Wednesday, October 25, 2017

La Sportiva Uragano GTX and Tempesta GTX Review - Quick, Lightweight, Agile All Mountain Shoes For Snowy, Icy, Wet Conditions

by Jeff Valliere with Sam Winebaum

Uragano GTX ($180)12 oz. (346 grams) US men’s size 9 (Unisex)
Tempesta GTX ($165)  – 11.3 oz. (320 grams) US men’s size 9/10.6 oz. (300 grams US Women’s size 8.5)
Both 29mm heel/19mm forefoot including 6mm lugs
Available now.
Left: LaSportiva Uragano GTX Right: La Sportiva Tempesta GTX
The newly released Uragano GTX and Tempesta GTX are very impressive all season additions to the already superb La Sportiva trail running selection.  The previous (and still available) Gore Tex winter stalwarts are the Wildcat GTX and Crossover 2.0 GTX (RTR review), which have been two of my favorites over the years for their great traction, protection, durability and top notch waterproof protection in the sloppiest of conditions.  The Uragano and Tempesta share all of those same properties, but are lighter weight and more nimble/agile.  The Uragano and Tempesta are essentially the same exact shoe, with the only notable difference being the built in 4 way stretch gaiter in the Uragano, adding 26 grams of weight and $15 in cost.

Jeff: The upper of both the Uragano GTX and Tempesta GTX have extended Gore Tex/Gore Flex comfort booties constructed of Airmesh with a Gore Tex membrane to offer a combination of breathability and waterproofing.  Under the foot, the Strobel board is a Gore-Flex which is waterproof/breathable and designed to improve run ability.  Quality and durability are both top notch.  While I don't find any shoe with Gore Tex to be particularly breathable, they are not uncomfortably warm in temperatures up to the ~60 degree F range.  I have heard occasional complaints that Gore Tex is too hot, but my feet are always quite comfortable in them within the temperature range where they are most useful, which for me can be anywhere from below zero to 70 degree days in deep wet Spring slush (though if 70 and dry, they will feel overly warm).
Sam: I deliberately tested the Urango on a warmer day, around 60 F and very humid. I found them quite warm in those conditions. I have also tested the Inov-8 ParkClaw 275 GTX on another day in very similar conditions. It has   the newer Gore-Tex Invisible where the membrane is bonded directed to the upper and is not a bootie within the shoe and found them for all intents and purposes at that temperature indistinguishable from a non Gore-Tex shoe. I also noted that while the Inov-8 has a dense but conventional upper the Uragano has a very dense closed mesh upper. When temperatures are lower and and wet increases as when I tested Uragano in the White Mountains of New Hampshire on a wet day in the 40's I experienced perfect temperature comfort and dry feet.

Jeff: Fit is somewhat on the small side, especially when factoring in a thicker sock for colder conditions, so for my lower volume foot that is just about always a size 10, I sized up to a 10.5 in both the Uragano GTX and the Tempesta GTX (as I also have done with the Wildcat GTX and Crossover GTX and other Winter specific shoes).

Sam: I agree with Jeff. i was sized up half a size and the fit is perfect with medium socks with great foot hold and lots of toe overhead room.

Jeff:  The upper is very comfortable and secure with no odd pressure points and enough room for me for some toe splay (part of that though is sizing up a half size).  Security is so good, that sometimes I just keep the laces loosely tied and slide my foot in/out without snugging up the laces.  I'll tighten them for a true run, but for simple casual use (errands, walking the dog in the snow, shoveling, etc...), they are fine un-tightened.

The heel counter is not particularly well padded and is a bit harsh, with only OK heel hold.  It has not yet been problematic, nor has it caused any true discomfort, but it is just a bit unforgiving.  I would love to see a more comfortable, well padded, better cradling heel counter, if only for the sake of comfort.

Sam: No issues for me with the heel counter. In fact the rear of the foot hold and stability overall is among the best, especially at the rear of the shoe of any I have tested this year comparable to the excellent Merrell Agility Peak Flex (RTR review) in its hiking boot security in a run shoe.

The toe bumper is very sturdy and protective.

Jeff: The built in 4 way dynamic stretch gaiter on the Uragano is not waterproof, but keeps out debris and adequately deflects snow from getting into the shoe.  It is also helpful to have the added breathability on warmer days adding to the versatility of the shoe.  It is slightly more difficult to slide into the Uragano than the Tempesta, but the pull tab on the heel is helpful when pulling both shoes on.

Sam: Getting into the Uragano is a "stretch" for sure, but I really appreciated the debris and moisture protection as well as the extra ankle hold and security of the stretch gaiter.  On the minus side, I will say it is very difficult to return the excellent and substantial Ortholite sockliner if you take it out to dry due to the gaiter.  The stretch gaiter reminded me of a beefier version of the gaiter in the trail racer focused adidas Adizero XT Boost (RTR review). On my warm test day I did feel heat building up inside the shoe and my socks were actually damper than after a day in wet conditions in the 40's due to the gaiter and the Gore-Tex. This said in snow or wet even a non waterproof gaiter is a huge help and keeps feet warm.

Jeff:  There is no adjustment around the cuff of the gaiter, but it fits taut around my skinny ankle.  There is enough give/stretch that I think it would be comfortable for those with much larger ankles than I.

I have found the lacing to be a touch problematic, as the laces are very thin and the plastic eyelets offer no resistance, so when I pull the laces taut, then go to tie my knot, they frustratingly loosen.  Not a huge deal, but slows the process and is slightly annoying, especially when cold.

Sam: I found the laces a bit thin. A flat thin lace instead of the round cords would  hold the top of my foot better and stay tighter. I found that by really cinching down at the start of my runs, a bit to much for permanent all run comfort  that I did not need to re tie that often as it seems I got most of the stretch out of the laces with the initial tie and then they expanded just enough on the run to give a secure yet not constraining fit.

Jeff: The lace garage here, you tuck in from the top, though is awesome, as you can quickly and easily stow the laces out of the way, so they do not get iced up in cold and snowy conditions.

Jeff:Very standard fare here, La Sportiva's Injection Molded EVA with TPU stabilizers, as is used in both the Mutant and the Crossover 2.0.  Cushioning is on the firm side, but the Uragano and Tempesta both feel a little more responsive than the Crossover 2.0, though I think much of that has to do with the lower weight and more flexible upper as well as Gore-Flex strobel board under foot.

Sam: The midsole is excellent for the any trail purpose. Firm, stable, and decent.y shock free on firm, hard packed trails with impeccable grip on anything slippery. It even has a bit of pop on the flats and hard pack but make no mistake this a big mountain bad conditions shoe first. As with the Mutant (RTR review), the Uragano is very flexible at the front of the shoe making it a great shoe for steep climbs as you can really dig the toes in.

That front flexibility has a minus side as there is no rock protection and especially so at the very front where the midsole is very thin. My  toes got quite tired on a technical rocky hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. On  more moderate single track I definitely had some rock bite if I landed or pushed off at the very front of the shoe.  Further back from that front thin flex area zero problems and no need for rock protection. There are always trade offs.

Jeff:  Again, very standard here for La Sportiva, FriXion AT V Groove with Impact Brake System, a winning combination of deep and beefy 6 mm lugs, made up varied rubber compounds for maximum stickiness and excellent durability and longevity.  Traction is amazing on wet rock, mud, snow and just about anything else, wet or dry.  The widely spaced lug pattern sheds mud very well.

Same outsole on both shoes, just different color (Tempesta below)

You can add La Sportiva Hobnails to either shoe for added traction in icy conditions for $54 (RTR review here in our winter traction roundup)

Overall Performance/Recommendations:
Jeff: I find both the Uragano and Tempesta to be ideal for most wet, snowy trails runs of several hours, when I am looking for added warmth, waterproofing, traction and something a little lighter, more agile and nimble than other dedicated winter trail runners, such as the Crossover 2.0 (which I would pick for longer outings with prolonged trail breaking due to their full zip weather proof gaiter covering the entire lace up area).  Both shoes offer impeccable cold and wet weather performance, top notch traction, excellent protection, durability and quality.  These are ideally suited for winter training on mountain trails, but they are also great on any other surface in the snow (though not so great for non snow covered roads, as they feel quite sluggish there).  I would have no problem wearing them for a snowshoe race either.

All in all, both are great new additions to the La Sportiva line up and I would highly recommend either (though if I had to pick, I would likely go with the Uragano, in favor of the added gaiter with very minimal weight penalty).

Jeff's Score: 9.6/10

-.2 for lacing, as it would be nice to more easily snug up
-.2 for heel counter, as a little more comfort/heel hold would be great

Sam: The weather protection is outstanding in the Uragano. It is a great shoe for cold and wet conditions while also adequate in more moderate weather conditions up to about 65 F.  While Gore-Tex uppers can be fine in more temperate conditions here the very practical debris gaiter tends to seal in heat more than a lower shoe might and the dense upper and Gore-Tex bootie construction do built up more heat and moisture than the newer Gore Invisible laminated directly to the upper.

As to performance on the trail, I was amazed at the boot like mid foot to rear of the shoe stability and foot hold. The underfoot platform and upper topped off with the gaiter had me thinking i was in an excellent hiker back there, while the agile, flexible forefoot had me feeling i was at the same time in a nimble if on the heavier side trail runner. This said, that versatility of experience came at somewhat of a cost of warm feet and thin and some times tiresome very front of the shoe toe fatigue and occasional rock bite.  When the world is covered in snow is when these disadvantages will disappear.  I expect warm, dry feet and that flexible front, as i found in its non water proof cousin the Mutant, allows great dig in the toes traction on snow. You can't have it all but for the roughest of trails but maybe not the longest of distances, for winter, and cool to cold wet conditions the Uragano is a tank!

Sam's Score: 9.7/10
-0.1 for "warm" not the latest version of Gore-Tex under a very dense mesh upper with a heat trapping but useful gaiter together reducing warm season versatility .
-0.2  for thin, very front of the shoe and lack of rock protection there. La Sportiva is generally not big on rock plates but even a thin very flexible TPU plate to better protect the toes, as in the New Balance Vazee Summit Trail v2, would be a welcome improvement.

For Jeff and Sam's bios see our Reviewers Bio Page here

The La Sportiva was provided at no cost.The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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Jeff Valliere said...


Unknown said...

great review. I am looking for some advice - I live in Northern Vermont and am looking for a winter runner - if you had to pick between the cross over, the uragano, or something like the Scarpa Neutron G, which one would you decide on? Thanks!