SCARPA RAPID LT APPROACH SHOE
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
INITIAL REPORT - April 18, 2013
FIELD REPORT - July 26, 2013
LONG TERM REPORT - September 23, 2013
Portland, Oregon, USA
6' 1" (1.85 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay in the Western half of Oregon and Washington. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 12 lb (6 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Manufacturer's Website: http://it.scarpa.net
Measured Weight: 24.6 oz (700 g) per pair of shoes size 12 US Mens (46 Eu)
The SCARPA Rapid LT is a lightweight breathable shoe for hiking. They have no waterproof breathable membrane lining. They advertise it as an approach shoe for hiking from a trailhead to the beginning of a climb where climbing shoes would be worn. I will use them for lightweight backpacking and day hiking.
SCARPA is a Northern Italian company founded in 1938. SCARPA stands for SocietÓ Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anonima, which means Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountain Area.
The outside of the uppers have a black leather piece that the laces go through. This piece goes down to both sides towards the heel and down to the sides near the toe. There's another black leather piece at the heel with a webbing piece going through that's used to pull up the heel when putting the shoe on. The rest of the upper is some synthetic mesh material with some webbing pieces for strength. There's rubber reinforcement over the toes.
The inside of the uppers is a synthetic material with some foam inside that. The removable insoles are made with what appears to be the same material as the lining glued to foam pieces.
The soles are rubber with medium aggressive lugs (about 1/8 in - 3 mm).
The shoes are black/gray with some fluorescent orange trim. These would be good for night hiking along a road so people would see me, or for other people to see for style reasons.
They say they have a "convertible heel pull loop". I assume that means I can pull the loop through one of those holes. I'm not sure why I would want to do that, maybe hang it to dry or something?:
The laces have a rough texture so they shouldn't come untied accidentally. They go through loops in a piece of webbing sewn down the middle of the tongue so the tongue shouldn't slide to the side. In the course of testing, I'll find out if the laces stay tied and if the tongue slides to the side. The eyelets are just holes in the leather piece. There's sewn thread reinforcement around the perimeter, but I think this is more for style than reinforcement. The top two holes on each side are metal grommets. All the eyelets are orange.
There are some sewn, white logos on the side and tongue.
Another view - of front:
The low point of the shoe at the side of the heel area is 3 inches (7.5 cm) above the ground. The high point at the back of the heel is 4.1 inches (10.5 cm) above the ground. The sole is 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick at the heel (maybe 3/4 inch - 2 cm when compressed). The sole is maybe 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick at the ball of the foot. SCARPA says there's 7 mm (1/4 inch) drop from heel to mid which is consistent with these measurements.
The shoes are made in China.
SCARPA advertises that the shoes are made mostly with recycled materials, and they are treated so they will decompose faster in a landfill.
I tried these around the house and for a few hours around town. They are very comfortable so far. I like how light they are - I have boots that one boot weighs more than this pair of shoes.
They seem well made. All the stitches are good. The different pieces of material are cut well. No bits of glue showing.
The shoes seem well styled. The main body is black. There are some matching gray webbing pieces and laces, which is complementary with the black. There are matching orange accents on the laces, eyelets, webbing, edge of the sole, and lining that are an interesting contrast with the black/gray. The bottom of the sole has the same color scheme - mainly black, gray trim, orange accents.
From the limited wearing I've done, the shoes seem to fit well. The size 12 US m (46 EU) seems true to size because this is the same as other shoes and boots I've worn. If I wear these and don't get blisters then I'll know for sure they are the right size, it's a little hard to know from the limited wearing I've done so far. I can get blisters for many reasons, but one reason for getting blisters is if they're the wrong size.
The soles seem fairly thin with less stiffness than other boots/shoes I've used. This is what I would expect with shoes (vs boots) and with the light weight of these shoes. This will mean the shoes aren't as good on rough rocks where the stiffness can prevent sharp edges from "telegraphing" through the soles to my feet. On the other hand, they will provide more feel. It will be interesting to see if I like this better.
The SCARPA Rapid LTs are lightweight hiking shoes.
I have mostly used mid height waterproof breathable membrane boots in the past, but I have wanted to try lighter shoes to see how these would work. These shoes will be a good opportunity.
These shoes are less waterproof than other shoes I've used, but they should dry out faster. I will be interested to see how this works.
I will test these shoes on a couple backpack trips in each of the Field Report and Long Term Report periods. I'll get a range of level trails, a little rougher off-trail, some rainy weather, some walking through snow, and some warmer weather. It will be mostly with my standard lightweight backpacking outfit. I'll also do a few day hikes.
I'll probably wear mid weight Merino socks but may try lighter socks. I'll use lightweight gaiters over the tops.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
April 24, 2013 - day hike on King's Mt in Northwest Oregon. 5 miles (8 km). 2600 feet (800 m) elevation gain. Quite steep with slippery gravel, flexible lug sole kept me from slipping much.
April 26, 2013 - 4 night backpack up Herman Creek in North Central Oregon. 33 miles (53 km). 6500 feet (2000 m) elevation gain. Mostly straightforward trail. Some stream crossings, steep up and down with gravel, a little bit of walking on snow.
May 29, 2013 - 4 night backpack and 2 night car camp at Zigzag Ridge and Ramona Falls in North central Oregon. 38 miles (61 km). 5000 feet (1500 m) elevation gain. 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C). All on trail except 2 miles (3 km) that was covered with snow. Some stream crossings. First two days it rained. I wore Kahtoola Microspikes on the snow.
June 27, 2013 - 4 night backpack at Strawberry Mountain in central Oregon. 44 miles (71 km). 7800 feet (2400 m) elevation gain. 50 to 85 F (10 to 29 C). Mostly on trail, although at times the trail resembles bushwhacking. A few steep snow slopes.
Most of the time I wore the SCARPAs with lightweight gaiters:
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Overall, I was very happy with the SCARPA Rapid LT Approach shoes.
I used them for 120 miles (193 km), 22000 feet (6700 m) of elevation gain, and 12 nights of backpacking. Most of this was on regular trails with a little off trail, walking on uneven rocks, and on snow.
I never got the hint of a blister. I really liked the light weight of these shoes.
I used mid-weight Merino socks on my first trip but they didn't dry out very good, so I then used thin synthetic socks for the rest of my testing, which maybe dried out a little better than the Merinos.
I used the SCARPAs with Kahtoola Microspikes a little and they worked good, even though the SCARPAs are so lightweight.
Stream crossings with the SCARPAs are easy, I just walk through. Sure, they fill up with water but it quickly drains out and my socks eventually dried out. When crossing streams with waterproof breathable (WPB) boots, I have to look for rocks or logs to cross on, and if water gets over the top, then I have to stop, dump the water out, and wring out the socks.
Depending on conditions, the SCARPAs kept my feet drier or wetter than other shoes/boots I've used. If I avoided walking through streams, then my socks stayed pretty dry, just a little dampness on the bottom. If I got them wet and the weather was warm, like 85 F (29 C) then they dried off except a little dampness on the bottom of my socks. In colder weather though, if my socks got wet, then they didn't dry out during the day, I would have been better off with WPB boots. In warm weather, like 85 F (29 C), the SCARPAs are very breathable so at the end of the day my socks were only a little damp at the bottom from sweat. With WPB boots, my socks would have been much more damp. So, bottom line, in hot or dry weather, the SCARPAs were good, but in cold weather when they got wet, they never dried out so I would rather use WPB shoes/boots.
Water deeper than about 1 inch (2.5 cm) is deep enough to get into the SCARPAs. Maybe twice that if I could tiptoe through. With mid height boots, water has to be maybe 6 inches deep before getting them wet.
The lug soles were sufficiently aggressive to provide traction on a range of surfaces - snow, mud, gravel...
One thing about the SCARPAs is the sole is very flexible. Sometimes a stiff sole can be good because it provides support on sharp rocks and so forth. With the SCARPAs, sharp edges telegraph through more so I found that I had to watch where I was walking a little more and try to avoid sharp edges, especially on an edge of the shoes. But, on the other hand, I found that I could better feel what I was walking on and make better contact. When I was walking on a hard surface with gravel, it seemed like I slid around less.
A couple times I landed oddly and my ankle rolled sideways. I think with higher boots this wouldn't have happened as much. My ankles aren't sensitive to this so this didn't really bother me.
Overall, so far, I am very happy with the SCARPA shoes. They are very well made. They have been very comfortable.
I liked the breathability of the SCARPAs. My feet stayed drier in warm weather. It enabled me to just walk through streams. With non-breathable shoes I have to more carefully cross to avoid them getting wet. But, the down side is in cold weather they don't dry out very good once they get wet.
I like the lightness of the SCARPAs - less tiring to move my feet around, I make better contact with the ground, but sharp edges of rocks tend to telegraph through a little more.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
August 19, 2013 - 2 night backpack and 5 night car camp in Olympics of Washington. 53 miles (85 km), 6600 feet (2000 m) elevation gain, 40 to 75 F (4 to 24 C). Mostly trail, some rocky, some sandy beach.
Sept 10, 2013 - 5 night backpack in Three Sisters area in central Oregon. 73.5 miles (118 km), 9000 feet (2700 m) elevation gain, 40 to 75 F (4 to 24 C). Mostly trail, some rocky. Some off trail. Slopes of loose rock. Walking on snow fields. Walking through calf high water.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Over the Field Report and Long Term Report periods I did 15 nights of backpacking, 246.5 miles (397 km), and 37,500 feet (11,400 m) of elevation gain. This was mostly with my backpack that weighs about 20 pounds (9 kg).
My experience during the Long Term Report period was similar to the Field Report period.
I did a lot of uphill, downhill, level, regular trails, rocky places, sand, loose rock, some snow, mud, etc. - a pretty wide range.
The lug soles provide good traction over a wide range of surfaces.
The soles are less stiff than most other shoes and boots I've used. I was concerned that sharp rocks would "telegraph" through and hurt my feet, but this was minor. It seemed like I could feel surfaces better which provided more traction.
I used the SCARPAs in fairly warm weather 40 to 85 F (4 to 29 C). I think this played to the main advantage of the SCARPAs - more breathability so they stayed drier. Sweat evaporated more easily. I used thin synthetic socks.
I experienced some rain which exposed the weakness of the SCARPAs - they had no resistance to getting wet. They dried much quicker than regular waterproof boots, but they were still somewhat wet at the end of the day so I wished I had waterproof boots then.
I walked across and through a lot of streams and pools. If the water was deeper than about 1 inch (2.5 cm) then my feet got wet. It was surprising how little water it took to go over this 1 inch (2.5 cm) depth to get my feet wet. When I wear waterproof breathable mid high boots, my feet stay dry even if the water is 6 inches (15 cm) deep. But if the water was deeper than this, then the SCARPAs were better because the water quickly drained and after a day they got fairly dry. With waterproof breathable boots they take many days to dry out.
On my last trip, I was suddenly in a situation where I had to walk through calf deep water, and had no time to take my boots off, or just my socks off, so I was glad I had the SCARPAs and I could just walk through without worry.
I wore gaiters over the SCARPAs. I walked through a lot of loose rock and dust. When I've done that with mid height boots, my feet and socks stayed pretty clean, but with the SCARPAs, they got quite dirty - a lot got in under the bottom of the gaiters. Occasionally I had to take the shoes off and shake out dirt and rocks.
You can see how the gaiters covered the top of the shoes:
Minor complaint - as you can see from the picture, the tongue always slid over to one side, but it didn't let in dirt and wasn't particularly uncomfortable, more just aesthetic.
Are those some sort of hallucinogenic mushrooms? I think maybe so.
Overall, I was happy with the SCARPA Rapid LT Approach Shoes. I've been wanting to try out some breathable shoes and these worked quite well.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
In warm, dry weather, I was quite happy with the SCARPAs, my feet stayed fairly dry. Of course, on the bottom of my feet, it got somewhat damp from sweat but this is unavoidable. When I wear waterproof breathable shoes or boots, my feet get a little more damp from sweat.
When I was walking through deeper water (over 6 inches - 15 cm) I was quite happy because I could just walk through without thinking about it. When out of the water, the water quickly drained out, and the shoes and socks dried out after about a day. When I wear mid height boots, there are times when I get to a stream, and I have to search around for rocks or logs to cross on because it takes so long to dry if they get wet. Or I can take off the boots, but then my feet get cut up and it takes a while to take them off and put them back on. And if water does get into waterproof breathable shoes/boots, when out of the water I have to take my shoes/boots off and dump the water out - more hassle.
If the water was between 1 inch and 6 inches (2.5 and 15 cm) then the SCARPAs weren't so good, my feet got wet and took maybe a day to dry out. With waterproof breathable mid height boots my feet stay fairly dry.
When the weather was wet I wasn't so happy - my feet and socks never dried out. When I wear waterproof breathable shoes, my feet get a little damp from sweat but not too bad.
The SCARPAs held up really good. Some scuffing and scratches but nowhere near wearing out.
I never noticed any blisters.
In the future, I will probably use these for hot weather backpack trips.
Thanks to SCARPA and BackpackGearTest.org for letting me test these.
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