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La Sportiva TX2 Review

Original Post
Fritz Nuffer · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 115

Part 1: Initial Observations and Trailrunning Test (seggzy gotesox sold separately)


I've never seen the need for approach shoes. My trail runners (Montrail Mountain Masochists) have always served me well as regards weight, comfort and durability, especially on my 24-day CT thru-hike. I tend to shoe up for anything over 5.6 anyway, so I figured the extra climbability of dedicated approach shoes would be superfluous.

The TX2's crossed my radar when my buddy wore a pair to approach Atlantis in the Black Canyon. I was especially intrigued by how thin they packed with the heel strap -- easily half the bulk of my trail runners. The grippy sole seemed to serve him well on the exposed low-fifth scramble to the base of the route.

My main hesitation was how well the shoe would handle running. My trailrunners were due for replacement, and I wondered if the TX2s could cover for them. I had plans for a four-day fastpack of the Grenadiers that included some fifth-class slabbing where sticky rubber would be a plus (now postponed due to early-onset monsoon, grr). So when a good deal arose, I pulled the trigger. With my toe, just like Papa Hemingway.

This is part one of three, the trailrunning test. I'll follow up regarding climbability after a day of wearing them on 5.10-11, and then again regarding durability after I put some backpacking mileage on them.

Initial Observations:

The shoes are light. Advertised at 9.8 oz compared to MMM's 10.8, they feel comparable.

The fit is spot-on. I wear 43.0 in TC Pro's and 10.0 in MMM's. The toebox is comfortable but doesn't allow extraneous movement.

Using the attached heel bungee cord, they stow away satisfactorily. The sidewalls of the shoe are a bit stiff still, but should soften up and compress better as they break in.

The "climb zone" edging platform is surprisingly stiff, as is the forefoot of the shoe. I expect the latter to soften up over time, but the edging capabilities of the toe look promising.

Field Test:

I took the TX2's for a spin on our local chosspile 12,900, Engineer Mountain. The terrain is varied as it gains 2500' over hardpack, snow, steep mud, fluid talus, 3rd/4th class and a wee bit of 5.2. I carried two liters of water and ran whenever possible. I took my Montrails on the exact same route the week before, so I had a good basis for comparison.

The shoes were stellar for running the flats and uphills, almost as good as the MMM's. The downhills were less comfortable (aren't they always?) ... the impact was more noticeable, and my back started to hurt. Contrary to other reviewers, the shoes were not much more sensitive underfoot -- I was able to pick the same downhill lines as usual. Also, the sidewall chafed at my ankle bone slightly on the downs.

They weren't as good as the MMM's in the mud. It seems like the circular lugs didn't gain as much traction.

On fluid talus, the shoes performed as expected for their weight. I wouldn't want to do any sustained scree surfing for fear of thrashing them.

For 3rd/4th/low5th, I was suitably impressed by the stickiness of the rubber and the stability of the toe edge. Even with some mud on the soles, they stuck like champs.


So far, I'm impressed. We'll see what subsequent tests yield. My biggest complaint is that the stock insoles may be too flimsy for sustained downhill trail running (but then again, these aren't marketed as trail runners). I'll try it again with some thicker ones.

The biggest advantage I can see for these will be their low weight/bulk for walkoffs, and not needing to bring separate climbing shoes for easy alpine.

In the next week, I'll push the TX2s to their limit on granite, limestone and sandstone face climbing and then report back with an update.

Fritz Nuffer · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 115

Just updated with Part Two: Climbing Test (5.7 to 5.11c limestone and basalt sport). Read it on http://aperfectweakness.com/2017/07/14/review-la-sportiva-tx2-approach-shoe/

Jim Urbec · · sevierville, TN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 33

I did a full day of climbing at Looking Glass Rock in NC wearing TX2s.  It was mostly slab climbing and I thought they did awesome.  The one part where I wished I had actual climbing shoes was on was when we hit "sundial crack"  would have loved that there was more rubber on teh side walls at that point.  love how stowable they are for packing. 

Fritz Nuffer · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 115
Jim Urbec wrote:

love how stowable they are for packing. 

Ditto! That was the main draw for me ... I don't normally wear approach shoes with sticky rubber. Super jazzed on this pair. 

Thomas Gilmore · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 85

My biggest complaint would be the sizing. I am a 10.5 in everything (with a slightly wide foot) and the 10.5 in these were down right painful. Even after sizing up to 11 it still took awhile for them to break in. 

How did you find them durability wise? I got about 6-8 months out of mine before they started to look like this. Admittedly I wore them as street shoes as well but only because there is a limited amount of space in the van! They did well on approaches throughout red rock, cochise, zion, moab, etc... but they are pretty slick on sandstone now that they are worn out and I've lost my footing a couple times. The rubber isn't quite as sticky as stealth.

I feel like if you are the kind of person that wears multiple shoes, this is the perfect dedicated long C2C approach shoe. If you wear them all the time, don't expect them to last very long..

Jim Urbec · · sevierville, TN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 33

yah.  they certainly are pretty lite weight and that usually doesn't go hand in hand with long term durability.

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 498

6-8 months is extremely good durability for a lightweight shoe worn daily and in the mountains. The average consensus goal in running shoes is that they last 300-500 miles, depending on how burly the construction. Most midsoles get pretty shitty after 300 miles. As someone who puts 100-200 miles and 100-200 pitches a month on my shoes, I would love for a pair of shoes to last more than a few months

Fritz Nuffer · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 115
Thomas Gilmore wrote:

ng C2C approach shoe. If you wear them all the time, don't expect them to last very long..

Yup, I bought them just for the Black and walkoffs. My theory on shoes (and ropes) is that you can either have few pairs that you replace often, or a lot of specialized pairs that you don't replace as often. The latter option allows you to enjoy the benefits of activity-specific products.

For example, I could own one 70m rope and use it for everything and replace it every year for five years. Or I could own five ropes and replace them all once every five years. Same expenditure, just requires more up-front capital.

(Of course, I just sold all my ropes to get a 90m Joker that will be my one and only, but that's because we have limited space moving into the van. No more toprope parties on my cord!)

Thomas Gilmore · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 85

I totally understand that these are lightweight approach shoes. I was not complaining about their durability just stating how much use I got out of them in my situation.

I guess let me rephrase my question about durability to the OP: as an exclusive approach shoe, how has the durability been? In my pics obviously the worn soles are from wearing everyday but the holes where my pinky toes are are from climbing in them. Have you had any similar wear caused specifically from approaching/climbing/descending? How long have you been using them?

Fritz Nuffer · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 115
Thomas Gilmore wrote:

as an exclusive approach shoe, how has the durability been?

Still in the early stages of testing (a couple days of trail running, a couple days of single pitch). Weather permitting, I have two trips to the Weminuche and one to the Black in the next month that should provide more data to respond accurately.

Fritz Nuffer · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 115

just published Part 3: Alpine Test. North Face of Storm King. 

TL;DR? The TX2's excelled, but I'm pretty sure now that I got a size too small. I bought a 43 because that's my TC Pro size and didn't realize that these approach shoes don't stretch like climbing shoes do.

Anyone else get chafing on their outside ankle bones from wearing these things?


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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