Continuing with the expansion of the Trango line of mountaineering boots, La Sportiva added the Trango Tech this summer (2019). Next year will see further expansion, with a leather version of this boot hitting the market. The line now includes the Trango Tower, Tower Extreme, Cube, Ice Cube and a hiking boot version called the Trango TRK, in addition to the new Trango Tech.
The Trango name comes from the last, or foot mold, used when making the boots. Generally if one of the boots from the Trango line fits you well then they all should. However, there are always some small differences in fit as the different boots are designed for slightly different uses, and users. With that in mind, the Trango Tech is the lightest boot of the mountaineering line and is designed primarily for summer alpine climbing, scrambling and hiking. While the boot is crampon compatible, it’s not really designed for long periods of walking on snow and ice. Think of it as a cross between a mountaineering boot and a hiking boot, soft enough to be comfortable on the trail but still stiff enough for a little technical climbing.
- Weight: 630g each (size 43)
- Last: Trango (great for people with medium-width feet)
- Upper: QB3 Waterproof Fabric with Thermo-Tech Injection Coating for laces and stiffness
- Insole: 4mm PPE
- Midsole: Polyurethane with rear TPU Crampon Insert
- Outsole: Vibram® Cube with Impact Brake System™
- Construction: Stobel Lasted
- Crampon Compatibility: Hybrid or Semi-Automatic
- Gaiter-like ankle
- Versions: Men’s and Women’s
- MSRP: $269 USD
Fit and Feel:
I found the sizing on the Trango Tech to be very similar to the other Trango boots I have: the Cube and the Tower. The shape of the toe box varies slightly between boot giving them a slightly different fit and feel. The toe box on the new Trango Tech boot is a bit blunter and wider than the tapered toe on the other Trango offerings. For my medium-width foot this makes the boot feel a bit bigger, which may have allowed me to go down a half size for a more performance fit.
The flexible last and soft upper fabric on the Trango Tech gives the boot a very comfortable fit right out of the box and basically eliminates the need for a break-in period. It also makes walking more comfortable as the boot rolls and flexes very nicely with each stride. They feel much like a stiff approach shoe when walking.
The tongue design on the Trango Tech is very similar to that on the other Trango boot options, which is unlike a traditional tongue. Fully stitched along the sides, the design doesn’t allow any movement or shifting of the tongue fabric when walking, plus it greatly improves water resistance. The tongue is also fairly thick and padded where the laces are in contact, but tapers to a much thinner section along the sides where it’s stitched to the upper of the boot. The fabric is all quite soft and forgiving, allowing for a comfortable and flexible fit.
The lacing system is quite simple with a single zone (no ankle lock-out) and a single hook-around lacing eye at the top—a lacing system more reminiscent of a high-top approach shoe than a proper mountaineering boot, but it does keep the cost down and reduces a bit of weight. The penultimate lace loop is designed to really suck the heel into the back of the boot and works quite well when they’re done up tight. Overall a simple but fairly effective lacing design.
As with any boot, there’s a trade-off between climbing performance and walking performance. Generally, stiffer boots climb better, while softer and more flexible boots walk better. As you would expect, the very soft Trango Tech walks quite nicely. However this soft Strobel lasted boot walks well because the toe flexes, which takes away from performance in snow and ice where a stiff platform is needed. The boots are quite stiff laterally though, which allows them to perform reasonably well on the rock. The toes flex straight on for smearing but provide a fairly rigid platform when edging—a good compromise.
So to summarize, the performance is great for walking, good for rock climbing and poor for steep snow and ice.
I have only put a small number of days on the Trango Tech’s this summer as I have been testing quite a few mountaineering boots. However, the testing that I have done gives me a pretty good feel for how the boots will perform over the long term.
The Trango Tech utilize a new Vibram “Cube” sole with Impact Braking System, an identical tread pattern to the Vibram “One” soles used on the rest of the Trango line. This soft rubber sole seems to be performing very similarly to the One sole and so I expect its durability will be similar as well. That means that it’s a fairly soft sole and so will wear out prematurely if you spend too much time kicking steps in scree or hard dirt trails. Otherwise they will have a reasonable life expectancy and will likely allow for a single resole before the boots are worn out. Of course this is all speculation.
The fabric that makes up the upper part of the boot is fairly thin and I don’t expect that it will take much abuse to start wearing through it. The leather version of the boot that’s coming out next year will offer a more durable upper, but of course at the cost of a little extra weight —about 20g per boot. What does that mean? If you’re doing a lot of scree bashing you’ll likely wear the sides of the boot out quicker than you want. Otherwise they have a sturdy toe and should last.
Pros: Light weight, comfortable, great to walk in, climb rock well, no break-in required and good value for money.
Cons: Single zone lacing, quite soft.
Overall: A great crossover hiking-scrambling-climbing type boot that’s ideal for summer alpine adventures, so long as there’s not a lot of snow or ice on the route.
Black Sheep Adventure Sports was provided with a sample pair of boots for testing but of course this didn’t influence us in any way.