I recently bought the first pair of non-ski or snow boots I’ve had in a decade; the Sportiva Boulder X Mids. The reason? I wanted something that would be more comfortable than trail runners with strap on crampons, and I wanted the lightest and most hikable boot which would kick steps in moderate snow.

IMG_8123

In size 44.5 they weigh 20.2 oz a foot.
This is a half size down from what I usually wear in trail shoes; enough toe room for hiking when wearing one thin sock, tight enough to edge decently with the lower laces snugged up.

IMG_8125

I took them to Craters this past weekend, to shake them out and to avoid giving a lighter pair of shoes the inevitable lava thrashing. The fit is great out of the box, and construction quality is immediately evident, which is nice after the recent ski boot debacle.
First thing I did, after wearing them around the house for an hour, was fire up the oven and get two thick coats of beaswax in the leather. Even split grain benefits from this treatment. The oven helps it penetrate well; set around 200, open the door, and place the treated boots on the door. Turn frequently, and don’t overdo it and delam the rands.

IMG_8128

Note nice low-pro tongue gusset. The boots did great on the trip, my only mistake was not rigging them for trail gaiters, which had me picking sage twigs, cinders and snow out of my socks every few hours. My feet were sore at the end of each day, but it was not the fault of the boots. I’ll still wear lighter, more flexible shoes most of the time, but in the alpine these should keep the trail runners from getting holes so quickly.

I opted for the Boulder, versus the fabric La Sportiva Hyper, for durability.  There is a concern about Goretex shoes getting soaked in the deep spring creek crossings which are part and parcel of spring and early summer around here.  I’ll report back.  The Boulder has padding around the ankle and in the tongue but no where else, so it should dry faster than many in its class.  And a waterproof shoe keeping feet warm climbing snow isn’t a bad thing, either.

IMG_8157

The toe box is good, it reflects the shape of actual feet, is wide enough for comfort but tight enough for decent performance. Key with shoes like this is the use the lacing system to suit the circumstances. Leave the lower reaches loose for long hikes, and cinch them up for more technical terrain. The Mythos lacing system makes this easy.

Initial impressions are very promising.