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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 GTX Boots > Test Report by Katie Rampala

La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 GTX Shoes

Test Series by Katie Rompala

Initial Report
Field Report
Long-term Report
Shoe
Image courtesy of zappos.com

TESTER INFORMATION


Name: Katie Rompala
Age: 28
Gender: F
Height: 5'11" (1.8 m)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Email: krstull [AT] gmail.com
City, State, Country: Portland, Oregon, USA

BACKGROUND

I've been hiking since I was young. I enjoy car-camping and medium to long hikes in the Utah red rock, as well as hiking and snowshoe trips throughout the West. My current base for weekend trips is Portland, Oregon, whereas vacation time is usually dedicated to ~10 day trips to national parks and other wilderness spots. I hope to plan more backcountry trips in the future. For now, I don't worry much about lightweight packing, since I'm more involved in day hikes than overnights and therefore carry less. I enjoy cycling and running.


INITIAL REVIEW

May 2, 2010

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: La Sportiva
Year of Manufacture: 2010?
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.sportiva.com/
MSRP: $140 US
Listed Weight: 14.14 oz (401 g) per shoe
Measured Weight: 16.75 oz (475 g) per shoe
Size: 42 (10 US)
Color: Mocha/Mint
Material: Nubuck Leather and 100% recycled Nylon Mesh/ Uretech (Upper); Gore-Tex®/Dri-Lex® Bristol and 40% Recycled Nylon (Lining); Dual-density ECO Trailon/ 2mm LaSpEVA/ TPU shank (Midsole); Vibram® (Sole)



Overall View

First Impressions: Upon opening the box, I was struck by how durable these shoes felt. They almost felt too stiff, and I was worried this would detract from my comfort in these shoes. My fears were allayed once I put the shoes on. These things are comfortable! Plus, these are super stylish. The alternating colors of the Gore-Tex and nylon give these a nice look, as does the  La Sportiva mountain design.

Vibram Sole

Construction: The tongue feels thick and stiff, as does the sole, which is reinforced by a thick layer of heavy-duty Vibram® that wraps around to the toes and heel with an "Impact brake system" of diagonal lugs for traction and control. Mesh lines the tongue and insides of the shoes, and the outside is made with a combination of Gore-Tex-lined leather and recycled nylon. The foot pad features a "Fit-thonic" cushion system, though it does not feel like heavy padding.

Laces

Double stitching reinforces all seams, and the shoes tie with a five-hole lace system with nice thick laces.

Heel Loop

There is also an extra loop on the heel, which is helpful when pulling the shoes on.

Sizing and Comfort: These shoes fit true to size. I considered going up half a size from my normal size 10 to account for foot swelling on hikes. But I don't think this will be necessary, as I have ample toe room at the front of the shoes. I feel no rubbing against my feet, except slight amounts on my heel. The pads of my feet feel comfortable in the cushioning system, and my ankles do not chafe against the tops of the shoes. 

Initial Test: I've worn these about 10 miles around town and in the field this weekend. So far these shoes are quite comfortable. I have one small spot on the back of my right heel that has been rubbed and is close to blistering.  I hope this will be less of an issue as I wear in the shoes.  I have not yet encountered conditions where I could evaluate waterproofing, breathability, or the Vibram soles, but my forthcoming trip to Utah should put these features to test!

Overall:

PROS

Durable
Stylish
Comfortable
Great fit

CONS

Slight blister on heel, but otherwise, so far, so good!


FIELD REPORT

July 27, 2010


TESTING CONDITIONS:

In general, I used these boots on walks and hikes totaling at least 225 mi (360 km), through heat and cold, arid desert and wet marsh. This included at least 32 days of hiking and 45 days of casual use.

My May trip to southeast Utah involved 75 miles (120 km) of hiking over slabs of redrock, sandy washes, and rocky terrain. I usually had a light backpack on my back, though several trips into the backcountry required that I carry a full overnight pack and a gallon of water. Elevation changes were not substantial in general, although I did hike on steep surfaces on some days. Temperatures remained comfortable (~70 F, 21 C) on most days, and sun pervaded, but I also experienced rain, hail, wind, and cool evenings (~45 F, 7 C) while testing the boot.

A weekend in eastern Washington and western Oregon brought warmer conditions (~85 F, 29 C), but more casual walks and hikes. I used the boots for ~15 mi (25 km) of hiking, mostly on clear flat surfaces, in very sunny conditions, with minimal extra weight on my back. I wore the boots for a week in Ecuador, but did not do any serious hiking. Instead, I used the boots as walking shoes around town, and added ~20 mi (32 km) of use. Temperatures hovered around 75 F (24 C) with rain most afternoons. My week-long trip to Yellowstone in June included several hikes (~20 mi, 32 km), which passed through some marshy areas, as well as on dirt and rock paths. Conditions were sunny and comfortable (~80 F, 27 C), and again, I wore only a lightweight backpack.  I tested the boots near home in Montana as well, using them on nearly all my daily walks to and from work (2-4 mi/day, 3-6 km/day). Several off-trail hikes (~15 mi, 25 km) took me through sage brush and dusty conditions on steep rocky slopes, and several short jaunts into marshy areas led me through wet conditions and some snow.

Finally, my week in Colorado in July has added ~30 mi (48 km) of hikes, some of which have been arduous off-trail treks over rocky talus slopes and boulders. Temperatures were quite nice (~75 F, 24 C), and I have hiked mostly in the sun, having avoided much of the afternoon rain.


FIELD NOTES:

The shoes have been comfortable throughout my experience with them, with few exceptions. Although I got blisters when I first started using the shoes, most of these 'hot spots' have disappeared. A particularly steep section of trail in Oregon gave me blisters on one heel because my foot slipped out a bit each time I stepped up, but I have had no problems since then, despite heavy use and more steep slopes. I do apply tape on my little toes as a preemptive measure, since I can often feel these toes hit the front of the shoe when I walk downhill, which could potentially cause blisters. I feel that perhaps if I'd gone one size up I may have averted this problem.

After crossing boulder fields and rocky terrain, hiking can sometimes start to feel painful each time I step on a sharp rock.  However, in general, the sole of the shoe still feels adequately padded, and the arch of my foot feels stable, even when I was carrying a heavy pack. On uneven terrain and long hikes, my feet still feel secure in the boots without feeling cramped (except for my little toes, as described above).

The Gortex lining has also continued to hold up. Despite wet and/or snowy conditions, I have never felt water in the shoe. I once accidentally immersed my foot almost entirely in water, but still my feet and socks remained dry. Even later in the testing period, quick dips through shallow creek beds were no problem.

The laces are still strong and do not come untied, so long as I double-knot them. The Vibram sole remains trustworthy on rock slab, except on the rare occasion that the rock is wet and/or inordinately sandy, in which case no shoe I've ever had would cling to the rock surface!

The one real evidence of heavy use is the wear to front of the shoe on the outside. The rubber lining at the toe (front and sides) is starting to peel off; the mesh-like outer layer is starting to tear; and some of the front seams are starting to fray. Wear and tear is shown here:

Wear and Tear

So far, this has not led to any deterioration in comfort or performance. I have not felt water leak in through these spots and have no noticed any change in comfort or foot security, but I am a bit fearful that this may become problematic. My long-term test (out in September) should be more revealing in this regard.


Overall:

I am quite happy with these hiking boots. They have been comfortable and sturdy, with only a few moments of minor blistering and discomfort. The Gortex has made them consistently resistant to water, and the Vibram is still trustworthy on steep rock slabs. Despite heavy use, they show only superficial wear, which I hope will not develop into more problematic deterioration.

PROS
Comfortable
Adequate padding and arch support
Waterproof
Cling to rocks
Sturdy laces
Can be worn as a casual everyday shoe

CONS
Some blistering at first
Starting to show superficial wear
Sharp rocks can start to be painful

LONG TERM REPORT

September 28, 2010

TESTING CONDITIONS:

I finished out my hiking season in these boots, with several more full days in Colorado (10-12 mi, 16-19 km) and several short day hikes in Montana (3-5 mi, 5-8 km). In all cases, conditions were sunny and warm (~80 F, 27 C), with no significantly adverse weather. I have also continued to wear these boots in casual walks around town or at nearby city parks, mostly in dry conditions. I have also used the boots for running on two occasions (3-4 mi, 5-6 km each time). These excursions have added about 50 mi (80 km) of use over the five-month testing period.

FINAL NOTES:

Despite more trail time, these boots continue to wear quite well. The superficial wear and tear noted in the Field Report has not exacerbated significantly, and there is little noticeable wear to the foot bed, so the boots continue to provide good foot support and cushioning. The Vibram sole has also held up, with no noticeable deterioration.

Over time, these boots have gotten more comfortable. I no longer develop blisters on my heel or toes, and the boots slip on and off with ease. They are reasonably comfortable for running; however, they are a bit too heavy and bulky for my test, and I will not make a habit of running in these if a lighter alternative is available.

Overall, these boots have performed excellently. They are sturdy, well-built, and have lasted through many miles of hiking and walking. They are also quite comfortable, despite initial blistering. I will continue to wear these boots around town, especially in the semi-permanent winter rain in Portland. I will also wear them for winter hikes and into next year, to see how long they last going into next year's hiking season!

PROS
Even more comfortable
Long-lasting padding and arch support
Good water resistance
Still cling to rocks
Sturdy, long-lasting laces
Works well as a casual everyday shoe

CONS
Some blistering at first, but lessened significantly the more I wore them
Still showing superficial wear

Thank you to La Sportiva and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test these shoes.


Read more reviews of La Sportiva gear
Read more gear reviews by Katie Rampala

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 GTX Boots > Test Report by Katie Rampala



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