If the shoe doesn’t fit, you can’t wear it. No matter how much fanfare the Nucleo boot got, they just weren’t a great fit for people with wide feet. The Nucleo II changes that.
La Sportiva created a wider last for this update to its popular Nucleo Hike GTX boots. Plus, the new version made a few minor tweaks to the design that gained accolades for improving breathability in a waterproof boot.
But undoubtedly, the biggest change is the introduction of wide-fit options. That means more room (by 10 mm) around the widest part of the forefoot and a raised height over the toe for more foot volume.
La Sportiva Nucleo II High GTX Highlights
When it hit the scene in 2017, the Nucleo High GTX won praise for being a highly breathable yet waterproof hiking boot. La Sportiva made it to support moderate backpacking loads. Let’s recap the major design details from that boot, which have now mostly carried over into the Nucleo II.
- Durable Nubuck leather upper with GORE-TEX waterproofing
- Nano Cell inserts for airflow underfoot that work with the GORE-TEX SURROUND membrane for breathability
- Vibram Nano XS-Trek sole with impact brake system
- 3D Flex ankle hinge for enhanced mobility
When it debuted, the use of GORE-TEX SURROUND with a durable upper made of Nubuck leather stood out. The use of tech-focused on breathability with a robust material still sets this hiker apart from lighter-weight footwear.
Of course, the “surround” aspect of the GORE-TEX tech is really about airflow beneath the bootie insert, where the foot has the most contact with the insole. La Sportiva’s breathable Nano Cell mesh insert is visible on the sides of the boot, protected by a sort-of honeycombed webbing to prevent abrasion.
La Sportiva stakes its name on rock-based pursuits like climbing and scrambling, and that likely informed its design approach to these midweight hiking boots. In previous tests, our reviewers found the low-profile tread aggressive and the overall sole flexible.
The outsole uses Vibram’s Nano compound for added grip on dirt and rock. Uniquely, the back edge of the heel has an aggressive tread meant to catch on terrain while hiking downhill. La Sportiva designed this slightly rockered shape to keep that part of the heel from engaging otherwise.
The Nucleo II is available in men’s and women’s models, with wide fits available in each as well. They retail for $200.