Besides my local trails in the Lakes, the boots got a good test on some long, classic hillwalking days in central Snowdonia, when the weather was fine but conditions were still boggy underfoot. They’re a great boot for putting in big miles on varied terrain, offering all-day comfort whether you’re tackling grassy paths, sodden moorland or scree-strewn slopes. I hiked across all of that stuff quite happily on a big tour of the Moelwynion, taking in Cnicht, Moelwyn Mawr, Craigysgafn and Moelwyn Bach. All in all, if you’re looking for a versatile and comfortable all-rounder, these are a top pick.
Slightly fussy stitching on uppers
No full rand
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If you spotted the Scarpa R-Evo GTX on the boot racks of an outdoor shop, it would be easy to pass over them. After all, at first glance, they look fairly similar to many other three-season boots. It’s worth trying them on, however, because in our considerable experience, few other boots are as instantly comfortable straight out of the box, and this level of comfort only gets better when you take them on the trails.
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• RRP: $280 (US)/ £200 (UK)
• Weight (per boot): 660g/1lb 7.2oz
• Materials used: Vibram Biometric Trek sole; Suede Water Resistant 1.8mm + S-Tech Fabric upper with Gore-Tex lining
• Compatibility: 3-season, great on technical trails; available in male and female versions
The Scarpa R-Evo GTX hugs the foot snugly, with no pressure points around the ankle, at the heel or on top of the foot. A pronounced rear cutaway helps to reduce pressure on the Achilles, yet they still offer plenty of protection and good ankle support, without feeling restrictive. In fact, the boot is soft and supple throughout, accommodating a number of different foot shapes.
Memory foam ankle padding in the cuff helps, of course, but the real secret is in Scarpa’s ‘sock-fit’. This is a softshell-style tongue that moulds to the overall shape of the foot while offering plenty of padding under the laces. The overall fit is medium in volume, with a fairly slim heel and a slightly rounded toebox. It’s an accommodating last that strikes the ideal balance between comfort and precision, meaning these boots are the perfect companion for high-mileage hillwalking days, but have the technical ability to take on the occasional scramble too.
The midsole is moderately stiff from heel to toe, with good torsional stability, providing a good platform for backpacking, even if carrying a heavy load. Underfoot, the rubber outsole is a Vibram Biometric Trek unit that offers good traction on a range of terrain, with deep and widely spaced lugs that shed mud effectively. The rubber compound is grippy enough to aid confidence on wet rock but also hard-wearing, promising long life and decent durability, even if you spend a lot of time rock-hopping. An undercut heel brake also gives improved control on sharp descents. The sole has a slight rocker too, which helps to ensure an easy, rolling gait when walking on level tracks and paths.
The uppers are made from high-quality suede with a Gore-Tex liner for reliable waterproofing. There’s a reinforced heel counter with an external rubber band to lock things in place and minimise heel slip. This is balanced at the toe with a chunky rubber bumper that ought to fend off scree well, though we’d really prefer a full rand for maximum durability. Similarly, although those suede uppers should give good service if looked after properly, the stitching detail seems slightly superfluous and largely unnecessary – as far as we can tell, it is cosmetic rather than functional – and may, we suspect, be prone to wear.
A burlier full-grain upper would be better suited to the toughest terrain. Still, that would add weight, tipping the scales further towards the heavier end of the hillwalking boot spectrum. These boots currently occupy the middle ground in that regard but are considerably more capable than lighter models. All in all, if you’re looking for a versatile and comfortable all-rounder, these are a top pick.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.