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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 GTX Boots > Test Report by Chari Daignault

LA SPORTIVA FC ECO 2.0 GTX SHOES
TEST SERIES BY CHARI DAIGNAULT
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - May 05, 2010
FIELD REPORT - July 26, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - September 28, 2010

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Chari Daignault
EMAIL: chari.daignault@gmail.com
AGE: 47
LOCATION: Orlando, Florida U.S.A.
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 135 lb (61.20 kg)

I've been a light hiker for 36 years. I take the minimum I can with me and prefer a pack close to 15 pounds [6.80 kg]. I've hiked all the Florida State Forest trails in Central Florida, backpacked the Na Pali coast on the island of Kauai and climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan. I have hiked dry & sandy, rough & rocky and wet & boggy trails and as a result, have found what does and doesn't work for me in terms of equipment and clothing.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: La Sportiva
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.sportiva.com/
MSRP: US $140.00
Listed Weight: 14.14 oz (401 g)
Measured Weight: 15.5 oz (439 g)
Available Sizes: EU 36 - 43 (half sizes)
Size Tested: EU 40 (US Women's 9)
Types Available: Men's and Women's
Type Tested: Women's
Colors Available: (Women's) Mocha/Mint, (Men's) Stone/Grey
Color Tested: Mocha/Mint

Further information (Per the manufacturer's website):
LAST: Women's Trango 2
CONSTRUCTION: Board Lasted
UPPER: Nubuck Leather/ 100% recycled Nylon Mesh/ Uretech
LINING: Gore-Tex®/Dri-Lex® Bristol 40% Recycled Nylon
MIDSOLE: Dual-density ECO Trailon/ 2mm LaSpEVA/ TPU shank
SOLE: Vibram® River with Impact Brake System™ Eco-Step

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The FC ECO 2.0 GTX shoes fit perfectly right out of the box. They looked so nice, I had to put them on immediately. They are very sturdy shoes, much heavier than running shoes, but lighter than a hiking boot. Even though they are very sturdy, bordering on stiff, the inside felt very soft and cushiony to the touch. The shoes, per the manufacturer, are a "hiker, a shoe for cruising the market, a workhorse for getting the landscaping done or the perfect casual office shoe".

The laces on the shoes are round and the stylistic eyelets are oval-shaped. These shoes are very sharp-looking and the color combinations meld well together. The tongue is well-padded and secured along the sides inside, which should help keep debris from entering around it into the shoe.

Top and Inside Side
Top and Inside Side


The Nubuck leather part of the upper is very soft to the touch and has a design of small dots all along it, except on either side of the shoe, where there are mountain peaks. On the outside, the mountain peaks contain the La Sportiva logo. The parts of the upper not made of Nubuck are made of 100% recycled nylon mesh. The mountain peak design follows through onto the nylon mesh with Uretech, a rubber compound which I assume is used not only for looks, but also to keep moisture from coming in through the nylon mesh near the bottom of the shoe. The toes of the upper are covered with a stiff, black rubber, which should protect my toes from rocks and when I jam them into things. The back of the heel is protected with more black rubber and has a nice loop which I can use to pull the shoes on easier.

Back and Bottom
Back and Bottom


The inside of the shoes is made from Gortex, which is waterproof and breathable. It feels soft, yet stiff along the sides inside and the footbed insert is also stiff, yet it gives when pressed and is nicely cushioned without being mushy. The insert is stamped with "Fit-thotic" and indicates it is a "Performance fit system" for "Stability and Cushioning". It has good arch support; but not too high -- which is good, as I supinate and have a moderately high arch and don't need arch support.

Inside
Inside


The sole is made of Vibram interlaced with a harder rubber and plastic labeled as an "Impact Brake System". The Vibram is black and the Impact Brake System is a nice moss-green color (maybe mint?). The Vibram part of the sole feels almost slightly sticky and seems like it will have good traction on the trail.

Bottom and Outside Side
Bottom and Outside Side

TRYING IT OUT

The shoes fit just right when I wore them with a light, cushioned crew sock. The toebox is roomy without allowing my foot to slip forward. The cushioning feels great, but the shoe is also extremely sturdy. They're stiff, without being so stiff as to make it difficult to bend forward on my toes. The Nubuck leather uppers keep their shape and so far have not wrinkled at all. I've worn the shoes every single day to work since I received them, 5 days in all, and they still look just like they came out of the box.

The laces -- being round -- are probably the only issue I have with the FC ECO 2.0 GTX shoes. Because they're not flat, they have the tendency to untie. Double-knotting is not an option for me, as the laces are not long enough -- and I prefer not to double-knot my hiking shoes so I can remove them quickly and easily in an emergency. So far, either one or the other shoe has come untied at least once every day I've worn them. Luckily I can tell almost immediately when it happens, as the secure comfort the shoes offer suddenly releases its grip on my foot.

I really like the oval-shaped eyelets they use for the laces. This actually seems to keep from putting too much strain on the laces when they're tied, as the shape of the eyelet allows the tightened laces to lay naturally.

SUMMARY

So far, the La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 GTX Shoes are very comfortable and offer a stable, cushioned and secure fit. They're very nice-looking and have gotten good comments from both male and female co-workers when I've worn them to the office. My feet haven't overheated in them, they've stayed nice and dry, even when I had to run through a thunderstorm to get into the grocery store.

My only complaint at this point is with the shoe laces and the fact that they're round. Oh -- and that I wasn't allowed to wear the shoes to the theater when we went to see Xanadu.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

The locations where I've worn the La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 GTX shoes have been in Central Florida; the Little Big Econ state park, on trails in the Hal Scott Nature Preserve, at work in an office building, and in my yard at home. Conditions have been hot; averaging 95 F (35 C) with humidity that makes it feel 105 F (40.5 C), and sunny with the occasional thunderstorm in the afternoon. The terrain has been mostly dry sand; some hard-packed, gravel, tall grasses, as well as some mud and wet, boggy areas.

Little Big Econ State Park
Little Big Econ State Park


Activities during which I've worn the shoes have been hiking, backpacking/camping, walking around the office and yard work.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

As light as these shoes are for hiking, they are a bit too heavy for me for trail running. Given the extra energy and muscle work it takes to trail run, I don't want to expend even more energy just trying to lift my feet up and move them forward. However, I do love these shoes for hiking and backpacking. I've not experienced any issues with stability even though the shoes are low cut and I have weak ankles. The Vibram soles grip nicely on almost every surface and they stay in place well in loose, dry sand -- which is the main terrain I experienced.

The main issue I've had with the shoes is that they are by no means waterproof. In order to have the shoes afford breathability, the uppers are partly breathable mesh. Since air can get into the shoe from the top mesh areas, water can as well. It does take a while before the water starts to seep in, and I noticed it most when I was hiking on a trail near home and ended up being out during a downpour. At first, I thought my feet were going stay dry, but as I walked on for an hour or so, I could feel my socks getting wet. They weren't soaked, but were definitely moist. The shoes took several hours to fully dry; which I did by hanging them up. I also pulled the laces out, yanked the tongue of each shoe as far out as possible and stuffed them with newspaper.

Econ River
Econ River


The laces, being round, didn't stay completely tight when tied after a few miles. They didn't come completely undone while hiking, but the knots did loosen a bit. I found myself stopping, reaching down and tightening them up a lot. As I mentioned earlier in the report, I prefer not to double-knot my shoes, so double-knotting them may prevent the loosening I was experiencing.

Cleaning them up was easy; they wiped right off using a soft microfiber cloth. Any mud stuck to the soles rinsed off easily with water. The insides of the shoes stayed relatively clean and debris-free. Although some fine grit and sand did get in, none of it was enough to become bothersome and tapping the shoes while holding them upside down cleaned them right out.

SUMMARY

The shoes are very sturdy, providing great traction and stability. Although they're not waterproof, they are water resistant and do a good job of keeping my feet protected. They're great for hiking and backpacking, but are not light enough for me to do any trail running in them.

The shoes have held up well, even with two four-day, three-night backpacking trips, several day hikes and considering I've easily put 150 miles (242 km) on them so far. The tops of the shoes still show no wrinkles or bends in them and look almost new. Although the shoes are easy to clean, they do take a very long time to air dry.

They are comfortable, and work well with my lightweight and medium weight socks. My feet haven't over-heated in them and I haven't experienced any issues with blisters or hot spots even after long treks lasting several hours.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

During the Long Term testing period, I've worn the shoes in the Central Florida area. This includes the metro Orlando area and also up in the Ocala National Forest. Conditions in the Orlando area during this time were hot, humid and strangely drought-like. Even though we had extremely humid conditions, weather patterns that would normally bring us daily afternoon and evening thunderstorms never materialized. Temperatures in the Orlando area ranged from 74 F (23.3 C) to 92 F (33.3 C) with heat indexes making it feel like it was over 102 F (38.9 C). In the Ocala National Forest, temperatures were a good five to 10 degrees cooler, but it was still oppressive without the cooling rains.

The terrain consisted of hard-packed and loose sand, mud, grit, gravel, pine and oak roots, some water crossings and scrubby vegetation. Three nights and four days were spent in Ocala on a short backpacking weekend, and in Orlando, the shoes were worn on at least 15 day hikes of three to five miles (4.8 km - 8 km). The shoes were also worn (after clean up) to the office and during four Saturdays as I worked to clean up my yard for autumn (cleaning up the compost pile... blech).

All total, I've put around 180 miles (290 km) day hiking, 63 miles (101 km) backpacking and an unknown amount of just walking around town, the office and my yard on the shoes. Due to being on call for work most of the summer, I wasn't able to travel as far and wide as I had wanted. So I have no exotic locations to report on and I wasn't able to take any long treks that could possible break the connection to my electronic tether.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During my day hikes and the backpacking trip we took out to Ocala, I got in the habit of double-knotting my laces. This helped immensely with the issue I was having with the laces coming untied. However, I still feel that double-knotting should be a choice and not the standard when lacing shoes. If I were to be injured and unable to use one of my hands, removing my shoes with the laces double-knotted could be almost impossible.

The shoes performed fantastically on our hikes, except when we did water crossings. Wet rocks, even when not covered with green slime, gave me difficulty and I often felt slippage. Water entered fairly easily through the top of the foot, soaking my socks. It felt as though my socks and feet dried out pretty fast; possibly due to the inside lining of Gore-Tex®. And once wet, it did take several hours for the shoes to dry completely. Since waterproofing the shoes is recommended and I didn't waterproof them, I can't fault the shoes for getting wet.

The shoes were very comfortable while backpacking. My pack weighed approximately 25 lbs (11.3 kg) (lots of water) and I felt no difference in my heels or the ball of my foot when pushing off. Although the inside of the shoes are very sturdy, they're still cushioned well and over time and use they began to loosen up a bit.

Cleaning up my yard, the shoes worked out great; almost like work boots. Dirt and grit can get inside through the top, but that's to be expected with a low-top shoe. But still, when cleaning out and removing a compost pile, that's a good time to invest in a pair of gaiters.

The insides of the shoes still look good; there's a bit of pilling from my socks, but not much wear showing. The outsides are a bit water and mud stained, and are starting to show some wrinkles in both the sides of the soles and the tops. The laces are not showing any real wear, except for a couple of pulls where I had to remove some vine thorns while hiking.

SUMMARY

These shoes have held up very well and are super comfortable. I've said it before, but still feel the best way to describe them is "sturdy". They slip a bit on wet, hard surfaces, but overall offer great traction on virtually any terrain.

There was no break-in period needed, and with medium thickness socks, I experienced no blisters or hot spots during the entire test. They look great for trail running, but for me are quite heavy for that endeavor, so it's not something I could recommend.

They clean up well, and even without waterproofing held up well in all conditions to which I exposed them. These shoes are really nice-looking and stylish, which made them a hit at the office as well.

CONTINUED USE

I'll continue to use these shoes for my day hikes, and as soon as I'm allowed to leave the general area, I plan on taking them on some backpacking/camping trips we've got queued up for October.

This concludes my Long Term Report. My sincerest thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and La Sportiva for allowing me to test these hiking shoes.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.


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