Scarpa is best-known for its performance-orientated hill-walking and mountaineering boots, which set the standard for others to chase. The Scarpa Terra GTX carries the hallmarks of that Scarpa heritage, but in a lighter package. From a distance it looks like a normal leather boot, but on closer inspection you can see it may offer what many walkers really need from a lightweight boot, and that is on-the-hill performance.
The Scarpa Terra GTX’s upper is oiled full-grain leather that is stiffer than on the lighter boots, which means it will protect and support the foot more. The oiled treatment helps prevent water from soaking into the leather, although of course this will need reapplying over time as it wears off. The toe box and heel cup are both well reinforced so you get more support and protection here compared to lighter boots. The ankle cuff is higher than lighter boots too, so again a little more support is provided compared to some options. There is a Gore-Tex lining for waterproof protection, and the upper has minimal stitching for durability. Underfoot there’s a new sole from Vibram called Velocity, which has widely spaced 5mm deep lugs for good grip as well as long-term durability. There is good stiffness in that sole too for this class of boot, so you can take it over pretty rough ground without feeling everything you stand on.
On the hill
The Scarpa Terra GTX is a great all-round leather boot that although not as light as some of the competition, it does offer a good balance of features. In use it does not excel in any direction but just feels good. If it were compared to a normal 3-season boot then it would perhaps be regarded as a bit bendy for rockier ground, but when compared to the other lightweight leather boot options it feels far more supportive and better suited to rocky ground. The upper looks like it should last well, and I liked the ankle cuff, as it was high enough to keep out mud on boggy ground while offering a little extra protection against rocks scraping my ankles on rougher ground. The main problem with this boot is that it is not as light as most of the others and certainly if you want to travel fast, this feels a little ‘clumpy’ for scampering speedily across the fells.
Upper oiled full-grain leather, Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Vibram Energy
Weight 1376g (pair, size 46)
Made in Italy
Stores in the UK 250
Stockist details (0191) 296 0212; www.scarpa.co.uk
The Scarpa Terra GTX has a durable leather upper; more supportive upper than others here; good sole unit; great value for money particularly if long-term durability is considered; neat, precise fit for scrambling. But it’s relatively heavy; too ‘clumpy’ for fast movement; more supportive but heavier boots are even better on uneven ground. So the Scarpa Terra GTX is ideal if you want a reasonably lightweight boot for general hill-walking, but heavier boots and lighter boots still have advantages.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2011