Other hiking boots supply stiffer support, but the lightweight Ultra Raptor II Mid Woman GTX offer a mid-option between protection and flexibility, and are incredibly versatile as a result.
Narrow toe bed (wide version available)
Not suitable for multiday hikes on technical terrain
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La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid Woman GTX: first impressions
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid Woman GTX are lightweight hiking boots, perfect for fast hiking excursions with light loads.
• List price: $205 (US) / £155 (UK) / €203.50 (EU)
• Weight (per boot): 395g / 14oz
• Fit: Short (29in) / Regular (31in)
• Materials: Abrasion resistant mesh upper, with microfiber reinforcement band with anti-abrasion coating; Gore-Tex lining; Memlex EVA midsole with shock-absorbing injection; Ultra-tight FriXion White sole, with Impact Brake System and integrated anti-shock rubber toe
• Drop: 9mm
• Colors: Carbon / Topaz / Carbon / Red Plum & Charcoal / Aloe & Slate / Sorbet
• Compatibility: Fast hiking excursions with light loads from spring through to early winter
If you were to liken this women’s hiking boot to a backpack, it would be a fastpacking rucksack, with a bit of foam padding and a design that closely hugs the body; it wouldn’t be ultra-minimal nor super heavy and bulky, but somewhere in the middle – made for those who want their kit to be technical and performance-oriented, but low weight and mid cost.
The mid-height boot version of a trail shoe famous for its grip and worn by legions of fans pounding the fells, the Ultra Raptor Mid II offers extra ankle protection, which makes it ideal for fast hiking and light-load excursions.
The upper is waterproof and breathable, with a soft, comfortable collar that provides support and prevents grit from getting in. Dedicated lacing elements stop your feet from sliding around, the “FriXion” outsole is good and grippy, while the “Trail Bite” heel offers additional support and confidence. A toe cap and rand supply additional protection. (And if any of those terms leave you scratching your head, then check out our article Parts of a hiking boot.)
Also available in a wide-fit version, this versatile boot can be worn for all sorts of different trail and peak adventures from spring through to early winter (depending on conditions and altitude).
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid Woman GTX: on the trails
I have been testing the La Sportiva Ultra-Raptor II Mid Woman GTX boot in various conditions, ranging from rutted woodland paths to dusty gravel trails in the Peak District. For someone who isn't really a runner, wearing these is like having the benefit of a trail running shoe with the additional ankle support offered by a mid-height hiking boot.
It is a very versatile boot, made mainly with fast-paced hiking excursions in mind, when you would typically be carrying a daypack. They feel a bit more substantial than approach shoes, but are still useful for long walks into remote crags, and they excel during day hikes on semi-technical trails.
La Sportiva pay impressive attention to detail, and I particularly like the lacing and “comfort collar”, which successfully stops grit and stones from getting in to the boot. I found the sizing of the standard model just slightly too narrow for me, but a wide version of these boots is available.
Outdoorsy folk who want their kit to be suitable for several sports will find the Ultra Raptor Mid II GTX to be highly versatile and durable. The material in the upper surpassed my initial expectations, impressing with its abrasion-resistant, breathable mesh fabric, and my pair have survived wintry walks, long hiking approaches over rough mountain rock and full submersion in bog.
The Gore-Tex membrane keeps the rain and bog juice out, while still letting your feet breathe, while the soft-feel “Comfort Collar” protects your ankles, and keeps pesky stones and clumps of mud at bay. The soft tongue, which is attached to the “spoiler”, ensures the shoes comfortably cradle the front of your foot, and the stabilizing heel helps stop your feet from slipping forwards, providing good braking control over broken ground.
There’s nothing more annoying when you’re hiking than laces constantly coming undone throughout the day, but these boots are a joy in that regard. Not only do they stay tied, but the design of the lace system really considers volume adjustment and hold, supporting the entire foot. The eye-stay webbings are sewn on the inside of the boot’s upper and reinforced on the outside, integrated with a TPU skeleton; this ensures that, when you’re tightening the shoes, the pull is distributed equally over all areas of the upper.
Grip and cushioning
Similarly, an impressive level of well-considered design has gone into creating a high-performing sole for these boots. The FriXion outsole, made with a soft XF compound material, is extra grippy. The boot boasts a distinctively shaped “Trail Bite” heel, which provides good downhill braking during rough, rocky descents, and I was also able to downclimb without slipping and sliding on wet and muddy terrain. While crossing multiple types of terrain, I found the shoe gave my feet sufficient support, thanks to a midsole made from Memlex EVA with shock-absorbing injection.
Support, size and fit
The “comfort collar” was a huge selling point for me, with soft material providing good support to my pronation-prone ankles. However, the standard version of the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid Woman GTX is a narrow boot and my feet felt slightly cramped at the front. My toes rubbed against the side of the shoe, and this was more noticeable after extended periods of use, especially when I was wearing them in hot weather. My feet are relatively low volume, and other La Sportiva boots have suited me fine, but these have a slightly narrower profile, mirroring the fit of the brand’s trail running and approach shoes. A wide fit is available, to accommodate different foot-volumes, so consider trying these.
Waterproofing and breathability
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid Woman GTX are waterproof and breathable boots that coped with everything I threw at them while hiking in rainy, sunny, boggy and muddy conditions. My feet were less likely to develop blisters thank to the breathable Gore-Tex membrane. I didn’t need to wash them too frequently either, as it was easy enough to brush the mud and debris off them post hike, which helps improve the product’s overall longevity.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid Woman GTX are lightweight hiking boots, ideal for hillwalking adventures in a range of low-alpine conditions. They’ll take you from trail to fell easily, with a surprising amount of durability and capability, which suits those who enjoy multi activities, thanks to La Sportiva’s well-considered design and elements drawn from the brand’s expertise across trail running, hillwalking and climbing.
A former brand ambassador for Merrell and current Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion, Jessie Leong’s lifelong outdoor odyssey began with Duke of Edinburgh’s Award walks in the Peak District. This segued into long hill hikes in the Yorkshire Dales, multi-day treks in the Lake District, scrambles in North Wales and adventures scaling alpine pinnacles. When not walking, she can be found rock climbing, wild swimming, cycling, photographing, filmmaking, writing and modelling. Jessie’s most recent claim to fame is playing a Miss World contestant in the 2020 feature film Misbehaviour.