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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > La Sportiva Trango Trek GTX > Chuck Carnes > Test Report by Chuck Carnes

Trango Trek GTX Boots
  April 17, 2007 (Long Term Report)

Name: Chuck Carnes

Age: 36
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft. 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 175 lb (79 kg)
Shoe Size: 9.5 US
(43 Euro)
E-mail address: ctcarnes1(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country: Greenville, South Carolina USA

I love the outdoors – I’ve spent time camping in the outdoors since I was born, and have been actively hiking and backpacking since then. I consider myself a lightweight hiker, usually carrying 20 – 30 pounds (11-13 kg) for hikes up to a week in length. I hike at an easy pace, averaging 2 mph (3 kph). I am a one-man tent camper for now. I like to carry a single trekking pole when I hike to help relieve stress to my legs and knees. I like to get out on the trail as often as I can.


Model: Trango Trek GTX
Year of manufacture: 2006
Listed Weight: 3 lb 6 oz (1.5 kg)
Actual Weight: 3 lb 9 oz (1.6 kg)
Size: 10 US (43 Euro)
MSRP: $165.00 USD

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION (taken from web site)

Heavyweight backpacking and hiking boot for rugged technical terrain requiring fast-paced precision footwork. Excels at Fastpacking and technical hiking in rugged terrain requiring precise foot placements like rocky “baby’s head” trails, boulder fields, extremely rooted old-growth treks, steep, sloping trails or side-hill game paths.
  • Innovative articulating 3D Flex™ ankle for incredible flexibility side-to-side on off-camber terrain fused with a heavyweight lock-out support collar for ascending and descending.
  • Vibram® outsole with PU Aircushion midsole and a sturdy 7mm TrangoFlex insole for excellent traction and heavyweight stability under all trail conditions
  • Low-profile Trango speed-lacing system provides a lock-down fit and a smooth, no-buckle forefoot flex
  • Gore-Tex® lining offers plush comfort and proven moisture-management capability

I N I T I A L    R E P O R T
December 12, 2006

The LaSportiva Trango Trek GTX boots arrived in great shape. Along with the boots, LaSportiva included a 2006 catalogue which shows their whole line of products. The catalogue also describes much of the technical aspects of the materials that they put into their product. They appear to have gone to great lengths to insure that the user has comfort, stability and performance when they are wearing their product.

3D FlexI inspected the boots thoroughly for loose threads or any imperfections and did not find any. The craftsmanship that is put into these boots is outstanding. I checked the size of the boots and I received a size 10 US (43 Euro). At first I thought they might be a little bit too big but after putting them on, they fit perfectly. As seen in the picture above, these boots are definitely a high top boot. I have worn this type of boot before and my ankles were completely restricted from bending so it felt as if I was walking like Frankenstein.

As you can see, LaSportiva provides a 3D Flex material that has made the ankle area soft so that the ankle can bend and move when needed. After trying this out, I have discovered that my ankles are able to bend at that point in the boot but I still have lateral support.


The boots feel very good on my
feet and I do have that custom fit feel. With the boots weighing in at 3 lbs 9 oz (1.6 kg), they don't feel very heavy while wearing them. At the toe of the boot, at the bottom of the laces, there is not much flex at all. LaSportiva calls this their no-buckle forefoot flex. This, to me, has a lot to do with the density of the sole and the support that the sole gives when needing the boot to do its job on a technical climb or descent. Notice also in this picture the rubberized toe. The construction of the toe box certainly helps protect the toes when those aggravating stumps or rocks pop up out of nowhere.

InsideViewing the inside of the boot we see the GORE-TEX liner and the upper mesh material. The upper portion is considered the lock-out support collar that is mentioned in the product description. This collar locks the uppermost part of the ankle to the boot by way of the lace hooks which then gives a very strong support system. The back of the collar has a small notch to give relief to the Achillies tendon when doing steep descents. The tongue is full gusseted with the GORE-TEX material to give double protection from water and foreign objects from entering in this area. The laces are very soft to the touch but seem to be very strong. They are not stiff and wiry as some laces are that come with boots. As for the footbed, I made an attempt to remove it with no success. I did not try to force it out but it seemed as if it was attached to the interior of the boot. I like the feel of the footbed that comes with the boot but some people like their own custom made footbed. This may pose a problem if it is not removable.


In my opinion, a boot with Vibram soles is a great boot. LaSportiva provides a very well made Vibram sole as their foundation for the Trango Trek GTX. In the catalogue that was provided with these boots, it explains their design and reasoning for choosing this arrangement of grips and knobbies. It is hard to see in this picture but the knobbies that are placed in the center of the sole are raised and flow in opposite directions. This is LaSportiva's way of having brakes on a boot. They help the user slow down or stop suddenly on descents and help grip and push the user on ascents. The toe area is designed in a similar fashion with raised edges for those times when super grip is needed at just the toe area like a rock climber; not shown in the picture but the heel is made the same way. The outer knobbies have a slight texture to them just for general wet conditions on slippery surfaces. The whole sole seems designed to handle anything the user can attempt to climb or cross. And finally, under all of this rubber is an integral nylon shank that is designed to protect the arches from protruding objects in the ground.

F I E L D    R E P O R T
February 12, 2007

In my opinion, the LaSportiva Trango boots have to be one of the most comfortable high top boot that I have ever worn.

Trip #1:
Shining Rock Wilderness Area, Pisgah National Forest
Elevation: 5,900 ft. (1,798 m) to 6,200 ft. (1,890 m)
Weather Conditions: Clear, sunny and cold
Temperature: 53 - 60 F (11 - 15 C) day, 22 - 33 F (-5 - 0 C) night
Trail Conditions: very rocky, boulders scattered, trail was like a river from the previous 2 days of rain, not much soil to soak up the water.
Distance Traveled: 3.3 miles (5.3 km) in to campsite, 1.2 mile (1.9 km) hike up and back down to the top of Shining Rock, 3.3 miles
(5.3 km) out.
Total Distance:
7.8 miles (12.5 km)
Pack Weight: 26.5 lbs (12.0 kg)
Socks worn: Merino wool liner with an Acrylic/wool blend outer

I started out on the trail feeling very comfortable in the boots; these were pretty much right out of the box. I had previously tried them on at home to make sure they fit but this was the first lengthy trip. The trail was covered in water because of the previous 2 days of rain and in this area, there is not much soil so the water has nowhere else to go so it just sits on top of the ground. This trail also has a variety of rocks and boulders that have to be stepped on or climbed over. So basically I walked through water and stepped on rocks most of the day. Right from the start I knew this was going to be a great test for these boots. I intentionally walked through the water to test the GORE-TEX liner and the gusseted tongue of the boot. Most of the other guys walked around the water, not me, I walked right through it. If I wasn't walking through the water, I was walking on rocks that were in the water. This gave me chance to really see how the boots performed on slippery, wet rocks and to see how well the Vibram soles kept my feet from feeling the constant hardness and sharp edges of the rocks.

After I got to the camp site I made note of how my feet felt and if there was any water in the boots and if I had any blisters or hot spots. My feet actually felt very good. I sat down to change my socks, as I normally do when I get to camp, and found that my outer sock was very dry and the interior of the boot was very dry also; the GORE-TEX liner in the boot seemed to have done its job. The boots on the outside were damp and muddy but I was very surprised at how most of the water had shed from the boot and not soaked into the outer material. Since I didn't have another pair of shoes to wear around camp, I put the LaSportiva's back on after I changed socks.

That night I was curious to see how well my feet stayed warm in the boots. Most of the time my feet get cold just standing around camp because the ground is cold and damp. Again, all I had on for socks were a merino wool liner and an acrylic/wool blend outer. I normally wear this combination so this was the same as any other trip. When I heard a couple of the guys around camp mention that their feet were cold I made note at that time that my feet were nice and warm. Usually by then I would be trying to find a way to get my feet off the ground or putting on more socks; not this time, my feet were warm and comfortable.

The rest of the time we did a little scrambling and jaunts throughout Shining Rock. As seen below, the LaSportiva's were put to the test when it came to a little rock climbing and technical action. The boots worked very well in these conditions. In the pictures the rocks look covered in snow but in fact, that is the rocks themselves. The whole top of Shining Rock is quartz rock, hence the name Shining Rock. The quartz rock is very slippery but the Vibram soles proved to grip the rock very securely and gave me great stability on the side hill climbs. My ankles felt very supported by the upper collar and the 3D Flex material around the ankle area. As seen in the picture on the right, my ankle and leg are going in a forward motion and you can notice the flexibility in the ankle area. At no time did my skin get pinched because of this flexibility in the boot; it felt like a natural bend in the boot.

On the way out of camp, the water that was on the trail had frozen over because of the below freezing temperatures we had experienced. Again, this gave me the opportunity to get a feel for how well the boots did on icy terrain. Most of the time as I walked across the frozen puddle, the ice would break as I stepped on it and my foot would end up in the water. A few times, the ice did not break and I would experience a slight slip on the ice. The Vibram soles gripped the ice pretty good although I did slide occasionally. Nothing could have prevented this unless I was wearing crampons.

About mid-way through the hike out, I started to feel a hot spot form on my right heel. I stopped for a moment and tightened up the laces and continued on. That seemed to have done the trick, the hot spot never bothered me again.


Trip #2:
Linville Gorge, North Carolina
Elevation: 1,300 ft. (396 m) at the river to 4,120 ft. (1,256 m) at the rim of the gorge
Weather Conditions: Clear, sunny with snow on the ground
Temperature: 60 - 65 F (15 - 18 C) day, 27 - 38 F (-2 - 3 C) night
Trail Conditions: some left-over snow and ice, slick and muddy in some places, several switch-backs but still very steep.
Distance Traveled: 1.2 miles (1.9 km) down into the gorge, 1.2 miles (1.9 km) back out
Total Distance:
2.4 miles (3.8 km)
Pack Weight: 5 lbs (2 kg) (only a day pack was used)
Socks worn: Merino wool liner with an Acrylic/wool blend outer

This was a very steep descent into the gorge and back out. The trail was in decent shape from the snow that was covering it the day before. There were a lot of slick spots from ice to mud. The Trangos worked very well keeping me from sliding down on some of the spots that were muddy. At one point, I had to climb over a fallen tree and as I was placing my foot down on the other side, I slipped just for moment on the mud and managed to keep my balance and keep from falling.

The boots felt great on the descent. I never experienced any hot spots or felt like my toes were crammed in the toe box. I did not have to use any kind of special lacing technique as the supplied, standard lacing pattern worked very well for my feet. Once in the gorge, I did a little bit of rock hoping to check out how good they felt on some of these massive boulders. The Vibram soles gripped the rocks perfectly and gave me all the confidence in the world as I lunged across from boulder to boulder. Even on some of the slick rocks that were wet from the river, the Vibram soles gave me great security.

On the ascent out of the gorge, again, the boots felt really good on my feet. Although these seem to be more for medium to heavy weight backpacking, I enjoyed them very much on this simple day hike. They never felt heavy as some boots tend to do and they didn't make me feel clumsy.


L O N G  T E R M   R E P O R T
April 17, 2007
To date, I am sorry to say that I have not been on any other trips since my Field Report. I had two trips planned in between the Field Report and the Long Term Report. These trips were cancelled due to sickness. I do, however, have two trips planned in the next month. I will be revising this report when these two field trips are done. I feel like I have put enough miles on them to know that they are a good boot.

I have worn the boots around in different activities other than backpacking. I still enjoy wearing these boots on other occasions just because of their comfort and stability.

This concludes my Long Term Report at this time. Stay tuned for an update which should be posted by June, 2007. Thank you LaSportiva and BGT for this opportunity.

Read more reviews of La Sportiva gear
Read more gear reviews by Chuck Carnes

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > La Sportiva Trango Trek GTX > Chuck Carnes > Test Report by Chuck Carnes

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