Call me old fashioned, but there’s nothing quite like a full-grained leather backpacking boot. La Sportiva’s Omega GTX boot offers excellent support and torsional rigidity in a refreshingly light package – throw in a Gore-Tex liner plus a Vibram sole and we have the ingredients for a really killer boot.
La Sportiva Omega GTX Features:
- Weight: 23.42 oz • 664 g
- Last: ErgoTrek
- Upper: Ingrasatto Leather/ Nubuck leather cuff/ Cordura® w/Lycra gussett
- Lining: Gore-Tex®
- Insole: 7mm Ergoflex
- Midsole: Co-Molded Symbios PU/EVA/ TPU torsion plate
- Sole: Vibram® Sasslong with Impact Brake System™
- Sizes: 38-48 (half sizes)
- Color: Grey/Rust
- MSRP: $240 USD
La Sportiva worked a bit of black magic by creating a high-support trekking boot at a magically low weight – at just under a pound and a half, it’s hard to touch the Omega’s light footprint. Even though these boots are light they definitely don’t compromise on support; the midsole is a high-density foam to provide impact cushioning, coupled with a half-length midsole plate to strengthen torsional rigidity; as a matter of fact, I was quite surprised that a half-length plate could provide as much support as La Sportiva’s unique co-molded SYMBIOS does. If you pick up the boot and do the typical REI test of flexing the boot in all manner of directions, you can easily tell that the Omega’s are strong boots.
I received these boots in late March and took my time breaking them in, partly because my feet are a little wide for these boots; the Omega’s are better for low-volume feet, so both my feet and the boots needed time to adjust to each other. Now that I’ve been hiking for some time with the boots truly broken in, I credit La Sportiva’s top-notch engineering and build quality for creating a boot that’s ‘smart’ enough to accommodate wider feet – we had a few disagreements early on, but I know for certain that a cheaper boot wouldn’t have been able to adjust to my feet like the Omega’s did. Keep this in mind, though: if you have high-volume feet, you’ll need some solid break-in time before the boots are comfy. For reference, I normally wear size 10.5 boots, width E; I ordered a half size over for this review.
Shrug on a heavy pack and point your feet at some backcountry to see where the Omega’s really shine. The boots are incredibly light, considering they provide the support that I’d expect from a heavy trekking boot – this allows you to slog more miles and keeps your feet nimble for technical trail late in the day. The Gore lining keeps your feet dry, but if you expect bomber breathability from a full-leather boot, you’re going to have a bad time. The Vibram sole is pleasantly luggy, but I personally found that performance suffered in wet conditions. The rubber is on the harder side (which gives it longevity) but it likes to slip on the wet granite that is ubiquitous during Spring in the Rubies. Moreover, the close-set knobs like to pick up mud and hold it – the heel area is especially prone, and you can imagine that I slipped coming down the hill once or twice.
La Sportiva’s eyelet/hook lacing combo is absolutely stellar. These are designed so that pulling the laces tightens the laces all the way down the tongue, not just the upper. Anyone who has spent five minutes fumbling with cold fingers to get obstinate lower laces to tighten will definitely appreciate this feature. Additionally, the tongue features a full-length gusset that provides water resistance all the way up to the mouth of the boot. The scree collar is soft and cushy, so your achilles tendon will stay comfortable as debris stays out. What I’m getting at is that these boots are very well designed – both the big stuff and little details received a lot of attention from La Sportiva.
- Lightweight and high support in the same package
- Top-notch design and build quality from the Italians
- Gusseted, full-length tongue is easy to get in and out of, keeps water out
- Dense midsole foam cushions impact very well
- Lacing system is well-designed and easy to pull
- This particular Vibram sole falls short in wet conditions
- Tread design holds mud, especially on heel
- No ‘Wide’ size available – these boots are not really for high-volume feet
The Bottom Line
A day hiking in the Omega’s is a day spent enjoying the outdoors without having to worry about your feet. They’re so light that your legs are considerably less tired by the end of the day, but they still provide loads of support for carrying heavy packs. I have to admit, this particular Vibram sole isn’t my favorite, but there are tons of good points which outweigh the bad. People with small, normal or slightly wide feet will most certainly have a lot of great adventures in this lightweight, full-support Italian boot.
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