Evolution is a beautiful thing, resulting in sublime forms such as the platypus, Brangelina, and now the La Sportiva Spantik. Still innovative after four years on the market, the Spantik represents all that is good in the alpine world.
The Spantik achieves the holy grail of boot design: it's a double boot that feels like a single boot. It even manages to feel lighter than its 5lb 1oz scale weight, combining and improving on the best of composite shell technology from the Nuptse and the mid- and outer-sole of the Nepal EVO GTX.
What this means to you is not having to sacrifice warmth for technical prowess or vice versa. Does it work? Not just yes but hell yes. On vertical ice at temperatures well below freezing it feels nimble and precise, yet even with just a liner sock on I never felt even a tinge of cold. The fit is just a little roomy in the toe box (I have slightly narrow feet) for a perfect fit once I added a thick mountaineering sock.
The lacing system is what you first notice on the Spantik. It's a single very thin lace on each boot that closes either with a velcro tab (inner boot) or by wrapping around a disc (outer boot). Here's the beta: modify the pull on the outer boot lace so it doesn't slip over the keeper knot and carry a spare set in case of breakage and you will absolutely love it. It sets the cuff to the desired stiffness around your ankle for great support and does not slip: hallelujah!
If you can afford the price of entry, rest assured that the Spantik is not just some marketing exec's overhyped glands at work; it delivers true innovation.
One response to “La Sportiva Spantik boot”
Used this boot on an ascent of the Upper West Rib on Denali in early May 2007. The boot is narrow enough that I could wear only one pair of socks, which was only a problem on summit day, when my toes became a bit too chilled for comfort. They’re a great fit for a narrow foot. Generally, these boots performed perfectly on Denali.
1. A great technical climbing boot.
2. Ability to lace up the outer boot without taking my gloves off.
3. Never froze my feet when putting the frozen outer shell on first thing in the morning (provided that I slept with the liners in my bag).
1. Really, really, really expensive.
2. The first rule of not freezing your feet on a really cold weather outing is “Don’t take your boot liners off until your feet are in your sleeping bag.” These boots confound compliance with that rule. The outer shell has a gaiter “gather” at the back of the top of the cuff, and the shell becomes pretty stiff in really cold temps. When it’s really cold, the gaiter thingy makes it virtually impossible to put the liner on your foot (while your feet are still in your sleeping bag) and THEN pull the outer shell on over the liner. Ditto on trying to pull the shell off in cold temps while trying to keep the liner on your foot. La Sportiva should lose the gaiter thingy. Wasted a huge amount of energy 2x daily on Denali struggling to get the boots onto & off of my feet without exposing my feet to super cold temps in the process.
3. The shell’s tongue system will brutalize your shins if you lace the upper up too tight.
4. The plastic pull thingy that La Sportiva installs on the end of the shell’s single lace WILL break off at the most inopportune time. Be proactive – Cut the plastic pull thingy off & tie a pull loop in the end of the lace.
5. The shell’s lace won’t last forever. Make sure that you get the replacement lace that La Sportiva supplies with each boot when you buy these boots.
6. The shell won’t survive jamming in cracks unless you’re wearing a supergaiter. The shell’s surface & its lacing system simply isn’t durable enough to take that kind of abuse.