La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX

Price: $199
Weight: 1 lb. 12.4 oz. 
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: A near-ideal mix of comfort, stability, and traction for backpacking above treeline.
What we don’t: Not as protective or stiff as some might want for mountainous terrain.
See the Women's La Sportiva TX Hike Mid  See the Men's La Sportiva TX Hike Mid

4.8

La Sportiva’s TX collection debuted as a series of approach shoes (the TX2, TX3, and TX4) and has since expanded to include a few hiking-oriented models. As a result of its climbing heritage, the lightweight TX Hike Mid Leather GTX offers class-leading traction in mountain terrain—including scree, slab, and snow—and is a wonderful option for hikers and backpackers headed to the high country. I tested the boot during a five-day traverse in the Cascades and found it to offer a near-ideal balance of walkability, stability, grip, and durability. Below I break down the TX Hike Mid Leather GTX’s overall performance. To see how it stacks up against the competition, see our articles on the best women’s hiking boots and the best hiking boots.
 


Table of Contents



Performance

Comfort

Comfort is a strong suit of the La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX, thanks to details like a wide last (dubbed the “comfort fit last”) and supple leather upper. The boot is also relatively soft and flexible underfoot, far from the brick-like experience of some mountain-oriented hikers. As a result, it feels nimble and responsive when hopping across boulder fields or moving quickly on easy trails, and has plenty of squish for all-day comfort. What’s more, the TX Hike Mid Leather has little-to-no break-in period: I took it straight out of the box and on a demanding five-day cross-country traverse with no comfort complaints. It’s also worth noting that I wasn’t preoccupied with freeing my feet at the end of each day, which is high praise for a hiking boot.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (standing on snow)


Weight

The TX Hike Mid Leather GTX checks in at 1 pound 12.4 ounces (our women’s size 8.5 weighs 1 lb. 14.1 oz.), which is on the heavy side for a lightweight hiking boot and lighter than average for an all-around hiker. In my experience, the TX Hike felt airy and nimble underfoot throughout long days in the high country—more akin to a hiking shoe than what I’d expect from a hiking boot. For comparison’s sake, lightweight hiking boots like the Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP and Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX check in at just over 1 pound 10 ounces for the pair. On the other hand, burly leather boots like the Lowa Renegade GTX (2 lb. 2 oz.) and Salomon Quest 4 GTX (2 lb. 6.4 oz.) feel significantly heavier, which adds up during long days on the trail.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (hiking in forest 2)


Traction

Stemming from its approach-shoe roots, the TX Hike Mid Leather GTX knocks it out of the park in terms of traction. On the outsole, the boot features Vibram’s Ecostep Evo blend with a shock-absorbing “Impact Brake System” and 5-millimeter lugs. In practice, this translates to confidence-inspiring grip on everything from slick granite to loose talus, hard-packed trail, and snow. In fact, in my experience the TX Hike Mid was a true standout on rock—on par with approach shoes like the La Sportiva TX4—making it a great choice for those who often travel off trail or above treeline. In contrast, one of my hiking partners wore the more trail-oriented Oboz Bridger Mid on our high-country traverse, and he had to tread much more carefully on slabby sections of granite.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (outsole traction)


Protection

No one wants to suffer stubbed toes or bruised feet on the trail, so it’s worth considering the level of protection your footwear provides. Within this category, the TX Hike Mid falls about mid-pack. The boot is undeniably lightweight, and its relatively thin upper and flexible midsole and outsole don’t come close to matching the isolated feel of heavy and stiff hikers like the Lowa Renegade and Salomon Quest 4 GTX. La Sportiva does tack on leather reinforcements at the heel and toe, but the effect is minimal. I even noticed a drop in protection compared to lightweight boots like the Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP and La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX, which feature a stiff rubber rand and toe cap. 

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (toe protection)

Comparison’s aside, I was pleased with the way the TX Hike Mid Leather GTX isolated my feet from the elements, even in loose and rocky terrain. The boot’s leather upper and reinforcements provided ample defense against most rocks and roots, and the solid heel was fully sufficient for plunge-stepping down snow or scree. On a few occasions—while twisting my feet into a crack and when walking across particularly sharp talus—I wished for a burlier boot, but the tradeoff was worth it for the TX Hike’s comfort and responsiveness throughout the rest of the hike. It’s worth noting that I also used strap-on crampons every day of the trip, and the boot’s upper was stiff enough to keep the plastic components from digging into my feet.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (walking across glacier)


Stability and Support

Like most lightweight hiking boots, the La Sportiva TX Hike Mid lands in between hiking shoes and burlier boots in terms of stability and support. With a relatively cushioned midsole and supple leather upper, it lacks the stiff underfoot or secure wraparound feel of a traditional leather hiking boot. As a mountain runner, I’m accustomed to traveling through loose mountain terrain in lightweight footwear; that said, I know many hikers who prefer a tank-like boot for forging their way through snow and scree (especially with a heavy load). If you fall into the latter camp, the TX Hike Mid might disappoint. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the TX Hike Mid Leather GTX offers more support compared to many lightweight hikers I’ve tested, including The North Face’s Vectiv Exploris 2 Mid and Altra Lone Peak Hiker. Thanks to a taller collar and a secure lacing system (La Sportiva borrowed the lacing design from their Trango Tech mountaineering boot), it actually feels like a mid-height boot rather than a low-top hiking shoe. I have suffered no rolled ankles in the TX Hike Mid, and my feet experienced no soreness despite carrying a 40-pound load throughout the five-day traverse. In sum, if you prioritize comfort and responsiveness along with support, the TX Hike Leather Mid is a really nice middle ground.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (hiking on scree trail)


Waterproofing and Breathability

The TX Hike Mid Leather GTX features a waterproof Gore-Tex Extended Comfort membrane, which is designed to maximize breathability. The membrane extends up the collar (just below the last eyelet) via a gusseted tongue for above-the-ankle protection. In practice, the boot offered a reliable barrier against moisture during small river crossings and in summertime snow—over the course of five days, not once did I experience wet feet. It’s also worth noting that I applied Nikwax’s Fabric & Leather Waterproofing Spray before the trip—this light wax finish coats the upper and allows the leather to serve as the first line of defense against moisture.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (waterproofing)

The primary downside to waterproof footwear is a lack of breathability—oftentimes, waterproof boots can turn into a sweat factory for the feet. Despite warm conditions in the high country, this was not an issue for me with the TX Hike (although it’s worth noting that I’m not prone to particularly sweaty feet). That said, these boots would not be my first choice for lower-elevation hiking in the summer; with a mid-height leather upper and waterproof membrane, it’s a lot of material to have covering the feet in hot temperatures. In environments where cold feet aren’t a concern or sweating is the norm, I’ll usually opt for a non-waterproof hiking shoe.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (hiking up snow)_0


Build Quality and Durability

No one knows footwear quite like the Italians, and La Sportiva carries the torch when it comes to mountain-ready shoes and boots. The TX Hike Mid Leather GTX is impeccably designed and built, with a robust roughout leather upper (roughout is a term that describes the backside of the leather), durable Vibram outsole, and keen attention to detail throughout. The boot held up very well to the demands of off-trail travel, and the leather upper remained impressively unscathed by the elements. I’m used to crampons wreaking havoc on my footwear, and was surprised to see that the TX Hike only suffered a few nicks to the outsole rubber (and no perceivable wear on the upper). All told, the La Sportiva is one of the more durable lightweight hikers I’ve had the privilege of testing, and should hold up to multiple seasons of use.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (detail)


Fit and Sizing

I’m generally between a women’s size 8.5 and 9, and picked up a women’s 8.5 (EU size 40) in the TX Hike Mid. I often have to size up in La Sportiva footwear, but the TX series runs true-to-size if not a little large; if you’re on the fence, you can probably get away with sizing down (I drop another half-size in the TX4 approach shoes). The TX Hike Mid offers a great fit for my feet, which have a narrow heel and wide forefoot. Do keep in mind that the TX Hike series is built on a wider-than-normal last to prioritize comfort—La Sportiva specifies an additional 15 millimeters of metatarsal circumference and 10 millimeters of forefoot height—so it might not be a great fit for those with particularly narrow or low-profile feet.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (tying shoes)


Sustainability

La Sportiva incorporated a number of sustainability measures into the making of the TX Hike Mid. The boot uses a fully recycled mesh collar, Gore-Tex membrane, laces, and webbing, along with a partially recycled midsole and outsole. What’s more, the leather is treated with a PFC-free waterproof treatment, which eliminates some of the harmful chemicals used in the production process. It’s also worth noting that leather is generally more durable than synthetic materials, which translates to a longer lifespan for the TX Hike Mid Leather. We appreciate La Sportiva’s focus on sustainability, and hope to see even more recycled materials and chemical-free processes in future models.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (looking up in forest)


Other Versions of the La Sportiva TX Hike

I tested the leather version of the TX Hike Mid, but La Sportiva also offers the design with a synthetic upper. The TX Hike Mid GTX uses recycled airmesh with TPU overlays and is $10 cheaper, slightly heavier (by 0.2 oz. per boot), and a nice option for hikers who prefer the look and feel of synthetic boots, want an airier design, or opt against leather for ethical reasons. Both the synthetic and leather TX Hike Mid are also available in men’s versions, which retail for the same price as the women’s but come in different colorways. Finally, La Sportiva makes a low-top TX Hike GTX for men, which is built with a synthetic upper and retails for $179.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (hiking across stream)


What We Like

  • A lightweight boot that offers a near-ideal mix of comfort, stability, and traction for hikers and backpackers headed into mountainous terrain.
  • Extremely good traction on everything from smooth slab to snow and loose talus.
  • A tall collar and secure lacing system make the TX Hike Mid Leather GTX more stable than most boots in its weight class.
  • Instant out-of-the-box comfort thanks to a wide toe box, supple upper, and flexible underfoot feel.
  • Impressively durable for a lightweight boot with its resilient leather upper and heel/toe reinforcements. 


What We Don’t

  • Although the TX Hike is designed for mountainous terrain, some hikers and backpackers will want a stiffer, more supportive, and more stable boot.
  • Those with narrow or low-volume feet might find the boot to be too roomy.
  • Minimal protection due to the soft leather upper and thin leather reinforcements at the toe and heel (which aren’t as confidence-inspiring as rubber rands).
     

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (putting on crampons)


Comparison Table

Boot Price Category Weight Waterproof Upper
La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX $199 All-around 1 lb. 12.4 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Leather
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX $239 All-around/lightweight 1 lb. 10.8 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Leather
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX $199 Lightweight/mountain 1 lb. 11.8 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Synthetic
Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP $180 Lightweight 1 lb. 10.2 oz. Yes (eVent) Synthetic
Altra Lone Peak All-Wthr Mid 2 $190 Lightweight 1 lb. 8 oz. No Synthetic
Lowa Renegade GTX $255 All-around 2 lb. 2 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Leather


The Competition

The TX Hike Mid Leather GTX is a wonderfully agile, comfortable, and grippy hiker, but it’s not the only compelling option within La Sportiva’s lineup. There’s also a lot to like about the very popular Nucleo High II GTX, La Sportiva’s take on a traditional Nubuck leather boot. The Nucleo High II can’t match the class-leading traction of the TX Hike—particularly on rock—or protection in mountainous terrain, but it’s arguably the better choice for those who stick to established routes. You save a little weight with the Nucleo, it's well-padded and very comfortable (and a little more flexible, too), and breathability is excellent with an air-permeable Nano Cell insert underfoot. The two hiking boots also differ significantly in terms of fit: While the TX Hike runs wide, the Nucleo High II features a narrow last and is available in regular and wide sizes. All told, the Nucleo High II is a great match for everyday hikers and backpackers, but for $40 less we think the TX Hike offers similar performance alongside a boost in traction and comfort.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (hiking in forest)

If the TX Hike’s approach shoe lineage appeals to you, it’s also worth checking out La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II Mid. There aren’t many boots that can match the TX Hike’s traction, but the mountain-ready Ultra Raptor gives it a run for its money, with a Frixion XF 2.0 sole borrowed from La Sportiva’s climbing shoe collection. And with beefy toe and heel protection, more padding around the ankle, and a stiffer midsole and outsole, the boot has an overall burlier feel that is right at home in above-treeline terrain. But after giving both the low-top and mid-height Ultra Raptors thorough tests, we do have durability concerns with the design: The mesh upper does not hold up as well as the TX Hike’s leather, especially when paired with crampons (for more, see our Ultra Raptor II review). For serious climbers or backpackers the Ultra Raptor II Mid’s performance will be hard to beat, but most backpackers will be better served by the TX Hike Mid Leather GTX.

For those who stick to established trails, the Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP is an even more nimble option. While the TX Hike Mid Leather builds off the design of an approach shoe, the Trailventure feels more like a trail runner, featuring a cushioned midsole, airy synthetic upper and plush collar, and rockered outsole. Don’t get us wrong: It’s still a wonderful choice for hikers and backpackers—a full-length rock plate and decently stiff midsole offer moderate protection and support—but we wouldn’t push it on too technical of terrain. It’s worth noting that, like the TX Hike, the Topo also features a relatively wide toe box and comfort-first design. We’ll keep reaching for the TX Hike for trips above treeline, but the Trailventure 2 is a lightweight, comfortable, and swift-moving boot for less demanding routes.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (hiking on snow)

For those prioritizing comfort, the Altra Lone Peak All-Wthr Mid 2 is another minimalist hiking boot that’s easy on tired and swollen feet. It’s noticeably lightweight at just 1 pound 8 ounces and sticks to Altra’s formula with a zero-drop footbed and wide, “foot-shaped” toe box that offers a slipper-like feel. Some hikers love the close-to-the-ground experience of the Lone Peak—it’s a cult classic among thru-hikers—and it’s a particularly good choice for those with finicky, blister-prone feet. However, the Lone Peak lacks the secure lock, ankle support, and more precise fit of the TX Hike, and has fairly disappointing traction on rock. What's more, it's not fully waterproof (Altra classifies the boot as "water resistant"), which translates to more breathability but less protection in wet or cold environments. All told, we recommend against the Lone Peak Mid for off-camber terrain like boulder fields and scree slopes, but it’s a suitable choice for well-maintained trails.

If the TX Hike’s technical chops appeal to you, it might be worth checking out a full-blown leather boot like the Lowa Renegade GTX. This popular model features a hardwearing nubuck leather upper, tall collar, and stiff and burly outsole, all of which inspire confidence in mountainous terrain. As we mentioned above, sometimes you just want a tank-like boot for plunge-stepping down loose talus or kicking steps up snow, and the Renegade delivers in this category without sacrificing too much comfort on the trail (it also comes in wide, narrow, and regular widths). That said, the Renegade is stiff out of the box and won't offer the same sensitivity of a lighter boot, which can translate to less confidence on slabby rock or while boulder hopping. The trend is certainly away from bulky boots, and those who like to cover a lot of ground will be better served with the lighter and nimbler TX Hike Mid Leather GTX. 

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