Consider après skiing footwear. It is of course the après après we’re frequently after, but for prelims it’s nice to wear shoes more comfortable than clunky chunks of Pebax. (If you entirely understand that sentence, then you’re truly a skier in all senses of the word.)
Unless I’m in a wet climate such as Tahoe or the PNW, I’ve always preferred a simple pair of running shoes to slip into when we get back to the car or bar after ski touring. More, it’s sometimes useful to carry a pair of shoes in your pack if your destination involves a stay at a hut or restaurant, or a walk on a dry trail or road. Key for packable footwear is something lightweight and sleek, but sturdy enough for more than cleating a bar stool rung.
Enter the genre of running shoes that weigh less than 13 ounces each (size 10.5). Today’s pick: La Sportiva Skylite. These zapatos weigh in at a svelte 12.3 ounces (350 gr) each, size 10.5, yet still provide a sticky rubber lugged traction sole, fairly stiff last and various reinforcements so the nylon mesh upper doesn’t look like mouse food after your first dance. They also have a nifty gaiter over the laces that keeps dirt out and makes them comfortable for wear without lacing — for ultra-lite backpacking camp shoes you could even take the laces out, or do some hacking and carving to trim a few more ounces.
What makes these shoes stand apart is they’re a full-on trail run racing shoe — built to be as lightweight as possible yet still perform. That means they resist pronation, have somewhat of a shank, and provide decent ankle support. Thus, more versatile than than simply hacking up a pair of cheap running shoes so they weigh less. In all, using these saves me a few ounces over my normal running shoes, yet they’re better performing and just as comfortable . WildSnow two thumbs up. Shop for La Sportiva shoes here.
Oh, one other thing. La Sportiva has a full carbon fiber ski mountaineering boot in development which may be available soon. It’ll be an expensive limited edition, but fun to at least dream about. Can you imagine a ski boot that weighs about the same as a hiking shoe?
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.