The TX Guide is a durable, stable, and comfortable trail shoe that combines the best of La Sportiva’s expertise in mountain running, approach, and hiking footwear.
The TX Guide is La Sportiva’s newest addition to their TX lineup of approach and hiking shoes. I reviewed the TX3 a few years ago and loved it, but the shoe left we wishing for a little more cushion underfoot. La Sportiva has delivered the cushion and a lot more with the TX Guide, and bills the shoe as having “… the cushion and profile of a mountain running shoe combined with the lacing and sole of an approach shoe..”. I don’t do any climbing, but love using approach shoes for technical hiking and backpacking with a heavy load. The TX Guide has been a perfect fit for my needs, and has been my most worn shoe this summer. I’ll be covering my experience in this review with a focus on hiking and backpacking.
Sizing and Weight
I normally wear a size 11.5 US shoe, but wear a full size up to 12.5 for La Sportiva. This puts me in between their 46 (12.5) and 46.5 (12.5+). I find the 46.5 to be the ideal fit for the TX Guide, and I probably could have sized up to a 47 (13) due to the low volume toe box. For reference, I wear a 46.5 for the Jackal, Bushido II and Lycan 2.0.
My size 46.5 TX Guide weighs in at 14.73oz (418.4g), which makes it the heaviest trail shoe I currently rotate. The TX Guide is a robust and bombproof approach shoe that hikes like a boot though, so the weight is in all the right places. This is my go-to shoe for technical hikes, heavy packs, and slower days, so the added weight isn’t felt in the same way it would be for a trail runner.
Fit and Build
The upper on the La Sportiva TX Guide is constructed using a thick jacquard ultra-weave that provides phenomenal support and protection. The heel and toe are protected with PU caps, and a TPU overlay extends from under the lacing eyelets back to the heel. In short, this is a rugged mountain shoe that can take massive amounts of abuse without missing a beat. The downside to all of this protection is that the TX Guide runs very hot and doesn’t breathe very well. Even on cooler days at high elevation, I can feel my feet getting a little swamped. The jacquard ultra-weave also struggles to drain water and doesn’t dry very quickly when wet.
The midfoot fit of the TX Guide is on the narrow side and very similar to the Bushido II and Lycan 2.0. This fit combines with the jacquard upper and tpu overlays to wrap the midfoot for maximum security. Even with a heavy pack on talus, my foot stays locked down without any wiggle or slop.
The heel on the TX Guide has a very rigid heel counter provided by the PU heel wrap and fits very snug and secure. This heel fit has delivered many comfortable miles without any slip at toe-off or lateral wiggle. The heel is also very comfortable and well cushioned like the Lycan 2.0.
The TX Guide has a performance tongue like La Sportiva’s mountain running shoes, with a low profile fit and padding in the right places. The tongue is fully gusseted on both sides and combines with the jacquard upper to keep out all dirt and debris. I can’t remember a trail shoe that allowed so few rocks and pebbles to reach the inside.
La Sportiva utilizes to-the-toe lacing on the TX Guide for optimal fit in demanding conditions. As I mentioned before, I don’t use these shoes for climbing, but the lacing customization has been fantastic for hiking and backpacking. The laces remain snug all day and don’t relax or loosen throughout the day. I’m able to get them snug and tight for uphill peak bagging, and then loosen up the toe box a bit of smooth stretches of downhill hiking.
The toebox on the TX Guide is the one area in the fit that I prefer the TX3. The TX Guide is definitely on the low volume and snug side of things. I’m sure this performance fit is great for certain endeavors, but has definitely left me wishing for a little more width and volume on longer days. The PU toe guard up front is solid and has taken considerable abuse without much to show for it.
The midsole of the TX Guide is built on a very stable dual density platform. The forefoot (yellow foam) is made using a firm 40A EVA blend and the heel (black foam) is made using a softer 35A EVA blend. The firm forefoot foam is paired with a TPU torsion shank for additional stability.
I haven’t been able to find the heel to toe offset for the TX Guide, but my crude measurements place it with a 10-12mm drop. The estimated platform from my measurements have the TX Guide with 18mm of foam in the forefoot and 28mm of foam in the heel.
The performance of the TX Guide midsole has been stellar for my usage this summer. The firm forefoot and TPU shank provide maximum stability for technical trails and days with a heavy pack. I’ve hauled gear, food, and water for 3 (65lbs) without issue, and have hopped around on talus and scree that felt like flat land. The TX Guide has decent flex at toe off like a mountain running shoe, but retains the torsional rigidity of an approach or hiking shoe. I’ve tried a little running the TX Guide, but found it a little to harsh and unforgiving. This is definitely a hiking and approach shoe.
The TX Guide doesn’t provide the plush long-day comfort of a dedicated trail runner, but the softer heel does make this shoe a lot more comfortable than most dedicated approach or hiking shoes I’ve tried in the past. Underfoot rock protection is top-notch and blunts the impact of all sharp objects on the trail.
The outsole of the TX Guide is my favorite part of this shoe. As much as I like the La Sportiva FriXion outsoles, this Vibram design blows them away. For the TX Guide La Sportiva relies on Vibram TXG technology, a combination of Vibram’s Idrogrip and Megagrip compounds. Idrogrip is designed for use on wet and slippery surfaces, and Megagrip is designed for all-terrain use with great durability. The Idrogrip is the black compound on the forefoot and the Megagrip is the red compound on the heel. The Vibram Lug design on the TX Guide utilizes a unique lug pattern that provides grip in sand and rock, as well as traction on smooth granite and slick surfaces. There is also a flat climbing zone in the front for climbing and scrambling.
I’ve been wearing the TX Guide on steep and sandy ridge routes, Sierra talus fields, and rocky off-camber trails. I’ve been very happy with the performance of this outsole on all surfaces, and have felt as secure underfoot with the TX Guide as any shoe I’ve ever reviewed. Even with a heavy pack on damp rocks, this outsole has kept me stable.
The TX Guide is a very firm and stable trail shoe that has been the perfect option to handle technical trails and heavy packs. At $160.00, the TX Guide is an expensive shoe, but the durability and quality make that a fair price. If you love La Sportiva’s mountain running shoes for hiking and backpacking, but long for something a little more stable, the TX Guide is the perfect option. The TX Guide does run a little hot, has a narrow toe box, and lacks the comfort of trail runners, but the stability, protection, and durability are a fair trade-off for the right use case.