After spending 10 days canyoneering in Utah’s Robber’s Roost this past fall, my approach shoes were done for. Yet, sure that I had not already scraped off enough layers of skin squeezing through skyscraper high, shoulder-wide sandstone walls, I still had two weeks of crack climbing planned in Indian Creek.
With a whiff of camper exhaust following me all the way back to Colorado and into Denver, I headed into WildyX to stomp on the carpet in multiple digs, a different style on each foot, a pile of merino socks at the ready, bells on my ankles, silly trucker caps on my head, and enough cardboard and tissue paper littering the floor to shame the UPS guy.
I have a slightly wide foot and so for years, I stayed away from La Sportiva styles because they pinched until my toes tingled and burned like I’d been dancing on wood pallet fires all weekend. Then my forefoot would mercifully fall asleep. But, at least in the store, the Women's TX3 Approach shoes seemed to fit. Ladies, you know how that goes: “Wrong size, Sugar, look good on you but you’ll be cussin’ your feet at midnight.” Long shopping story short, I bought ’em and don’t regret it.
La Sportiva North America has been making different styles for America’s wider feet in both rock and approach shoes for a couple of seasons. I’ve been writing about it but still felt skeptical since digits aflame is a hard feeling to forget, no matter how much tequila gets passed around the campfire.
The TX3s fit great, with a roomy toe box. Best part: They perform. Cracks will kill ya but if you’re going anywhere other than Chocolate Corner from the freshly paved parking lot, the approaches in the Creek can beat you down faster than the off-widths. Especially when you’re carrying half your boyfriend’s ridiculously sized rack on your back.
The TX3s are like a low-cut hiking shoe but the Vibram Mega-Grip outsole holds like nothing else. The round lugs and in-cut heel sniff off loose rock, so I experienced zero heel skidding on the steepest, trashiest slopes both wet and dry - especially great on the downhills in the lesser-known areas of the Creek.
These shoes are definitely heavier than typical tennies but if you’re looking at 500 vert of loosely packed scree, in the TX3’s you’ll be the first one back to camp singing “Bee double-E, double-R, UN” the whole way.
Since my Utah climbing trip, I have worn my TX3s on snow (they are not waterproof), mud, in the rain and on dry ground. They are hands-down my favorite hiking shoes, especially if I have on a heavy pack. They hold up nicely, and the mesh upper has not even frayed because it is protected by a thick rubber rand that wraps around the shoe. I especially like this synthetic polyester upper because it’s light and my feet don’t sweat.
The La Sportiva TX3’s definitely look Italian. I have the 2016 version and the turquoise upper with bright orange lacing and stoplight yellow accents are flashy. This year's are more subdued but I’m not picky about colors anymore. If I can run downhill carrying a pack stuffed with trad gear and not lose my footing once, I am a happy, singing, pallet-dancing camper.