LaSportiva TX2 Approach Shoes Review (and Friendly Foot Giveaway)

Over the last two months I have hiked a few dozen miles and climbed over 4000 feet of technical rock climbing in the new LaSportiva TX2 Approach Shoes and I’m ready to share my opinion on them. For those who aren’t familiar with what an “approach” shoe is I’ll explain. While approach shoes might look like cross training or running shoes the main difference in this category is the use of a climbing shoe type rubber for the out-sole (soft & grippy on smooth rock) and a fit that can be snug enough for technical rock climbing. They differ from climbing shoes by the addition of a mid-sole and foot-bed along with enough support throughout the shoe to allow one to hike (or approach) a technical rock climb in comfort.

LaSportiva TX2's Approach Shoe Review
LaSportiva TX2’s Approach Shoe Review

Climber ability varies but a rough guideline in my mind is an approach shoe needs to perform well enough to climb 5.6-5.7 terrain comfortably. For my review I pushed them up to 5.9 (Direct finish of Whitney-Gilman Ridge, seconding) and I’ll get into how they fared later in the review. But let’s get some of the basics out of the way.

Manufacturer Description:

A LIGHTWEIGHT, FAST-DRAINING, PACKABLE ADVENTURE SHOE WITH GREAT SUPPORT AND A STICKY SOLE.

  • One piece (seamless) polyester knit upper for amazing breathability, drainage, and comfort
  • Extremely lightweight and packable for harness attachment or throwing in a pack with the C2™ ComboCord
  • Uber-sticky Vibram® Mega-Grip™ rubber outsole
  • Flared fifth metatarsal area enhances stability and torsional rigidity
  • WEIGHT: 9.8 oz/ 280 g
  • LAST: Traverse
  • CONSTRUCTION: Strobel Lasted
  • UPPER: Zone knit polyester mesh / Liquid rubber rands / PU TechLite toe rand
  • LINING: Non-slip mesh
  • MIDSOLE: Traverse lite injection MEMlex / C2™ ComboCord
  • SOLE: Vibram® Mega-Grip™ Traverse-Lite
  • SIZES: 38 – 48 (half sizes)
  • COLORS: Black/Yellow

With that out of the way let’s take a closer look at some of the characteristics of this shoe that make it stand out in the approach shoe category, starting with the most obvious.

Weight/Pack-ability:

The first thing I noticed when I took them out of the box was how light they were.

LaSportiva TX2 Review
10.5 ounces

The manufacturer specs state “9.8oz” per shoe and my home scale weighed them in at about 10.5oz (size 42). Either way that is about 8-10 ounces lighter per pair than my Five Ten Guide Tennies (review) and my Five Ten Camp Four’s (review). The other unique feature to these shoes is how “pack-able” they are. Not only is the lightweight upper super collapsible but LaSportiva has added this extra elastic band that is stored on the heel and can be deployed over the other shoe to make a neat little package for either storing in a small climbing pack or even clipping to the back of your harness!

LaSportiva TX2's Approach Shoe Review
Pack-ability
LaSportiva TX2's Approach Shoe Review
Attach-ability

So they pack well, and weigh little… but how do they perform when actually on your feet? Let’s start with hiking performance and get into climbing performance in a little bit.

For hiking: The TX2’s use a “Traverse lite injection MEMlex / C2™ ComboCord” mid-sole which provides a firm, cushioned mid-sole that is very lightweight. It is in between the stiffness and torsional rigidity of the old Five Ten Guide Tennies and the new Guide Tennies (for those who have used both). When flexed it stiffens up noticeably at mid-foot. When combined with the Vibram® Mega-Grip™ Traverse-Lite sole there is enough support to keep my feet comfy after a few miles of rough alpine scrambling (a downside of the old Guide Tennies was they were too soft through-out leading to sore feet, an issue that was resolved with the newest model). The TX2 finds a nice balance of soft enough for climbing and stable enough for rough trail.

LaSportiva TX2 Review
Vibram® Mega-Grip™ Traverse-Lite

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LaSportiva TX2 Review
Descending Huntington Ravine Trail, Mount Washington

For Climbing: Two things matter when it comes to how well an approach shoe performs when moving over technical rock. Fit, and friction. Let’s look at fit first:

Fit:

These shoes fit me like a comfy slipper. My feet are fairly standard US Men’s Size 9, 42 EUR, medium width, slight Morton’s toe, feet. Getting these on takes a little more work than slipping into my Guide Tennies because the heel cup is so precise. Once laced up the heel does not move at all, even when edging on steep rock.

LaSportiva TX2 Review
Edge-ability

With the addition of a very soft fleece like rand on the inside upper I’ve worn these on a few climbs without socks and they are still ultra-comfy. I especially liked not having to pack sweaty socks in my pack when it was time to change into more aggressive climbing shoes. The lace system allows them to be worn more loosely for a casual approach or cinched snug for performance when roping up.

Friction:

The LaSportiva TX2 uses  Vibram® Mega-Grip™ rubber out-sole. While seeming designed more for adventure racing I’ve found it sufficient for slab climbing up to 5.6 and face/crack climbing up to 5.8. A dedicated “climbing-zone” is a somewhat quirky but effective design.

LaSportiva TX2's Approach Shoe Review
The Climbing Zone
LaSportiva TX2's Approach Shoe Review
Finding purchase 400 feet up the classic NH Whitney Gilman Ridge

Breath-ability/Drainage:

This is where the shoe design shows its “adventure racing” type appeal. The mesh upper, despite being black (not my first choice on HOT climbing days) is incredibly breathable. I climbed Whitehorse ledge on a humid 85 degree day and while I was a sweaty mess my feet did not feel the burn they would have if I was wearing my much less breathable climbing shoes. The downside (maybe) of such great breath-ablity is the complete lack of water resistance. Yesterday I barely tapped the water while crossing the drainage of an alpine gully in Huntington Ravine and I could feel the water almost immediately. 20 minutes later we arrived at our rope up sport for an alpine ridge climb and the shoe that had taken a bit of water was bone dry. So, water resistant? Not at all. Super quick drying? Yup!

LaSportiva TX2 Review
Top of Whitney Gilman Ridge, Cannon Cliff, Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Conclusion:

The LaSportiva TX2’s are a nice blend of adventure racing meets climbing performance. This is a great choice for fast-packers, ultra-trail runners, Tough Mudders, traditional/alpine rock climbers, climbing guides, scrambler’s, and more. The design is well thought out and the stitch-work & craftsmanship is what you would expect from the company that brought us the Ganda Guide and Boulder X. If you are in the market for a high performance approach shoe you should take a close look at the LaSportiva TX2, they might be the perfect fit for your next adventure.

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Buy on Backcountry

Buy at REI

Contest & Giveaway:

I’ll be testing more footwear over the summer/fall and the good folks at Friendly Foot have supplied me with a steady flow of the best damn foot-powder in the whole world. Every footwear review will offer a chance to win a bottle of this awesome sauce. For the first time ever I am using Rafflecopter to run the contest. Up to four ways to get entries! Contest ends 7/31/16 12:00am EST. To enter just click the link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: LaSportiva provided the author with a sample of the TX2’s for review. This post contains affiliate links which help to fund this website. 

 

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “LaSportiva TX2 Approach Shoes Review (and Friendly Foot Giveaway)

    • Tough to compare them to such a broad category as I have heard trail running shoes can vary greatly in longevity based on primary running surface (earth/rock/track/field/asphalt). That and my experience thus far is only a few dozen miles (and quite a bit of vert.), but they still look great for that amount of use. I wasn’t able to find out if they are using the “hard or soft” Megagrip and once I confirm that I’ll update here. https://us.vibram.com/company/news-events/news-press/article-megagrip.html

    • Hi Maiarb! I’m a pretty standard US Men’s 9, EUR 42, in most shoes regardless of brand. I’ve only ever worn one other style of LaSportiva shoes, the classic Mythos, and in those I went with a 41.5 that broke in perfectly as a “comfy trad shoe”. Hope this helps!

  1. Being a fellow White’s “goer”, would these offer adequate underfoot protection moving quickly on some jagged northern presi schist ? Thanks!

    • Good question! If the objective is 10+ miles and didn’t involve 4th class scrambling id opt for something like the Five Ten Camp Fours (review on my site). Definitely more underfoot protection with that beefier midsole/outersole combo. These give up some protection for better climbing ability. Always a toss up!

  2. Hi there. I want to buy a pair of TX2s. My feet are size 38 EU and quite slim and narrow, but when I tried them in the shop, I found them too tight. Ordering online and not having the half size, I went for 39 and now that I’ve got them, they’re too loose. Went back to the shop and tried 38 again. They’re very snug but I feel a lot of tension on the widest part of the feet. So I’m wondering if they will stretch a bit after some use? I’m concerned the 38.5 might not fit either and I’ll end up with two pairs of wrong sizes (and expensive refund policy!). I appreciate id you respond. Thanks.

    • Hi Neelu! Shoe sizing can be so tough sometimes! I wouldn’t expect them to stretch too much as they are mostly made from synthetics which won’t stretch like leather. While it’s impossible not to gamble a little bit with online ordering it sounds like the 38.5 might be the best fit for you. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

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