With "Extreme" and "Evo" in their name I was expecting big things. Hopefully they'd have me climbing harder and faster than ever before! I've never really enjoyed wearing heavy, clumpy boots as I've been unable to find anything with both all day comfort for walking and pleasing technical credentials for climbing. However the Trangos sounded like they may just fit the bill being dubbed as, "waterproof, lightweight, insulated and high performance." In fact I was worried I might not measure up!
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The Trango Evo Extremes are a single (no removable inner) boot with a synthetic upper. They are lined with a Gore-tex membrane that has a Duratherm synthetic insulation layer laminated to it meaning that they should be 100% waterproof and also warm. They are designed for alpine climbing, ice-falls and hiking. These are B3 boots (can be used with any crampons including step-ins) that are light yet technically proficient and warm.
How long have I used them for?
I've used the Trangos for a couple of months now and in a range of situations. Long days on Ben Nevis, Cairngorm mixed routes, steep ice and -12 celsius in the Ecrins and some plain and simple hiking.
How have they performed?
The boots have really impressed me. They fit perfectly and offer all-day comfort whether it be a 12 hour day climbing on Ben Nevis with the obligatory Allt a' Mhuilinn approach, or some road-side waterfalls in the Alps. They do feel incredibly light for a boot of this type although for me I think that they would be too warm for hiking in the summer months in the UK. That said, they would be perfect for the Alps.
When climbing ice they felt precise and the decreased weight was definitely noticeable. I actually felt that I could place my feet and this was even more apparent on mixed ground. I was a little concerned that the fairly low and flexible ankle area may not offer enough support for sustained bouts of front pointing but I have to say I never really noticed any difference from other boots I have worn. The ankles offer forward, rear and lateral flex which is useful on technical ground ground and the lacing can easily be tweaked (using the lace-lock) to increase or decrease the flex, whether you are looking for walking comfort or front-pointing support.
The Vibram sole seems to give great grip on most surfaces and its stiffness is more than adequate when required to kick steps into bullet-hard neve (in those situations when you really should have put your crampons on half an hour ago!) The sole is stiff (as you would expect from a B3 boot) but walking comfort is not sacrificed, something that is aided by the anti-shock midsole. Heel and toe welts enable full step-in (C3) crampons to be attached securely.
The boot uppers are completely synthetic so obviously this would be a good choice for vegans. Joking aside the uppers are made from a mixture of Lorica (a man-made material which has many of the properties of leather) and Cordura, then finished off with a burly rubber rand for extra protection. And they are remarkably tough; a friend of mine stumbled backwards and stood on my toe-box, full force with his crampon. All that was left was a minor indentation. Good job really or it could have been French A and E for me! The outer also sheds moisture remarkably well and the Gore-tex inner keeps your feet bone-dry, it also breathes well so you don't get sweaty and damp on the inside.
One reservation I had when I received these boots was whether they would be warm enough. My body is definitely of "runs cold" variety and I was a little concerned that I'd be spending my days with numb toes. But having used these boots for 8 days of ice climbing in the Ecrins, where some days the temperature was -12 celsius I am unable to report any problems. The thin layer of Duratherm synthetic insulation did its job. My feet were toasty warm with just a single pair of 4 season merino socks. In fact the only time I got remotely cold was in Scotland and that was due to me not having satisfactorily dried the boots over the previous night. They were damp when I put them on, as were my socks and in return I got cold feet. Lesson learned!
What La Sportiva say
Boot designed for the modern requirements of the alpinist: waterproof, lightweight, insulated, high performance. The ideal balance for people who want a light boot suitable for crampons. Featuring the same abrasion resistant and waterproof Cordura« upper of the Trango S Evo, and a Gore-Tex«/Duratherm« membrane, that guarantees waterproofness and breathability, combined with an antishock HP3 midsole. Suitable for alpinism, ice climbing and hiking. The improved lacing system features a lace lock that allows double tension. Double rubber reinforcement on the toe box, double density Vibram« sole - easy to resole.
All in all I've been hugely impressed with the Trango Extreme Evos. They are light and comfortable, keep my feet warm and dry and are great for technical ice and mixed routes. They are an excellent choice for those who want a technical winter boot without the weight and bulk of some of the heavier leather and plastic boots. The downside is that they are probably not warm enough for the coldest temperatures and are possibly too warm for summer hiking.
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Kevin Avery -Assistant Editor- UKC: