La Sportiva’s popular TX lineup runs the gamut from the minimalist TX2 approach shoe to the mid-height TXS hiking boot. Over the past few seasons, I’ve enjoyed my middle-of-the-pack TX3: an approach shoe with a great combination of breathability, support, and performance on both trail and rock. But after experiencing durability issues with the mesh upper, I decided to try the leather TX4. Since making the switch, I’ve been impressed: the TX4’s added protection, longevity, and waterproofing are worth the small weight penalty. Below we break down the TX4’s overall performance. To see how it stacks up, see our articles on the best approach shoes, best hiking shoes, and best women’s hiking shoes.
La Sportiva TX4 La Sportiva TX4 is a stunning combination of protection, support and traction on trails and makes it one of our most popular walking shoes to use for hiking. I tried the TX4 during a four-day, 35-mile hike through the Grand Canyon where we encountered all kinds of terrain, from mud to packed dirt, to talus and snow, and ice. It has similar Vibram Megagrip Traverse rubber sole that is also found on the TX3–a very sticky rubber that has dots of tracks on your forefoot and sharpier lugs on the heel, I felt safe on all the terrain that we encountered. The TX4 was able to surpass the performance of most of the lighter hiking boots worn by my fellow hikers especially in regards to the traction.
The TX4’s rigid, climbing-specific soles often give shoe for approach the impression of being more bulkier when hiking than lighter hikers however, the TX4 has a good balance between stiffness and flexibility. When compared to the thick brick-like soles in the Five Ten Guide Tennie, the TX4 provides a noticeable more natural bounce with every step. When we started our trek I noticed that my pair of TX4s did not have any break-in any way, however the leather upper quickly adapted to my feet throughout the beginning 10 miles. With a 40-pound burden in my rear, I experienced no hot spots or rubbing and was pleased with the soft cushioning underneath my foot. Additionally, the leather upper gives a tangible boost in protection–especially compared to popular mesh approach shoes and lightweight hikers. It was a long hike through the Grand Canyon was rife with rocks and sharp plants on the trails, but the TX4’s leather defended my feet where it would have been the mesh on the TX3 would have been a bit weak.
The upper is made of leather as well as a firm with a sticky, grippy bottom as well as a an ample rund at the bottom of the foot the Sportiva TX4 is a great choice for a casual shoe. Sportiva TX4 is also a top performer in technical rock. As I walked the low-class approach for The Monkey Face at Smith Rock I was able to sit on the edges of small rocks and rub smudges on the slabs with ease. In reality, I noticed that the smooth layer of rubber under the toe provides control and precision that is comparable to those of a climbing shoe. Furthermore, the slouchy and sculpted leather upper prevented my feet from soaking inside the shoe, which allowed me to walk on footholds and place my foot into cracks with precision.
Comparing against the mesh upper on the TX3 or the canvas uppers of the Evolv Cruzer Psyche The TX4’s upper made of leather enhances the shoe’s climbing capability significantly by adding protection, stiffness and a snug fitting. The upper of the leather Five Ten Guide Tennie offers an encapsulated fit that is a bit tighter and more compact toe box for technological precision, however these features are specifically designed for climbing and hinder security and comfort when hiking.
Waterproofing and Breathability
With a leather upper, the TX4 provides ample water resistance without compromising much in the way of breathability. Although the shoe does not incorporate a waterproof membrane like the Salewa Mountain Trainer GTX or La Sportiva’s TX4 Mid GTX, I have worn it through miles of snow and beside lapping water and have come away impressed. Water quickly beads up on the leather rather than seeping through, and during a particularly snowy hike to the rim of the Grand Canyon, my feet stayed dry until the snow became so deep that it entered the shoe at my ankle. Under repeated exposure to wet conditions, I expect the TX4 will wet out and grow heavy with water weight, but you can always enhance the waterproofing capabilities of a leather shoe with treatments from brands like Sno-Seal or Nikwax (although these will negatively impact breathability).
The breathability and waterproofing is the areas where the mesh TX3 as well as the leather TX4 are most different. The TX3 provides excellent breathability on hot summer days, but it does not have waterproofing in general. However the TX4 offers solid protection against water, great to hike in wet terrain or across snow fields. However, it has it lacks airflow. But it is, in contrast to Gore-Tex and other membranes that are waterproof made of synthetic materials it is breathable and natural. In actual fact, when I hiked in mid-60-degreetemperatures, in hot weather within the Grand Canyon, my feet did not once break a sweat. With both of my shoes in my collection I’ll choose the TX3 for ease on a hot summer day, and the forecast is crystal clear. However, I usually choose the TX4 to get the best of both worlds of breathability and waterproofing.
The pair I received (women’s size 8,) came in at 1 one pound 7.6 grams on my scale (2.8 pounds heavier than the stated weight) This is a decent figure as the footwear that is able to balance climbing and hiking capabilities. Comparatively, my identical-sized TX3s weigh just 1 one pound 6.7 grams on my scale. That implies that the TX4 provides significant durability in terms of water resistance, safety, and climb capabilities with a weight loss of only 0.9 grams. I think that the TX4 lightweight enough for me to carry it up a climb with the back of my harness and especially when I need protection and support for the descent or approach (such as the rocky canyons of Red Rock or glacial commute in the Bugaboos). In the case of climbing within an area that has relatively easy acces (think Squamish or Tuolumne) I’d rather go with an easier design such as Sportiva’s TX2 (1 1 pound 2.6 grams in the scale) or the Evolv Cruzer Psyche (1 pound 0.8 pounds 0.8 ounces).
Build Quality and Durability
With a thick leather upper, generously sized wraparound rand, and burly Vibram sole, the TX4 is an impressively well-made and durable shoe that is meant to last. I bored holes in the mesh upper on three pairs of TX3s in the last two years, assuming that the TX4 (which I had never actually tried on) was too heavy and bulky for my climbing style. However, now that I’ve tried it, there’s no going back. The leather upper of the TX4 offers much more durability at an insignificant cost and weight increase (less than an ounce and $5). Further, like the Five Ten Guide Tennie, the TX4 doesn’t lose its shape when wet, which is a common complaint with leather approach shoes (the La Sportiva Boulder X, in particular). All told, La Sportiva’s TX4 is a thoughtfully designed shoe that will stand the test of time.
Fit and Sizing
If you’ve tried on any shoe in the TX lineup, you know the drill: both the sizing and fit of these shoes are unique. For starters, most people find that they run large, so if you’re on the fence, we recommend sizing down a half size from your normal number. I have the TX2, TX3, and TX4, and wear a size 8 in all three instead of my usual 8.5. Second, both the TX3 and TX4 have a wide forefoot designed to increase both comfort and stability, which is uncommon from La Sportiva. As someone who has a particularly wide foot, I really love the fit of these shoes. However, if you have a narrow or low-volume foot, you’ll likely find the TX4 to be far too roomy. In the end, if this is your first pair of shoes from the TX lineup, we recommend trying on before you buy, or at least purchasing from an online marketplace with a lenient return and exchange policy.
Other Versions of La Sportiva TX
We tried the women’s version of the TX4 and it is also available in an male version for the same price , and has an almost identical design. The La Sportiva’s ever-growing TX line, the models vary from ultralight approach shoes (TX2) to a hefty backpacking boots (TXS). TX3 and the TX3 along with the TX4 are the most comparable within this class and the only significant distinction being the design of their uppers. For less than $5 TX3 comes with a mesh construction. net TX3 provides you with more airflow and a slight decrease in weight, but you’ll sacrifice water resistance, toughness protection, and perfect fitting. The TX4 is also available with a middle-height Gore-Tex design, which clocks at 2 pounds and retails for $190. The collection is completed with there’s the TX2 has the lightest, tiniest shoe for tackling while it’s the TX Guide is purpose-built for technical scrambles, with a lightweight soft, pliable, and sticky design (more about this model in the following paragraphs).
What We Like
- Unlike most approach shoes, the TX4 performs impressively well both for hiking and climbing.
- The leather upper is water-resistant without sacrificing much breathability.
- Compared to the TX3, you get more durability and protection without adding much weight.
What We Don’t
- The slightly large fit and wide toe box—built for comfort and stability—may be too roomy for those with low-volume or narrow feet.
- Leather can wet out and grow heavy and misshapen with extended exposure to rain or snow. You can apply waterproofing products, but keep in mind that they will impact breathability.
- This shoe is not fully waterproof, although La Sportiva does make a TX4 GTX for $190.
|La Sportiva TX4||$140||1 lb. 4.8 oz.||Leather||Vibram Megagrip Traverse||No|
|La Sportiva TX3||$135||1 lb. 4 oz.||Mesh||Vibram Megagrip Traverse||No|
|La Sportiva TX Guide||$159||1 lb. 5.5 oz.||Mesh||Vibram Megagrip||No|
|Five Ten Guide Tennie||$120||1 lb. 6.6 oz.||Leather||Stealth C-4||No|
|Arc’teryx Konseal FL 2||$145||1 lb. 3.6 oz.||Ripstop mesh||Vibram Megagrip||No (available)|
|Salewa Mtn Trainer 2 GTX||$200||1 lb. 11.9 oz.||Leather||Vibram Mtn Trainer Evo||Yes|
The La Sportiva TX4 is an impressive approach shoe that combines durability, protection, and performance in a lightweight and comfortable build. We’ve worn over 10 different models of approach shoes over the years, and the TX4 is our all-time favorite hands-down. But despite the high praise, the TX4 won’t work for everyone, and there are a number of worthy contenders. As we touched on above, the TX3 from within Sportiva’s own lineup offers similar comfort and traction and a boost in breathability for a slightly lower weight (0.8 ounces lighter per pair) and price. For those with particularly sweaty feet or hot summer objectives, the mesh TX3 is a great choice. But with much better durability, protection, and water resistance (and a negligible $5 price increase), we consider the TX4 the better all-rounder.
A more recent addition to the TX lineup, La Sportiva’s TX Guide slots in as a capable companion for technical approaches. For around $20 more than the TX4, the Guide is slightly heavier (1 lb. 5.5 oz.) but more sensitive, grippier, and softer, which all add up to excellent trail comfort and climbing capability. Other differences include a narrower last (especially in the toe box), and the mesh upper isn’t as durable or form-fitting as the TX4’s leather construction. All told, the TX4 retains its spot as our favorite overall approach shoe, but the Guide model is an intriguing alternative if you’re more inclined to long days of technical mountain scrambling.vvvvv
Like the TX4 similar to the TX4, the Five Ten Guide Tennie is a genuine leather shoe that has remarkable durability and climbing capabilities which is $20 less expensive in comparison to it’s counterpart, the Sportiva ( see our detailed Review on this page). The upper leather is more durable than the TX4 and comes with a rigid sole, a narrow shoe box and a smooth edge platform (similar to climbing shoes) and the Guide Tennie arguably is the best option for those who want to climb. But I did find it difficult to use the Five Ten to be prohibitively heavy and stiff on the trail. The lower ankle design compromises safety and comfort. Additionally, even though the rubber sole is a great fit on the rock, it lacks the grip on mud, snow or wet, soaked leaves. This TX4 Guide is a favorite among climbers . It does cut off about a ounce for each pair, however, it’s the TX4 offers more cushioning, is better for hiking and has the edge from us as our top shoes for tackling in leather.
Shoes for approach climbing made of leather like those of the TX4 or Guide Tennie are at the top of the line in terms of endurance and fit, however, their synthetic Arc’teryx Conseal FL 2 isn’t too far in the middle. It weighs just 1 pound 3.6 grams The Konseal FL shaves weight with an upper made of ripstop and a sleek, streamlined design that makes it more adept on technical rocks over the TX4. It doesn’t have the comfortable shape-fitting, leather-like feel however the Konseal is extremely robust for a mesh shoe (significantly more that the TX3) We like the fact that the upper dry quickly and doesn’t become weighty when wet. We’ll stick to the TX series due to its ease of use when navigating long distances however this Konseal FL is a fascinating option for missions where the breathability and durability are crucial.
In the end, if you’re looking for an alpine speed, a hiking shoe is ideal for long hikes with a large pack. This model Salewa Mountain Trainer 2 GTX–Jackson Hole Mountain Guides’ preferred shoe for hiking in the Tetons–is sturdy, safe and sturdy shoe made by a membrane that is waterproof to provide extra security. It’s a bit more expensive both in price ($200) in weight (1 1 lb. 11.9 oz. for the female version) However, we believe it’s a good trade-off for those who are logging substantial distances on trails. If not it’s the TX4 is the more complete model for those who do lots of scrambling and hiking.