Matthew PinkBASE’s brand head honcho is a denizen of the crag. He gorges on adventure culture, hankers for epic treks and grinds his gravel bike round the Bristol orbit.
A superior three-season boot which can easily support a long day’s hike and low-to-mid level trekking and scrambling.
570g (per UK8 shoe)
Suede Water Resistant 1.7-1.9 mm + Mesh, 3D autofit ankle pad, Nubuck leather uppers, anti-torsion DST Chassis for stability, IKS Technology (Interactive Kinetic System) and PRESA outsole
Excellent ankle padding and support with the 3D Autofit ankle pad
PRESA sole marries impressive grip on wet climbs with robust braking on descents
Reinforced heel and supporting side stiffeners
Ever so slightly heavy given what they’re pitched for
Not immediately snug and tough to wear in
WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR
Right now it is autumn in the UK. Misty mornings, leafy carpets and the creeping softness underfoot. I love hiking at this time of year before the rains have really taken hold: the paths hold their firmness, the trees revel in their glory and the cool air means you can still dress light, avoid too much layer faff and stay on the right side of sweaty.
A long day’s hike at, say, a low-level circular or an undulating coastal route needs all-day comfort, reliable traction and elements that stave off foot fatigue. I look for a boot which will deliver on that but also see me through the changing of the seasons and hikes below the encroaching snowline. I want to rinse out my money’s worth and it’s a bit of a pain having too many pairs of boots clogging up the entrance hall. I’ve got so used to the flex and comfort of the trainer-style technology that goes into my trail runners and hot weather walkers, that I also instinctively now look for this in all boots now.
I take it as written the waterproofing is going to be sound and high, the ankle support cushioned, solid but not overbearing and of course I want to be confident on steep uphills as the clouds and rains gather.
Out of the box the Scarpa Rush TRK GTX boots feel light enough and I like the colourway and surface texture blend. The sole stands out. Whilst certainly more suited to trekking rather than gnarly mountaineering that calls for crampon-compatibility, it looks immediately like it will adapt well to the terrains I have in mind with its healthy-sized lugs and smart arrangement. So many boots hit the skids on the soles which don’t flex enough on slippery slate, for example, but these boots look like they will hold their own (and me). The ankle collar looks unusually high but that might well be because the design is slimmer through the foot than is usual. These look fresh, contemporary but not overly styled as some Italian boot brands can be.
These boots have seen some five or six hour hikes round the gnarled rooty paths of hillside woodland and open heaths through Exmoor and down to the coastal paths. They’ve also seen outings and overnights to the Black Mountains, the Abergavenny to Sugar Loaf loop trail. Elevation has never been anything more than moderate but the terrain has chopped and changed from upland moorland, grassland, battered sandstone and steep sea-cliff paths as well as ancient woodland.
WHO ARE THESE BOOTS FOR?
Getting the best of both worlds in anything is tough – boots included. Similarly, a bona fide three-season boot is a rare beast; there’s always one season that can turn up the degrees of severity and expose the performance claims as unjustified.
Here, though, I think Scarpa has just about pulled it off. The Rush TRK GTX have got that tensile strength, serious waterproofing and ankle scaffolding but is also just about light enough to keep that bounce in your lift-off.
So, if you’re a weekend walker or an ardent trekker who likes to get some pretty decent mileage in without scaling too many peaks or ridges, these could well do the trick for you.
a bona fide three-season boot is a rare beast; there’s always one season that can turn up the degrees of severity and expose the performance claims as unjustified
WHAT STANDS OUT?
Although the sole unit is arguably on the stiff side, I found it gripped pleasingly on wet rock and on scrambles. Scarpa says the PRESA is ‘made from a new compound that offers both high grip and durability, two factors that are normally mutually exclusive,’ and whilst I’m not sure that’s entirely true, I can so far attest to both.The punchy lugs also came into their own on loose ground and that neat heel brake was certainly a welcome friend when descending.
The Interactive Kinetic System system within the sole ‘features impact absorbing internal domes placed in key ground contact areas that function as mechanical shock absorbers’ which is a bit of a mouthful but feels accurate. And it’s the SuperGum rubber compound on the bottom that gives that secure grip.
Another feature another acronym but this one ‘dynamic stabiliser torsion’ speaks to consistent stability the boot supplies whether heading up or down or over loose ground.
3D Auto-fit Ankle Collar
This product description again seems to over complicate matters but actually, although it did seem overly high when I first picked up the boots, the stretchy fabric and foam cushion has sat pretty snugly around my ankle throughout.
VALUE FOR MONEY
One thing to note is that these boots are resoleable, which significantly extends their lifespan. The ability to repair rather than replace outdoor kit is high on a lot of people’s agendas these days, and rightly so. Scarpa offer resoling services either through their preferred partners in the UK or in-house. For the latter service, you can expect to pay around £90 for hiking boot resoles and they’ll be sent away to Scarpa’s factory in Italy – which throws up a couple of financial and environmental implications to consider.
Scarpa is a well respected brand known for consistent quality and design excellence. This writer has been a fairly steady customer over the years. Price-wise, these sit at the higher end of mid-range but are pretty consistent with the quality of design and craftsmanship on offer here.I feel like I have squeezed a lot of value out of the Scarpa boots and shoes I have caned and I see know reason why these would be any different.
BASE BOTTOM LINE
For the non-technical hiker, these boots do have pretty much everything you need for a solid day in the UK hills or some low-level mountain footwork and they will certainly see you through a couple of years worth of regular hill hits. They’re strong, supple and grippy as well as delivering immaculately on the core basics. And that, at the end of the day, is really all you need.
Don’t miss a single adventure
Sign up to our free newsletter and get a weekly BASE hit to your inbox