SCARPA MUSTANG GTX
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN TANNEHILL
August 02, 2007
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tannehillclan (at) gmail (dot) com
Colorado Springs, Co
5' 7" (1.70 m)
185 lbs (83.90 kg)
I am fairly new to backpacking, but I have hunted/fished/camped all my life in East Texas, Colorado, and California. My young kids (4, 10, 12) limit me to weekend overnight camping trips, or day hikes Geocaching. I am also an avid mountain biker. Currently I live in Colorado Springs, Co at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Pike National Forest surrounds me at 9000 - 14,110 feet (2743 m - 4301 m). Snow can happen 10 months out of the year and summer is the hottest reaching 65 F + (18 C +), the other months average 45 F (7 C).
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.scarpa.com/
MSRP: US$ N/A
Listed Weight: 49 ounces (1390 grams)
Measured Weight: 1 lb 8.25 oz each shoe ( 688 grams)
Weighed Together: 3 lbs 1/8 ounce (1362 g)
Other details: Size (from the inside of the boot tongue) 43 EU, 9 UK, 10 US m
Note: I own one other pair of Scarpas, a full leather hiking boot. It is size 42.5 EU and my toes just touch the end of the boot. My Hi Tec Altitude II hiking boots are 8.5 US, 42.5 EU and fit pretty good, but sometimes my foot slips in them. I have corrected most of that with lacing. My New Balance model 471 trail shoes are sized 8 US, 41.5 EU and my Saucony Grid Stratos 2 running shoes are size 8.5 US, 42 Eur.
From the web site:
Robust and versatile for hiking, trekking, and backpacking.
Gore-Tex® to keep you dry
Bi-directional ankle flex
Easily tensioned lacing system
PU wedge for shock absorption, microporous wedge
Vibram® sole offers excellent traction
Sole: Vibram® Megane Lite
I ordered a size 43 EU boot from Scarpa. I own one set of full leather Scarpas and they are a size 42.5 EU and my toes just touch the inside of the toe box. So I thought I would order these a bit larger for some thicker winter socks I would be wearing while hiking. I have a good thumbs width inside the toe box of the shoe.
I've been wearing these boots around a few hours each night for the past week to try and break them in before I get out on the trail. In the past I have been very prone to blisters, getting as many as about 4 per foot per hike. These boots feel really good straight out of the box. They are very well constructed with multiple areas of double and even triple stitching in areas like the toe box. (See fig 2 below)
The soles are vibram and felt a bit slippery on my hard wood floors the first few times I wore them around. I'm not 100% sure but they feel like there is a shank in them, as the soles do not bend a whole lot like my other shoes. I cannot find any information that says there is. The toe box is reinforced and triple sewn, which I like as I am always messing up my toe boxes. The laces are a mixture of webbing and D rings. Each D Ring is hinged to move with the shoe laces. There is one webbing eyelet holding the laces at the toe end of the boot, then there are four pairs of D rings, one more pair of webbing and then 2 pairs of hooks on the ankle section of the boot. (Fig 3 & 5) The tongue is gusseted all the way until the last 2 inches (5 cm) on the top part of the tongue. The laces are made of braided nylon cord. In my experience with this type of material, I find it does not stay tied very well. Is this the case with these laces? Fig 3 shows all the eye lets, the laces and the gusseted tongue and fig 4 shows a close up of the upper section of hooks and webbing. At each D ring eyelet, there is a double stitch running down the shoe and almost all the sections of shoe that come together have a double stitch.
|Fig 4 Close up of Sole and Lugs|
TRYING IT OUT
I've initially worn these shoes around every night for the last week, and a few times all day during the weekend. So far they are comfortable, and seem to provide a lot of support and stability. I don't really feel tired in them, as the soles seem stiff to me and help propel me forward while I walk. I can feel a little bit of movement on the top of my heel when I walk and I think that will be where the first blister shows up. I am a bit worried about the sizing though as I could not find a pair downtown to try on before I received these. I did have the other pair, but these seem to fit a hair big on me. I think I can fix most of the problems with certain lacing techniques to make the boot fit better and stay in place.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I've used these mainly on two trails where I live. One trail is called Stanley Canyon, and the other is called Eagle Peak. Stanley Canyon trail is 2.1 miles (3.4 km) long and gains over 1200 feet (366 m) from start to finish. The Eagle Peak trail is only 1.2 miles (1.9 km) long and gains over 2000 feet (610 m) at the finish. Weather was wet, snowy and icy on the trails. The trails are typical Rocky Mountain terrain, with lots of rocks and scree. I've also walked down around a creek by my house, and through a few meadows, up and over a few rolling hills, etc.
Weather has been mostly sunny with temperatures in the mid 50's F (13 C), with a few snow banks left around the trails. A couple of times I had a wet snow falling and temperatures hit the low 30's F (0 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I hike in typical Rocky Mountain terrain. Lots of rocks, scree and big hills. There isn't a good way to really measure how intense these hikes are as each person has a different standard. I like to give the reference of a geocache that is along both trails. On both Stanley Canyon and Eagles Peak the trail rating according to the Geocaching web site has a difficulty of 2.5 and terrain of 3.5.
Using the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) predominantly used in the Sierra Nevadas, I would rate both these trails about a high 3, and depending on weather conditions maybe even a 4. I've heard of ropes being used on one section that has a waterfall that freezes over the trail. True rock climbing begins at 5. These trails are by no means a walk in the park, but are not necessarily super hard.
I wore the boots around for a while to try and break them in. I spent about two weeks wearing them around the house in the evening just walking around the yard and such. On one of the first hikes I took with these boots, about 3/4 (1.2 km) of a mile into the hike I noticed the arches of my feet really cramping up. I think I have fairly hi arches. I wrote customer support about the foot bed in the shoes and they said they were made for normal arches, and suggested adding an aftermarket insert in the boot.
Here is a picture of my arches. I laid down some paper and walked about 4 steps across the paper with both feet wet. Hence the appearance of me standing still.
I have to admit though, I have not noticed my arches cramping anymore, thus I have yet to add an insert to them.
The longest distance I've done at one time in these boots is a little over 6 miles (9.7 km). I hiked up to Eagles Peak, and bushwacked my way across to Stanley Lake, and came back down Stanley Canyon trail. Once I got to the top of Eagles Peak, I had to stop and tape up my feet and relace my boots for some hot spots that were forming. The hot spots were on the back of my heels where the tendon comes into the heel. After that I did not have any other problems with these boots on this trip.
The boots are waterproof. Both trails have streams flowing through them, and both have had a few snow banks. I've walked through the streams, stood in the streams, and tromped through the snow banks with these boots. My feet have stayed both warm and dry. However when the soles get wet, they are very slippery on the rocks. I actually fell once coming down the trail as I stepped on a rock just out of a stream crossing and the sole slipped. I do not feel comfortable on wet rocks with these boots.
Even with a double knot, I have had both laces come untied while hiking. This is due to the braided nylon cord used as a shoe string in these boots. I have the same type of shoe string in another shoe and they repeatedly come untied. This is the most aggravating thing about these boots. I have to really cinch down on the strings and constantly tie them. Along those same lines, I have noticed the top hooks around the ankle rotate a little when I lace the boots up tight. I would also like to see the top hooks a little bit longer as I use a variety of lacing techniques that bring the laces back around the hooks a few times. This would give it just a little bit more bite.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have hiked primarily in the woods behind my house (AKA Pike National Forest). Like all the other hikes, I have hiked Stanley Canyon, and Eagle's Peak. Stanley Canyon trail is 2.1 miles (3.4 km) long and gains over 1200 feet (366 m) from start to finish. The Eagle's Peak trail is only 1.2 miles (1.9 km) long and gains over 2000 feet (610 m) at the finish. Weather was warm and dry on the trails. The trails are typical Rocky Mountain terrain, with lots of rocks and scree. I've also walked down around a creek by my house, and through a few meadows, up and over a few rolling hills, etc.
I do not hike long distances, and have only used these boots for a couple of hours each time out. Total mileage on these boots is around 40 miles over the last 4 months.
Weather has been mostly sunny with temperatures in the lower 80's F (26 C), there is no snow left as lows have been in the lower 50's (10 C)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I absolutely love these soles when they are dry. They worked well on the rocks and scree of the Rocky Mountains. I absolutely hate these soles when they get wet and I have to walk on the same rocks and scree of the Rocky Mountains. It is like a night and day difference when these soles get wet. While dry I have no fear climbing over any rock or walking any terrain. When they get wet, they tend to slip a lot on the hard rocks that are present on the Stanley Canyon trail. Sorry I'm not a geologist and I didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night....They were rocks, they were big, they were heavy, they were brown in color, they were slippery when wet. That's all I know about them.
Like I mentioned before, these boots are waterproof. I've stood in ankle deep streams and not had any problems with water getting into the boots. Since water does not get in very well, perspiration does not get out very well. I've found these boots better suited for colder weather as they keep my feet really warm and moist in the warmer weather.
I do think these boots were a bit too big for me. No matter how I laced them, I would get some sort of heel slippage and blisters would form. Blisters formed more than once mostly on the inside part of my heel. Once I stopped and taped them though I did not have any other problems. I do think the ankle support of these boots is good. I also never noticed my feet cramping after that one incident. I like the stiffness of the soles as I felt I did not tire out as easily while hiking in these boots.
While the laces did come untied often, some of the different lacing techniques I used kept enough tension on the laces to keep them tied. I mainly put a half turn in between each eyelet, lacing up through the d link eyelets, and then running the laces back down so that when I finished tying them off, the knot would be located further down my foot to keep pressure applied to my heel.
The boots are durable and have held up very well. I really like the reinforced toe box. That's usually where my shoes tear up and this one, having reinforcement and triple stitching has held up great.
In summary, I think these are a very good boot. The traction is great on dry terrain, not so great on wet rocks. But then, I'm not sure what would have good traction on a wet rock. They have held up well over the course of 4 months. The toe box has held all its stitching, and the material is very waterproof.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Things I like about the boot:
Things I did not like about the boot:
My foot perspired a lot in them, especially in the warmer months
Laces came untied a lot
Poor traction when soles where wet
Thanks to Backpackgeartest and SCARPA for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of Scarpa gear
Read more gear reviews by Brian Tannehill