Gear Review: La Sportiva Delta GTX Hiking Boot

A great lightweight boot for heavy duty hiking.

[lightweight comfort]

“Through 100 miles of backpacking in the Rockies, with 50 pounds aboard, this boot molded to my feet like no other heavy-duty model I’ve tried,” says one tester. The secret recipe? This fabric-and-leather, waterproof hiker is built on a slip last for a superior foot-hugging fit. And unlike many PU midsole inserts, which are flat, the Delta’s mimic the curved shape of the bottom of a human foot. And finally, a unique nylon layer directly under your foot softens through the miles, adapting the fit even more closely to your foot’s shape.

Beyond that, you get a puzzle-pieced upper that uses a mix of leather and pliable synthetics to enhance fit—and keep weight impressively low for a boot this supportive. Low-bulk Cordura in the tongue is infused with Lycra, making it flexy for excellent ankle and midfoot wrap. Stiffer Idro-Perwanger leather (it’s silicone impregnated, so it won’t wet out and get heavy) is used in the heel, ankle, arch, and toe for durability and support. Synthetic side patches further reduce weight and enhance breathability. The whole jigsaw is precisely assembled, so there are no pressure points, and even after hundreds of miles we saw no weakness in the impeccable stitching.

Painted-on toe and heel rands add abrasion resistance, but are lighter than glued-on rubber rands. The Delta is ideal for big-load trekking, but it’s not a crossover boot for light mountaineering. $250; 4 lbs. 8 oz.; m’s 38–48