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La Sportiva - Karakorum Mountaineering Boot - Men's

La Sportiva Karakorum Mountaineering Boot - Men's

25% Off
$236.25 Original price:$315.00
Changing the size selection, or changing the selected color after selecting a size, may change the associated price

Item #LSP0146




Tech Specs

Upper Material:
roughout leather (2.8mm)
high-density nylon (8mm), anti-torsion plate
SBR aircushion
Vibram Couloir
single boot
Crampon Compatibility:
Claimed Weight:
[pair] 4lb
Manufacturer Warranty:
1 year

Why We Like The Karakorum Mountaineering Boot

Designed for the intense level of NOLS and Outward Bound mountaineering courses, the La Sportiva Karakorum Mountaineering Boot delivers superior support and rugged durability for our long climbs and alpine expeditions. La Sportiva's Roughout leather is highly water-resistant, breathable, and tougher than a lumberjack's calloused hands. Add a Vibram rubber toe rand and outsole, as well as the wicking comfort of the Dry-Best lining, and this boot is ready to tackle our most demanding trips.

  • Burly, supportive mountaineering boot for serious missions
  • 3D Flex ankle hinge system cuts break-in time and adds agility
  • SBR Aircushion midsole absorbs shock and cushions long stretches
  • High-density nylon insole with anti-torsion plate bolsters support
  • Vibram sole and toe rand perform with confident grip and durability

Not gung ho

  • Size Bought: 44

Like other posters, I too found out that my heel did not remain seated in this boot. I can only surmise that it is because of the relatively linear lacing system. I was more impressed with the Makalu's which are a bit lower profile and have the more zig zag lacing system at the ankle.


  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: Runs small
  • Size Bought: 43

I had my eye on these boots for a while. Finally bought them and were worth the money! I bought them a year and 5 months ago they are still in good condition just can’t wear them In the rain anymore. I work outside 5-6 days a week 14/ hrs a day walking through gravel all day and climbing steel. I work in the electrical industry and recommend these for anyone who is on the edge of buying. Buy a half size bigger! My feet are really hard on boots and these by far have outworked any boot! Hope this review helps.

These boots are tough.

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: 47.0

I recently took these boots on a backpacking trip in Wyoming's Wind River range. We hiked from the Glacier trail trailhead to the Elkhart trailhead with a summit of Gannett Peak. The trail was at times rocky and rough, muddy and wet, and slippery and snowy. These boots were up to any task I threw at them. They were durable during the toughest parts of the trail and this trail takes a toll on gear. We ran into two other hikers whose soles had completely blown off their boots. They were easy to use with crampons and stiff enough to comfortably kick in steps and travel over snow. The boots are comfortable to hike in and tough enough for any challenge. After the hike there are only minor scuffs. If you're looking for a tough all around boot you found it.

These boots are tough.

great review, so do you recommend them with crampons?

great review, so do you recommend them with crampons?

Boots with crampons

    Boots with crampons

    Customer Service

      I called the 1-800 number and talked to a gear head about exchanging for a larger size. Their customer service is the best out there. I had no issues with getting my boots exchanged and they even shipped my new pair out after I dropped off the other pair at a UPS store. I will be ordering from these guys again and highly recommend. Oh, and the boots are nice too.

      Outstanding customer service

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: Runs small
      • Size Bought: 44.5

      Bought first pair of boots, wrong size unfortunately due to my sizing error. Returned via website assistance and ordered next set before Back Country had received the first pair back. I called them the following Monday and explained the situation, they understood completely. After all that I received my new boots and they fit and do everything I would expect them to do. Thank you Back Country for all of your help.


      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size

      I work in the woods for a living and use these boots almost exclusively off-trail on varied and rugged terrain. I have only used them for one season (= several days of hard use per week) but love them so far. Great fit, great support. They have every indication of lasting well and working hard for seasons to come

      Great Low Level Mountaineering Boot

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: Runs small
      • Size Bought: 45

      These have been great boots for me. They are definitely not going to replace your Nepal Evos but they are great for a short jaunt on a glacier or a day of climbing ice at Lake City. I use them quite a bit as a winter hiking boot as well as for climbing low level ice. I have enjoyed them quite a bit and look forward to continuing to use them.
      They are pretty easy to break in and really comfortable right out of the box. For bigger adventures and longer climbs I would recommend something that has both a toe and heel bail rather than just the heel.
      If you are looking for a daily rider that can stand up on some to some light mountaineering or ice climbing these guys are great.

      Great stout boot

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size

      I use these boots for backcountry hunting in western Wyoming. Heavy loads, off trail hiking, and difficult conditions are the norm. I feel the Karakorum offers a great middle ground between burly, full shank mountaineering boots that are too stiff to hike in and regular hiking or backpacking boots that are not supportive enough. The Karakorum's are stout without being too stout. Stiff enough to hike uphill off trail but not so stiff that I walk like Frankenstein on the trail. I feel the fit is great, nice and snug and supportive without being restrictive. I do not experience any heel lift and the toe box has enough room for my toes to behave normally. Boot fit is a personal thing, however, and these are simply my experiences.

      The boots have a significant amount of padding that seems to have an insulative quality. For me, this is good, as I'm typically out in colder temps with the boots. I haven't noticed any overheating when using them in late august and september, though.

      As far as waterproofness goes, I did manage to wet out the boots after a couple days of early season wet snow. I treated them with obenaufs afterwards but haven't been out in the same conditions since. Another point of concern is the synthetic ankle portion of the boots. This area drops low in the achilles area of the foot and is an access point for water or snow. If I expect to be out in wet or snowy conditions with these boots, I'll wear gaiter for the extra protection. I'm not sure if a gore tex version of this boot would change my opinion of it, but I am typically a fan of gore tex boots and typically prefer a fully waterproof boot.

      Lastly, I'm not a fan of the lacing system. The nylon loops where the yellow stitching is in the picture above do nothing in my experience and I would prefer for them to be farther out on the boot instead of close together on the tongue. Also, the locking d rings right below the nylon loops are a pain. I appreciate the ability to separate the tension of the laces below and above the ankle but the devices used in these boots are difficult to use. Hopefully sportiva figures out a better system.

      Overall, a great boot that proves that hunters don't need to rely on traditional hunting names for their gear.

      Great review for terrain I have covered. Thanks. Have a great life.

      "Daily drivers" and loving them!

      • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: 44

      I used to swear by the Vasque Alpine GTX boot. I had owned several pairs over a roughly 15 year period. Unfortunately, Vasque seems to have decided that manufacturing a decent boot is far less important than outsourcing manufacturing to China and selling a poor quality, over-priced product. So, I threw out the Chinese Vasque boot after about 3 months and was aggressively seeking out a better alternative. I had heard good things about La Sportiva and had a little experience with their cross trainer shoes. After shopping around and reviewing several different styles, I finally settled on the Karakorum in green because no one seems to make a black boot anymore and I refuse to wear a brown boot for whatever reason. So, I have been wearing these boots everyday, all day, since they arrived on December 7th. Granted, that's only a week, but we have had snow and near 0 degree F temps this week and I have ZERO complaints about this boot. They are warm, comfortable and appear to be waterproof right out of the box. I hope to use these this summer, as well, for camping and short hiking trips. I'm not sure if I'll be able to edit this review in the coming months if something changes, but so far, I really like these boots.

      Comfortable boot, terrible quality!

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: Runs small
      • Size Bought: 42

      I bought these boots on the recommendation from some co workers that had La Sportivas. Backcountry had a great price and I've had good experiences in the past buying hear from them, this was not one of them. I work as a patrolman in the utility industry and have to hike around every so often to inspect structures in the mountains. At first I loved these boots. They fit incredibly well, pretty narrow, which is good in my case. There was little to no break in period and the soles are nice and stiff. After a short amount of time of use the soles started to delaminate in several spots on both boots. I was pretty disappointed but thought it won't be a big deal because backcountry will warranty them. After emailing Sarah Orellana @backcountry I was surprised to hear that I was beyond their return policy and only the manufacturer can warranty them. She said she got the process started and emailed la sportiva and the backcountry warranty department which I should hear from both soon. I was extremely patient and after 3 months of hearing nothing, I emailed her again. She said that they were sorry the manufacture didn't get with me yet, but they were not responsible for my "abuse" and can't afford to get everyone new gear, and that I could try emailing the manufacturer myself. I was baffled, the pictures I sent her clearly showed the boots were in near NEW condition and the soles were pealing off them all over the place. I would caution anyone one buying these boots to keep an extremely careful eye on the soles, as my experience is backcountry will NOT stand behind their product and go the extra mile to help out long standing customers.

      Comfortable boot, terrible quality!

      Sounds like a lousy experience. Out of curiosity, did you treat the boots and with what?

      Sounds like a lousy experience.  Out of curiosity, did you treat the boots and with what?

      I think Backcountry's response was reasonable. They did not make the boot. Take it upon yourself to contact the manufacturer of the product instead of waiting for months for someone else to take care of it for you. Not to be overly critical of Stephen Darcy, but did you ever talk to Sporttiva about this?

      I think Backcountry's response was reasonable.  They did not make the boot.  Take it upon yourself to contact the manufacturer of the product instead of waiting for months for someone else to take care of it for you.  Not to be overly critical of Stephen Darcy, but did you ever talk to Sporttiva about this?


        with all these great reviews do I need to say more!

        Good in the right conditions

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: 45.5

        Very Water Resistant (especially when treated well)
        Versatile and well priced

        Poor form around the heel which allows lift and causes blisters. (my feet are average to wide and I chose a size having tried a size in each direction)

        I've used these boots for a number of moderate alpine style climbs in the Northwest. Often the approach was on several miles of trail, followed by scree, volcanic rock, and then ice and snow. Overall, I'm impressed with their durability and functional capacity. I've front-pointed vertical ice and kicked many of steps. However, I would not like to lead moderate water ice, because they are flexible, and it is possible that they could work out of crampons. Though, this never happened on short water ice routes with a top rope.
        On rock and in snow I love their performance. However, the fit around the heel is not great. I will often receive a blister after trudging through steep terrain for hours on end. They simply allow too much lift. Comparatively, the Nepal series have a better grip around the heel. I would certainly recommend these for exactly what they are marketed for - Heavy Backpacking and General Mountaineering (in good conditions).

        A sturdy dry weather boot

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: 45.5

        I got these boots for heavier duty hikes in the mountains and have worn them primarily in Kodiak.
        Tread: The sole is very aggressive and grips well on pretty much all types of terrain you can imagine. I also haven’t had any issues with the welt separating from the leather.
        Comfort: These are some sturdy boots and took me a little longer to break in. Out of the box they were stiff but I hiked 5 miles in them with no notable discomfort. I have noticed a slight rocking action when walking in these but it isn’t altogether unpleasant. I have a narrow foot and have never actually felt a boot snug up on the sides but this one definitely fits a tight, so keep that in mind when looking at them. I’ve had some close calls in these and I can say that the ankle support on these is also good.
        Warmth: People have mentioned that they are one of the warmer boots and I have with thick socks used them comfortably on day hikes well into the teens, but I wouldn’t recommend any extended winter or higher altitude wear. My feet sweat quite a bit and the lining does a good job of keeping them feeling dry but it takes a while to dry out, but that’s nothing a boot dyer can’t fix.
        Weatherproof: I didn’t exactly trust the whole silicone impregnated leather jazz so I treated them with Nikwax and I haven’t had a big problem with them wetting out. Water does seem to pool up right under the bottom lace and where the tounge starts on the boot so keep an eye out for that. I wouldnt trust them if the forcast called for extensive rain.
        Overall once you break these in these are comfortable for longer hikes and supportive enough for some rugged action along the way. They can put up with any 3 1/2 season abuse you can dish out. I know a few Coast Guard rescue swimmers that wear these when conducting mountain rescue and they have nothing but great things to say about them.

        OK boot. Review of 'HC' Karakorum model.

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times
        • Fit: Runs small
        • Size Bought: 43

        As a very thin guy I struggle to find boots that fit me relatively 'perfect' so to speak. Heel lift,pressure on the top of the foot and a lack of circulation are problems I face with most boots. However after a few weeks breaking this 'HC' model boot I found the fit to be quite good. Firm yet not too restrictive.
        The lace locking system for the front part of the boot is great for isolating that area and lacing with the tension to suit your preference,so as not to pressure the foot too much.
        The sole is grippy and solid.
        Plenty of support around the ankle,and reasonably warm. When I say reasonable,by that I mean for glacier hiking and spring/early to late winter mountaineering they are adequate if a bit on the heavy side. But recently in well below sub zero temps and whiteout conditions with strong gusts,I found my feet were rapidly cooling off within the space of perhaps 30-45 minutes which was most distressing. By the time I reached the comfort of a ski lodge to soak up a few brews,my toes were solid.
        They are marketed as one of the warmer boots,but don't treat them as a serious mountaineering boot even for lesser peaks. Here in Australia we don't have anything close to the American 14'er. But suffice to say I don't like the idea of taking those peaks on in harsh winter conditions. I have noticed people front pointing in these boots recently also. DON'T. They are far too flexible in the sole and not adequate for any serious ice climbing.

        In a nutshell these boots have great support and warmth compared to many other brands I have tried. But don't overstep the boundaries of their capability.

        The Karakorum Hc boots has not insulated material, so there are not suitable for climbing in high altitudes. That boots are great in mountain trekking or some low profile mountareeing with excellent socks.

        What is the "HC" boot?

        not water-crossing and storm reliable

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: 42.5

        These are great fitting and supportive for heavy loads, long trips, rocky terrain, but... I treated them as prescribed by La Sportiva with Nikwax aqueous waterproofing wax for leather, and Nikwax waterproofing wax for leather. The first river crossing was fine (with goretex gaitors) , the second resulted in about half the boot exterior being soaked, and the rain storm finally made them really wet all through, same day. On a 12 day trip, that meant wet boots for a long time because these don't dry out easily. I also found they don't breath well after being waterproofed, I've never had such smelly socks! Over the past 45 years, I've used a lot of different hiking/mountaineering boots and am returning to a synthetic, probably the Trango Cubes, since La Sportivas always fit my feet so well. Will use these as dry weather work boots with a thin sock because the toebox has shrunk from getting wet, even though I was wearing them during the days as they dried.

        Terrible quality

        • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: 45.5

        I bought these boots for goat hunting in Sitka, Alaska. After waiting almost three weeks for them to arrive I couldn't wait to get out there, break them in and get after some goats. Being my first experience with La Sportiva, I didn't know what to expect and was extremely pleased with the look, fit and feel of these boots. After a day of wearing them around the house I decided to go for a walk through a park with my family. We made a loop around a flat, gravel paved PARK. When we got home after our less than one mile stroll, I realized the sole around the heel of the left boot was separating. I'm no expert on mountaineering but I don't think walking around a park where the biggest obstacle is a group of geriatric tourists qualifies. I'll be sending these back promptly with no intention of receiving an exchange, only a refund. I will not be buying La Sportiva again if this is any indication of the quality of their products. I'm not mad, I'm just..... disappointed.

        Endless Potential

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: 43

        Let me preface this with saying I bought my first pair of Sportivas in 2002 on super deep clearance at a store in Dallas, TX. They took forever to break in. I wore them when I went to work the Columbia Shuttle disaster in 2003 and they were such a bear that I left them caked in mud out of spite. It wasn't until 2006 that my wife found them in a bag and admonished me for not taking care of them and wearing them which I did nearly continuously until 2010 when the leather cracked and the soles were shot...mostly from working construction while we were down and out in Portland...but hey that's all over now!

        After getting in shape for more challenging hiking in 2013-14, we've started exploring the more difficult hikes around and on Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, St Helens and the Oregon coast. It was sliding down part of Kings Mountain on the coast that finally convinced me I needed to get out of my Salomons (like the Merrells and Danners before them) and invest in a pair of real boots (especially since we're working our way into longer back country hiking/over night camping trips).

        I tried on several pairs of Salewas and Asolos at a local shop but kept coming back to the Sportivas because, at the end of the day: I really wanted a pair of boots that could be resoled, I'm a clydesdale so losing a few grams of weight in my boots isn't going to do much for me (I spent 11 years tromping around in Redwing loggers), and I felt I owed it to my first pair to Sportivas.

        These boots were a breeze to break in. My feet don't get blazing hot even with the lack of speed holes and gortex. They're stiff soled but not so much that it's like walking on a 2x4. The rubber is fantastic and thick. The tread pattern grips whatever surface I'm on like a champ and the ankle support is excellent.

        My third hike in them was up Tom, Dick, and Harry Mt (moderate hike up to 4900 feet with great views of Mt. Hood and all 5 mtns on a clear day) with my wife, mom, and her husband. On the way back down we came across a hiker with a severely sprained ankle and a group of people trying to fireman carry her sideways down the trail. After a discussion and elimination of other ideas to get her to the trailhead, I volunteered to piggy-back her down. She did a great job supporting some of her weight (and I had some help when I needed a break) but I ended up carrying her the better part of two miles, down 1500 ft of elevation on uneven terrain and across two rock fields. These boots were so great! I never had to think about my feet, the grip or my ankles. To prove to myself my adoration of these boots wasn't purely adrenaline based, I wore them to an Elle King show at the Wonder Ballroom that same night...still great.

        Can't wait to see where else these boots will take me.

        Endless Potential

        La Sportiva

        Adult Footwear
        4 35.5 5  
        4.5 36 5.5  
        4.5+ 36.5 5.5+  
        5 37 6  
        5.5 37.5 6.5  
        6 38 7  
        6.5 38.5 7.5 24
        6.5+ 39 7.5+ 24.5
        7 39.5 8  
        7.5 40 8.5 25
        8 40.5 9 25.5
        8.5 41 9.5 26
        8.5+ 41.5 9.5+  
        9 42 10 26.5
        9.5 42.5 10.5 27
        10 43 11 27.5
        10.5 43.5 11.5  
        10.5+ 44 11.5+ 28
        11 44.5 12 28.5
        11.5 45 12.5 29
        12 45.5 13 29.5
        12.5 46 13.5 30
        12.5+ 46.5 13.5+  
        13 47 14 30.5
        13.5 47.5   31
        14 48   
        15 49   
        Note: La Sportiva shoes are built on European half sizes which are smaller increments than US half sizes. This gives us four extra sizes per size run which gives you a better fit!