The Blades are a solid pair of hiking boots that look and feel more like an athletic shoe than a hiking boot. They are comfortable, durable, and provide a good amount of protection while still being the lightest boots in the test. They aren’t warm enough for serious winter excursions, but with a pair of heavy wool socks, they are a great choice for many winter activities.
Support & Stability
The LaSportiva Blade is technically classified as a hiking boot, but it wears much more like an athletic shoe. It fits snuggly to your foot and provides very good support and stability even on unsteady surfaces. The Blade’s traction is some of the best of any of the boots we tested and provided a sure grip even on ice. The one drawback is that the ankle support doesn’t come up as high as most of the other boots and has only one eyelet to cinch it down.
Quality & Construction
At first feel, the lightweight Blades might seem less durable than many of the other boots on the market, but they only seem that way. The quality of the craftsmanship and materials of the Blades becomes apparent as soon as you wear them. The one strike against them is that the eyelets for the laces is made from fabric as opposed to metal or leather like on most of the other boots in the test. Other than that, though, the Blades seem to be able to kick it with the toughest boots in the test – which is quite an accomplishment considering they’re also the lightest boots in the test.
When it comes to a winter hiking boot, the Blades were not the warmest boots we tested and the cold began to seep inside them after only a few minutes of standing still. But that was about the only thing that detracted from the comfort of these boots. Their lightweight design hugged our feet and often made us forget we were wearing a serious pair of hiking boots. The Blades also feature a very flexible cuff on the back of the ankle that allows for increased flexibility on the downhills and doesn’t dig into you Achilles’ when you kneel or squat down. The Ortholite inserts cradled our feet and provide a comfortable fit right out of the box.
The Blades were the lightest boots we tested by a scant 2oz, but they felt much lighter than that. And while we were wishing for a little more weight in the way of insulation during excursions on especially cold days, overall it was a treat to wear a pair of boots that made it easy to forget you were wearing them.
For as light as they are, the Blades provided a surprising amount of protection. The TPU Microlite Skeleton laced across the sides of the boot doesn’t seem like much, but it did a great job protecting our feet from rocks and ice without sacrificing weight or flexibility. The boots might not have been the warmest boots we tested, but they did keep our feet dry even through the spring slush.
Christopher Cogley is a freelance writer who spends as much time as possible biking, hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoor playground of Western Colorado where he lives with his wife and two boys.