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La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx Review

La Sportiva Aequilibrium top gtx
Overall
4.5
  • Comfort
    (4.5)
  • Protection and support
    (5)
  • Traction and grip
    (4.5)
  • Performance on rock
    (4.5)
  • Performance on snow/ice
    (4.5)
  • Thermal comfort
    (4)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

Dedicated technical mountaineering boot that impresses with its small volume and feeling on various types of terrain. It is characterized by innovative solutions and smooth walking thanks to the Double Heel construction. The comfortable and immediate FIT, along with volume adjustment with the Boa system, help make it a valuable companion for mid-mountain in winter, and high altitude in summer.

Pros

  • High comfort
  • Protection from the weather
  • Modular ankle mobility thanks to Velcro loop
  • Sensitivity on holds

Cons

  • Very dirty yellow rubberized banding
  • Resolable one time

The La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx is presented by the Ziano di Fiemme company as the “state of the art” of fast & light mountaineering on rock, mixed and snow. In this version it takes some of the technical contents and family feeling of the “G” series, revisiting them in a less extreme key. A technical shoe for those who are looking for that extra protection in the mountains and want to try something different.

la sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx

Technical features of La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx

  • Upper: Heat-taped ultra-high abrasion-resistant water-repellent fabric + water-repellent inner gusset
  • Lining: Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
  • Carbon-filled nylon footbed
  • Sole: Vibram SpringLug Tech with Impact Brake System lugs
  • No midsole
  • Water-repellent outer gaiter made of stretch Cordura and ultra-high-strength fabric with YKK waterproof zipper
  • Lacing: strap at the top, with BOA Fit System integrated into the gaiter at the bottom
  • Double Heel
  • 3D Flex System Evo directional joint with contoured malleolus and external fold lines
  • Weight: 748 grams (size 45)
  • Manufacturer link
scarponi la sportiva

Test mode

I used the La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx in early 2023. I tested them on various mountaineering outings, both winter and spring. I have gone from Vaji in the Piccole Dolomiti, to some mixed climbing in the Dolomites, and ending on the Goulotte of Mont Blanc.

Temperatures have been varied given the abnormal winter, ranging from tens of degrees below zero to decidedly spring-like temperatures on sun-exposed slopes.

testing la sportiva boots in a colouir

La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx on-site test

How they look

The first feeling you get is that you have a “prototype” in your hands, like those futuristic cars you see at trade shows, the result of design studies. Already at first contact, one perceives the care taken in construction and the feeling of solidity, while the heel sole is very reminiscent of the paws of ungulates, who know a thing or two about going over mountains.

The protection provided by the rubber rand is important, accentuated in this case by the gaiter that goes entirely over the inner upper and the Boa closure system. Once worn, one appreciates its streamlined shape, which conveys a snug and precise fit, and immediately feels like grinding meters of elevation gain on various types of terrain.

testing la sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx

Comfort and fit of La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx

The La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx have a special lacing, consisting of a Boa for closure on the back of the foot, and a Velcro collar for the ankle, all covered by a Cordura gaiter.

Insertion then requires fully opening the Boa using the special release mechanism, first “uncovering” the Cordura gaiter.

The feeling is quite immediate: the foot feels pleasantly enveloped by the upper, evenly and without areas of particular compression, although after the first few steps it was natural for me to act on the Boa and Velcro to better optimize comfort, especially on the heel area.

In this regard, as is also the case with the new models in the “G” series, the Boa slider could have been moved to the outside of the gaiter to be immediately accessible. However, this would have exposed it more to shock, given the “lower” conformation of the boot compared to the G2, G5 or G-Tech.

boa closure
The Boa system right under the gaiter

Very positive feel around the ankle. While being firm and supported due to the 3D Flex System fold, it allows good stance control and excellent mobility.

Walking behavior

The feeling of comfort is transferred in use, where the soft and snug upper provides very good comfort. In fact, although the sole is semi-rigid thanks in part to the Nylon/Carbon blend insole, the roll is very comfortable.

This is thanks to the specially designed sole, which flexes slightly, facilitating a natural and relaxed walk.

The double heel

I must say that I was particularly impressed in the downhill behavior of the La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx. On uneven terrain, such as boulders and scree, the Double Heel has a really effective braking action that allows you to move nimbly and quickly.

Behavior on rock and snow

The sole of the La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx has a front climbing zone interrupted by thin grooves to allow better grip on wet terrain. In addition, the tread pattern is distinctly pronounced especially at the heel level. Considering the number of resoles limited to one, this choice is dictated by the desire to have a product that is nonetheless durable.

sole of la sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx

On rock they reveal their nature as fast & light mountaineering boots, allowing you to feel your footing without it being misled by the rubber protection band. The shoe allows a good sense of what is underfoot.

on rock test

Another positive aspect is the good freedom of movement of the ankle, which is still adjustable through the Velcro collar. The foot finds itself facilitated in rotations and movements when climbing.

On snow, thanks also to the generous tread, the sole allows safe progression, keeping the foot sheltered by the gaiter that covers well up to the ankle.

If you want to dare something more on winter terrain, simply put on crampons.

Usage with crampons

As I mentioned, the La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx, are set up for semi-automatic crampons. Their use is facilitated by excellent ankle mobility, which allows the foot to adjust well to the slope inclination.

test with crampons

Initially, I was puzzled by the accentuated curvature of the sole, fearing suboptimal compatibility with crampons. Instead, I was able to appreciate how good the feeling turns out, almost immediately, thanks to their properly “proportioned” stiffness, also allowing me to climb on vertical ice and do some mixed climbing during the various outings.

La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx test

Only on one occasion, with particularly hard ice on the vertical, did the crampon loosen in the strike. This behavior is probably due to the beveling of the front profile in combination with the particular shape of the heel. I recommend, therefore, checking its fastening from time to time, although this is behavior that I consider “normal” with semi-automatic crampons.

la sportiva boot with crampons

Waterproofness, thermal comfort and protection of the La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx

Waterproofing is provided by the Gore-Tex Performance Comfort membrane. Of course, breathability is affected by the Cordura gaiter. It should be remembered, however, that this is not a trekking boot like its LT and ST siblings suitable for mid-mountain hiking in warm weather. This Top model is designed for mountaineering in mixed snow, ice and rock terrain, where I never felt any moisture stagnation at the foot.

Although the La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx are not designed as winter boots-they do not have Primaloft padding or the more thermal comfort Gore-Tex Insulated membrane-the thermal comfort is certainly good for the activities they are dedicated to.

Although I consider myself a cold person, during ascents in temperatures a few degrees below zero, I did not suffer from the cold, except after about 20 minutes stopped in powdery snow in a goulotte.

testing the boot in a gulotte

The materials seem strong. However, the yellow rubberized front fascia, even after the first few outings, showed signs of the rock steps and crampon use.

Speaking of the latter, pay attention to the gaiter: it is easily cramponable, although there is a plasticized sheath on the inside of the foot placed for protection.

Fit

I, who have a medium, high-necked foot, fit perfectly in my usual size, thanks in part to the Boa’s wrap-around closure. I therefore recommend purchasing the exact size.

Comparison with the Aequilibrium family

The La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx shares lightweight, durability and high comfort with its St Gtx and Speed siblings. Technologies such as the Double Hell, 3D Flex System and Vibram SpringLug tread are another common point.

The Top version is distinguished not only by the adoption of lacing via the Boa system, but also by the presence of the integrated gaiter and the collar equipped with Velcro for “high” closure. The top version thus finds its natural environment on goulotte, ridges and mixed climbs, while the low shoe Aequilibrium Speed combines typical features of mountain boots with those of trail running shoes. More versatile and dedicated to the general public of technical hiking are the ST and LT models.

Recommended for

The La Sportiva Aequilibrium Top Gtx are boots for those who enjoy a fast & light mountaineering version of the mountain, with even long approaches (but comfortable in walking) over trails and scree. Their ideal terrains are goulottes, ridges and mixed climbs.

In my opinion, after testing them in various conditions, their natural environment is mid-mountain in winter and high altitude in summer, even up to 4,000 meters.

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