Despite the much-publicised fact that the sneaker industry has been clocking a slowdown in international growth since 2023, trail/technical runners (as a subset of the industry) continue to do very well.
For 2024, we’re willing to put money on the continued diversification of the sub-category. As brands like Salomon and HOKA become more and more mainstream, trend-savvy shoppers are decamping toward underrated alternatives — a tale as old as time, really.
Enter La Sportiva: the Italian outdoor sportswear manufacturer still going strong, 96 years after it was first founded in Trentino.
Now managed by the third generation of the Delladio family, La Sportiva is firmly in its era of global expansion. The company rang in the new year with its first direct retail outpost in the USA — its 13th overall — and has been sustaining interest amongst fashion insiders with the occasional (and highly selective) collaboration.
Case in point: a 10-piece capsule with Janji, an American running brand well-known for its work with clean water charities.
All of this has laid the groundwork for the La Sportiva TX4 to potentially break big this year. Much like the emblematic Salomon XT6, this leather-constructed “approach shoe” borrows characteristics of a hiking boot, and of a trail runner; combining them in one ergonomic package.
But where the XT6 now appears to be a ubiquitous sight — in trendy inner city cafes and frequent flier lounges — we’d wager that the TX4 gives wearers a less played-out way to embrace the performance sneaker trend.
Unlike Salomon’s bestseller, the TX4 features a wide fit through the forefoot that is arguably even more comfortable. A quick inspection of the sole also reveals that the shoe combines a super-grippy outsole (the kind you’d use for traversal) with the proprietary La Sportiva “Impact Brake System.” Traction and stopping power.
Throw in a few truly versatile colourways — usually consisting of two primary shades, executed in visibly big surface areas — and you have the makings of a design that feels like the purest distillation of the mountain/trail running sneaker.
Now, if we could pap Robert Pattinson or the illusive Daniel Day-Lewis in a pair, that’d seal the deal.