Follow our mate, Zoe as she heads up to Scotland in La Sportiva’s Mid-cut, approach boot and gives her thoughts.
The La Sportiva TX5 is described as a mid-cut, protective, approach shoe suitable for backpacking and hiking. I spent a week putting the boots to the test in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands. Before all of that, the first thing I needed was a boot fit, so I headed down to Taunton Leisure’s Exeter Store. La Sportiva as a brand uses European sizing. I typically wear a Women’s UK Size 8 and went for a 42 in the TX5, which lines up perfectly with La Sportiva’s conversion charts. Lengthwise, I have just enough room to avoid my toes hitting the front of the boot on descents, and width wise these shoes are on the narrower side, which is perfect for me as my feet are slim and slightly lower volume than average. I did notice a little extra room above my feet towards the toe area, therefore I would say that the TX5s are a medium volume boot that fits to size, however higher volume feet may require sizing up by a half size.
As normal for a Scottish November the weather was very changeable. I spent the first day walking around the loch, on soft grassy paths. This was the first time I had worn these boots as I hadn’t given myself time to break them in. My first thoughts when wearing them were just how comfortable they felt, the lacing system offers hooks at the top half and loops at the bottom. This allows for a good level of adjustment and gives the user the option to apply precise tensioning which then provides a nice custom fit from the top down to just above the protective rubber rand. As a side note, the laces themselves were really good; this isn’t something you may think about when buying a walking boot. However, I have experienced laces coming undone during long hikes but this wasn’t the case with the TX5, the laces didn’t slacken off as I walked and provided a secure fit for the entire day.
In addition, the insole and tongue are connected to form a sock with very few internal seams, which reduces some of the rubbing that I have sometimes experienced with other walking boots where the tongue is not connected. This also allowed the boot to mould to my foot that little bit better adding to the overall comfort of the boot.
Having already decided that these boots were a good fit for my feet, it was time to put them to their first test in the mountains. The first walk was up to Bienn Ghlas, then along the ridge to Ben Lawers and then finally a steep descent back down into the valley. Alongside these boots I have also been wearing the Altberg Tethera for longer multi day hikes and in comparison, the first thing I noticed about the TX5 was how confident I felt in my footing, this is likely due to the combination of a 4.5in outsole at its widest point that provides a good contact area with the ground, and the super grippy Vibram MegaGrip compound with a multi directional lug pattern. The combination of these factors meant I felt confident in my footing whether that was scrambling up the mountain or coming back down. It even performed well in varying weather conditions.
The upper of the TX5 is made with a combination of Nubuck and fabric that provides a great blend of comfort, breathability and durability as well as a protective rubber rand and toe cap for maximum abrasion resistance especially on challenging rocky terrain. I’ve been really impressed with how well the TX5 has stood up to the abuse I have put them through. All though some of this is thanks to the Nubuck uppers I think that the high rubber rand and toe cap is the real star of the show. I have found in the past when scrambling or moving over rocky terrain that the area of the boot where the sole meets the uppers can quickly become damaged and marked. Because of the rubber rand this is no longer a concern. The durable rubber takes the hits and valiantly protects the nubuck below. You can see that La Sportiva have really thought about the design of this boot and considered the terrain that it would be used in.
The boots second ascent was a very cold and very wet ascent to the summit of Meall nan Tarmachan, all the above still applied but this walk tested the boots Gore-Tex lining. During the walk I found the boots to be very waterproof, keeping my feet dry while still being breathable enough to avoid moisture caused by perspiration. The boots also kept my feet at a comfortable temperature even with the air temp being below freezing towards the summit.
In summary the TX5 is a good example of a hybrid boot that is ready to tackle most terrains found on the Scottish mountain trails and across the UK. I have really enjoyed using them and know they will become my go to boots for day hikes and longer days in the mountains. The confidence they gave me on challenging sections of our walk was unparalleled and although these boots are softer than others I still felt that they gave me a high level of support.
The TX5 sits in a really good place for me, it is not as stiff and bulky as my Altberg Tethera’s yet offers far more support and protection when compared to my hiking and approach shoes. There is no doubt that these boots will be at the top of my list for my next mountain hike.
Available in both women and mens’ options