The La Sportiva TX2 is the nimblest approach shoe of the test; its sock like fit, flexible nature and sticky outsole urge you to almost run to the cliff. The polyester knit upper, soft injection molded midsole and sticky rubber outsole prioritize swiftness over protection to favor light loads and moderate trails.
Support/Stability The LaSportiva TX2 offers a wide base at the heel and forefoot (including a flare at the fifth metatarsal), providing a planted feel when standing and the pace/loads are moderate. The shoe has a foot hugging fit which keeps the foot fixed on the midsole, but the midsole is soft and thin, causing instability when pushed hard under load. The shoe relies on the fit for support, with little structural provisions (no arch cookies, soft heel cup) working much better for those with stable arches and ankles.
Protection The soft “MEMlex” midsole, while offering great sensitivity, makes the foot prone to stone pressure when the pace or loads are high. The one piece, thin woven polyester upper has “liquid” rubber rand overlays and a PU toe cap, all providing abrasion protection but little in the way of impact protection. The upper also allows water to enter quickly, but this also allows it to dry rapidly.
Comfort The La Sportiva TX2 fits high arched and low volume feet like a glove. Every surface of the foot is contoured by the seamless upper, which proved comfortable even without socks. The unique lacing system, borrowed from the company’s Mythos climbing shoe, allows tension to be spread evenly from the toes to around the heel. The soft midsole offers a cushy ride when the pace is relaxed and loads are light. Breathability is extremely high, but these shoes would also work in shoulder seasons with the right socks.
Quality and Construction Every material and construction aspect of the La Sportiva TX2 is executed cleanly and with obvious care. The woven upper and inner lining fabrics have a feeling of quality and even the laces are high end. The bonding of overlays on the seamless upper are well executed, all edges securely attached with just a hint of glue visible. All single stitches are even, straight and tight.
Performance The La Sportiva TX2 excels when the terrain is moderate, loads are light and getting to the route base involves slabs. The extremely athletic, high performance fit of the shoe, combined with the light weight and flexibility, makes the shoe willing no matter the speed of ascent or descent. The Vibram Mega Grip outsole with circular lugs gripped any hard surface with tenacity. Mud did prove challenging. Climbing 5.7 slab raised zero concerns. The lacing system (which extends to the toes) and flat climbing zone under the toes added to confidence on the slabs, but the flexibility allowed the shoe to roll when edging. The low toe profile and shape worked well with the shoe’s inherent conformity in cracks. A big nod goes to La Sportiva for creating the “C2 Combo Cord,” bungee straps around the heels that allows mating the shoes for either in the summit pack or clipped to the harness. Think of this shoe as a light trail runner turned approach shoe.
Seiji Ishii works as a trainer to professional supercross/motocross riders, adventure riding test editor at Dirt Rider Magazine and an AMGA certified rock climbing guide/instructor for White Star Mountain Guides/Austin Rock Gym. He lives in Wimberley, TX with wife Shay, 3 year old daughter Sequoia, 3 dogs and a cat. His personal time is spent rock climbing, any form of dirt biking, cycling, and training for the next mountaineering adventure.