la-sportiva-tx4-review-dirtbagdreams.com

ProView – La Sportiva TX4

Three thousand feet is a long way to fall. When picking new approach shoes to use for extensive simul-climbing and high exposure scrambling in the Tetons and Bugaboos, I chose to disregard price and pick what I thought was going to do the best job at keeping me on the rock. I chose the La Sportiva TX4s, and I put them through the wringer.

La Sportiva TX4

Product Description: With a leather-constructed upper for durability and comfort, the TX4 is designed for long approaches on rugged terrain. The "Climbing Zone” toe, featuring Vibram® Mega-Grip™ Traverse rubber, coupled with the burly Trail Bite™ Heel Platform provides maximum grip in scree and mud.

Price: $140 MSRP

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Fit
    (3)
  • Durability
    (5)

Summary

I had high expectations given these are La Sportiva’s highest priced approach shoe. I was sorely (literally and figuratively) disappointed in their comfort in long descents, but they far exceeded my expectations where it matters most: overall comfort, performance, and durability for approaches/uphill hiking and climbing/scrambling. For that, I give them a pass and a confident 5-star rating.

Overall
4.3

Pros

  • Impressive comfort
  • Durable
  • High performance on long (uphill) approaches and high consequence simul-climbing and scrambles

Cons

  • Uncomfortable on decents depending on size

la-sportiva-tx4-review-dirtbagdreams.com

This review is based on a climbing trip up the Grand Teton and to the Bugaboos in British Columbia (Pigeon Spire, Bugaboo Spire, etc) that included ~30,000’ of vertical change and ~30 miles of hiking, as well as a season of approaches/scrambles around Colorado.

I had high expectations for these shoes, and they have risen to every occasion I’ve thrown at them. I generally find La Sportiva shoes and boots fit my mid-width and fairly skinny feet very well, and these are no exception. The fit is snug but not cramped, they cup your heel well and provide far better stability than my Merrel Moab day hikers, and the rugged lacing system allows you really crank down where necessary to adjust the fit throughout. I’ve had these for two climbing seasons now. The leather feels as good as new and the rubber has maintained an impressive amount of rigidity and grip for scrambling. The true test, however, comes when they bump into distances that might require hiking boots and climbing that might require climbing shoes.

la-sportiva-tx4-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Versatility

Hiking

The approach to the upper exum ridge on the Grand Teton is about as long and steep as they come for single days. The good news: the shoes performed beautifully on the ascent. Lightweight, great traction, extremely comfortable; I never found myself wishing I had a dedicated hiking shoe/boot and the benefits over a heavy trail running shoe were very apparent. 

la-sportiva-tx4-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Climbing

When covering vast expanses of 4th and 5th class terrain through a combination of simul-climbing and soloing, few pieces of gear play a bigger role in your safety, comfort, and success than shoes. I had my TC Pros at the ready for when things got too spicy for my liking, but to my pleasant surprise I confidently led up to 5.6 (simul) and soloed up to ~5.5 in these without hesitation or slip. I felt confident both smearing and edging, and the grip on the heel helped them perform as advertised when navigating tricky sections of the descents.

la-sportiva-tx4-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Room for Improvement

My one critique: I chose a size that was great for hiking uphill and snug enough for climbing, but unfortunately I paid the price for that snugness on the long descent. They felt like hiking boots on the way up, but unfortunately, it felt like I was hiking in climbing shoes by the end of the hike out. The tradeoff is understandable, but the severity was disappointing for La Sportiva’s “long distance” approach shoe.   

la-sportiva-tx4-review-dirtbagdreams.com

Final Word

I had high expectations given these are La Sportiva’s highest priced approach shoe. I was sorely (literally and figuratively) disappointed in their comfort in long descents, but they far exceeded my expectations where it matters most: overall comfort, performance, and durability for approaches/uphill hiking and climbing/scrambling. For that, I give them a pass and a confident 5-star rating.       

la-sportiva-tx4-review-dirtbagdreams.com

View some videos of them in action:

Alex trusting the TX4s to cross the infamous East Ridge of Pigeon Spire “best 5.4 on the planet”

Alex trusting the TX4s on a knife edge traverse along the Kain Route on Bugaboo Spire 

Shop the La Sportiva TX4 on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Alex climbed four of the seven summits by the age of 19, including a speed ascent of Kilimanjaro, solo on Aconcagua, and expedition leader on Denali. His career has taken him in and out of the guiding industry, and he takes an “all of the above” approach to adventuring from alpine climbing in South America and Europe to canyoneering in UT to competing in adventure and endurance races at home in CO. You can connect with him on Instagram at @shockleystuff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *