The Karakorum has a long, proven track record in the mountaineering and heavy backpacking realm. They are a proven classic in both Outward Bound and NOLS courses, more than a few combat deployments, and plenty of serious mountain hunts. While La Sportiva is relatively unknown by the hunting community at large, their products offer exceptional performance in our realm. Karakorums are at home off trail in the mountains and simply perform for serious Western hunting.
These boots are classic by the guidelines many of use to select boots. The combination of a tapered 8mm nylon shank and 2.8mm Perwanger leather mke them feel substantial right out of the box. However, they break in quickly due to their 3d flex hinge, adjustable tongue, and fully padded interior.
We have had many customers take these boots straight to the mountains after short break in periods. A surprising number are still hard at work after many years.
The upper is comprised of stout 2.8 mm Idro Perwanger leather. This particular leather comes from the corium, the toughest part of the leather and is silicone impregnated in the tanning process. To maximize and maintain the boot’s long-term waterproof performance, it’s a good idea to seam seal and/or Nikwax them. Since the leather is highly water resistant, the boot does not have a membrane and it’s surprisingly breathable in spite of being a highly padded leather boot.
As with most all La Sportiva boots, these sport a rand for added protection.
Outsole, Midsole, and Shank
Digging further into the boot we find the Vibram Couloir outsole. This deep, high mileage offering cleans well and provides great traction. The rear includes a tab for attaching semi-automatic crampons when snow and ice become a part of the mix. The tapered 8 mm nylon shank offers lots of support with a surprising range of motion. It also offers consistent support throughout its long working life. The SBR Aircushion midsole provides on-point cushioning for big approaches and long down-hill grinds while fending off heat and cold from the ground.
Internal Construction & Shape
Internally, the Karakorum is highly padded with a Cordura cuff. The padding works very well to cushion the foot for easy break in, and wicks moisture up and out the cuff.
This boot fits well on narrower D and C Width feet with a mid-volume heel.
If you prefer a more classic, substantial boot this one should sit high on the list as it offers exceptional life, high performance at an insanely good price. Tipping the scale to 31 ounces, it is very reasonable in weight for the performance and substance it brings to the table. These boots perform well for serious backpack hunts, and offer a little additional warmth for use on glacier hunts, in snow, or in cold conditions; but somehow do so without significantly decreasing warmer weather performance.
Frankly, we see this as one of the best boot options for professionals and serious hunters. They are substantial, super tough, good fitting on medium volume feet, and long lasting. If you are looking for a boot that handles big loads for long miles, the Karakorum offers great performance over a very large range of applications.