The La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX are ultralight mountaineering boots that do well in snow and ice. They accept hybrid or strap-on crampons, have sticky rubber for sure-footed grip on rock, and are completely waterproof. They weigh much less that leather or plastic mountaineering boots but also lack insulation, making these better in some conditions than in others. Are they warm enough to tackle glaciers in above-freezing conditions?
- At less than 3 ¾ pounds for a size 12, they are extremely light for capable mountaineering boots
- Sole is very stiff front to rear, making these boots comfortable for front pointing sessions
- Boot is more flexible side to side, giving flexibility for using French technique
- Vibram sole provides good grip on rock, dirt, and snow
- Accepts most strap-on and hybrid crampons
- Gore-Tex liner is waterproof and never leaked during field testing
- Comfortable for long approaches so only one pair of boots is needed
- $285 price is expensive but reasonable when compared to other mountaineering boots
What’s Not So Good
- Doesn’t accept step-in crampons (other Trango models do but they’re heavier)
- Minimal insulation means that the range of conditions is limited
- Cordura and Lorica uppers are tough and light but not as tough as plastic or full grain leather
|2006 La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX|
|Full height waterproof mountaineering boot|
|Measured weight (men’s size 45.5 / 12 US) 3 lb 11.9 oz/pair (1.70 kg), manufacturer specification 3 lb 2 oz/pair (1.42 kg) for men’s size 41 / 8 US|
|Upper: Waterproof Cordura, FlexTec2, Water-repellant Lorica synthetic leather, Vibram XSV Rand, Gore-Tex lining|
|Midsole: polyurethane (PU) (forefoot), thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPU) (heel), crampon reinforcement in back, Sole: Vibram Mulaz (sticky Supertrek rubber)|
|3D Flex ankle, waterproof Gore-Tex lining, 7 mm Trangoflex Trailflex insole with integrated nylon shank, dual-density Micropore midsole|
The Trango S EVO is a boot that is comfortable in long approaches, on rock, and on technical ice.
The La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX boots are the lightest mountaineering boots offered by La Sportiva and among the lightest full-shank boots on the market. There are a total of five boots in the Trango line including women’s, ice-climbing, and insulated models. This is the lightest of those and is the least insulated.
At just over 1 ½ pounds each for my size 12 boots, the Trango S EVO GTX are some of the lightest mountaineering boots on the market. This weight savings is very noticeable when hiking long distances or kicking steps on long glacier routes. I felt much more nimble on my feet with these boots than with heavier leather or plastic mountaineering boots and was less fatigued at the end of the day.
When wearing gaiters, the tough Lorica (red) and rubber are the main exposed parts of the boot – and both are very tough.
The Trango S EVO GTX is constructed with three main materials in the upper. Lorica synthetic leather is used in high-stress areas such as the laces and for the main pieces that wrap around the foot. Waterproof Cordura is used in the upper boot for flexibility. A rubberized fabric called FlexTec2 is found in the lower tongue and along the sides for combined abrasion resistance and breathability. The upper is lined with Gore-Tex which ensures that the boots are waterproof. Gore-Tex linings in footwear allow some breathability and help a great deal in retaining warmth – important in an uninsulated boot that will be used on snow and ice.
The upper remained waterproof through water crossings and slushy snow and the waterproof Gore-Tex lining kept feet warm and relatively dry from sweat with its limited breathability. The upper provides enough flex to be comfortable when kicking steps in steep snow or bend them over when using French technique on steep ice. The Lorica synthetic leather is very tough and resists stretching. I have a pair of mountain bike shoes that are constructed of Lorica; after years of hard use, the fabric has never stretched and shows little wear – it’s tough. Despite many miles on the trail, rock, and glacier, the variety of robust fabrics used the upper show very little wear.
The upper heel is flexible enough to be comfortable kicking steps in steep snow.
The Trango boot has a Trangoflex insole with an integrated nylon shank. This gives them very little flex in the front and I found them to be very comfortable in extended kick-stepping and front-pointing situations on moderate ice. The upper is flexible enough to make them very comfortable when using French technique as well.
The removable footbeds of the Trango are fairly standard, offering limited arch support and padding. As with most boots, I quickly replaced these with Superfeet (and then traded to Sole footbeds) which greatly improved the comfort of the boot. Cheap footbeds are standard in boots but I would sure like to see more advanced models in boots of this quality.
The sole flexes very little, even when applying full body weight. The slight rocker allows for comfortable trail walking.
There is just enough rocker and flex in the boot to make them comfortable on extended approaches as well. I used these boots exclusively in training for a Rainier climb and put over 100 trail miles on them in addition to glacier work. While not as comfortable as flexible running shoes when day hiking, I found the La Sportiva boots to be surprisingly comfortable when hiking and I never experienced a single blister or hot spot. I wish I could say that about my leather mountaineering boots!
The Gore-Tex lining holds in some warmth and not an excessive amount of moisture. For alpine environments, the compromise of warmth from a limited moisture barrier and the limited breathability is a great application for a Gore-Tex liner.
The Vibram Mulaz sole is tough, sticky, and provides excellent traction in a variety of settings.
The outsole of the Trango boots is comprised of polyurethane (PU) in the forefoot, thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPU) in the rear, and a Vibram Mulaz sole. The boot does a good job of absorbing impacts when hiking and hasn’t shown any wear in the outsole. The Vibram sole is a good compromise: it is tacky enough to provide good grip on rock without getting chewed up by crampons, the elevated arch provides control when plunge stepping in crusty snow, the moderate lugs provide excellent traction in mud and rocky soils, and a smooth “Climbing Zone” at the front gives solid purchase when edging rock. I found the sole and shock absorption to be nearly perfect in a climbing boot.
The La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX offers limited insulation, limiting their application in very cold mountaineering settings. However, by using thicker insoles and an insulated vapor barrier sock by RBH Designs, I was able to push these boots well into below-freezing temperatures without getting cold. While these aren’t extreme high altitude or extreme cold boots, by using a warm sock combination, I’ve found them to be warm enough for three-season mountaineering as well as winter backpacking at lower elevations in the Pacific Northwest. Other boots in the La Sportive Trango line offer increased insulation for colder environments.
A rear crampon reinforcement allows the Trango boots to be outfitted with strap-on or hybrid crampons.
The Trango S EVO GTX boots are compatible with most strap-on or hybrid crampons. Because they don’t have a front crampon reinforcement, they are not compatible with full step-in crampons. For step-in crampon use, other models in the Trango line are suitable (although with a weight penalty).
At $285, the Trango boots aren’t cheap but are comparable in price to other boots in their class. They are very lightweight, offer excellent durability, and will last many seasons, making them an excellent value.
The La Sportiva Trango S EVO GTX is a very lightweight mountaineering boot that doesn’t compromise on stiffness or durability. It is well thought-out and adaptable to a wide variety of settings from trail and off trail hiking to glacier and rock climbing.
Recommendations for Improvement
These La Sportiva boots are excellent and performed beyond my expectations. My only gripe is that they come with footbeds that are only slightly thicker than the standard and don’t offer much support. I always trade “throwaway” insoles for better models from Superfeet or Sole, but in boots this expensive, I wish better footbeds were included.