The La Sportiva Glacier WLF boot is controversial to say the least, and that’s why we’re delving into it early on here. The fire boots have been plagued by reports of delamination issues while others sing their praises. We set out to get a better handle on it.
La Sportiva Glacier WLF Boot Natural 46
- The boots fit well. They’re snug but not too tight, providing good ankle support. The boot material holds up to the punishment of acidic soils in the Southeast, the chaparral-like spikiness of South African savannas, and the wet, cold of snow.
- They hold up well while burning piles in the snow or on the rare occasion when you have an icy, snowy broadcast fire. They don’t leak in standing water, but they also don’t come up as high as a pair of White’s or other more traditional wildland fire boots.
- These fire boots do benefit from being capable mountaineering boots. If your work only requires part time use of the boots for fire, then having a set that will cross over is nice.
- We have received numerous reports of delamination. Although we haven’t experienced it outside of the front toe starting to peel off a bit, it is widespread enough to be taken seriously. La Sportiva now includes a caveat to not wear the boots during fireline operations.
The standard laces that come with it can melt and snap easily with minimal flame impingement. We would suggest that you replace these at your earliest possible opportunity. The standard laces seem to be low friction, as well and are prone to coming untied during the day. Replacing this should also fix it.
Stability & Traction
- The soles can be slick, and with ice or mud on the ground, staying upright can be difficult. The lower height of the ankle coverage also leads to questions about stability and protection; for saw projects, we would opt towards something taller.
These fire boots are warm, fit well out of the box, and work well in certain areas of the fire environment. Just as you should choose the right tool for the job, so too should you choose the right boots for the job: we would not recommend these boots for dedicated IA or any sort of hotline operations, but we would recommend them for prescribed fire operations, pile burning, or any cold weather operations.