Boulder X Women
We tweaked the designs of proven technology from years past to produce the Boulder X. Additional padding underfoot for long approaches and uber sticky rubber add deluxe comfort and performance. The Vibram® Idro-Grip compound stays sticky on every type of rock even when wet. The all-leather upper and sticky rubber toe rands offer durable protection. Ideal protection and performance built for the rigors and abuse of the mountains.
• High-cushion LaSpEVA layer above the 2mm polypropylene insole cushions the foot on long approaches
• Mythos lacing system for a highly adaptable and custom fit
• Ideal terrain: Approach and hiking on technical terrain requiring friction footwork
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Half Pair - size unknown
Full Pair - size unknown
A running inspired shoe, designed to excel on technical trails. These shoes may have less rubber lasting and a smaller climbing zone on the sole but tend to be on the lighter and less bulky side of the spectrum, similar to a classic technical trail runner.
Great for flat ground, short approaches, and slabby scrambling. Casual approach shoes are great daily wear for folks that find themselves scrambling and hiking a lot in between trips to the crag and the grocery store.
A more rugged shoe with more lasting and typically a thicker sole. Made to handle the most technical terrain and talus fields. Technical shoes can also have more ankle coverage and waterproof coatings.
Size vs Gender
Volume refers to the overall sizing of the shoe in relation to the size of the foot from top to bottom and side to side. Many brands make a Mens/Unisex shoe and some have both a Men’s and Women’s model. Brands are slowly updating their language away from gender to Low/High volume -- recognizing that any person may have a high or low volume foot.
Flat laces are found most often on casual or running shoes, as their low bulk helps with aesthetic and having a lower profile.
Cord laces are found on the majority of approach shoes. Their rounded shape makes them more durable than flat laces and their woven structure makes them much stronger.
Webbing & Buckles
Though fairly uncommon, some approach shoes are made to be closed via a combination of threaded flat webbing and a tightening buckle.
Low vs Mid
The rise of an approach shoe mostly affects the support and coverage of the ankle but can also limit articulation and range of motion. Most approach shoes have a low rise. A mid rise should be chosen when scrambling through large loose scree or boulder fields is a regular need or when in wet or snowy environments where slippery surfaces can benefit from more ankle support.
The climbing zone is a quintessential part of an approach shoe; without it, we consider a shoe a hiker or trail runner. The climbing zone is a flat or flattened area of the sole directly beneath the toes on every approach shoe. This zone is specifically designed to not have lugs for grip and instead is intended for smearing and edging on rock during an approach to a technical climb. Some manufacturers add splits or shallow texture to this zone, but it is not lugged as in a traditional hiker.
A foldable heel is designed to flatten into the shoe so it may be slid on and off easily similar to a clog or a croc. This is becoming more common with newer models and is most likely to be seen in casual shoes than hiking or running.
Low Toe Lacing
Low toe lacing is a feature where the closure of the approach shoe extends greatly towards the toes as compared to traditional hiking shoes. This will most usually be an extra 3-5 extra lacings across the shoe that are usually partially across the knuckles of the toes. The advantage of lacing extending this low is that it allows a greater tightening of the shoe around the toes when terrain requires technical footwork like slab climbing or crack jamming.
An approach shoe with this feature either has a built-in elastic or webbing or an accessory strap or band that is designed to connect the shoes to each other when they aren’t worn. This allows them to be hung from a harness or bag on a multipitch climb. This is fairly uncommon and usually found on light-weight shoes.
Since there is no standard in the shoe industry for what exactly qualifies a shoe as ‘Vegan’, we only list this if the manufacturer has stated it in the product description.
Refers to an applied coating or material technology that either makes a shoe resistant or impervious to water. Not every manufacturer tests waterproofing in the same way so this can be difficult to compare. We list items as ‘Waterproof’ when the manufacturer states they have one or more of these technologies.
Low toe lacing
|EU: 35 - 42 (half sizes)
|Materials & Construction
| Upper: Leather
Midsole: Micropore EVA
Insole / Liner: 2mm Polyproylene / 2mm La SpEVA | Mesh lining (back half and tongue only)
Sole: Vibram® Idro-Grip V-Smear™ with Impact Brake System™
The Boulder X's scores in climbing ability and weight are low compared to its competitors, but we find that most climbers don't spend nearly as much time approaching on technical terrain as they do on manicured trails. For the average climber, the La Sportiva Boulder X is a decent choice that will keep your feet comfortable and support, all for a great price. There are shoes at similar prices that have better overall scores though, so if you might be venturing into varied types of terrain, we might recommend looking elsewhere.