La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX Review – Conquering Peaks with Unrivaled Protection

Explore the in-depth review of La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX: a top-tier hiking boot blending durability, comfort, and superior protection.
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

Step into the World of Advanced Hiking Comfort and Durability with the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX Boots.
The La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX excels in providing a durable, comfortable, and weather-resistant hiking experience, albeit at a premium price.


Design & Versatility
Comfort & Support
Durability & Performance
Waterproofing & Breathability
Value for Money


  • Superior waterproofing and breathability
  • Robust durability
  • Outstanding comfort and fit
  • Exceptional traction


  • Can feel warm in extremely hot weather
  • High price point


Elevating Outdoor Adventures: La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

The La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX stands as a beacon of innovation and quality in the realm of hiking boots, designed to elevate the outdoor experience for enthusiasts and professionals alike. Crafted with precision and the adventurous spirit in mind, this boot promises to redefine expectations of comfort, durability, and protection in varied terrains and conditions.

First Impressions: A Glimpse into Excellence

Unveiling the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX, one is immediately struck by its robust yet refined appearance. The meticulous design and the thoughtful integration of materials speak volumes of its capability to withstand the rigors of the trail. My initial encounter with these boots was filled with anticipation, as I examined their structure, the Gore-Tex® membrane promising unparalleled waterproofing, and the Vibram® Nano soles designed for superior grip. The moment they were laced up, a sense of confidence and readiness washed over me, propelling the desire to test their limits in the natural world.

Context of Testing: Real-World Challenges

The testing ground for the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX was as varied as the landscapes that call to the heart of every hiker. From the damp, mossy trails of the Pacific Northwest, with their unpredictable weather patterns, to the arid, rocky ascents of the Southwest, these boots were subjected to a comprehensive examination. Each step taken was an opportunity to assess not only their immediate comfort but also their long-term endurance against the elements and the terrain.

In this introduction to the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX, we embark on a journey that goes beyond mere specifications. It’s a narrative woven through real experiences, challenges overcome, and the promise of many more trails to conquer. With each section that follows, we’ll delve deeper into the technicalities, performance, and soul of these boots, uncovering why they may just be the ultimate companion for your next outdoor adventure.

Technical Specifications

The La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX hiking boots are engineered with precision, embodying the synthesis of cutting-edge technology and superior materials. This section dissects the core features that set these boots apart, ensuring they meet the rigorous demands of varied outdoor pursuits.

Innovations in Comfort and Protection

  • Gore-Tex® Surround Technology: At the heart of the Nucleo High II GTX’s design is the Gore-Tex® Surround technology, a hallmark for waterproof and breathable footwear. This system not only keeps feet dry from external moisture but also allows sweat to escape, ensuring a comfortable hike in diverse weather conditions.
  • Vibram® Nano Sole: Offering unparalleled grip and durability, the Vibram® Nano sole is designed to tackle the most challenging terrains. Its aggressive lug pattern ensures stability on wet and dry surfaces, while the Impact Brake System reduces impact forces and improves downhill traction.

Materials and Design

  • Nubuck Leather Upper: The upper is crafted from high-quality Nubuck leather, which provides an optimal balance between durability and breathability. This material is carefully selected for its ability to withstand abrasions and its natural conformity to the shape of the foot over time.
  • 3D Flex System: La Sportiva’s innovative 3D Flex ankle technology allows for multi-directional movement, offering unparalleled ankle mobility while maintaining support. This feature is crucial for navigating uneven terrain, where adaptability and stability are key.

Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility

  • Eco-Friendly Practices: La Sportiva is committed to reducing environmental impact, incorporating recycled materials in the midsole and outsole, and using a water-repellent treatment free from harmful PFCs. This approach reflects a dedication to sustainability without compromising on performance or durability.

Comprehensive Protection

  • Toe and Heel Reinforcement: Added protection in high-wear areas, such as the toe and heel, safeguards the foot against rocks, roots, and debris. These reinforcements contribute to the boot’s longevity and the wearer’s safety.
  • Ortholite® Insoles: For additional comfort, the boots are equipped with Ortholite® insoles, which offer superior cushioning and moisture management. These insoles are removable and replaceable, allowing for a customized fit and extended lifespan of the boot.

The La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX is a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and sustainability. By melding advanced technologies with durable materials, these boots are crafted to support hikers in their quest to conquer the great outdoors, ensuring every step is taken with confidence.

Performance Evaluation

The La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX boots have been put through a rigorous testing process to evaluate their performance across various critical areas. This evaluation aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of how these boots stand up to the demands of challenging outdoor activities, focusing on fabric performance, weather resistance, and practical features tailored to enhance the hiking experience.

Fabric Performance

  • Breathability and Waterproofing: Thanks to the Gore-Tex® Surround technology, the boots excel in providing a waterproof barrier against external moisture while allowing for exceptional breathability. Even in strenuous hikes where perspiration is inevitable, feet remained dry and comfortable, underscoring the effectiveness of the membrane in managing moisture.
  • Durability: The Nubuck leather upper, combined with the Vibram® Nano soles, offers a robust construction that withstands the wear and tear of rocky trails, dense forests, and abrasive terrains. After miles of testing, the boots showed minimal signs of distress, highlighting their resilience.

Weather Resistance

  • Adaptability to Various Conditions: Whether faced with sudden downpours, muddy paths, or dry, dusty trails, the Nucleo High II GTX boots provided consistent protection and comfort. The waterproof capabilities were particularly impressive during wet conditions, ensuring that feet stayed dry without compromising breathability.

Practical Features for Hiking

  • Lacing System: The boots feature a precise and secure lacing system that allows for quick adjustments, ensuring a snug fit that supports the foot and ankle, reducing the risk of blisters and discomfort during long hikes.
  • Ankle Support and Mobility: The 3D Flex System offers exceptional ankle support without restricting movement, crucial for navigating uneven terrains and steep inclines. This feature provided a balance between stability and flexibility, enhancing the hiking experience.
  • Grip and Traction: The Vibram® Nano sole with its aggressive lug pattern ensured outstanding grip and stability on a variety of surfaces. Whether ascending steep slopes or descending slippery paths, the boots maintained traction, instilling confidence with every step.

In the realm of outdoor footwear, the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX boots distinguish themselves through superior performance, adeptly handling diverse conditions and terrains. Their ability to combine durability, comfort, and protection into a single design makes them an excellent choice for serious hikers seeking to elevate their outdoor adventures.

Fit and Comfort

The La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX boots are not just a technological marvel in outdoor gear; they are also a testament to the importance of fit and comfort in enhancing the hiking experience. This section delves into how these boots cater to a wide range of hikers with varying needs and preferences, ensuring a comfortable journey, regardless of the distance or terrain.

Tailored Sizing and Fit

  • Versatile Sizing Options: La Sportiva has meticulously designed the Nucleo High II GTX with a range of sizes that accommodate most foot shapes and sizes. The boots offer a true-to-size fit, which is crucial for obtaining the right balance between snugness and space, essential for preventing hotspots and blisters over long distances.
  • Adaptable for Different Body Types: Beyond the numerical size, the design of the boot accounts for different foot volumes and arch heights. The adjustable lacing system plays a pivotal role here, allowing users to fine-tune the fit around the foot and ankle, ensuring that the boot remains secure without restricting circulation.

Enhanced Comfort Across Activities

  • All-Day Comfort: Whether it’s a short day hike or a multi-day backpacking adventure, the Nucleo High II GTX boots provide sustained comfort. The combination of the Ortholite® insoles with the cushioned midsole absorbs shock and reduces foot fatigue, a boon for long days on the trail.
  • Breathable Interior for Extended Wear: The Gore-Tex® Surround technology not only protects against water but also excels in ventilating the interior, ensuring that feet stay dry from external moisture and sweat. This feature is particularly appreciated during hikes in warmer temperatures or more strenuous activities, where feet are prone to overheating.
  • Support and Mobility: The 3D Flex System enhances the boots’ comfort by offering excellent ankle mobility without sacrificing support. This system allows for natural foot movement, reducing strain on the ankles and knees, especially when navigating uneven terrain or carrying a heavy pack.

In essence, the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX boots achieve a harmonious balance between a secure fit and enduring comfort. They address the diverse needs of hikers, from the precision of fit to the adaptability across various activities, making them a reliable choice for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors with confidence and ease.

Pros and Cons

In evaluating the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX hiking boots, it’s essential to weigh their strengths and weaknesses. This balanced perspective ensures potential users can make an informed decision, aligning their specific needs with the capabilities of these boots.


  • Superior Waterproofing and Breathability: The integration of Gore-Tex® Surround technology offers unmatched waterproof protection while maintaining excellent breathability. This feature ensures feet stay dry and comfortable in various weather conditions.
  • Robust Durability: Constructed with high-quality Nubuck leather and reinforced with a Vibram® Nano sole, these boots are built to withstand the abuse of rugged terrains without significant wear and tear, providing a long-lasting hiking companion.
  • Outstanding Comfort and Fit: From the Ortholite® insoles to the adaptable 3D Flex System, every element is designed for comfort. The boots offer a snug, supportive fit that adapts to different foot shapes and sizes, reducing the risk of blisters and discomfort on long treks.
  • Exceptional Traction: The aggressive lug pattern of the Vibram® Nano soles ensures reliable grip and stability on a wide range of surfaces, instilling confidence in hikers traversing slippery or uneven paths.


  • Warm Weather Performance: While the breathability is commendable, in extremely hot conditions, the boots might feel overly warm, potentially leading to discomfort for some users.
  • Price Point: The high-quality materials and advanced technology come with a premium price tag, which might be a consideration for hikers on a budget or those who hike infrequently.

In summary, the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX boots offer a compelling array of features for serious hikers, balancing waterproofing, durability, comfort, and traction in a robust package. While they excel in most conditions, their performance in very hot weather and their premium pricing are factors worth considering.

Comparative Analysis

When placed alongside its peers in the high-end hiking boot market, the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX distinguishes itself through a few key areas. Compared to competitors like the Salomon Quest 4 GTX and the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX, the Nucleo High II GTX offers a unique blend of breathability and waterproofing thanks to its Gore-Tex® Surround technology. This feature ensures that the boots remain comfortable and dry in a wider range of conditions.

Additionally, its Vibram® Nano sole provides a level of grip and durability that is on par with, if not superior to, what is found in its counterparts. However, when it comes to weight and ventilation in extremely hot weather, some may find models designed with lighter materials and more ventilation points slightly more comfortable, although this often comes at the cost of reduced durability and protection.


The La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX is an exceptional choice for serious hikers seeking a boot that balances durability, comfort, and protection against the elements. Its superior waterproofing and breathability, combined with the robust durability provided by the Nubuck leather and Vibram® Nano sole, make it a standout option for those tackling diverse and challenging terrains. While the price point is on the higher side, the investment is justified by the boot’s performance and longevity. Whether navigating rocky ascents or muddy trails, the Nucleo High II GTX is equipped to offer a reliable, comfortable fit, making it highly recommended for anyone looking to elevate their hiking experience.

Further reading