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Outbound Reviewed: La Sportiva Men's TX2 Approach Shoes

If they're good enough for Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold, they're good enough for me.

By: Liam McNally + Save to a List

This past May as a couple friends and I were heading into El Cap Meadow to relax the morning after an all day epic on Washington Column the day before, we saw two familiar faces breaking down their gear outside their van. Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold had just wrapped up a lap on the Nose only a couple of days before setting their unbelievable speed record and as they walked by, my buddy said, "Hey Liam, they're wearing the same shoes as you." I always loved my pair of La Sportiva TX2 but that really sealed the deal for me!

The TX2s really blur the lines between approach shoes and climbing shoes. I've never worn a hiking shoe or approach shoe that was quite so light, which is crucial if you'll be clipping them to your harness for a multi-pitch with a walk off or if you're like me and like to take off your climbing shoes for rappels. Clipping heavier shoes to your harness or even stuffing them in your pack can throw off your weight distribution and mess with your balance...not something you want when climbing. I also appreciate lightweight approach shoes for the same reason I appreciate lightweight hiking or trail running shoes. Especially after a long climb with a decent walk off.

In addition to being light, these shoes are also passable as climbing shoes in some scenarios. The combination of the defined edges and grippy Virbam sole mean that they can easily be used to climb in for easy pitches. Whether you're making some tricky moves on a class 4 approach or bouldering up a few feet to get a shot of your friend climbing, the TX2s feel just as great edging or smearing as they do hiking trails and walking across granite slabs. The TechLite toe rand helps you feel extra secure when digging in on a steeper approach on rock.

I'm a big fan of these Boulder Denim pants for climbing shorter routes or climbing on colder days.

As you can see above, the sole of the shoe is covered in these suction cup-like circles (which are made from Vibram rubber). They seemed a little gimmicky to me when I first picked these shoes up a couple years ago, but I feel like I can really feel them gripping onto every little feature of the rock. I even feel secure on steep descents on granite with virtually no features. 

I should note that I purchased these shoes a full size down from my street shoe size and in hindsight, I probably would've only gone down a half size. Similar to climbing shoes, a tighter fit means I feel the rock better and they slide around less, but a full size down was slightly overkill. However, they have molded to my feet a bit over time and fit quite well now. I tend to wear them with very thin socks or no socks at all and they feel great (I wouldn't go no socks for anything longer than a mile). 

The socks pictured here are my favorite thin hiking socks: The Muir Trail Socks by Wigwam

My one complaint about these shoes (that is almost certainly due to the sizing choice) is that the tongue has a habit of sliding towards the outside of my foot. In other words, sometimes there is a small gap between the tongue and the inside lining of the upper. It's mostly negligible, but worth noting in light of the sizing issue I mentioned earlier. I'm pretty certain this is happening because I keep the laces really loose again, because I sized down just a little too much. 

A really cool feature of these shoes that I only recently learned about is the ability to strap them together with the elastic bands at the heel. I was mystified for a couple years about what they were for and whenever I did clip them to my harness, I let them dangle individually. It's a slight difference to have them hang together, but like I mentioned about weight distribution before, even a slight difference can help.


Photos courtesy of Kristi TeplitzLiam McNally, and La Sportiva

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