Verdict from 11 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • The La Sportiva Karakorum HC GTX has gotten excellent ratings for its robust construction.
  • All those who reviewed this mountaineering boot are amazed by its good grip.
  • They have also given it five-star ratings for being highly supportive.
  • The majority of reviewers say that this La Sportiva footwear is worth the premium price.
  • A lot of them recommend the boot not just for mountaineering, but also for Via Ferrata and arduous trekking.
  • Those who tested this boot swear by its ability to completely repel water and external moisture.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Several La Sportiva Karakorum HC GTX reviews say that this shoe is a little too stiff.
  • One customer notes that the boot is a bit on the narrow side.

Bottom line

Highly admired for its robust construction, the La Sportiva Karakorum HC GTX is one of the best in its class. It gets high marks not only for being sturdy but also supportive, waterproof, and grippy. All these qualities make the boot perfect for challenging activities in the mountains.

It can be a little too stiff in the beginning but it gets comfortable right after the break-in period. But since it’s quite on the narrow side, be sure to test if it fits you perfectly before making a purchase.

Good to know

  • This mountaineering boot from La Sportiva has the looks and functionality of the former model - the La Sportiva Karakorum with the addition of the Gore-tex lining. This special fabric offers superior protection from water and external moisture. 
  • The current model also features a different midsole made of expanded PU+EVA. It also comes with a TPU insert that provides reliable cushioning and support to the foot. 
  • For the outsole, the Karakorum HC GTX makes use of the Vibram Impact Brake System that performs well on uphill and downhill paths.

The Karakorum HC GTX by La Sportiva is a single mountaineering boot made with thick leather upper that takes on the shape of the foot after some breaking in. The lace clips near the cuff allow the fit of the ankle to be adjusted separately from the foot. This provides not only a secure fit but also stability, support, and ankle protection.

The Impact Brake System (IBS) of Vibram has lugs arranged in such a way that they increase the boot’s “break” or stopping ability by 20%. This is an important quality necessary for a mountaineering boot because traversing uphill or downhill paths can be totally difficult and dangerous. 

The IBS sole absorbs negative impact from the ground and increases traction, regardless of the type of terrain.

For this model, La Sportiva combined EVA and Polyurethane (PU) - two of the most common cushioning materials used in hiking shoes and boots. PU is known for being highly resilient, which means it doesn’t tend to compress or flatten over time. EVA, on the other hand, is lightweight, soft, and has low-density which has the ability to absorb impact. Together, they make a long-wearing, cushiony, and supportive midsole.

Like its predecessor, the Karakorum HC GTX has an upper made of 2.8 mm Idro-Perwanger leather which has really good waterproof characteristics even in extreme conditions. But it has a much nicer color - the mocha forest 2019. 

Like the Nepal models, this boot also features multi-directional 3D flex hinges for maximum ankle support. Inside the boot is a Gore-tex lining meant to keep the foot dry. 

Lastly, the boot comes with a robust lacing system that lets you adjust the fit around the ankle separately from the foot. It’s compatible with heel crampons, ready to take on challenging paths even in freezing temps.

Rankings

How La Sportiva Karakorum HC GTX ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 7% mountaineering boots
All mountaineering boots
Bottom 1% La Sportiva mountaineering boots
All La Sportiva mountaineering boots
Bottom 7% waterproof mountaineering boots
All waterproof mountaineering boots

Popularity

The current trend of La Sportiva Karakorum HC GTX.
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Author
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.