Scarpa SL Activ (2015)


The Scarpa SL Activ is the standard-bearer of the 3-4 season boot category. It boasts a full leather upper with minimal stitching and a rubber rand for even more durability. A V-Flex design at the ankle cuff allows better forward flex without reducing lateral support. The sole is stiff with deep, well-spaced lugs. There’s no waterproof lining, but I don’t think the design needs one. 5/5


The SL Activ is only available in sizes 41-46 for men, with the nearest women’s option being the very differently styled suede leather R-Evo Pro at £225 in sizes 37-42. The SL Activ’s fit is closely and very supportive, which feels great on my feet for this category of boot. Pity there is no women’s version of the all-leather SL Activ though. 4/5


The 2196g weight does not feel as cumbersome as that of some other boots due to the precise fit and gentle curve of the sole. This feels more comfortable than some lighter boots too, particularly when the ground is more uneven, and there is a surprisingly easy natural rolling action to the sole that makes even walking on hard level surfaces easier than expected. 5/5

In use

The Scarpa SL Activ is ideal on challenging ground, where the sole and upper stiffness makes scrambling over scree and edging on snow safe, predictable and easy. There is some toe flex but you can still use the toes to scramble and edge in snow. The sole curvature makes long walks along tracks tolerable, while the minimal stitching and rand mean these will keep your feet dry even without Gore-Tex. 5/5


This boot is built to last and the price reflects that – so it’s a great choice if you’ll use it regularly, but pricy if not. 4/5


The Scarpa SL Activ won Trail’s ‘Best in Test accolade. A solid performance from the standard-bearer for the 3-4 season category, but there’s no women’s version. 4.6/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine December 2015