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La Sportiva Trango Guide

rated 4.0 of 5 stars

The Trango Guide has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best approach shoes for 2024.

photo: La Sportiva Trango Guide approach shoe

These are pretty good shoes - enough support to carry a heavy load, but sensitive enough to scramble pretty well.

The fit is narrow and especially so on the toes. I have a wide toebox, and the Guide tends to squash my little toe inward.

They don't have any waterproof liner, and after a few miles in a sort-of-unexpected snowstorm, my feet were soaked.

They climb rock decently, but it's also obvious that they're an aid shoe with the support under the arch rather than the toe. So, they grease off small edges if I toe in, and I have to remember to edge with my mid-foot.

They're also pretty supportive - my ankles don't feel wobbly and naked when I'm carrying a 60-lb climbing load in.

The break-in period was pretty fast for me, maybe 15 field days.

There are a few reasons I gave them 4 stars rather than 5...

First, the rear side of the hightop rubs against my achillies and results in...near instant blisters without liner socks. I think that stiffness of the dip in the back which creates the friction is pretty unnecessary, so I wish La Sportiva would make it more heel-friendly.

And second, the rubber is pretty darn sticky, but only in ideal situations. When wet, or gritty, the rubber can be downright slick. I've had other shoe rubbers stick great in similarly bad conditions (for example: 5.10 stealth, FriXion, etc), but not this shoe rubber (Vibram something-or-other). And on ice, forget it. My mountaineering boot soles offer at least some remote ghost of grip, but these boot land me flat on my butt if I so much as lean forward or backward on icy spots.

When all is said and done, these boots are great, but they're pretty specialized. For me, they're too narrow and squashed in the toe for backpacking, too soft to kick snow steps, and have too wide a range of frictional results to hike in variable terrain. The best application I've found is long summer scrambles in the Sierra (short backpack in, lots of easy climbing, durability for off-trail hiking).

Hope this helps.

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