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ProView – La Sportiva Aequilibrium ST GTX Mountaineering Boot

As a Pacific Northwest local, I was very excited when La Sportiva announced a flashy new three-season mountaineering boot, the Aequilibrium. Our “upper-left” mountains tend to require versatile footwear that can handle multiple mediums in a single day, and this boot looked promising. After a prolonged production delay, I was able to get my hands on a pair and test them in the rugged and glaciated terrain of the Cascades, where their features would truly shine.

La Sportiva Aequilibrium ST GTX

Product Name: La Sportiva Aequilibrium ST GTX

Product Description: Achieving equilibrium between technical performance and the demands for modern alpinists and mountaineers is a perpetual challenge. the state-of-the-art Aequilibrium ST GTX orchestrates a perfect blend of ultralight construction, durable materials, superlative comfort, and elite performance for moving fast in the mountains.

Offer price: $329 MSRP

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Fit
    (4)
  • Durability
    (5)
  • Eco-Friendly
    (3)

Summary

A true-to-size boot that is well designed for different foot shapes. A very versatile piece of footwear that comes with features to improve performance and comfort. An extra gold star should go to the ability to keep snow out and feet dry.

Overall
4.4

Pros

  • Stability
  • Flexibility for climbing
  • Low weight
  • Water/snow proof

Cons

  • The tongue seems to crowd the neck of the boot — can cause some shin-bang
  • The flexible heel gaiter and low ankle means less calf support on tough stances.

With spring melding into summer, this self-declared dirtbag started to turn his attention towards the steep peaks and beautiful country of Washington. Having started my climbing career in the North Cascades, I know to expect all sorts of terrain. I brought along the Aequilibriums to cover the gamut of glaciers, rock scrambles, and long approaches. An abnormally warm and sunny spring allowed me to test the boots on just about everything from steep scree slopes, calf deep slush, soft windblown snow, and dry rock climbs. And of course, being in the North Cascades, I also had the less desirable opportunity to get the boots on slippery log crossings, raging mountain streams, and endlessly long slogs.

Fit/Comfort

I took a gamble on the fitting of the boot, and ordered it online (I know, scary right?). Thankfully, La Sportiva’s sizing game was true as ever, and they fit snug and perfect out of the box. As a three-season boot, the Aequilibriums are a lot more comfortable than the heavier winter counterparts I have been accustomed to the past few months of climbing. As someone with categorically wide feet, they didn’t cramp my digits too bad, except on long descents (I don’t believe my toes will ever be comfortable downhill, so don’t blame the boots on this one). I did have some slight issues with the tongue of the boot crowding around my ankle and causing some discomfort, but it didn’t blister or bruise.

Look/Style

These boots knock it out of the park with rule number one, looking good. As usual, La Sportiva delivers a flashy bit of kit that is sure to wow the crowds. My personal favorite color design feature is the yellow outlined toe box, which helps identify the boot’s profile in peripheral vision, and facilitates better foot placement when climbing.

Features

When it comes to versatility, this boot has it covered. A heel welt allows the use of semi-automatic crampons, a handy feature to quickly switch between snow and rock climbing. The 3D-Flex ankle technology is not just another company gimmick; I was surprised at how well these boots could move when climbing, and yet still give good ankle support and protection. They particularly exceeded when bumbling down scree/boulder fields.

Weight/Packability

As all good three-season boots should be, these are on the nice and light size. On long 15+ mile days, or the classic Cascade extreme vertical ones, I was glad to have a boot that didn’t weigh much. I even used it for longer climbing approaches and easily stowed it on or in my pack when the going got tougher.

Function/Performance

If you can’t tell already, I loved how the boot performed. The narrow toe profile allowed for precision placements when rock climbing, the stiff platform helped reduce calf fatigue when edging on rock or front pointing on steep snow, and perhaps best of all, was the waterproofing. I can’t say enough about how these boots kept me dry. From post-holing in deep slush and powder, to sloshing through low creeks, these boots kept it all out. The heroes here are the tight and flexible neck that keeps snow from pouring in, and a boot-tongue that is sewn into the upper of the boot all the way up to the top.

Durability/Construction

As should be expected with any of the larger popular brands, this boot is made very well. The Nylon Honeycomb upper is incredibly tough and resilient to sharp granite scree, while coming in at a low weight penalty. Add to that some well-designed lace aglets for durability and a classic Vibram outsole and you have yourself a great boot.

Friendliness to the Earth

While this boot doesn’t have any of the “Eco-Green-Bio” buzzword features attached to it, La Sportiva’s contribution to the environment shouldn’t be discredited. Their operating and production facilities around the world utilize zero-waste and renewable energy systems. 

The Final Word

It’s hard to find fault with a boot this well made. It’s not going to beat a rock climbing shoe, or an ice climbing boot, or a trail runner at their respective trades, but as a three-season mountaineering boot it excels at its intended purpose, versatility. A lightweight option that will get you where you need to go in the mountains and look stylish while you are doing it, I would highly recommend these boots if the fit is right!

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About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
Evan Watts
Seasonal Worker

Evan grew up in the small hometown of Boring, Oregon, where he cut his teeth hiking and backpacking in the local Cascades. He now enjoys ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and trail running around in the Western States, and manages to fight off permanent employment despite an environmental engineering degree and perturbed parents.

10 comments

  1. Gabriel Marias Martinez

    Hi! Can you said the weight and size?
    And how compare against tx4 Midor trango tech in sizing, comfort and performance?

    Thanks

    Reply

    1. Kelly Knauf

      Thanks for your comment, Gabriel! I personally have not tried these boots but can provide information on the weight:

      The Aequilibrium ST GTX boot weighs: 22.2 oz (630g)
      The TX4 Mid GTX boot weighs: 16.20 oz (460g)
      The Trango Tech GTX boot weighs: 21.8 oz (620g)

      Reply

    2. Evan Watts

      Hey Gabriel, (and thanks Kelly for the help)
      Compared to the Trangos Id say the Aequil’s are a bit stiffer in the midsole, and seem a bit more protective of the toes due to a firm plastic toe rand. Same comparison to TX4 mids but more so. Sizing for me was the same as all my other Sportiva footwear (which is lots), but you can probably find Trangos to try on and the size should be the same.

      Note: while the Aequil’s are a nice stiff platform for climbing (for a 3 season boot), they dont have any if that awkward skiboot clunk when walking.

      Reply

  2. David

    Hey,
    i wanted to ask you which crampons are you using and did you have trouble finding some fitting ones?
    Best, David

    Reply

    1. Evan Watts

      Hey David,
      I used the Petzl Irvis and the Petzl Leopard on these boots, and both worked great. Most crampons have tons of adjustability, and should fit well on these boots. The boot is stiff enough to work well with a dyneema linked crampon such as the Leopard, and the heel welt gives you the added option of semi-automatic crampon attachment.

      Reply

  3. Anas AK

    Hey, i have never tried mountain boots before, please help me to decide 🙂 however I’m doing mix kind of hiking over snow and rocky terrain more than mountain climbing, will it be useful for such activity or painful 😊 considering its stiff platform?
    I’m looking for multi purpose boots where I can use it for hiking in all kind of conditions.

    Reply

    1. Evan Watts

      Hey Anas,
      Its hard to tell exactly what footwear will be best for you, as many factors such as footshape and specific terrains will dictate so much. However, these Aequilibriums are a 3-season mountaineering boot, meant for warmer temps and longer hikes, which means they are significantly less stiff and uncomfortable compared to winter counterparts.

      Reply

  4. Torge

    Hey Evan,

    I am a big LaSportiva Fan ever since I lived in Switzerland a few years ago. Hence I own several of them, Nepal GTX, Trango Towers, Bushido, Tempest, Uragano etc.

    When the Aequilibriums released I was really amazed by their stunning look, – and presumably by the performance to be expected – but now that I live in the „low lands“ in Germany I was wondering if I should go for them or not.

    The area that you live in is by no means comparable to this area but honestly, your Review inspired me to give them a try as a motivator for any of my next hiking trips. (Bavarian/Swiss alps, Tansania)

    So they arrived yesterday and although they haven’t left the house yet, their fit and their overall impression is superb. Once your foot managed to pass the cuff it is surrounded by a perfect fit, no itching or not even an awkward or disturbing thread.

    In LaSportiva Trail runners, I am a 44,5, in Trango and Nepal I am 45 and the ordered Aequilibriums in 45 are the perfect fit, both in length and width (for a medium width but strong foot)

    The lacing provides a uniquely proper lock of the foot in the heel and it’s black/yellow duo-color lace creates a really cool look! Just make sure to flatten the tongue after lacing and there’s no irritation to be expected at all.
    My „Achilles heel“ is my scar from an Achilles ligament rupture and even there, the flexibel collar provides an undisturbed fit.

    So far for the moment, if anyone’s interested I’ll add my first hiking experiences later on.

    Glückauf from Germany,
    Torge

    Reply

    1. Kelly Knauf

      Hey Torge – Thanks so much for sharing your initial thoughts on the Aequilibriums! We’d love to hear more of your feedback once you’re able to get them out in the mountains 🙂

      Reply

    2. Evan Watts

      Hey Torge, great to hear the boots worked well for you too! Im sure they will work well enough for you on your hikes, but they may not have quite the comfort of say a trail runner. And good solution for the tongue crowding issue.
      -Evan

      Reply

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