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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > La Sportiva Halite GTX Boots > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron

La Sportiva Halite GTX hiking boots


Test series by Kathryn Doiron
Initial Report: Nov 15 2007
Field Report: Jan 11 2008
Long Term Report: Mar 18 2008

La Sportiva Halite boots



Personal Information:
Name: Kathryn Doiron
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 8" (1.7 m)
Weight: 150 lb (68 kg)
Email: kdoiron 'at' gmail 'dot' com
Location: Washington DC, USA

Brief Background: I started backpacking and hiking seriously almost four years ago. Most of my miles have been logged in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have recently finished 1200+ miles (2000+ km) of the Appalachian Trail. My style is to be as light as possible while not spending a fortune. My pack weight tends to hover around 25 lbs (11 kg) with two days of food and 16 oz (0.5 L) of water. I have recently started getting into winter hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking.


Product Information:


Manufacturer: La Sportiva
Website: http://lasportiva.com/
MSRP: US$150
Material: Gore-Tex lining, Vibram sole, fabric/leather combination boot
Weight (as stated): 22 oz (600 g [sic])
Weight (measured): 22 oz (625 g)
Sizes available: mens: 38 - 47.5 (size 43 received), womens: 36 - 43



Initial Report:
November 15th 2007

The La Sportiva Halite GTX boots are a full hiking boot with ankle support. The boots have fabric loop eyelets with two open grommets at the top to secure the ankle firmly. The boots have Vibram soles with an impact reduction system. This means that opposing lugs are slanted in the same direction. This is also supposed to increase traction in either the up or down direction. The boots have a semi-full tongue, semi-full in that the tongue is attached to the boot up to the last eyelet then it is detached. The exterior of the boot is a leather fabric combination with the toe tip and toe sides rubber coated. The inside of the boot is fabric lined with a removable sole. The information tag that arrived with the boot describes the interior as having a Gore-Tex lining.

I received the men's 10. I chose a men's boot as it was a little wider in the toe box while still giving a good fit in the heel. I typically wear a thin polypro liner sock with a heavy wool sock over top. The size 10 boot allows for these sock layers while still giving me a little toe room for movement and to prevent toe jamming. If I force my foot all the way up in the boot, I can just barely fit two fingers against the back of the heel. I am very pleased with the toe on the boot. In the past I have had trouble trying to fold in all the extra tongue layers so it will lie flat. The Halite boots don't give me that problem. The tongue does attach to the boot but there doesn't seem to be nearly as much material. With the top of the tongue detached, there is no extra material to have to fold out of the way but there is still a sizable opening to get the foot into.

I am a sandal hiker. I have been hiking in sandals all summer and only with the cooling of the weather have I been heading back to hiking boots again. As such, I have noticed that my ankles are not used to having something wrapped around them. The boots will take a little time to break my feet into them. I have been taking them out on my 1 mile (1.6 km) walk to work. While most of this walk is over flat terrain, I do encounter some oddly slanted stairs and a park with a rocky path. This is giving me small doses of breaking in time that will occur twice a day. I have already taken the boots out on a short 3 mile (4.8 km) day hike and except for the stiffness of the ankles, they were comfortable start to finish.

With the few times I have taken the boots out for breaking in, I have noticed that the boots are somewhat difficult to lace up. When I pull on the laces to tighten, I have to pull from midway down the eyelets, then release that to pull on the top of the laces. The laces tend to then slide back through the eyelets undoing most of the tightening I just did. Just pulling up on boot laces is a little rough on my index fingers and still does not tighten enough. It is good that the laces slide through the eyelets as it makes removing the boots easy but it also makes tightening the boots a bit of a challenge.

My test plan over the next couple of weeks will be to start breaking the boots in on gradually increasing length trips. I will start with going to and from work, a 1 mile (1.6 km) trip. I will also start wearing the boots on short day hikes in the area gradually building up the mileage to ensure the boots are well broken in. Once I feel they are good to go, I will take them on overnight trips and long day trips over as many different types of terrain as I can find. This will include parts of the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah National Park, as well as side trails along the Potomac River. I hope to also take them out in snow and rainy weather to see how they perform in inclement weather.



Field Report:
January 11th 2008

My break in process I have been using with these boots has been to start wearing them on my daily walking commute to work. I commute about 2 miles (3.2 km) total each day, walking in 1 mile (1.6 km) increments, and have worn the boots almost every day in this fashion for about 1 month. After about the first 2 weeks I then started taking the boots out on gradually increasing distances for day hikes. The first day hike was about 3 miles (about 5 km) along the Potomac River on the Virginia side. The trail started off graveled and graded and gradually became rough with climbing. The next day hike was about 6 miles (about 10 km) in length along a different stretch of the Potomac River, but still on the Virginia side, that was rougher with more rocks and climbing. The next two day hikes were in the same location and about the same distance, 6-7 miles (about 10-11 km) with rough terrain and more climbing over rocky terrain, again this was along the Potomac River, Virginia side.

I have tried to take my time breaking in the boots by using them on gradually lengthening day hikes. This has allowed me to get some good use out of the boots while avoiding blistering and pain. I have had a good break in period so far with no blisters. I typically wear boots with thick wool hiking socks layered over thin polypro socks. This has been a good blister preventing method for me that I have continued to stick with for these boots. The boots started off stiff and I find that they are still stiff. I tried driving with them once and found that they were simply too stiff for me to drive wearing them. I notice the stiffness more when I first start lace them up but quickly forget about it once I start thinking about the trail and were to place my feet.

The laces of the boots have been giving me some problems. I generally prefer thicker laces as they are a little easier to grip and tighten and tend to be easier on the fingers. These laces are not overly thin which is nice but I do find that they hurt my fingers a little when I pull hard on them. The boots are a little hard to tighten with the fabric eyelets. The laces do not glide easily through them and I have to grab the lacing between the eyelets to pull the boots tight. This also means that the boots do not loosen easily. When I untie the boots and pull the laces out of the grommet, I pull on the tongue leaving the boots just barely loose enough to pull my foot out. The laces simply do not glide easily enough to quickly loosen the boots.

The boots come with a breaking impact reduction system. This system looks like variably angled nibs on the bottom of the boots. I can't tell if they help or not but I haven't had a problem with traction over the rocks I have been hiking over. Some sections of my hike have been over very rocky ground, while other sections take me over river polished boulders. The only time I did have traction problems was on ice covered rocks. I would expect most footwear to have problems over ice and was walking accordingly.

I feel that the boots are ready to go out on longer overnight trips and will be planning several trips to see how they perform on extended hikes over extended times.



Long Term Report:
March 18th 2008

I have taken these Halite boots out on numerous dayhikes and two overnight hikes. I estimate my total mileage to be about 100 miles (160 km). This includes 5 dayhikes, 2 overnights and many trips to work during the initial breaking in period. During the last two months, I have taken the boots out on 3 dayhikes and 2 overnight trips. The day hikes and backpacking trips happened in the DC, North Virginia area. I find that the boots have relaxed a little but they still offer good stiff support. I noticed on my last trip out with them, I felt more comfortable driving with them on, meaning some relaxation of the boot.

The boots have held up very well over the 4 months that I have been using them. I normally take good care of my gear and these I have tried to treat well. I didn't always brush the accumulated mud off though. The upper material shows very little sign of wear. I also don't see any signs of wear on the toe protector although I am sure I have knocked my toes at least a few times. As for the soles of the boots, there are two parts, the lighter interior tread shows almost no wear at all, while the outer, black tread normally has a pebbled texture and I can see that has started to smooth in places. Most of the wear, what little there is, is along the outside edge of the boot as I tend to walk on the outside edges of my feet. There is a bit more wear on the heels then the toes but for the most part it is pretty close to being even wear. I have been pleased with how well the treads have held up with only 100 mi (160 km).

Close up of the sole

Gold Mine Loop: This was a very nice hidden treasure in Maryland just off the C&O canal walkway. The trail has rugged sections over rolling hills. The weather was cool, around 50 F (10 C), with a good breeze. The tree break was needed. The actual loop trail was dry but the towpath leading to the trail was rather muddy. The total trip distance was about 5 miles (8 km). Elevation gain was minimal.

Scott's Run Nature Preserve: This hike is in Virginia and was meant to be a 5 mile (8 km) hike but we got turned around and took the wrong trail out making for a 3 mile (4.8 km) hike instead. The trail was dry with several areas with steep climbs over short distances. The trails were mostly forest and roots with some rocky scrambles down near the river. Temperatures started around 45 f (8 C) and rose to about 50 F (10 C).

Marsden Tract: This was a short overnight trip with about a 2 mile (3.2 km) hike for a trial overnight camping trip. The temperatures were down around freezing with little wind. The trail was mostly flat and I was carrying about 20 lbs (11 kg). The trail was muddy on the way in and frozen on the way out the next morning.

Swain's Lock: Another overnight camping trip this time with a 10 mile (16 km) round trip distance. Temperatures were again around the freezing point and the trail was muddy going in and frozen the next morning. There was a slight breeze off the water at the camp site. Again pack weight was 20 lbs (11 kg).

The boots have performed well over the various terrain I have taken them on. They didn't deal well with icy rocks, but I don't expect any footwear to grip well on ice. As conditions have been a little dry here, I haven't hiked out on extremely muddy or water bogged trails. I have hiked on mildly muddy trails and the boots griped well into the surface and gave me good traction. Over the steep climbs, the boots gripped well and I felt sure about climbing up the slope. Going down a similar slope, the boots did grip well but the leaf cover near the bottom made for a little bit of a slippery surface. I find that in cold weather my feet, with a wool layer and a polypro layer, stay warm when I am moving. When I stop or if my feet are cold to begin with, it takes about 5 minutes to warm up. When I hiked out from the camping site in the morning, it would take a little longer as the boots were cold and the ground was frozen.

I find that I still don't like the laces. They are just a bit too thin, and tend to hurt my fingers when I tighten the boots. This is especially noticeable when I am trying to tie then up in cold weather. The boots did feel comfortable both with a day pack and a fully loaded overnight pack. The overall fit of the boots has been good from the beginning. I haven't noticed any tight spots or pressure from the tongue. I did notice on the first overnight trip that the top of the left boot was hitting my toes a little but that has since disappeared. Overall, I like the support the boots have given my ankles and knees. The fit has been good, I generally wear a men's 10 hiking boot.

Pros:

    - Nice support around the ankle
    - Keep my feet warm when hiking
    - Sizing was spot on with what I normally wear
Cons:
    - Laces are hard to tighten
Other than the laces I really can't find anything annoying or wrong with these boots.

This concludes my long term report on the La Sportiva Halite GTX boots. Thank you for following this test series and please read the reports by the other testers for another perspective. I am thankful to La Sportiva and BGT for making this test possible.


Read more reviews of La Sportiva gear
Read more gear reviews by Kathryn Doiron

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > La Sportiva Halite GTX Boots > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron



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