/ Are La Sportiva Taking the Piss

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goatee - on 31 Oct 2018

I like La Sportiva Boots and have been a member of the "yellow boot brigade" for quite a few years since I bought the excellent Nepal Extremes. I still have them (more for sentimentality than actually using them). I then bought two pairs of Trango Alps and then moved onto Trango Alp Cubes. The first pair of Cubes really didn't last long. The uppers are excellent and the plastic fusion type body is robust and durable but the thread on the sole is really shallow, even when new and it wears down really quickly. Perhaps most annoying is that holes came at the toe of the boots due to the "protective" rand wearing or tearing. It is really thin and flimsy. Still they were a lovely comfortable and light pair of boots so I bought a second pair to use on my longer hiking trips. I got a cheap branded pair as well to use for general one day hikes so as to hopefully stretch out the longevity of the La Sportivas. It was annoying to say the least to see the same problems with the rand developing on the toes of the boots and once again the soles are worn down after just a few trips. For boots that are not cheap I would really hope to get a solid year of walking from them. I feel in the effort to go as lightweight as possible that the company has compromised too much on the durability of the product. I know it makes business sense to have a product that needs to be regularly renewed etc but they have gone too far down that path.

I feel it is time to move to another brand. Something that offers quality and durability. 

3
danm on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

What did you expect? They are a lightweight boot with a softer rubber compound chosen to be sticky so they climb rock well. If you want a workhorse choose a different, heavier boot. Also, get them resoled, with the midsole you can do this over and over. If you buy a similar spec boot from a.n.other brand, expect very similar results.

21
MischaHY - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

Durable, Light, Technical. Choose two. 

If you want good durability look towards more traditional leather offerings - they'll weigh more but last years. 

oldie - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

In recent years I really value having lightweight footwear (nimbler, 1 kg on feet apparently equaling 3+ on back) and use boots less often so accept low durability.

Obviously you can't do anything about rapid sole wear but someone might suggest something to plaster over holes in the rand, even if it needs frequent reapplication.

goatee - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to danm:

What did I expect ??. Perhaps I'm a little old fashioned but I expected something that costs quite a lot to be of good quality. I know this is the throwaway society but expensive boots shouldn't really fall into that category. I'm not a complete idiot and I realise that lighter weights lead to less sturdy and durable materials but my point is have La Sportiva taken things too far?. Surely there is a point where quality control has to call a halt to the lowering/lightening of vital materials and say enough is enough. Perhaps you think it is okay to have to buy two or perhaps three pairs of boots a year. Good luck to you if you can afford it.

5
danm on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

Quality and durability are two different things which you have mistakenly correlated. It costs to make things durable, but equally to make them light. Instead of blaming the product, maybe question your purchasing decisions. Would you use an F1 car as a taxi?

17
Andy Gamisou - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to danm:

>  Would you use an F1 car as a taxi?

To build on this, F1 tyres are clearly high quality, but certainly aren't durable.

1
goatee - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to danm:

No I didn't mistakenly correlate the two. Again I reiterate. A quality item should I believe have a reasonable amount of durability. Perhaps we would differ as to the exact definition of reasonable?. Anyway my point is I believe a valid one. A "reasonable" amount of durability should be a basic prerequisite in the manufacturing process.

8
Gawyllie - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

I got Batura 2's last year just before the winter. The sole wear is ridiculous. After 15 or so days out last winter the sole had worn to the point that I was begining to worry about using the front notch to attach my crampons, bear in mind that this is with walk ins on snow most of the time and obviously wearing crampons for climbing. A couple of alpine routes (using trainers for hut approaches) and I had to go and get bindings to go over the front of the boot for my crampons as the notch was now no longer trustworthy. I did take them in a place to get resoled but was told that they were too far gone by then.

I understand that they are lightweight Technical boots but for £300 (they actually retailed nearer £500) I'd expect to get more than 20 days use before the front completely wears out. other than this they are great boots.

A mate has got the G5's and is reporting similar levels of wear after buying them mid winter

I'm hoping to get this winter out of them but am sceptical. wondering if other brands full gaiter boots wear at a more reasonable rate.

Post edited at 12:44
danm on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

I think you're wrong. A small amount of google-fu will show you exactly the same complaints about other boots of this type from other brands. The manufacturer to a great extent responds to market demand, and people being seduced by thinking a light boot will turn them into Colin Haley demand lighter and lighter offerings.

3
teh_mark on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

I can partially see where the OP is coming from. Lighter may equate to less durable, but I wouldn't expect to see issues with low-wear parts of the boot regardless. A bit like my Mythos which started unglue themselves from the top of the rand within months of buying them. It's hardly an abused part of the shoe.

fifthsunset - on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

I hear ya. I bought a pair of La Sportiva TX4 approach boots and a lace snapped within 3 weeks. Maybe I just got unlucky or yanked on it too hard but laces normally outlast the boots they're attached to in my experience. My "customer experience" was further ruined by a dismissive response when I contacted La Sportiva. I'm going to vote with my wallet, plenty of other brands out there.

Presley Whippet on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

La Sportiva are very cool at the moment, always be sceptical about fashionable gear. 

2
Smythson on 31 Oct 2018
In reply to goatee:

Scarpa Phantom Techs are similar. The rights or wrongs aside, once the sole is worn through you can get them resoled with a more substantial, harder wearing sole. A sacrifice in terms of the increased weight but gains in longevity. 

Big Lee - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

My Batura 2s are still looking good after a season. Mainly used them in Norwegian winter though with snowy approaches.

PaulW - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

There seems to be a trend for threads like this with others about rucksacks and tents being less durable than of old.

Manufactures are making and marketing lightweight stuff because it sells. They will continue till we all vote with our wallet and stop buying it

2
nacnud - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

Sportiva don't seem to make a 'Trango Alp Cube'. They make 'Trango Alp Evo' or 'Trango Cube' or but not a 'Trango Alp Cube'.  Which boot did you buy?

Other Trangos they make are, Ice Cubes, Towers, Treks, Guides.

Other Mountaineering ranges they make are the High Mountains and Nepals. The Nepals seem to be harder wearing than the Trangos which favour lightweight over longevity.  Why don't you drop them an email to see what shoe they would recommend that is harder wearing than the Trango range.

goatee - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to nacnud:

Sorry. Trango Cube GTX.

nacnud - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

What are you wanting to use them for?

Cubes are ultra lightweight technical mountaineering boots. If you are mostly walking not climbing then Alps would be worth looking at if you regularly need to wear crampons, and Treks if you don't.

Again all Trangos are on the lightweight end of boots.

Towers - Step in crampon compatible C3 - Ice and mixed climbing

Cubes - Hybrid crampon compatible C2 - Technical mountaineering

Alps - Hybrid crampon compatible C2 -  Alpine Trekking

Trek - Strap on crampon C1 - Walking and Trekking 

 

 

Post edited at 10:32
geordiepie - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

I bought a pair of Trango Cubes last year and it's obvious they are all about the weight and that durability is not a concern.  I returned them and bought something a bit heavier and a bit more durable i.e something much more suited to my needs.

It's like wearing lightweight running spikes for your evening run.......unless you're a top athlete why bother? A few grams won't make any difference.

captain paranoia - on 01 Nov 2018
In reply to fifthsunset:

> I bought a pair of La Sportiva TX4 approach boots and a lace snapped within 3 weeks.

For balance, I bought a pair of TX4 approach shoes last year, and have worn them pretty much not-stop since. The laces are still as new. The uppers are still in good condition, and haven't torn at the usual flex points. The soles have, as expected from a sticky rubber sole, worn through. I'm contemplating getting them resoled with more sticky rubber, gambling on the uppers remaining intact.

Since they are the most comfortable shoes I've ever had, I bought a second pair in a sale.

ps. I couldn't give a crap if they're fashionable or not; they fit, are comfortable, and do the job.

Post edited at 12:59
Danbow73 - on 03 Nov 2018

Yes they are! 

My Trango (the blue ones) soles wore out with 29 days light use. Sportiva basically told me to piss off even though their facebook reviews are just a constant list of people that have had durability issues with their products.

In contrast my guide tennies with stickier rubber get worn pretty much everyday and last a couple of years before I replace them.

My pair of katanas also wore out in 6 months compared to the minimumn of 2 years I get out of other climbing shoes.

 

wbo - on 03 Nov 2018
In reply to Danbow73: 2 years from a pair of rock shoes?  I'm on 2 or 3 pairs a year (not Sportive)

 

teh_mark on 03 Nov 2018
In reply to wbo:

I got five years from my first pair of Mythos before I wore through the toe on both shoes on the same day after a week of smearing on Ailefroide granite. The current pair are on year three but haven't held up anywhere near as well as the previous pair.

1
douwe - on 03 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

First of all I would like to say I'm a big sportiva fan, always liked their boots since they fit me very well.

That said, I also think the Trango series are a huge failure by Sportiva.

This summer we made an ascent of the Eiger starting from Ostegg - Mittellegi - Monchsjoch. My friend bought a brand new pair of Trango Ice Cubes GTX just before the trip. After the Eiger; three days of alpine climbing a big part of it on crampons as well, the soles of the shoes were utterly destroyed and the protective rand peeling off! I did exactly the same amount of climbing on Lowa Weisshorn GTX with minimal wear on the boots as a result, and those boots had seen some trips already.

I was sceptical about the Trango Ice Cube's from the beginning, shoes being so light and all. But I was shocked at the state his boots were in after a mere three days of climbing. Those boots are basically unfit for its purpose.

Friend has send them back to Sportiva and they have agreed to repair. Hasn't had them back as far as I know. Probably will last just one other trip after the repair is my guess.

descender8 - on 03 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

I'm not going to complain about the quality of their products but thd prices !!!! 

Definitely charging a lot just because they can ! How can any company afford to sell the last year's models at a missive discount ?¿

Tom F Harding on 03 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

I've got Cube GTXs as well and have the same thoughts as other - the rand is peeling off, the sole is trashed, yet the upper looks as good as new. Maybe LA Sportiva should have thought about making the upper lighter and less durable and sole heavier and more durable - the total weight could have been the same. From an online review "Be prepared to get them resoled or replace them every 20-40 days though." - 20 to 40 days! Mine have done about 40 so maybe I should be happy they have lasted so long... A mere £6.75 a day!

goatee - on 03 Nov 2018
In reply to Tom F Harding:

I agree with you about the uppers. They are durable and strong. Perhaps they should keep them like that but just beef up the rand and soles a tad. It would mean a slight increase in wear, but only slight. I'm getting mine resoled. I will also be on the hunt for another new pair of boots...just not La Sportiva.

Kevin Woods - on 03 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

I have the Trango Towers as a replacement for the superceded Trango Alps, and have found the build quality inferior in a few ways.

It wouldn't be such an issue except La Sportiva have bumped the price up, and I'm now paying more for a product that is falling apart even more quickly.

kaiser - on 03 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

La Sportiva are the Alfa Romeo of climbing shoes.

 

Anyone who has ever owned an Alfa will know what I mean.   

1
TobyA on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to douwe:

> That said, I also think the Trango series are a huge failure by Sportiva.

That's possibly true about the new ones although it seems very sweeping a generalisation but clearly isn't true for all the Trango boots. They've been around since at least 2002 because that was when I bought my first pair of Trango S - a pair I just sold to a chap for 20 quid because they still had life in them despite plenty of use over the last 16 years. I got my Trango Extreme Evos in 2006 and used them for the vast majority of my weekly ice climbing from then until 2014 when I left Finland, and for the last 4 winters I've done the majority of my UK winter climbing in them which obviously involves plenty of walking in them. I had to do some fixing of them last winter around the achilles area but that seems to have worked well - and that was after 11 winters of hard use. They have been fantastic boots.

I have a pair of the new La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX for review this winter, they look rather similar to their old siblings so I'm hoping they work out as well considering they are reasonably priced compared to many winter climbing boots these days.

douwe - on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Hopefully you're right and not all of the Trango series are as bad as the Ice Cubes.

To me it was shocking to see that Sportiva put a boot on the market that's obviously not fit for it's intended purpose (The Ice Cube GTX). As I have had nothing but good experiences with Sportiva boots myself.

Doug on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Likewise I have a pair of Trango S from the early 2000s which have seen a lot of use & are still fine (some climbing, lots of scrambling & alpine walking). I remember being a bit dubious of the uppers (up until then all my boots had had leather uppers) but although there are signs of wear, they look as they will survive for a while longer.

A Longleat Boulderer - on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

Thanks for this thread all ... very timely as I am actually shopping for new boots today to replace my 2005 Nepal Extremes. Was going to go Sportiva again but think I'll steer clear.

1
TobyA on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

Why not just get another pair of Nepal Extremes? Get them from Decathlon and they are probably the best value winter boots out there! https://www.decathlon.co.uk/nepal-top-extreme-mountaineering-boots-yellow-id_5199210.html

d_b on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to goatee:

Asolo have a very similar fit to La Sportiva, and are my go to brand for lighter weight B2s when I can find a shop that sells them.

Still love the Nepal Extremes.

Danbow73 - on 04 Nov 2018
In reply to wbo:

Yep and I'm pretty much out on rock every week May - October as well as climbing indoors twice a week. My record is 4 years although I did have 6 months off from climbing to focus on getting my ML days in.


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