Our feet are incredibly complex. The foot balances support absorbs shock and helps maintain cooling; in return the demands on footwear are equally complex. Hence the design of the footwear has to begin with the foot itself.
I have been a late starter in pursuing my passion for trekking in mountainous terrain and my initial forays were done using the Forclaz 500 from Quechua ( read here about the Forclaz ) . There is no doubt that the Forclaz 500 is a highly successful model but then in all fairness it has its own limitations and these limitations led to the search for a boot that would overcome them and provide yeoman service.
So for me, after lot of research and reviews I narrowed down to the LOWA Tibet GTX ( read here about the LOWA Tibet ). The Tibet’s are a great series of Boots and I simply love them . However, for a multi-day snow field trek which I hope to do someday I needed something more versatile and established than the LOWA and my research led me to this ….
La Sportiva Nepal Evo Gtx .
I have just acquired the boot and am raring to go into the field with it, however a preliminary blog post on the features that made me go for this piece of artwork is the need of the hour especially as the winter will soon wane and the climbing season will commence.
Background. Established in 1928 in a small town in Italy, the boots that the Italian Army used to conquer the mountains and eventually evolved into the brand La Sportiva . “To rise to the top is a goal, an instinct, a vocation and this is the mission of La Sportiva, since 1928”.
La sportiva mountain climbing boots have been the benchmark for a long time when it comes to climbing technically sturdy and reliable, they are ideal for climbing in the demanding environment. Using technology, the boots have evolved with each passing day. There are mainly three lines in the mountaineering boots – High Mountain, Nepal series and Trango series.
The Nepal series are technical mountaineering boots par excellence, recommended for use on high altitude terrain and climbing on technical terrain. When the mountains are a technical obstacle course of snow, ice and frigid temperatures, the La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX Mountaineering boot will be your foot’s best friend.
Construction: The Nepal sports a full leather upper which is a time tested and proven technology with silicone impregnation to resist wear and abrasion. To increase durability and protection, a high rubber rand surrounds the lower part of the boot. The lacing system is traditional and allows me to tighten or loosen where needed and is further enhanced by the presence of a set of locking eyelets just before the ankle. These divide the laces into two parts thus I can have two different levels of tightness which is a very useful feature indeed.
The usage of insulating Gore Tex lining makes it completely waterproof and breathable The insulation provided gives the boot exceptional capability from the cold. The sole boasts of IBS(impact Brake System O which has been developed with Vibram , also encompasses a forward facing scoop that bites into the snow to give increased purchase while moving downhill.
Material. Industry benchmarks with high grade leather, VIBRAM soles, Gore Tex liner and PU Midsoles. All these I have spoken above.
Other design feature of the Nepal includes the Lacing system. Lacing is a very overlooked aspect in Boots but makes an enormous difference in allowing the boot to fit right in place and be held there for the hours on the move. Lacing is one of the most critical elements for tension and pressure as required. This helps in maintaining the required pressure on the fore foot. As we move upwards, at the transition towards the upper ankle we have the flex fit lacing system that can pivot in all directions as per the shape of the foot. A simple great feature, moving as per individual foot shape and requirement. The transition from the forefoot up to the ankle is the most critical portion of the lacing and Nepal performs flawlessly.
The tongue of boots provides a great role to the foot itself and also is the cause of immense grief to many on account of a bad design. The Nepal has got it just right in this aspect. The tongue is made of a thick padding which is just about right. There is always a balance to be maintained between providing comfort, protection without creating bulk and Nepal has done it perfectly.
It is said that the La Sportiva Nepal EV Gtx is perhaps amongst the top three most durable mountaineering boots built, an opinion shared by many mountaineering enthusiasts and professionals alike. An iconic boots ever built, indeed a great piece of gear to own.
Key Result Areas:
Minimize Pressure Points.
Weight. It is a heavy boot and offers limited flexibility hence on multi day hikes it needs getting used to
Warmth. It is extremely warm hence cannot be used in warmer climates
Insole. The insoles provided are too thin and one needs to buy additional in soles.
Opinion. When it comes to a hard core boot that will handle the terrain and take care of your feet, the Nepal EVO is what you should look at. With all the equipment that I buy, I base it on performance and quality, not on Brand only or pricing. I conduct research starting with professional guides, read literature concerned and lastly the user experience is the single most important input. I hope this review will assist you in the purchase of your next boot.
Glossary of Terms
GORE-TEX: Gore-Tex is a waterproof, breathable fabric membrane able to repel liquid while allowing water vapour to pass through.
VIBRAM: VIBRAM is a special material used in soles of mountaineering boots which has revolutionized the way Hiking/mountaineering boots. It provides excellent traction, abrasion resistance