LaSportiva: Anakonda v. X Country

Light, quick drying, and tough enough to last off-trail. I’m still looking for a shoe which will do all three.  Yes, I know I beat the hell out of my shoes.  Yes, I know trail runners are not made for what I do.  I’m still going to keep asking for more, even if it is unreasonable.

Brand new Anakonda versus X Country with ~4 hard months in them.  Former is 12 oz a foot, later was 9 when new.  Both are size 45.

IMG_0686 IMG_0687 IMG_0688 IMG_0689

Above is my second pair of X Countrys.  I said I wouldn’t buy another after the uppers on the first set gave out quickly, but Seam Grip allowed them to limp along until the tread was mostly dead, and then I found a pair of sale last fall when they were discontinued.  And I really like how they hike.  As can be seen above, I get two failure points: rips on the outside behind the toebox, and on the inside near the front of my instep right between the upper and the sole.  The former only goes through the outer layer of fabric and is easy to fix.  The second is more of a death sentence, as it’s a precursor of delamination.

The Anakonda has obviously been built to address these concerns, as the fit and sole are essentially unchanged.  Hopefully those extra 3 oz will prove to be well spent.

11 responses to “LaSportiva: Anakonda v. X Country”

  1. Must be nice to have narrow feet. My “roman” feet give me very limited shoe selection. Pretty much it’s Altra or size way up.

    1. Ain’t no free lunch: Sportiva and Inov8 are the only brands which hold my heel in place.

    2. I know how you feel. I’m normally an 11 Extra Wide, but I have to wear a 13 in La Sportiva… I wear Wildcats. They are heavier than the 2 models here, but they are pretty durable and I love them. I’ve also worn La Sportiva Raptors, which aren’t ideal for a wide foot (even if you size up). They feel OK on day hikes, but I was miserable when I tried to backpack in them. They don’t have enough “give” to allow for foot expansion.

  2. I recently got a pair of Anakondas and posted my thoughts on BPL here.

    Interestingly, they felt much wider to me. I have about 25 miles on them right now and in terms of performance they are almost identical to the X Country. I’m about to go do this workout in them right now.

    1. Oops. Meant to link this.

  3. I was pretty excited about the Anakondas. Unfortunately the heel counter was a deal killer. If they fit your heels they seem pretty excellent.

  4. Anyone else have trouble with the loops of fabric that comprise the eyelet completely ripping out? I had a set of Raptors on which half the web loops ripped open within a couple weeks of first wearing them. I struggled with the company for a replacement set which they finally sent me a bit begrudgingly. The rest of the shoe has held up exceptionally well (still wearing the first set just with only half the lace points intact – can’t let that much petroleum go to waste) but that webbing seems weak.

    1. nielsenbrownoutdoors Avatar

      Inov-8 had similar fabric loops and they were always the first thing to wear out on my shoes, virtually made them impossible to use without a major repair job, since then I have avoided fabric loops wherever possible.

      1. Nielsen, thanks for the perspective on this. Interestingly enough I’ve owned and completely worn out seven sets of Inov-8s and have not seen that issue. I hope the situation with the Sportivas was a fluke. Needless to say I’ve acquired yet another pair of Inov8s for use as my hiking shoe.

  5. […] Anakondas may be the best rugged hiking shoe ever made.  I maintain that the last is the same as the X […]

  6. […] making it a shoe with a short life, both individually and on the marketplace generally.  The Anakonda fixed the durability problem, and maintained all the good parts of the X Country while adding a bit […]

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