Verdict from 5 experts and 100+ user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • A large number of buyers appreciated the sturdy build of the mountaineering boot. One of them said that the shoe looked good as new even after an extremely rough use for several years.
  • Considering its heavy-duty applications, many wearers were surprised about how incredibly lightweight it was.
  • Numerous users were immensely pleased with the comfort offered by the La Sportiva Karakorum.
  • Many mountaineers pointed out that the footgear maintained a strong grip on rocky and steep slopes and was, therefore, a good option for rock scrambling, backpacking, and even glacier trekking.
  • Some consumers welcomed the ankle support. It kept their ankle stable on both craggy terrain and loose surfaces.
  • Its virtually zero break-in period completely stunned a professional gear reviewer.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Several purchasers experienced leakage in wet environments.
  • A handful of buyers commented that its laces were neither durable nor efficient in keeping a fit snug.

Bottom line

The La Sportiva Karakorum is a comfortable, sturdily built and impressively lightweight mountaineering boot that is easy to break in. Its grippy outsole, sufficient ankle support, and high durability have earned it many fans in the market. However, some users pointed out the shoe could not keep away the moisture effectively. Also, a few mountaineers thought the lace-up closure was poorly made and inefficient.

Good to know

  • The La Sportiva Karakorum is a high-cut mountaineering boot that doubles as a backpacking boot. Its Couloir outsole provides traction over challenging terrains and is resistant to abrasions. It is created with strategically patterned lugs to grip on grounds tackled by mountaineers and heavy backpackers.
  • The midsole's styrene-butadiene rubber is a soft material that provides cushioning. The durable rubber works in synergy with the anti-torsional plate to deliver comfort and prevent the twisting of the sole.
  • The Idro-Perwanger leather on the upper renders durability, breathability and water repellency. The Cordura fabric around the cuff and the Dry-Best lining on the interior walls give comfort. The Hydrofil nylon incorporated in the Dry-best lining wicks away moisture from the inside. Also, La Sportiva infuses the multi-directional 3D Flex hinge, allowing adaptation to ankle movements.

The La Sportiva Karakorum is a unisex offering. Its lace-up closure and over-the-ankle height result in a snug fit. This feature prevents sliding of the foot or uncomfortable chafing inside the boot.

The Couloir rubber delivers the traction needed on uneven terrain. This rubber by Vibram is also durable and resistant to abrasions. Moreover, the mountaineering boot features deep lugs on its outsole. The strategic pattern assists in maintaining a strong hold on challenging grounds. The outsole also comes with a heel groove, serving as a crampon attachment.

The cushioning is provided by the styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) Aircushion. This component is soft, flexible and responsive. It also offers insulation in hot or cold environments.

The La Sportiva Karakorum comes with 8-millimeter high-density nylon insole with an anti-torsion plate. This combo gives underfoot support enough for tackling uneven grounds and supporting mountaineers or backpackers with heavy loads. The footbed is removable so users can replace it with their preferred insole.

The 2.8 mm Idro-Perwanger roughout leather is a silicone-infused material. It makes the Karakorum water-repellent yet breathable. It also adds durability to the boot. The upper also features a padded Cordura cuff to provide comfort. Cordura fabrics are made using high-tenacity fiber technologies to produce durable products.

La Sportiva Karakorum has the Hydrofil nylon incorporated in the Dry-Best lining. Hydrofil is a special type of nylon blended with other fibers to increase its strength, comfort, and absorbency. The combo in this shoe and keeps the user’s foot dry and cool.

A Vibram rubber rand runs from the forefoot to the midfoot area. It acts as a bumper to protect the toes. It also shields the boot from abrasions.

The upper has La Sportiva's proprietary 3D Flex system. This multi-directional hinge enables natural movement of the ankle while maintaining support. It's a component that reduces the mountaineering boot's break-in period.

  • The Karakorum is ideal for general mountaineering, backpacking with a heavy load, heavy hiking and various outdoor work wherein the priorities are comfort and durable support. It may also be worn on alpine expeditions and long climbs.
  • According to La Sportiva, the outsole is compatible with New-Matic crampons. This 12-point C2 crampon is designed for alpinism, routes with moderate waterfalls and general mountaineering. However, mountaineers may use semi-rigid crampons from the brand of their choice.


How La Sportiva Karakorum ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 6% mountaineering boots
All mountaineering boots
Top 10% La Sportiva mountaineering boots
All La Sportiva mountaineering boots
Top 29% water repellent mountaineering boots
All water repellent mountaineering boots


The current trend of La Sportiva Karakorum.
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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.