Lightweight Hiking Boots
La Sportiva Core High GTX
$200, 1 lb. 13 oz. (men’s Euro 42/US 9)
Sizes: Euro men’s 38-47.5, women’s 36-43
Whenever a new boot comes along that’s mid-cut and under two pounds per pair, I want to try it out—that’s my preferred type of footwear for many hikes, from dayhikes of any distance, including ultra-hiking, to light backpacking. So I took Sportiva’s new Core High GTX on a very rugged, 20-mile dayhike in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and backpacking for three days in Idaho’s Sawtooths, and found them ideal for light hiking and super breathable.
I carried just a 12-pound daypack in the Whites, and up to about 30 pounds backpacking in the Sawtooths with my daughter. A friend of mine also borrowed these synthetic boots carrying up to about 25 pounds on our three-day, 41-mile backpacking trip on the Timberline Trail around Oregon’s Mount Hood. The Core High GTX feel very light and have plenty of forefoot flex, like a trail-running shoe, while providing moderate support and ankle protection. I could stride fast on trails. But one tradeoff for the low weight is that I could feel the rocks in the trail through the soft, EVA midsole, especially when carrying a pack weighing over 20 pounds.
On a 19-mile, 13-hour, seven-summit traverse of rocky and steep trails on Wildcat Mountain and the Carter-Moriah Range in the Whites, on a very hot and humid day, my feet only got slightly sweaty. Credit the breathability of the mesh uppers and the new Gore-Tex Surround technology, which delivers reliable waterproofing for splashing through puddles and mud, plus 360 degrees of breathability, thanks to a spacer in the sole that pumps air upward through vents in the sidewalls of the boot’s upper with each step. The Nano-Cell overlay wraps the foot in a polyurethane grid, protecting both your feet and the mesh uppers from abuse. The Vibram outsole’s widely spaced, deep lugs bite into mud, dirt, and gravel and gripped well enough when I scrambled steep, rocky terrain in the Whites. The fit is snug, best for low-volume feet, with comfortable padding in the tongue and ankle.
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If you prioritize low weight in a mid-cut boot, you’re carrying 20 pounds or less, and your feet and legs are strong enough to not need much support from your footwear, then the Core High GTX is a good choice.
BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy the La Sportiva Core High GTX boots at backcountry.com.
See all of my reviews of hiking shoes and backpacking boots that I like, all of my reviews of hiking gear and ultralight backpacking gear, and my “Pro Tips For Buying the Right Boots.” See also my story “The Simple Equation of Ultralight Backpacking: Less Weight = More Fun.”
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