SCARPA Rapid LT Light Hiking Shoe
lb (89.40 kg)
in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have
backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I prefer trips on
rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously
strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me.
I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not
including consumables, to under 30 lbs (14 kg).
|320g; 11.3oz (one size 42 EU shoe)
|335 g (11.8 oz) (one size 44 EU shoe)
|39-48 European Men’s (USA men’s sizes 6 1/2- 15 1/2)
[Note: half sizes available for sizes 39-47]
courtesy of SCARPA
manufacturer describes these as a “minimal alpine hiking and approach
shoe for moving light and fast in the mountains.” And mentions that the
shoe “materials are between 30 to 100 percent recycled content, and the
midsoles incorporate promote quick breakdown under landfill
conditions.” Visually I would describe these as something between a
tennis shoe and a trail runner. The sole is rather flat like in a court
shoe while upper with the rubber toe rand and reinforcing details
reflect the styling of a trail shoe.
Apr 30 2013A
bit of additional background about the tester: A few years ago I read
some research suggests that every ounce on a walkers feet was
equivalent to 3-5 times that much weight in their pack and that boots
are not necessarily the best choice for hiking and backpacking if one
does not need the support or protection. As a result I started wearing
lighter weight shoes like trail runners for hiking and backpacking and
have really been enjoying the speed, agility, and added endurance. In
fact I rarely wear boots anymore even for backpacking, and in warm
weather not even for mountaineering.
The shoes are black with
light gray and bright orange features. My wife's first comment when she
saw them, she has much better fashion sense than I do, was that they
are a good looking shoe, and I have to say I agree. I would also add that they look
even better in person they do in the online images.
the ground up:
The shoes start with a black and grey low profile lug
sole (with small cutouts allowing the orange midsole to show through).
The lugs are distinct. They are small compared to hiking boots but
large compared to some of my trail runners, and they are widely spaced
(something I like as this tends to clog and/or pick up rocks and debris
less). The manufacturer claims they use a sole that is “stickier than a
normal trail runner or hiker” in order to provide better grip on rock
since these are intended as a climbing approach shoe. To my fingers the
rubber does feel somewhat soft, more like a running shoe than a trail
shoe. The sole is rather flat and flexes well in the forefoot, but
feels stiff through the center and most of the heel.
Between the sole
and the shoe is a bright orange Compression Molded EVA mid sole. They
use a low profile midsole with only 7 mm (0.28 in) drop from heel to
toe. The manufacturer says this low profile improves stability and
since I prefer a low to zero drop in my shoes I found this to be more
comfortable than some other trail shoes I have tried.
Under the insole
the foot bed, well stitched to the upper, feels very firm. The insole
has a contoured heel that fits my heel very well. Wrapped around the
toe of the shoes is a rubber rand to help protect from rocks and debris
(being a bit clumsy this is something I like).
upper is made from “suede, recycled synthetic leather, recycled
polyester mesh” with suede on the toes and lacing area and heel, and
mesh along the sides and tong to make the shoe breathable.
counter of the shoe includes two features. First is that it is designed
to fold flat so that it takes up less room when packed the second is
the heel pull is “convertible.” That is it can be used in any of 3
positions (see photo) so that the shoe can be more easily clipped to a
pack. I have to say this is the first time I have heard of this feature
and I think it is a great idea.
The laces extend further down the toe
than some shoes, but not all the way down like in a rock climbing shoe.
Having the laces extend further down the toe allows for a more custom
fit and this is enhanced by all but the top two sets of lace holes
being stitched rather than with metal grommets (the top two sets do
have metal grommets). By stitching the lace holes, durability may be
slightly reduced but the added friction prevents the laces from moving
as much, allowing me to adjust the laces to be tighter in some places
and looser in others (sometimes I will twist my laces at key crossings
to achieve a similar effect). The laces themselves (grey with orange
trim) are oval, a cross between round and flat laces. I find that flat
laces are less likely to come untied, but they can be more difficult to
tighten and tie, so I am interested if this design will provide the
best of both.
shoes seem to run small and are possibly a low volume shoe. I recently
purchased pair of trail shoes and in the fall purchased a new pair of
cross country ski boots and ended up getting a size 43.5 EU (9.5 US) in
both so that is what I requested for this test. I normally wear a size
9.5 to 10 US (43 to 4 EU) shoe. However when the shoes arrived it was
quickly evident that they were too small so I had them replaced with a
size 44 EU (10.5 US per the shoe label) and this was a much better
fit. On first use they seem to have plenty of toe room and fit my heel
very well however they remain a bit snug across the middle of my foot.
This is unusual for me as I have wide feet with a narrow heel so many
shoes that do not come in wide sizes tend to be too narrow at the front
of the foot or too loose at the heel. After wearing the shoes for a bit
I found them to be very comfortable to walk in however for sitting at
my desk and driving they were uncomfortably tight across the middle and
top of my foot. I have tried adjusting the laces a bit and that made
them more comfortable while inactive but I may have to play with the
laces a bit more.
Note: While trying to do some of the size conversions I found that
there are no direct conversions for some sizes and some disagreement.
For example I found both EU sizes 43 and 43.5 crossed to a US 9.5, and
one reference I found showed 43 EU to be a US 10 and an EU 44 to be
10.5. So the above sizes are approximations.
I should note that
since these shoes are intended as an approach for climbers, it makes
sense that climbing shoes provide a very snug fit so the foot does not
move inside the shoe compromising stability. So the above described fit
may be entirely intentional. I know my own climbing shoes work very
well for climbing but are so tight that I would probably be in agony if
I tried to walk anything more than very short distances in them.
I like the shoes. They seem very well constructed with no flaws or
defects that I could find, and they have some features I really like. I
am on the fence about the fit, it will take some use before I can fully
judge how well these fit my feet.
|July 30 2013
- Umtanum Creek - Central Washington - backpacking 1 night
- Unknown trail in the Central Washington Cascades – backpacking 2 nights
- Mt Adams - Washington Cascades – Alpine climb, 1 night
- White Pass – Washington Cascades (cross cut saw training with the Pacific Crest Trail Association) – Car camping 1 night.
first trail use of the shoes was for a quick overnight at a nearby
canyon. I chose this area for the diverse terrain. The trail is mostly
dirt with two stream crossings. After the short hike to my camp, about
2 miles (3 km) I set up camp and headed off trail up one of the side
gullies where I knew I would find basalt and some loose talus. The
shoes did very well on the loose talus, so much so that I could not
help dropping my pack and trekking poles to scramble up a steep section
of basalt. They did well gripping the rock so much so that by the time I
turned around and realized how steep the climb had been I was a little
worried about being able to down climb back to the trail. On the hike
out the next day I got a bit over confidant about the shoes grip on
some wet rocks and ended up slipping a bit getting my foot soaked. This
turned out to be advantageous. The shoes breathe well and by the time I
reached my car my sock was almost dry.
I was heading up to a
lake I had heard about, but ended up taking an unmarked trail to
avoid a dangerous stream crossing. The trail, mostly dirt, had clearly
not seen a pair of boots for at least a year or two. I had to deal with
a few muddy trail crossings, climbing over, around, and under many
downed trees and at one point accidently wandering into a bit of a
swamp. On the hike in I tried to keep my feet dry but was only
partially successful. After exploring a few scenic meadows I
backtracked to the one I liked most and set up camp. I spent the second
day exploring the meadows & surrounding forest and just sitting on
a log near my camp to enjoy the solitude and views of the surrounding
ridges. On the hike out I made a little less effort to keep my feet dry.
debated taking the shoes with me to Mt Adams. The weather had been
exceptionally warm so I expected to be in soft snow for most of the
trip to our camp. However based upon how quickly they allowed my socks
to dry on my previous trip I decided to risk it. Soon after getting on
the road I had to untie the shoes, as with my previous experience the
tight fit across the middle of my foot caused my feet to ache. The snow
turned out to be more solid than I expected but the weather very warm
so while my feet did get damp, but the shoes dried quickly so that was
not a problem. At camp the folding heel really came in handy. After
arriving at camp I changed my socks, folded the heel of the shoes down
and used them like slippers around camp and even for the rocky hike to
the nearest running water. The next afternoon after returning from the
summit I put the shoes back on and while the first part of the trail
was in soft wet snow, my feet were dry by the time we got back to the
trail head where I simply untied them again for the long drive home.
was looking forward to wearing these shoes for the crosscut saw
training I was attending as I expected their weight, breathability (it
was going to be quite hot), and maneuverability to be advantages.
However at the last minute we were informed that all leather boots that
extend above the ankle was a requirement, meaning I could not use these
shoes during the training. Half a day in class then the rest sweating
and swatting mosquitoes while learning to handle a cross cut saw left
me aching for some time on the trail. So after dinner I put on the
SCARPA shoes and hiked up the White Pass ski maintenance trail. Alone
on the hill, with a full belly and comfortable shoes, while the hot day
turned into a cool night; I was a happy man and slept well despite the
bugs attacking me with a vengeance at about 4AM.
being able to wear these shoes when not actively walking is about the
only thing I can find wrong with the shoes. They are very comfortable
while on the go, and I have been describing them to friends as working
like compression ware for my feet. They are so breathable that they
keep my feet cool, and while they allow my feet to get wet with a good
pair of socks they dry quickly. The thin low-rise sole gives me a good
feel of the trail, being that I prefer to be barefoot when I can this
is something I really appreciate.
|Oct 1 2013
Usage: One abbreviated 15mi (24 km) weekend hike of the William O’Douglas trail Central Washington
This test along with my summer has come to an end already. My how time flies.
schedule allowed for only one more weekend trip with these shoes during
the LTR phase. I wanted it to be a good one so I decided to do a trip I
have been thinking about for a while now. I put my pack on and walked
out my front door. The William O’Douglas trail passes about 2 miles (3
km) from my house. Last year for its official opening I hiked from the
official trail head to the first place to camp, and it ended up being a
26 mile (42 km) slog in the rain. This year, starting from my house
shortened the distance a bit and the forecast was for the rain to hold
off till evening. The first 3 miles (5 km) or so were urban hiking on
pavement and concrete, followed by a stretch of dirt/gravel road and
then to a mix of dirt and river rock when I entered the canyon (an old
rail line converted to a trail). The next phase was a mix of basalt and
dirt trails that climbed up over Rocky Top and Snow Mountain and I put
on my light gators to keep debris such as the Cheat Grass out of my
shoes. From the summit of Snow Mountain (about 12 mi/ 19 km from the
start) I could see the parking lot at the base of Snow Mountain Ranch
and I realized that I was quite tired and my feet hurt. 3 slow tortuous
miles (5 km) later, by the time I reached the Snow Mountain Ranch
parking lot and GPS showed I still had about 5 mi (8 km) to go, not to
mention the possibility of having to climb an elk fence if I could not
find the gate, I decided I was done and called my wife to come pick me
The results of this were quite a surprise to me. Based on my
use until now, the one thing I did not anticipate on this trip was any
problem with my feet. But I think it was one of the things I like about
these shoes, the thin soles, which were the problem. When I made this
trip last year I had one large blister on one heel and a hot spot on
the other that I had to address before I could finish. This trip I did
not even experience as much as a hot spot, but the pounding of the
urban section combined with the constant flexing from the uneven trail
were just too much for my feet to take. On the positive side, the trip
ended up being warmer than I expected, to the point where I got a bit
sun burned, but the ventilation of the shoes allowed my feet to stay
cool and dry. Which I am sure is part of the reason I got no blisters
Overall I have mixed feelings about these shoes. I
like that they are light and breathe well. I love how the thin soles
give me a good feel for the terrain I am walking on, and the
convertible heel allowing them to be used as slip on camp shoes is a
cool feature. I also like the traction the soles provide. This makes
the poor fit for my feet all the more disappointing, since if they fit
better I know these would have become my go to shoes, and I would
probably wear them out from constant use (hiking and daily wear) rather
quickly. So I would certainly recommend these shoes to friends and
family, with the caveat that they try them on and be sure they fit
their feet before purchasing.
- Widely spaced lugs
- Customizable fit (due to lace configuration)
- Low drop
- Breathable / fast drying
- Tight across the top of my foot
I would like to thank the folks at SCARPA
for the opportunity to test this product.