In a world devoid of trade shows with supply chain issues plaguing the entire outdoor industry, it has been hard for the gear tester to get a grasp on innovation for the 2021-2022 season. Specifically, the ski touring boot story is setting up to be a year of the status quo. Next year, most manufacturers will release 2021-22 lines with updates to colors and plastics, but with designs that stay relatively in-line to where they’ve been for the last two years.
That was, until the La Sportiva Vanguard emerged from the laboratory deep within Italy’s Val di Fiemme valley.
We’ve been waiting a while for this boot. Back in 2020, the WildSnow crew rolled into the Denver Convention Center excited to get a glimpse, but when we arrived at the La Sportiva booth we were informed the new boot was not ready for unveiling and wouldn’t even be put into production that year. Although disappointing at the time, it seemed to be the more responsible road less taken as many manufacturers — LaSpo notwithstanding — had previously opted for rushing to production and missing important fall deadlines.
Instead of producing the much anticipated ski touring shoe, the engineers retreated to Italy and to sure up plans for the new design. Later that year, on a night we can only assume was filled with lightning strikes and thunderclaps, the La Sportiva Vanguard was born. Although the diode bolts were chopped at the cuff pivots before the pre-production run was released, you can definitely see what took so long in development. A brand new overlap design is being employed, different from the traditional cabrio or any overlap design of the past.