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Xplorer Review

Posted by: on Jun 20, 2013 | No Comments

I had the wonderful opportunity to see the Xplorer from La Sportiva before it came out while I was at  Outdoor Retailer. At that time I was very impressed by the shoe and excited for it’s release, and my first chance to try the shoe out came during a 3 day canyoning course with Zion Mountain School. This is their shoe of choice for everything and our shoes were just broken in enough to be comfortable but looked brand new. Our 3 days in the shoes were amazing and I was instantly sold, so I wanted to review the shoe from a out of the box onto the trail and this is what I found.

The Xplorer is made with great detail and quality, this is more a lightweight boot then shoe when it comes to many of the features. The lacing system is designed to pull the entire shoe around your foot securely with high frequency reinforcements placed along the lacing system. I really like how the shoe conforms to my foot allowing me to really get the most out of it hiking, climbing, canyoning.

Of course adding Idrogrip Vibram sole isn’t a bad thing either, with a multi zone sole the shoe allows the user to have more climbing stability in the toe and more cushion in the heal. It make for one hell of a approach shoe but I think goes WAY past that and provides the best canyoning shoe on the market. I use it backpacking or day hiking depending on the needs of the outing but they always are my choice when I visit the slot canyons. Working really well to assist me while rappelling, approaching, navigating the canyons.

The way the bottom tread is done really works, I find they almost perform as suction cups depending on the surface and force applied. The Xplorer has a midsole “Rock Guard” wedge that linking the shock absorbing heel and rubber toe cap to avoid any foot torsion you might experience. Walking down river you can step on a lot of rocks that are not visible which can be painful to the bottom of your foot, because the sole protect and your foot can’t roll in the shoe this isn’t much of a issue making you feel confident in your steps.

You can see in a lot of the details and finish that its a sturdy shoe/boot. That said, it breaks in like a boot. Don’t expect to just be throwing down big miles out of the box. They are stiff and sturdy, but with a proper break in will be the most amazing shoe to support your adventures. They are gore tex but high breathable which keeps bringing me back to them being a great shoe in the canyons.

They really provide great support for the hike/climb in to your location. But when knowing they might get wet or needed for technical work in the canyons, the Xplorer does the job superbly. I have used the Xplorer in many of our trips climbing and canyoning in Southern Utah to the Blue Mountains in Australia. Every outing has been great. The toeing abilitly of these shoes is fantasitc, La Sportiva says it’s due to a “Overwrap™ rand construction technology addresses edge roll issues by encapsulating the midsole in the rand construction, which lets you comfortably stand on smaller edges.”

Over all this will be a shoe I will use for some time and in many situations. At 13.5 oz they are light and sturdy enough to replace a hiking boot for backpacking. They will get close to dry over night without being next to the fire. You have two color choices and I’m sure more in the years to come. It is a narrow shoe but wouldn’t let it detour you from trying it on if you have a wide foot. La Sportiva does make a high boot version of this shoe which I think would make a great mid/heavy backpacking boot. You can find them for around $120 at your local shop or online.

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