at the real mountain & real money end of the climbing scale la Sportiva’s G2 SM‘s have been ohhhed and ahhhed at for about a year now. Simone Moro‘s pedigree behind them confers a degree of seriousness, and slotted in at Spantik-level they get attention by climbers who at it large.
but me…..im undecided.
not sold on them, yet…
once the limitations of the Spantik’s were felt i really hoped whatever came next build on that. and this doesnt feel like it. it may seem like its a new step, but theres little new here, and after a bit of messing about in them im not certain theres anything too radical going on. since my Spantiks fell apart again i defected to TNF verto 6000’s and was blown away, and use that as my current yardstick after about 160 days of use. honestly, these feel like a copy of the Verto Extremes with the Boa added for gimmick.
yes, the G2 SM‘s are light, but no lighter than The North Faces Verto Extreme 6000’s that came out 2 winters ago. bulk-wise, they are a bit less than Spantiks around the lower foot but nothing less than other super-gaitered 6000m boots. they still dont have the sort of dexterity you are wowed by unless youve come straight from Spantiks. sole-wise they feel like most other boots to walk in, not quite as rockered as Spantiks it seems. here too i have qualms as i quite liked the wider, more stable sole of the Spantik and Verto Extreme and find going back to a streamlined sole has a sacrifice of stability even tho crampons fit a bit better around the heel (something usually a minor issue with the broader-soled boots).
the G2 SM‘s inner is really what concerns me most – it seems very thin. i like how soft it is, but unless theres some very special technology no ones revealed going on im wondering how warm they are. now i dont doubt these boots are 6000-7000m worthy, but im wondering how much of that is in the inner. unlike the soft Primaloft inners of the Verto 6000’s, these feel little beyond a neoprene diving boot and im not envisioning myself wearing them about like i do with the TNF’s. they certainly dont have a durable sole to them. and then the closure system seems a backwards step as well with 3 crinkly velcro tabs and no real way to cinch them. not that the other closure systems for most inners are brilliant, but aside from being low profile to avoid pressure spots, this is fiddlier than any other – no ideal with cold hands or gloves.
perhaps the biggest thing is that with a thin inner – despite how insulating it all may be – to walk and front point in the G2 SM’s feel decidedly less firm. ive tried 2 sizes around my usual (for what its worth previous La Sportiva sizing with my other boots seems irrelevant here – be careful if ordering online) and even when ‘technically sized down’ they didnt have the feeling of integrity im used too. this of course could be manipulated with socks and inner soles – but again be aware, with the inner so soft, more sock-like than shoe-like, they may not take an inner sole as well.
as for the Boa; so what? its kinda cool (and Millet did it 5 years ago) but a long way down the list of important features. the double Boa thing is interesting and the way it needs to be done, and it is a degree of convenience, but with such a hefty boot theres a hell of a lot of winding to do. durability-wise i have no concerns with Boa’s directly, but i do have questions about how they may increase wear on the gaiter where they protrude against it. i look at the gaiters on my other boots and its obvious this is where they get a beating. the positive side is the Boa opens very wide, solving the on/off wrestling many big boots come with. nicely placed grab loops on both inner and outer help a lot too (tho a front one would be nice…) and after tearing the loops/tabs of both my Spantiks and Verto Extremes these seem much more solid. function-wise, im not fussed by the Boa, its nice but other systems are just as good and really i thought the Spantik single lace was the way forward – going back to super gaiters i felt a bit let down.
so i will stick with them a bit longer and maybe with some heavy use it will all come together. but im not getting the Wow! i got with Spantiks or Verto Extremes and wont be , laying down my own cash for them right away. they didnt seem to climb as well and they walked no better so as yet im waiting to be sold on anything other than a secondary factor of on/off ease.