Why We Chose the La Sportiva Aequilibrium ST GTX hiking boots: supportive, lightweight, waterproof
Along with their neighbours, Scarpa, La Sportiva are one of the world’s most reputable manufacturers of mountaineering, trail running and climbing footwear. Hailing from the Dolomites, a region of dramatic limestone peaks and with a proud footwear heritage, today La Sportiva’s products are a familiar sight at alpine refuges, on glacier crossings and on Britain’s own snowy mountain peaks too.
Their Aequilibrium range of mountaineering footwear is comprised of ultralight options for alpine adventures. Generally weighing less than their popular Trango series of boots, the Aequilibriums boast a similar level of technical competence and come with a range of features that make them highly protective, supportive and waterproof too. The ST GTX is the lightest model in the range.
Who are the La Sportiva Aequilibrium ST GTX hiking boots for?
Although lightweight for such a technical piece of footwear, the Aequilibriums are rather heavy for casual hiking and country walking. These are boots designed for protection on rugged and rough ground – think via ferratas, alpine trekking, glacier crossings and mixed terrain, the term for a mixture of snow, ice and rock. They are compatible with semi-automatic crampons, making them suitable for general mountaineering and winter walking but not for ice climbing or high-altitude mountaineering in the Greater Ranges. If you enjoy Scottish winter mountaineering up to Grade II or easier alpine routes, the Aequilibriums are a solid choice.
Materials and Construction
The Aequilibrium is forged from synthetic materials, with a water-repellent and abrasion resistant nylon upper that’s lined with Gore-tex to keep rain and snowmelt off your feet. The stiff Vibram outsole is highly durable and provides traction on a range of surfaces, with a flatter region at the front for effective smearing and edging.
An additional layer of protection is supplied by a thermoplastic polyurethane shield on the lower section of the upper. This layering is also found on the 3D flex system, a directional joint which is designed to support the ankle while granting it greater freedom of movement than is usually present in a mountaineering boot. Further protection is supplied by rubber guards for the toes and heel, a mainstay when it comes to boots that have to deal with the rigours of mixed terrain. The Aequilibriums also feature an innovative double wedge at the heel, which assists with braking when descending and makes for a smoother, less fatiguing ride.
It’s all well and good having rigorous Gore-tex membrane and water-repellent fabrics, but if snow gets above the ankle of your boot and you’re not wearing gaiters, your feet are going to get wet regardless. The Aequilibriums feature an integrated heel gaiter, which is also flexible to allow a comfortable, yet tight, fit. It’s quite common for the laces to wear away towards the front of a mountaineering boot, which is why a reinforced section of the upper covers the laces in this part of the Aequilibriums, protecting them from abrasion.