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La Sportiva Thunder II GTX

rated 4 of 5 stars
photo: La Sportiva Thunder II GTX backpacking boot

Great traction on wet and downhill and feels stable with mid-weight packs.


  • Traction
  • Fits insoles well
  • Pricepoint
  • Wide toe box
  • Heel sits in heel pocket nicely
  • Great customer service


  • Toecap started to delaminate on second use
  • Grommets around ankles dug in until I broke them in. Was painful

I needed a backup boot for my job, and these were a great price point. Although, typically for trail work most people recommend full-leather, but I wanted something lighter for the summer daytime sun of Reno/Carson City as the pair I was supplementing was a hot full grain boot.

I wore them on a break-in hike somewhere dry (June in the Sierras was still snowy) after wearing them at work for a few days. The ankle grommets had dug into my ankles almost unbearably at work, and at the end of the hike I though my ankles had to be raw. I wore them to a National Trails Day in June where all I did was revegetate a social trail, and the toecap started delaminating!

Customer Service was very great and offered for me to send them back and they could heat gun them, explaining perhaps my batch hadn't had enough heat to seal the toe cap. I really needed them, as my other pair of boots didn't have as great tread for early season wet hiking, and already had a toecap delamination/leaking issue. So I kindly declined and shoe gooed them. It wasn't peeling to be detrimental to water leakage, but if I didn't repair it, they would have kept peeling back and became an issue. Despite looking horrible now after a season of hiking in them, they stayed dry, and I had great traction and finally the ankle grommets were not digging into my ankle. 

Take home->I think these would last a long time for someone going on short, periodic backpacking or day hiking trips. They maybe easier to break in around the ankles for someone else, and other than that issue I liked how they felt from day one and were relatively easy to break in and feel comfortable in from day one. I think if I continue to use them for what I was using them for I'll probably get another season or two out of the uppers before they are really beat up.

I wish I'd went to school to become an engineer to design footwear! Great tread and great customer service. 

Source: bought via a "pro deal"

I haven't worn the boots a great deal, several short hikes 6-10 kms, lots of winter wear.  However, this summer I did a 60km multi day hike on the north coast of Vancouver Island lots of mud, roots, logs and slippery boardwalk. I was very diligent with good wool socks with liners and three extra pairs (just in case). 

The boots at first performed really well but by the third day blisters were forming. The boots had great support for the ankles, lots of mobility and were for the most part fairly comfortable. The soles were very slippery on the boardwalk so I choose the mud for safety sake but the boots weren't waterproof in deeper mud. 

The downside to the boots was the the time I reached the end of the hike both heels were rubbed raw (I mean mush) and it took about three weeks before I could wear shoes. 

As a result, I'm hesitant to put the boot back on!!  For the amount of money the boots cost, I feel they shouldn't have done that much damage and performed a little better than they did.

Materials: leather and gortex
Use: short dayhikes and rough trail with med heavy pack
Break-in Period: I've had them about 18 months
Weight: med weight
Price Paid: $160

Lightweight boot that is tough for any trail.


  • Tough boot
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof

I really lucked out with these boots. Solid as the day is long and lightweight despite having leather uppers, this boot is a real help along the trail.

Also, double bonus, they have weirdo sizes which help lower the possibility of black toe. For example, the boots I have are like size 10.75 in a US measurement so that provides just the extra bit of toe box room. They are waterproof and have held up really well over the last 3 years.

One thing to note, I have seen that the seam between the rubber toe box and the leather upper start to become more apparent but some seam sealer should do the trick and this is after 3 years of hard use. Still a high recommend! 

Source: bought it new

I bought these boots for a trip in Peru last summer (one month of hiking in desert, forest and mountains). Definitely, I won't leave home without them anymore! the big Vibram sole give the feeling of walking on clouds, my feet never get moist, even if the weather's freezing cold or warm as hell, they still very comfortable (I'm wearing them in fall season in Quebec).

The .5 missing is all about wet rocks or very flat ''waxy'' surface, they're quite slippy.

Materials: Gore-tex
Use: everything
Price Paid: 250 CAD

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Reviewers Paid: $160.00
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