Verdict from 6 experts and 100+ user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • More than a dozen of users found this boot superbly durable.
  • Many owners couldn’t help but be enamored with the La Sportiva Makalu’s remarkably comfortable build.
  • A good number of reviewers commended the boot for its old-school good looks.
  • Some testers admired the Makalu’s true-to-width fit.
  • This mountaineering gear elicited much praise from numerous wearers for its outstanding climbing performance.
  • This La Sportiva boot was commended by several users for being dependably stable on rough terrain.
  • A moderate percentage of those who reviewed the Makalu raved about its highly supportive full-length shank.
  • Experts came away super impressed with the boot’s ingenious lacing system.
  • Based on a number of reports, this footgear has reliable water repellency.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A considerable number of reviewers were disenchanted by the Makalu’s long break-in time.
  • Some owners complained about the burdening weight of this boot.

Bottom line

Climbing in the La Sportiva Makalu means scaling steep mountainous terrain in comfort and classic style. Donning it also translates to being in a supportive and excellently durable mountaineering boot. That said, its lengthy break-in period could ultimately scare away potential owners. In the end, the Makalu by La Sportiva has enough pros for people to invest in it. Those who are determined to own one, however, must be committed to breaking in the boot for days, even weeks.

Good to know

  • La Sportiva’s Makalu is intended for those who value sturdiness and surefootedness in their gear. Its burliness is quite apparent, from its tough leather and rubber upper down to its heavy-duty soles.
  • The boot is engineered with heel and toe welts. They make the footwear compatible with automatic crampons.
  • Lacing up with the La Sportiva Makalu is both quick and convenient thanks to its closure system’s EZ rollerball hardware. Its inclusion sees ball bearings in the instep’s set of eyelets.

The La Sportiva Makalu is a mid-cut, unisex mountaineering gear with a fairly true-to-size fit. It is listed in a wealth of whole and half sizes. It comes in standard width. The footwear’s quick lacing system allows for a personalized fit. For women: Since this is a unisex boot, going a whole size down is recommended.

The boot’s Skywalk MPE outsole is what provides and maintains traction over considerably rugged surfaces. Its heel and forefoot zones are generously engineered with high-profile lugs. Its arch region is lug-less and amply raised to give the boot adequate descent control. 

Making every ground contact as safe as possible and stabilizing the user’s footing is the Makalu’s SBR Aircushion midsole. Its stiffness is reinforced with an 8-millimeter thick insole and Dracomet-coated full-length steel shank. On the extra cushioning front, La Sportiva engineers gave the boot a cushy footbed. 

With its ample thickness of 3 millimeters, the Makalu’s water-repellent Idro-Perwanger leather upper is made extra tough for the mountains. Its interior is breathable, thanks to the moisture-wicking liner called Dry Best. The toe box, on the other hand, comes with a durable rubber rand by Vibram for abrasion protection. 

The Makalu technically has two tongues—one external and the other, internal. The one on the outside is seamlessly constructed to the upper, keeping debris out. On the other hand, the one on the inside—the EZ Flex tongue—is crafted to be adjustable and removable. 


How La Sportiva Makalu ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 13% mountaineering boots
All mountaineering boots
Top 25% La Sportiva mountaineering boots
All La Sportiva mountaineering boots
Bottom 42% water repellent mountaineering boots
All water repellent mountaineering boots


The current trend of La Sportiva Makalu.
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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.