La Sportiva Primer Low GTX Review
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GTX: If you are not familiar with the term perform a simple dictionary search. You may find Mazda GTX, Plymouth GTX, Seadoo GTX, or GTX (Great Train eXpress), a railway project in Korea. Or try the Urban Dictionary with an abbreviation of: Gym, Tan, Xbox – Sounds like an episode of Jersey Shore!?! All in their own way are very viable GTX options, but in this great big active outdoor world, Gore-Tex (GTX) is the king of material protection and keeping you dry on your expeditions and adventures.
First thought on the La Sportiva Low GTX
Breathable and waterproof at the same time. Think about that for a second! This La Sportiva Primer Low GTX breathes in every direction even below the foot. And on the flip side, the shoe is waterproof with the greatness of Gore-Tex thrown at it.
As defined by La Sportiva – Gore-Tex® is a waterproof, breathable membrane. The Gore-Tex® tag on this boot indicates a rigidly tested seam-taped sock or PSC construction which meets Gore’s highest standards and is backed by Gore’s waterproof guarantee.
These kicks are almost snake-like. I don’t know if that is the intention, but upon first look and feel, the La Sportiva Low GTX are smooth and shiny with a rubbery pliable net-like synthetic upper that can handle the rain, mud, snow, gravel, and rocks that one may encounter on the trail.
I have big strong bulky hiking boot envy. I do. I’ll see those guys or gals on the trail, and I imagine that they are off on some long thru-hike adventure, and need some serious heavy duty boot to accomplish that task. Unfortunately life has gotten in the way, and it just isn’t feasible for me to set out on the Colorado or Continental Divide Trail. I can always dream though. The La Sportiva Low GTX has been able to get me out on numerous day hikes to satisfy my nature seeking trail cravings.
In addition, I am not always sure that big, bulky, over the ankle boots are the way to go. I am nimble and like to run the trails, and when I do go and snag one of my State’s 14,000 plus foot peaks, I want something like that reflected in my hiking boots. And no matter how hard I try to wear a higher styled boot which, yes, does provide support, I just can’t get used to all that extra constricting material around my ankle. Hence, I am stoked to take these lower cut lightweight shoes out because they seem to have some zip to them, but still sport a rather aggressive bottom to accomplish the task at hand.
From some of the photos, you can see that the sole and lug pattern are aggressive and are capable of handling a wide variety of trail conditions. The sole has Vibram technology with its trademark yellow logo quite visible. Vibram has quite a long history and wide variety of sole technologies that grace many a shoe and boot. This one is equipped with their proprietary Impact Brake System (I.B.S.). Basically, the lugs are designed and oriented in opposing slanted directions. This opposition increases braking power by an average of 20% and decreases impact forces by an average of 20% as well. Can’t say I noticed that specific percentage difference out on the trail, but grip was great on the descents and I never had any issues with sore feet after longer rockier descents.
The midsole and the lining is where the La Sportiva Primer Low GTX is really made! The Gore-Tex Surround technology is a perfect match for 3 season hiking and active outdoor use. It’s a patented open construction system that allows moisture and warmth to escape from below the foot. That’s right, below the foot! Through a Gore-Tex Laminate there’s a an opening below the foot which they call a ‘spacer’. It then kicks the moisture and heat out towards the side creating a drier foot keeping the humidity in your shoes at bay while also allowing you to keep going longer. In addition, air flow from the sides will aid in breathability adding to that dry and comfort factor. And if you have not built up a solid hiking base, the chances of blisters is also greatly reduced.
AirMesh with nano-cell technology wraps the foot in protection while also allowing maximum breathability and waterproof protection. La Sportiva uses a nylon fabric that is woven into a breathable mesh pattern that is extremely durable. As mentioned before, the upper has a snake-like quality and has stood up to the test. No visible scuffing from rocks and gravel, and my feet have stayed dry in wet grass, and through some wet and muddy trail conditions.
Fit and Comfort of The La Sportiva Low GTX
I would say these fit slightly large. I went with a 44.5, and they fit quite well. In other brands, I’ve worn 45 with good success. If you are solid about your size, then I wouldn’t sweat it. If you fall right on the cusp, going down may be something to consider. Obviously, each foot and individual is different, so go try some on and find out for yourself. I absolutely love how comfortable these hiking shoes are. I have had the La Sportiva Primer Low GTX on for 12+ hours at a time, and I never felt the need to take them off. Supportive with a bit of cushioning as well as the breathability factor kept me going without any issues.
Performance of The La Sportiva Primer Low GTX
The first few times I wore them was running around town going about my day. I always like doing this to find out about any inconsistencies, and really just get my foot to ‘mold’ to the shoe so to speak. Most hiking shoes have a degree of stiffness to them, and busting them out on a hardcore long and technical hike could put you in a world of hurt.
A 3 day weekend in the Colorado mountains camping with friends, and these were the only shoes I wore the entire time. They were put to the test over rocky terrain, roots, and trails. It has been a very rainy spring/early summer season which is very unusual for these parts. The La Sportiva Primer Low GTX were a life saver around camp. I was able to set up a tarp shelter (in a heavy downpour) without my feet getting wet. Cooking, chasing after the little ones, and going on ‘bear hunts’ provided an all around challenge as me and 7 little campers scrambled through the woods looking for the elusive bear. Turns out one was actually spotted the day before, but I hoped our rambunctious posse made enough noise to scare away any fuzzy creatures. When going for more serious treks, I would tighten my laces a bit more to prevent any slippage while scaling rocks or carrying a 2 year old down a steep descent. Stable footing and a solid grip were critical at times like that, and I was honestly not disappointed. I usually kick on some flip flops in camp, but with soggy and muddy conditions that pleasure will have to be saved for some other trip. The great thing was that these shoes were comfortable, and I wore them the entire time. The La Sportiva Primer Low GTX were even a worthwhile companion on the bike cruising around getting water and fire wood.
- Innovative Nano-Cell™ Technology upper wraps the foot in protection while allowing maximum breathability and waterproof protection
- Gore-Tex® Surround™ Technology allows 360 degree breathability
- STB™ Technology stabilizes the foot by wrapping the midsole and unifying the midsole with the upper for the perfect locked-down fit
Weight: 14.5 oz./ 412 g.
Upper: Airmesh / Nano-Cell™ direct injection / PU Leather
Lining: Gore-Tex Surround® Surround™
Midsole: Compression Molded EVA / TPU inserts
Sole: Vibram Nano with Impact Brake System
Sizes: 38 – 47.5 (half sizes)
Final Thoughts on the La Sportiva Low GTX
A fantastic lightweight low top hiker that will take you the distance. The Gore-Tex Surround is absolutely amazing as it allows your feet to breath, stay dry, and cool. From shorter hikes, longer day hikes, or multi-day thru hikes, the support, tread, and comfort will keep you going strong. I highly recommend the La Sportiva Primer Low GTX for just about any active outdoor trail use. When traveling abroad I met a guy who was wearing his as his main travel urban trail kickers displaying its versatility.
For more information on this and other hiking boots and shoes visit: www.sportiva.com