Choosing a new pair of walking boots can be hard: at first glance there is a huge variety of possibilities across a wide range of prices, but these options can quickly become limited as you start to think about what exactly you want from the boot. Having suffered the hardships of Scotland for five years, my old boots came to the end of their life, when the sole fell off one of them on a day out on Ben More and had to be duct-taped back on for the remainder of the day.
I have another pair of boots that I bought second-hand for winter (Scarpa Charmoz GTX men’s size 41) when I couldn’t face another day in the boots borrowed from Glenmore Lodge during a winter skills course. So I wanted my new pair to be suitable for everything else: I wanted them to be lighter and less clumsy than my previous pair (also a men’s), comfy for long days and multi-day trips, cool enough that my feet wouldn’t boil in the British summer and tough – that was very important, I definitely wanted something with a toe rand so they wouldn’t be destroyed by rocky terrain or hours of heather bashing on the Scottish hills. However, I was not fussy about leather or synthetic material as I have had both and not had a problem with either. I also wanted to be able to use them for scrambling if I needed too, so I didn’t want too thick a sole or too much of the rocking motion that can come with some very comfortable boots designed for walking long distances.
I have quite wide/large toes so Salewa and Meindl boots were too narrow and Salomon felt too clumpy. I had been fairly happy with my Scarpa Charmoz, although being men’s they are a little spacious, so when I spotted the Scarpa-R-Evo GTX boots on sale, I thought they were definitely worth a try.
Out of the box
My first impression was that they were very pretty: I love the splashes of colour. They were also instantly comfortable: I felt like I wanted to walk in them straight away. They seemed to have everything I wanted. I bought a size 41 and there is plenty of space for thick socks and toe wiggle room.
Two months later
They are designed using Scarpa’s sock-fit technology, and so far I like it. I have found other boots to hurt my ankle bones when done up tightly but these just feel so snug and comfortable, as if they are part of your ankle: it’s a nice reassuring feeling.
I’m not going to repeat all the technical features, you can check them out on the Scarpa website, but I’ve now been using them for two months and I am extremely happy with them! I feel confident going downhill: the Vibram soles are grippy and I don’t feel clumsy in them. Their first outing was a five hour walk in the French Pyrenees in July, where they were hot, but that is not what I intend to use them regularly for. Since then I have been using them on long walks across the Scottish hills (nothing less than 4 ¾ hours) and they have always been comfortable. My feet haven’t been too hot for Scottish summer walking but they feel sturdy and my feet feel well-protected. I have slipped a bit on wet rock but I don’t think any worse than in other boots. They have got very muddy but a brush under water has brought them up fairly clean again. We basically walked up a stream two weeks ago and no water came in so I feel positive about the waterproofing. The lacing system works very well and allows for good adjustment.
Overall, I love them and think we will be very happy together – I’ll give you an update in a year’s time to see how well they last! In the meantime, if you are looking for a fairly robust 3 season boot, I would definitely recommend giving them some consideration.