Stepping out into the mountainous region of Snowdonia has always been an exercise in unpredictability. From the rugged trails to the shifting weather, it epitomises everything hikers, scramblers and climbers love. This year I had the opportunity to test La Sportiva’s Trango Tech GTX boots. Having owned several boots from this brand in the past, I was keen to see how this pair held up.
This is my honest review.
- Lightweight – much lighter than many clunky mountaineering boots.
- Versatility – they are a crossover between hiking and mountaineering boots.
- Rugged – the abrasion-resistant fabric felt tough.
- Crampon compatable – accepts C1 and C2 crampons.
- Break-in period – it took a couple of trips to get them broken in.
- Semi-firm sole with limited flex – some long-distance walkers may prefer a more flexible boot.
- Insulation – these boots are only moderately insulated.
- A little narrow at the mid-foot area.
- Rockered soles won’t sit snugly in most crampons (at the front).
Who Are These Boots For?
If you’re a serious trekker, keen mountaineer, or an alpinist who often treads on a mix of rock, snow, and everything in between, these boots are tailored for you.
They certainly aren’t a pure mountaineering boot – they’re too lightweight and have a rockered sole.
But they’re not a pure hiking boot either, as the sole is fairly firm.
The Trango Tech tries to sit in the middle ground, making it an ideal choice for winter traversing and easy scrambling.
I’ve used them on several winter routes in Wales (UK), including Y Garn, Tryfan and Bristly Ridge, and I feel they are perfect for this type of terrain. I had no issues kicking in steps on snow or making my way along icy, rocky terrain in crampons.
Breaking In Period
It took a couple of trips for me to break in the boots; they aren’t as flexible as summer boots, but they’re not made of concrete and I wasn’t covered in blisters either.
They’re just a firmish boot and most people will probably need to walk them in a bit first.
I went up half a size to accommodate my extra thick winter socks and I found the 11.5 UK size a good fit.
La Sportiva’s Trango Tech boots were a little narrow at the midpoint area of my foot but not uncomfortably so.
Despite the rockered sole, they just about sat neatly in both of my crampons; Grivel’s G10 and G12.
The Trango Tech boots have sticky Vibram soles that are perfect for scrambling over rock and the lugs are deep enough to provide good traction on mud, ice and snow.
The heel step and lug design provide adequate braking on descent and there’s a flat, smooth climbing zone near the toes for edging.
I had no issues with traction on hiking and grade 1 winter scrambling routes in Snowdonia.
I’ve worn these boots for 4 days in the snow and ice and 3 days in warmer spring weather so I can’t provide a long-term assessment of the durability but I can report that:
- The material on the sides feels very abrasion resistant.
- The toe box is very hard and I can’t feel the crampon.
- It does have Goretex which can be hit and miss – often it’s great until the day it fails.
- There is extra padding around the ankle.
- So far, I’ve had no problems with durability.
During my days of testing, I found the Trango Tech boots stable in most environments.
They’re not as rigid as beefier pure mountaineering boots but I never had any issues with ankle roll or excessive flex in both the Grivel G10 and G12 crampons that I tested them in.
One point to note is the curve on the sole at the front of the boot. While the boot doesn’t flex excessively, it is rounded at the front, meaning there’s a slight gap between the boot and the crampon (this is very common on B2 boots as most have a curve up to the toes).
The gap (shown below) does close slightly when the straps are tightened but never fully disappears. There are other models of crampons that curve up slightly at the front, these would be a better fit for this boot:
The heel is a snug fit but the curved toe is raised slightly in this crampon.
The heel welt was one of the reasons I purchased this boot, as I’ve found more flexible boots without the welt often caused my heel to lift out of the crampon and this is dangerous on rocky scrambling routes.
I found the lacing system basic but effective, when done tightly my heel stayed put in the boot.
Testing Trango Tech GTX boots in winter
On the approach and easy winter scrambling routes I used them on, I found the Trango Tech boots were comfortable with a snug fit.
I had no problems with my toes hitting the toe box on the descent, something I often experience with winter footwear.
The laces go fairly close to the toes and held my foot securely without issue.
While the sole is semi-firm, it is rockered, so it provides some comfort on approaches and longer hikes.
The boots have a decent ankle gaiter to keep out snow and ice, which worked just fine when I tested it.
La Sportiva have added a Goretex liner to this boot and I know from experience that this works well until wear-and-tear causes it to fail. At the moment, the Goretex is doing its job and I didn’t get wet feet during the days I tested the footwear.
La Sportiva Trango Tech boots are resoleable.
- Purpose: The Trango Tech GTX is designed as a hybrid boot, bridging the gap between mountaineering and backpacking, making it suitable for both alpine climbing and trekking.
- GORE-TEX® Membrane: This boot features a GORE-TEX® Performance Comfort lining that provides waterproof protection while allowing moisture vapor to escape, ensuring your feet remain dry in varied conditions.
- Upper Material: Made with a combination of high-quality synthetic materials, the upper is designed to offer a balance between durability, flexibility, and lightweight performance.
- Midsole: The Trango Tech GTX uses a dual-density midsole with a layer of compressed EVA and TPU inserts, offering a blend of cushioning and stability, essential for varied terrains.
- Insole: The boots come with a 4mm graded nylon insole, which provides structure and support to the foot, especially when navigating rocky and uneven surfaces.
- 3D Flex System: This is an innovative feature that provides better ankle mobility, which in turn ensures greater control on steep terrains.
- Outsole: La Sportiva’s Trango Tech GTX is equipped with the Vibram Cube sole, which ensures excellent traction on both wet and dry surfaces, essential for mountaineering and challenging trails.
- Crampon Compatibility: While they are primarily designed for trekking, these boots are semi-automatic crampon compatible, ensuring they can be used for basic mountaineering activities.
- Weight: Being a hybrid boot, the Trango Tech GTX maintains a relatively lightweight design, making it less cumbersome during longer treks or climbs.
Alternatives to La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX Boots
- Scarpa Charmoz
- Purpose: Aimed at alpine climbers and trekkers looking for a lightweight solution, the Charmoz is designed for quick movement in mountain terrains.
- Key Features:
- Outdry® waterproof technology provides a breathable barrier against moisture.
- The Vibram Mulaz S sole offers superior grip on different terrains.
- Semi-automatic crampon compatible, allowing for use in technical terrains.
- Design: Lightweight and flexible with a modern aesthetic, perfect for alpine endeavors.
- Salewa Rapace GTX
- Purpose: A robust boot designed for rugged terrains, the Rapace is suitable for alpine climbing and mountaineering.
- Key Features:
- GORE-TEX® Performance Comfort lining for waterproofing and breathability.
- 3F System provides firm ankle and heel support.
- Vibram WTC outsole ensures a solid grip on various terrains.
- Fully crampon compatible, ideal for icy surfaces.
- Design: Durable with protective rubber rand, it’s built to handle rough conditions.
- Mammut Magic High GTX
- Purpose: Crafted for technical mountaineering and ice climbing, the Magic High GTX offers both durability and agility.
- Key Features:
- Base Fit® 2.0 for increased heel support and slip prevention.
- GORE-TEX Performance Comfort Footwear membrane for waterproof properties.
- Dual Zone Lacing allows tailored fit adjustments for the foot and calf.
- Vibram Maton outsole provides traction on varied surfaces.
- Fully crampon compatible, allowing for advanced mountaineering.
- Design: A higher cut boot designed specifically for technical terrains and challenging conditions.
About Daniel Woodley
This review of La Sportiva’s Trango Tech GTX boots was created by Daniel Woodley, aka The Bald Scrambler.
From walking along beaches and kayaking down rivers to making his way up mountains and even jumping out of planes, Daniel has a love of the outdoors but scrambling is his real passion.
Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler