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La Sportiva Glacier

rated 4 of 5 stars
photo: La Sportiva Glacier mountaineering boot

I have a love hate relationship with these boots.

I love how they have taken me 90 miles across Philmont. Up Slide in the Catskills. Up Little Haystack. Brunswick Mountain in Vancouver. Rocky sections of the AT. The Loyalsock. Black forest trail. Maybe 1000 miles so far. They are sweet with crampons or snowshoes.

But I hate them too. Oh the blisters and banged toes I've had in these boots. It's a constant battle to lace them just right or tune my socks to avoid pain.

I was on top of the Tooth of Time at dawn. Another hiker pointed to my boots. "La Sportiva Glaciers, eh?" he said. "How long've you had them?"

"Three years," I replied.

You break them in yet?"


"HAHA! Didn't think so."

I figure I'll give them another few years. The lining inside the heel is completely trashed now, but most of my problem with heel blisters stopped once the lining tore. I do agree with several posters that the ankle can't be tightened enough.

Switching to the medium Solo insoles was a definite improvement. The factory insoles were brutal.

And those little nylon eyelets? Not a problem so far. I'm on my third set of laces, but those eyelets aren't so much as frayed.

Materials: mixed
Use: heavy backpacking and winter hiking.
Break-in Period: 50 years
Weight: 4 lbs
Price Paid: $200

It was time to trade in my seven-year old Merrell hiking boots and I wasn't about to take the decision lightly. I read nothing but great reviews about La Sportiva's line of hiking and mountaineering boots; the company seems to offer a different boot to fit almost any need. When my boots arrived I couldn't beleive how compact (I was expecting huge ane heavy) and well-designed they were.

My Glacier boots formed nicely to my feet within a week and now they're ready to hit the trails. I don't remember how much I paid for my Merrells but my new boots definitely offer more support and allow my feet to breathe (I can think of nothing worse than the feeling of your feet stewing inside your footwear).

I wouldn't want to wear my La Sportiva's Glacier boots in subzero conditions but they are perfect for my needs -- day hikes and the occasional weekend backcountry trip.

Materials: Waterproof Leather Upper
Use: Backpacking and Dayhikes
Break-in Period: 1 Week
Price Paid: $225

This boot is a great all around heavy duty boot. I broke them in with a few day hikes around the Nisqually Basin Wildlife Refuge carrying my healthy three-year-old daughter in a Kelty Pack (approximately 18 miles). Not much break-in was needed actually. The distance was more for my own training and fitness.

After treating the Glaciers with Nikwax, I've used them for two full days on snow, ice, glacier, and rock. Using full-length gaitors and Grivel G12 crampons, I carried a moderate load of climbing equipment up some steep pitches to the summit of Mt. Hood. The descent featured a lot of postholing through mid-day slushy snow. With not one sock change from 2:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., my feet still felt great. I highly recommend these boots to a climber/hiker who wants something more versatile than plastic climbing boots.

Materials: leather/nubuck combination, gore-tex
Use: hiking w/ moderate to heavy load, alpine climbing
Break-in Period: less than 18 mile
Weight: 4.4 lbs
Price Paid: $225

These boots always start burning my feet after 4-5 hours of use. I walk the North Cascades, primarily Mt. Baker area. Last week I climbed Baker at night using the Coleman route and had to remove them twice to ventilate my feet and change the completely wet socks on the glacier and on the summit! The boots simply contain all the moisture from sweating inside like a rubber boot. I experimented with 6 different combinations of socks during the last 2 years but have not found the solution.

The boots are durable, have a good grip and foot support, work well with my Grivels, are reasonably comfortable and absolutely waterproof but again, in my case, the time limit is 4-5 hours even in cold weather.

Maybe Sportiva Trango or Scarpa Triolet? They have GTex.

I will be grateful for comments.

Materials: leather treated probably with some resin
Use: Exclusively for very long glacial walks and easy snow/ice climbing.
Price Paid: 269 USD

These are great boots. I have a narrow, low, long foot and have a lot of problems with finding quality boots but these fit great. I put a hardcore pair of insoles in them and they are, so far, the most comfortable mountaineering boot Ive ever had. Great flat toe edge for mixed rock, a nice tall, but unrestrictive boot. I blew out my knee not too long ago and dropped my Norweigen welt Montrail Mazama for these lighter Gore-tex boots. Def. require a lengthy break in time as with all decent boots. Some flex, but overall a stiff boot,would imagine they would be painful on long stretches of vertical ice...but that's what a plastic boot is for anyways...

Materials: leather, Gore-tex
Use: mixed
Break-in Period: long time
Weight: fairly light
Price Paid: $220

These are great boots. None of the problems associated with the lesser Makalus. I broke these boots in for 2 months with frequent 1 mile walks. I spent 16 days in Alaska off trail and on glacier with these boots and they were amazing. With proper seal treatment, these boots were absolutely waterproof in low streams and deep snow. Plenty of rigidity for any type of terrain and a rigid enough for good kick steps. I have narrow feet and I had 0 blisters over the entire 16 days!! Great boot!

Materials: Full-grain leather, one piece upper
Use: off trail, light mountaineering
Break-in Period: 2 months
Price Paid: $180

Excellent shoe--I have used it with crampons on light glaciers (Whitney Glacier on Shasta, Pallisade Glacier in eastern Sierra), as well as with the supergaiter in less technical high-angle snow. On top of that, they worked amazingly well for hiking on the trail every day this past summer--in all, I wore them for about 80 days of hiking and didn't get a hot spot. Great all around boot.

Price Paid: $130 (pro order)

These boots were a big disappointment. Virtually no support after they are broken in. They feel like a pair of converse canvas basketball shoes--if you are serious about true mountaineering these are not the boots. Skip the Makalu and go for the Eiger, La Hotse or better yet if you can the Nepal Extremes.

Break-in Period: 1/2 hour
Price Paid: too much

Excellent boots: heavy boots for backpacking on rugged terrain -- used them daily without problems; light boots for glacier climbing -- used them with newclassic crampons; close feeling on rock/ alpine climbing; rigid enough for single day ice climbing. After two years they feel and look like new. Use heavy sock and liner.

Price Paid: $225

Three years later, and they're still performing like new! I just did a section of the Ptarmigan Traverse up in the North Cascades with these guys - still the best boot I've owned.

Price Paid: $130

I am a telephone lineman. I wear these boots in the fall and winter.

They are the best lineman boot that you can buy for cold weather.

Price Paid: $10

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Price MSRP: $250.00
Historic Range: $83.75-$250.00
Reviewers Paid: $130.00-$269.00
Price MSRP: $250.00
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