrain, especially when some light climbing is involved.

Designed for Comfort

Pain and discomfort are two nuisances outdoorsy folks do not want to experience in their adventures. Fortunately for you, La Sportiva approach shoes are engineered with the latest advancements in shoemaking—innovations that work in synergy to give you a level of comfort that makes approach encounters as enjoyable as possible. Among the things that make every pair from this brand comfortable is the liner’s padded construction. Another is the cushiness of the midsole. Do you want something even more comfortable, try leather approach shoes instead.

Freedom of movement

The route leading to your preferred rock climbing site may not be as forgiving as what you would come to expect from well-trodden hiking trails. As such, being able to get to your destination with enhanced mobility is ideal. Many La Sportiva approach shoes are built with lightness in mind so that you can forge ahead with more freedom of movement. Some kicks from this brand also have a generous cuff opening, so maneuvers requiring the ankle can be performed with relative ease.

One for toe splay

Have you ever hurt your toes numb after slamming your precious tootsies onto a small boulder? That must have been a case of a cramped toe box. La Sportiva may just have the solution to this particular issue: their broad-toed approach hikers. Make no mistake, these shoes are not through and through wide—only the forefoot is extra spacious. This type of fit has a snug lower half for security but with a roomy enough upper half to let the toes spread in comfort.

Surface grip

In order for you to reach your destination safely, you need a pair of hikers that have the capability to latch on to a variety of outdoor surfaces, especially rocky ones. La Sportiva approach shoes have that capability, as they are equipped with a sticky yet hardwearing outsole from Vibram. This grippy component varies in design per model, but its ability to produce and maintain surface traction is a given across the board. If the lead-up to that climbable rock involves some downhill slopes (where enhanced descent control is more than welcome), look into La Sportiva’s TX or Traverse X range which consists of shoes with a heel brake.

A matter of ventilation

Trying to get to your next climbing location can be arduous at times, but that does not mean your feet need to pay for it in buckets of sweat. Breathable offerings are part of La Sportiva’s line-up of approach hikers, so owning such a pair is quite the no-brainer if you have feet that perspire profusely in warmer conditions.

Come for the versatility

Although La Sportiva shoes built for approach adventures are intended for a specific task (yes, traversing the approach), they may still be used outside their main purpose. Feel free to keep them on (instead of your pair of high-quality rock climbing shoes) while hanging around a campsite; or slip into them for a quick on-trail excursion. That said, a comfy pair of sneakers they are not, so try not to use them on urban surfaces and the like.

Can I use my La Sportiva approach shoes for backpacking?

The short answer is “not recommended.” While the sole system of a La Sportiva approach shoe is engineered to withstand rocky hazards, it may not be as strongly built as what is seen in most backpacking boots. Kicks for trekking pursuits, unlike approach shoes, are also designed for long journeys involving heavy packs.

The things that make La Sportiva approach shoes stand out from the rest

History

A celebrated footwear company with over 90 years of shoemaking experience, La Sportiva has been around for decades, putting out some of the best outdoor-centric shoes the world has ever seen. In their early days, they mostly produced boots especially built for mountain ascents, yet from there have taken leaps and bounds to develop more types of gear which include trail and backpacking hikers, ski boots, and, of course, approach-oriented kicks. If excellence in shoe creation is what you are after, particularly concerning approach footwear, La Sportiva is among the top brands to seriously consider.

Known technologies

STB Control System. A company-owned technology imbued within the confines of the midsole, the STB Control system adds support and torsional rigidity underfoot. The enhanced supportiveness it provides complements the cushioning offered by the midsole.

Vibram with IBS (Impact Brake System). Surefootedness in a pair of La Sportiva approach shoes is courtesy of Vibram’s Megagrip outsole. It is made of a rubber compound that grants sufficient surface grip over different types of terrain come rain or shine. Its braking power is improved by roughly 20% thanks to La Sportiva’s Impact Brake System. This proprietary technology also lessens forces due to impact by about 20%.

Fit and sizing guide for men’s and women’s La Sportiva approach shoes

La Sportiva approach shoes are offered in men and women’s variants. They come in a range of half and full sizes. They relatively run true to size. Virtually every pair uses ghillie lacing in allowing the wearer to get a secure and personalized lockdown.

Before you march into the nearest sporting goods store and get yourself a nice pair of La Sportiva approach shoes, consider the following:

  • Be in your preferred socks and fit shoes with your custom orthotics set. Without these footwear accessories included in the equation, chances are you will end up bagging shoes with a restrictive fit.
  • Shop for shoes late in the afternoon or around the time when your feet are in a swollen state. Yes, your feet enlarge/swell slightly towards the afternoon and early evening, so do your shopping around these times to get the best-fitting pair.
  • Entertain half sizes. Try shoes in half sizes if the perfect fit in full ones seems to elude you.
  • Lace up and give that pair a test run. Walk and stride around the store to get a feel of your next La Sportiva approach-specific hikers. Take advantage of ramps if available to have a grasp of its grip performance. Check for heel lift; there must be not much of it, if not none at all. If the pain becomes unbearable after taking a few steps, try the next half size up.

Frequently asked questions about La Sportiva approach shoes

What pair is the best La Sportiva approach shoes?

To determine this, you have to have a substantial amount of experience with a number of La Sportiva’s approach-focused hikers. It is really a matter of personal preference, and there is no one-size-fits-all type of response to such inquiry. That said, you at least can snag the right shoes for you by scouting for a pair that fits well, has all the comfort you need, and provides a kind of performance that suits your approach requirements.

How can I keep my La Sportiva approach shoes in excellent condition for longer?

La Sportiva hikers that fall under this category are designed to last; however, you can play a bigger role in giving it an extended lifespan. The following are some of the basic things you can do to that end:

  • Do not expose your shoes to direct sunlight and especially not for extended periods. Additionally, do not store and leave them in the trunk of your car where temperatures may rise to extreme levels which can damage them unusable. If you plan not to use them for a long time, keep them in a cool, dry place.
  • If your approach shoes get soaked, you may leave or hang them to dry where there is enough natural ventilation (a breezy yet shaded location is ideal). You may remove the footbeds and laces to speed up the drying process. You, however, may not use a heat source of any kind to dry them.
  • After each use, rid them of debris and other foreign substances both inside and out by hand or with a soft-bristled brush.
  • If your pair of La Sportiva approach kicks come with leather uppers, consider treating them with a leather-friendly conditioner to give them increased protection from the elements.

5 best La Sportiva approach shoes

  1. La Sportiva TX3
  2. La Sportiva TX4
  3. La Sportiva TX2
  4. La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX
  5. La Sportiva Boulder X
This shoe has recently been added to RunRepeat. There are still not enough reviews for us to assign it a CoreScore.
CoreScore
A score from 1 to 100 that summarizes opinions from users and experts. The average CoreScore is 78. More...