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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

Gear Review: La Sportiva Karakorum Hiking Boot

A summer mountaineering boot that's armor-tough

by: Berne Broudy

La Sportiva Karakorum (BP Photo Department)
La Sportiva Karakorum (BP Photo Department)

MORE HIKING BOOTS
Heavy Duty
Mid Duty
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Summer Mountaineer
Extreme durability, big-load support, ankle protection, and breathable water resistance. That’s what one tester, an Alaska-based NOLS instructor, says she looks for in a summer mountaineering boot. This model has all of those essentials, plus minimal break-in—rare in such a burly boot—thanks to flex points provided by cut-outs in the one-piece leather upper.

That upper is made of 2.8-mm-thick, silicon-impregnated leather from Italy’s 230-year-old Perwanger Tannery. It’s armor-tough and functionally waterproof. The upper has no membrane, making it exceptionally breathable. Testers reported dry feet in standard wet-hiking conditions—even stomping up a stream in New York’s Adirondacks (the boots will eventually leak if submerged for a long period). A honeycomb grid in the midsole creates shock-absorbing air pockets that didn’t break down under the heaviest pounding, like the EVA used in lighter boots will, and it’s covered with a high-density nylon plate that provides torsional stability.

“It’s plenty stiff for big-load support and crampon use,” says a tester, “but it has enough rocker for striding on long, flat sections of trail.” Testers praised the under-toe climbing platform for its no-give edging on technical step-ups. And unlike with some big boots, testers reported no shin-bang (thanks to tongue padding) and no toe-bang (due to D-ring locking laces that secure heels and fine-tune fit). Verdict: Summit counters, better pack a calculator. $270; 4 lbs.; m’s 38-48, w’s 36-43

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READERS COMMENTS

dap
Mar 09, 2011

yeah this boots are awesome, no time to break in burly and breathable

Kev
Dec 30, 2010

Agreed. Love these boots! Reviewer got this right!

Aris aquaristo
Aug 11, 2010

I Like It..

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