Italy is about shoes. The most common thing you see in Italian store fronts is shoes. Nearly every ski boot in the world is made in Italy. The country even looks like a boot on the map. Northern Italy is also about mountains, Alps, Dolomite. So if you’re going to run a climbing shoe and ski boot company, do it in Italy; do it since 1928; do it right. That’s the La Sportiva business plan. Check out my factory visit this past January.
In the early 1950s, Narciso’s son Francesco built a new advanced workshop near Tesero (in the same valley, see map below) where he produced leather ski boots. The La Sportiva brand was what you’d call “national” by the end of the 1960s, with perhaps a few boots being exported to North America. Later, the third generation of the Delladio family shifted the business to its “modern” focus on climbing boots and shoes, and now again to ski boots, with the recent addition of clothing and skis to create a complete line with unique Italian design flair.
Summary of La Sportiva ski boot line:
Stratos — Ultra light and ultra expensive, carbon race boot. One-motion change between walk and downhill modes. About 555 grams per boot in size 27.
Syborg — Grilamid plastic version of Stratos, about 800 grams per boot in size 27.
Spitfire 2.0 — Influenced by skimo racing and the Stratos project–external lean lock and ‘one motion’ type closure. A sweet option for speed touring.
Sideral 2.0 & Starlet 2.0 — All around ski mountaineering and ski touring boot. Grilamid scaffo and ‘one motion’ closure system that’s more internalized than Spitfire. Three optional cuff lean settings.
Spectre & Sparkle — Some of the lightest boots you can find that can still be called out for “freeride touring.” Scaffo and cuff exoskell both made with stiff Grilamid. Other than the improved instep fit over original version, no changes for 2015-2016. A very successful boot that’s in high demand.
Two most important things for this coming season. 1.) The boots are claimed to work with both tech bindings and Trab bindings. 2.)The last of the Spitfire and Sideral is said to be more friendly.
Look for town of Cavalese on map below. That’s where I stayed while visiting La Sportiva. The factory is a short distance to the east from Cavalese.
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.