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jstluise

question La Sportiva Trango Tower vs. Trango Cube Boots

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I'm looking for a new boot to bridge the gap between my Lowa Mountain Expert mountaineering boot and my Asolo Powermatic 200 backpacking boots.  I've had the Lowas for 10+ years and only use them a few times a year.  They're nice but overkill most of the time for when and what I climb.  Everything else I've managed to get away with using the Asolos.  With something in between I could wear them for pretty much everything I do.

At first I tried out the Trango Tower Extremes, Trango Tower, and Scarpa Charmoz.  Extremes were more than I need.  Charmoz were nice, but the Towers felt the best.  Was ready to settle on those, but decided to try the Trango Cube as well.

The Tower and Cube feel very similar, which was kind of expected because the outsole/midsole are similar.  The Towers do have slightly more room (height) in the toe box.  The difference is in the uppers, with the Cube having the unique seamless upper with rubberized exoskeleton.  Pretty neat.  The Cube also has the adjustable tongue which I guess is cool, but I didn't notice too much difference in playing with it.  I've read a couple accounts of the eyelets pulling out of the exoskeletons, but other than that a majority of the complaints for both boots come down to wear of the outsole and rand.  So it seems both boots are also pretty similar in terms of longevity.

I'm still leaning towards the Towers because of the slightly larger toe box, but just wondering if anyone else has experience with either of these boots that could sway me one way or the other.  Same sole stiffness.  There's only a 1/2 oz difference in weight between the two pairs.  The Cubes have a slightly higher price tag.

Thanks!

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Oh, and if someone runs across this looking for sizing info, I can confirm the Cubes run small like all the reviews say.  The Towers are true to size for me.  I bought the Towers in 43.5 and 44, and Cubes in 44 and 44.5.  In terms of size comparison, Tower 43.5 = Cube 44, and Tower 44 = Cube 44.5.  The outsole/insole lengths match up exactly for those sizes.  Not sure why La Sportiva did this...maybe so they can say a 44 Cube is lighter than a 44 Tower, which is true, but when you compare models of the same length they are nearly the same weight.

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I have had the Towers for a couple Cascadian alpine seasons and really like them.  They seem just about right, but I still wish the uppers didn't have any of that mesh stuff on them.  Not the best for abrasion resistance in talus fields.  I think they are very comfortable on long approaches and climb pretty well to mid-fifth.

I think the Towers have more rocker in the sole than the Cubes?  I guess you would know if you've worn both. If so, might make the Tower the better choice if you are doing a lot of approaching?

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the input.  I agree they both seem like great options for climbing around the PNW.  Looking forward to using one of these on long approaches...I've done way too many trail miles in my Lowas :D I suppose the Cubes may have have better durability in the upper with protection from the exoskeleton, but there still is some exposed mesh like on the Towers.  This will be my first synthetic boot so I'm interested to see how they hold up.  The best part is I'll be saving 19 oz. over my Lowas and 8 oz. over my Asolos!

As far as the rocker goes, I'd say they are pretty much identical.  I wore one of each at the same time around the house and didn't notice a difference besides the slight volume difference in the toe box I mentioned before.

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Edited by jstluise
Fixed images.

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Well, there you have it.  Identical!  I'll ask my climbing partner what he thinks about the durability of the cube.  He's had them a few years more than my Towers.

The other thing I would mention is that my LaSportiva toe boxes only seem to get smaller with time.....

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32 minutes ago, JasonG said:

The other thing I would mention is that my LaSportiva toe boxes only seem to get smaller with time.....

This. I don't know how, but I swear its true.

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3 minutes ago, kmfoerster said:

This. I don't know how, but I swear its true.

Interesting! Are we talking during each trip or over the life of the boot? With my Lowas the toe box is always a bit snug at the start of each trip but loosen up as the day goes on. Rinse and repeat for the next day or trip. But they're leather.

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15 minutes ago, jstluise said:

Are we talking during each trip or over the life of the boot?

I would say over the life of the boot.  I think it is because the rocker gradually gets bigger as the boots wear in and the material flexes down on top of the toes?  I don't know exactly why, but it sure feels as if your toes don't gain room over time, even after you've walked for a while in them.

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After much deliberation and wearing the boots around the house, I decided to go with the Towers. I took them out for a few miles on a nearby trail and they felt okay. I did get some heel rub, but I kind of expected that with new stiff boots on mostly flat trail. They did feel a bit looser across my foot than what I'm used to, but it wasn't like they were sloppy.  Still, this likely contributed to the heel rub.

In my OP I mentioned the toe box size.  I realize now that I should have been talking more about the midfoot.  While the Towers might have a touch more room in the toe compared to the Cube, a lot of the difference I was feeling was across the midfoot.  After the hike I played with the lacing and I was able to get them feeling better across the midfoot, similar to the Cubes. The area around the tongue on the Towers are just a bit stiffer because of the traditional tongue, so it takes a little more effort to snug them down.  Easier to do on the Cubes with the different tongue.  So I'm hoping with a little break-in the Towers will get better across midfoot.

Not sure what the point of this post was.  Maybe just to say that shopping for new boots is the worst! :crosseye:

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15 hours ago, jstluise said:

Maybe just to say that shopping for new boots is the worst

Yes, yes it is!  And I think the Towers will break in nicely for you.  The first fit you describe was similar to my boots and now they are really great.  I would add that I always carry Leukotape on any mountain trip now.  THE BEST tape out there for dealing with hot spots.  Truly amazing stuff that will stay on for days and come off without taking your skin with it.

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13 minutes ago, JasonG said:

I would add that I always carry Leukotape on any mountain trip now.  THE BEST tape out there for dealing with hot spots.  Truly amazing stuff that will stay on for days and come off without taking your skin with it.

Leukotape is awesome!  I was introduced to it a few years ago and quickly added some to my first aid kit.  I've been fortunate over the years to not have many blister/hot spot problems but I'm glad I had the Leukotape last year when we climbed Jefferson.  I wore my mountaineering boots on the long approach and due to my laziness of not stopping to tighten/readjust the boots, I ended up with some hot heels by the time we got to camp.  Threw on some Leukotape and my heels were happy all the next day.  First time I used the stuff and was definitely impressed with how well it stuck and stayed in place.

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Welp! I had a change of heart! I switch to the Cubes and that's gonna be my final decision. After my test of the Towers, I continued to wear them both around the house and the Cubes grew on me. They seem to fit my foot/ankle better without any pressure points across the top of my foot and most importantly lock my heel down better without really cranking on the laces.  I think a lot of it has to do with the Cube's upper being more flexible out of the box, and I suspect the Towers will fit similarly after some break-in.  But, because the Cube's feel good now I'll play it safe and go with them.  I took them out on the trail yesterday and they felt really good, no heel lift at all.

My one minor gripe with both shoes is the "climbing zone" toe when hiking on a damp trail.  The toes are slippery!  Just something to get used to and be aware of I guess depending on the trail, so overall not a big deal.  I'm sure the toe is great on rock!

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Yep, i think you are right.  I thought my heels were moving around too much with the Towers when I got them, but then they broke in real nice.  Also, as they break-in, more of the tread will contact the trail. Or maybe you need to stretch your calves a bit more? :wink:

They do climb pretty well.

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