The La Sportiva TX4 approach shoe is our winner for the best all-round approach shoe you can find out there today. We believe it strikes that all important balance between climbing performance and hiking comfort that is so difficult to find. Not only are there lots of different variations available for every demand but the quality of materials and construction is fantastic.
What are the benefits if you go for the TX4’s and are there any drawbacks?
- Basically a hiking shoe that climbs well too
- Keeps traction well on wet/loose terrain and on descents
- Good smearing and edging ability
- Heavier than some of the other options
- Not cheap
- Not waterproof (but a GoreTex version is available)
Weight: 380 g (13.4 oz) for 1/2 pair size 42
Upper: Suede leather with 1.5 mm protective PU TechLite rand and rubber toe
Midsole: Injected EVA-foam
Outsole: Mega-Grip Vibram sole with Impact Brake System
The unique thing about the entire TX series from La Sportiva is the fact there are so many variations. For example, fancy the TX4 without leather for greater breathability? Don’t worry, they have that too. Prefer the TX4 but as a mid-cut boot for great protection against ankle rolls? Or maybe a waterproof version made with Gore-Tex? They have you covered on all those accounts too!
In this review we’re going for the leather as we believe it’s a sound investment. Yes it is a bit more money but the leather will really provide that extra durability and that peace of mind from knowing your shoes are going to last a decent amount of time. Be aware that with the suede you can expect a bit of stretch but this will be minimised by the PU Techlight rand that wraps around the entire shoe. This rand adds both greater water resistance but also improves the durability of the shoe even further. Let’s face it, climbing can be a rough sport and you want gear that can stand up to the abuse.
The mesh tongue allows your feet to breath more and and helps prevent against overheating. Though watch out because if you walk in a puddle and the water gets through the mesh, you’re in for some wet toes!
A quick note on the laces, the TX4’s laces not only go down to the toes for greater customisation of fit but they also use the same lacing system as the La Sportiva Mythos climbing shoe. That is, they’ve removed the need for metal eyelets that are prone to various problems including breakage.
Like most approach shoes, the TX4’s midsole is made of EVA-foam. What’s different about the TX4 compared to the Five Ten Guide Tennies (one of the greatest classic approach shoes of our time) though is that the midsole isn’t as stiff. That means an out of the box comfort the Tennies can’t offer and with that flexibility you gain that slight improvement in hiking comfort.
The TX4’s midsole is still stiff enough to both edge and smear well but if after a while of standing on small footholds you may find your feet tiring. Something you’d have less of in the Guide Tennies. But if you don’t expect to stand on small footholds much in these shoes then that’s not an issue.
One of the best things about the La Sportiva TX4 is the tread pattern. You can just tell from looking at it that La Sportiva have taken a lot of care in the design of the lugs – their depth and placement. One of the top features of this shoe is what they’re calling their Impact Heel Brake System. This is a fancy name for a heel that’s designed to keep traction whether that’s going downhill or walking on loose terrain or even wet grass. They’ve managed this in the way you can see the lugs are spaced unevenly apart.
The vibram rubber used on the outsole is quite soft. This is great for added grip but does mean you may need to resole sooner than if the rubber was harder. One of the other benefits is the way in which you can feel the ground through the shoes as you walk. Wonderful when you want to feel for those smaller footholds when climbing or a better sense of stability when hiking.
All in all, the La Sportiva TX4’s are comfortable, durable and supportive. They offer a sensitive mix between climbing shoes, hiking shoes and trail running shoes. La Sportiva also have these in mid-cut and Gore-Tex versions for enhanced ankle protection and waterproofing if you need it.
All in all, the La Sportiva TX4’s are comfortable, durable and supportive. They offer a sensitive mix between climbing shoes, hiking shoes and trail running shoes. La Sportiva also have these in mid-cut and Gore-Tex versions for enhanced ankle protection and waterproofing if you need it. Though it’s not as cheap as the Five Ten Guide Tennie, if you’re looking for superior hiking comfort then it will certainly be worth the extra investment. You can check the price on Amazon here.