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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX Boots > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

La Sportiva
courtesy of sportiva.com

La Sportiva
Hyper Mid GTX
Hiking Shoes

Test Series by
Ryan Christensen

Last Update - November 5, 2013

Hyper Mid GTX

ACCESS MAIN REPORT SECTIONS VIA THESE LINKS:

INITIAL REPORT
May 21, 2013
FIELD REPORT
September 2, 2013
LONG-TERM REPORT
November 5, 2013

INITIAL REPORT
May 21, 2013

Reviewer Information Backpacking Background
Name:  Ryan L. Christensen
Age:  48
Gender:  Male
Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:  235 lb (107 kg)
Email:  bigdawgryan(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country:   Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

I began backpacking at twelve, continuing until 25. After an extended hiatus, due in part to a bad back, I resumed cycling, hiking, and backpacking several years ago. I also began snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I share my love for backpacking and these sports with my children. I am a midweight backpacker, but carry a full array of necessary gear.
 

Product Information:

The information below came from La Sportiva's website and Hyper Mid GTX product tags.

Hyper Mid GTX
Manufacturer: La Sportiva N.A. Inc.
Manufacturer website: http://www.sportiva.com
Place of Manufacture: China
Year Manufactured: 2013
Materials: Upper: Leather / Lorica® / UreTech / AirMesh / Vibram® rubber toe rand
Lining: Gore-Tex® Extended Comfort Footwear
Mid-Sole: Dual Density MEMlex/ TPU Stabilizer/ RockGuard
Sole: Vibram® Idro Grip X-Traction™
Sizes Available:

Euro 38 - 47.5 (half sizes)
Color Available:

Black / Red
Warranty:

La Sportiva's Warranty

"All the products we manufacture are covered under a Warranty. This warranty doesn’t cover wear and tear, improper use, or improper care. There is no implied life span of a shoe, due to the variables that can affect footwear.

La Sportiva®’s Warranty does not extend to any La Sportiva® product that has been resoled, repaired or otherwise modified. Only original La Sportiva® materials and workmanship are covered under Warranty. Any La Sportiva® products to be warrantied must be returned to La Sportiva® for evaluation. Upon inspection La Sportiva® will either replace the product or repair it. "

MSRP:
$180 US

Product Specifications
Manufacturer's Specifications  
Weight: [Euro size 42; US men's 9] per customer service 16.47 oz / 467 g - each
Tester's Actual Measurements
Weight: [Euro size 44; US men's 10.5] 1 lb 1.85 oz (506 g) - each
2 lb 3.7 oz (1.012 kg) - pair

Product Description:

front view back view
inner view outer view

The Hyper Mid GTX, hereafter referred to as the "Hyper" or "shoe," is a mid-weight, all leather, waterproof technical hiking shoe. The Hyper is part of La Sportiva's Climbing/Access line of footwear products.

Clicking the "Products" link on www.sportiva.com reveals six lines of footwear: Mountain, Hiking/Backpacking, Mountain Running, Climbing/Access, and Women's. The Hyper Mid GTX hiking shoes are part of La Sportiva's Climbing/Access line. This fact leads me to believe the Hypers are more of an approach shoe than a hiking shoe. However, the website lists them as "MID-HEIGHT ALL LEATHER, WATERPROOF TECHNICAL HIKING SHOE WITH STICKY RUBBER AND A SNUG LACING SYSTEM PERFECT FOR HIGH COUNTRY SCRAMBLES, TECHNICAL BACKPACKING AND FASTPACKING."

The Hyper is a stylish, mid-cut, GORE-TEX lined hiking shoe. They came with two tags attached to one of the shoes: one tag briefly described Vibram's IDROGRIP, the high performance rubber compound used in the soles; and the second had the GORE-TEX name and logo along with its guarantee to "keep you dry." From the bottom of the sole, to the highest point on the collar, these shoes stand approximately 6.5 in (16.51 cm) tall; approximately 0.5 in (1.3 cm) taller than some other mid-cut shoes I own.insoles

The uppers consist primarily of a Lorica. Lorica is a synthetic leather constructed from extremely small micro-fibers for a water-repellant, breathable and highly durable material. There is also a synthetic mesh material in the gusset and the upper. These shoes also have a Gore-Tex® Extended Comfort Footwear liner. According to Gore-Tex, Extended Comfort Footwear is "ideal for moderate and warmer temperature conditions. Great for high-output activities and everyday use. The technology is appropriate for constant changes between indoors and outdoors, standing and walking, working and leisure time."

One quickly notices the "To-the-toe lacing." The lacing system consists of five pair of eyelets, three pair of cord loops, and one pair of plastic cinch hooks at the top of the collar. La Sportiva says its To-the-toe lacing offers a precise, performance fit. The laces are a round woven material.

The tongue gusset is attached to the collar approximately 1.5 in (3.8 cm) down from the top of the collar. The tongue is primarily synthetic mesh material with a suede patches near the top on the outer side. The tongue is padded around the ankle. The tongue has a webbing loop at the top to pull the gusset into place and one webbing loop between the second and third cord loops from the top of the collar, to pass the laces through. It also has both suede leather and synthetic mesh on the outside. There is a rubber toe rand at the front of the shoe for added toe protection and traction. On the back of the shoe, there is a webbing pull-tab that is approximately 0.5 in (1.27 cm) in width and 1.5 in (3.8 cm) in length. There is a plasticized logo in the middle of the heel of each shoe.

The molded footbeds (photo above right) in these hiking shoes are approximately 0.125 in (0.32 cm) thick, approximately half as thick as the footbeds that came with my mid-cut hiking shoes. The topside is covered with a fabric of some sort. They have a series of perforations in the toe and arch areas. The underside has "La Sportiva Ergonomic Performance Fit System" debossed in the material. The footbed has raised sides beginning in the arch area and extending to the back of the heel to form a heel cup.

outsoles The outsoles have a less-than-aggressive tread (photo on right). The soles are Vibram IDROGRIP with X-traction™ (from the toes to the arch) and Impact Brake System™ (in the heel). Vibram claims IDROGRIP, which was specifically designed for technical approach routes, provides "outstanding grip on dry and wet surfaces." The tread of this sole is not nearly as thick or aggressive as the tread on the shoes I usually wear hiking and backpacking. It will be interesting to test the grip/traction and whether I feel more rocks through these soles than I do with other shoes. The midsole is comprised of Dual Density MEMlex/ TPU Stabilizer/ RockGuard, which La Sportiva claims adds extra stability and support.

The Hypers came with a booklet containing warranty information as well as care and maintenance information. This booklet is written in Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish.

Initial Impression:

Right out of the box, I was impressed with the overall appearance of these shoes, especially the coloring and the To-the-toe lacing. They felt somewhat lighter than other suede/synthetic mid-cut shoes I own. After removing the shoes from their cardboard box, I thoroughly inspected them inside and out. I found no noticeable flaws in the materials or seams. These Italian-designed hiking shoes appear to be constructed of high quality materials and workmanship.

Initial Testing:

After inspecting the Hypers, I donned them over my cotton low-cut socks. Using the webbing pull tab at the back of the collar, which readily fit my finger, I easily pulled the shoes on my feet. Lacing them up and tying them was quick and easy. I like cinch hooks for quick lacing; these shoes only have one pair at the top of the collar. Once on my feet, I quickly noticed the comfortable fit of the Hypers. It felt as if they were cradling my feet. They were also quite comfortable around my ankles. There is not a lot of padding in the uppers. No doubt this reduces weight. It will be interesting to see whether I notice this lack of padding as I move through brush, rocks, etc. I will report on the fit, performance, and durability in subsequent reports.

Initial Pros:

Potential Cons:

  • Style
  • Quality
  • Toe Rand
  • Padded Tongue
  • Padded Collar
  • To-the-toe Lacing
  • Good-sized Pull Tab
  • Less-Than-Aggressive Tread

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FIELD REPORT
September 2, 2013

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

In June, I wore the shoes for five days traipsing the trails of the Grand Teton Council's Rise Up! Encampment near Hell's Half Acre National Landmark. The elevation of Hell's Half Acre is approximately 5,300 ft (1,615 m) above sea level. It is a 66,000 acres (267 km2) lava field and is the youngest of the eastern basaltic lava fields of the Snake River Plain of southeastern Idaho. The actual campsite was approximately 20 miles south of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The temperature was in the upper 90s F (35+ C), winds were calm, the sky was clear.

In July, I wore the shoes on a four-day backpacking trip in the Copper Basin area of Idaho's Pioneer Mountains. The Pioneers, Idaho's second highest mountain range, are located within the Sawtooth and Challis National Forests. The Pioneers stretch nearly 50 mi (80.5 km) in length between Ketchum and Arco, trending generally East-West and reaching nearly 25 mi (40.2 km) in width. Goat Lake was the primary destination for this outing. At 10,438 ft (3,181.5 m), Goat Lake is the highest lake in Idaho according to the USGS maps. Because it has trees, we camped at Baptie Lake, 10,150 ft (3,093.7 m) [photo below left], which sits just below Goat Lake. We started our hike via the Broad Canyon Trailhead in the Broad Canyon Campground, which is located approximately 150 mi (241 km) NW of Idaho Falls. High temperatures during the outing were in the mid 90s F (33+ C) and the low temperatures at elevation were in the upper 30's F (1+ C). Winds were mostly calm, and only on the first day of the hike were there clouds in the sky.

Baptie pioneers

In August, I wore the shoes three days traipsing the trails in Island Park. Island Park is located between Ashton, Idaho and West Yellowstone, Montana. The area I was hiking in is approximately 6,500 ft (2,000 m) above sea level. The sky was partly cloudy, winds were calm, and the high temperature was in the upper 80's F (30+ C) and the lows were in the low 30's F (1+ C).

Observations:

goatlakeFrom a durability perspective, the shoes have performed nicely to date. After twelve days of hard use thus far, the La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX shoes are in good shape. They show no signs or weak seams, fraying thread, or undue wear.

For me, the shoes performed well when walking the trails near Hell's Half Acre and those in Island Park. On both of these outings, I was wearing a daypack, with minimal weight. However, on my trip to Copper Basin, carrying a 47 lbs (21 kg) pack, hiking very steep, rocky trails the shoes provided a different experience. The thin outsole and midsoles proved to be uncomfortable. With the weight of my pack and the shoe's thin, soft soles, I swear I my feet felt every rock on the trail. In addition, the minimal toe rand provided little protection from stubbing my toes on rocks in the trail. When I returned home, the nails of both my big toes and second toes were black. In the past, with different boots, I have had my toenails blacked when my feet slipped inside the boots I was wearing. This time, with the "To-The-Toe" lacing, my feet did not slip. Rather, the frequent bumping rocks and roots in the trail were the culprit this time. It was not long after I returned home before I lost the toenail from the big toe on my left foot. Although still black, the other three toenails are still intact.

In spite of the issues just mentioned, there are also positives I experienced with these shoes. I am somewhat prone to blisters. However, wearing a synthetic liner and mid-weight merino wool socks with the Hyper Mid GTX shoes [see photo right] I have been blister free. The arch support I felt while wearing the shoes has been great. "To-The-Toe" lacing allows for a nice snug and secure fit. The Vibram IDROGRIP with X-traction™ (from the toes to the arch) and Impact Brake System™ (in the heel) provided great traction both climbing and descending the steep, rocky trail to and from Goat and Baptie Lakes. The GORE-TEX linings kept my feet dry during several creek crossings in Copper Basin.

From my experience thus far, I believe the La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX shoes are truly an approach shoe. They fit my feet quite comfortably and provide good stability and grip on rock. However, the thinner outsole, midsole, and toe rand are not suited to extreme rocky trails (like Copper Basin) when carrying heavier loads. I may try a different footbed the remainder of the test series to see if that makes any difference.

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LONG TERM REPORT
November 5, 2013

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

In August, I wore the shoes on an overnight backpacking trip to Lake Marie, which sits on the north side of Mount Jefferson, located in Idaho's Fremont County. Lake Marie is approximately 100 miles (161 km) north of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The lake itself sits at 8,829 feet (2,691 m). The 6 mi (10 km) hike to the lake is relatively easy.

In early September, I wore the shoes on another overnight backpacking trip. This one was in Hawley Gulch, approximately 30 mi (48 km) northeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Starting at the Hawley Gulch trailhead, which sits at approximately 5,700 feet (1,740 m), the Wolverine Creek-Hawley Gulch Loop circumnavigates Lookout Mountain. This loop is approximately 10.5 mi (17 km) in length.

Observations:

As has been my experience with other Italian-designed boots, the La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX shoes held up well during the test series. The boots have been and remain comfortable, holding my feet snugly in place. The boots are still waterproof; the GORE-TEX liner kept my feet nice and dry when crossing streams and walking through puddled water. The seams remain tight, with no loose or fraying threads. The soles have held up well, with only minor signs of wear to date. Donning one pair of medium-weight merino wool socks and a thin liner sock has been sufficient with these boots. No blisters to report with these boots.

The boots performed well on my two overnight outings during the Long Term test phase. On both of these outings, my pack was lighter and the trail was less rocky. As mentioned in my Field Report, I did try a third-party footbed to see if that minimized the discomfort I felt with the thinner ousoles and midsoles of these hiking shoes. It is hard for me to determine whether these footbeds really improved the overall comfort of these shoes since the loads I was carrying during this phase were lighter than the load I carried on my Copper Basin outing. My opinion from the Field Test phase remains unchanged. Based on my experience, the Hyper's thin outsole, midsoles and minimal toe protection are best suited for lighter loads and better-groomed trails. That said, the La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX hiking shoes are well constructed, hold my feet snugly in place, and have kept them dry. Because of their thin soles, the Hyper Mid GTX shoes will not be my go-to for heavy loads. However, I will continue to wear them on dayhikes and overnight trips when carrying lighter loads. I will likely wear them snowshoeing some as well.

worn_frontview worn_bottom

Pros:

Cons:

  • Style - these colorful mid-cut boots are quite stylish
  • Quality - construction and workmanship are high quality
  • Traction - decent traction on dirt and talus
  • Padded Tongue - no pain here, even from tight lacing
  • Padded Collar - no pain here, even from tight lacing
  • Waterproofness - no leaks during the test phase
  • To-the-toe Lacing - cinches the shoe nicely to my foot
  • Good-sized Pull Tab - I can actually get my finger in the loop to use it
  • Thin sole - my biggest issue with these shoes
  • Toe Rand - my next biggest issue with these shoes

This concludes my La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX shoes Test Series. Thanks to La Sportiva and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to test these shoes.

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