La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX | Tested and reviewed

Gear expert Matt Jones puts the latest hiking shoes from La Sportiva to the test in the Welsh mountains

from La Sportiva
RRP  £175.00
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX hiking shoes with star ratings

by Matt Jones |
Updated on

La Sportiva's hiking boots and mountain footwear have a stellar reputation among avid hikers, mountaineers, climbers, and runners. And the brand's Ultra Raptor II GTX is, in out view, one of its biggest hits.

The first generation of La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor was originally developed as a mountain trail running shoe. It became a bit of a legend in the running world, much loved for its near-optimal balance of cushioning, support, protection and traction.

When it first appeared, it was also impressively light, but as other brands caught up it moved towards the back of the pack in weight terms. It’s still no clodhopper though. With the launch of the Ultra Raptor II, the brand repositioned it as a mountain hiking shoe, particularly this leather version, which adds more durable, protective and structured uppers, backed with a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex Extended Comfort liner. It's got all the protection and durability of a boot, but with an extra helping of agility and lightness.

Currently, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX comes in men’s and women’s fits. In addition, the shoe comes in two width fittings, so you can choose from regular or wide models (though the latter seems tricky to find in the UK). Our tester Matt Jones got his hands on the leather version and immediately put it to work in the Welsh mountains. Here's how the shoe performed...

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX hiking shoesLFTO
Price: £157.49 (RRP £175)


  • Lightweight
  • Superb traction on rock
  • Structured and supportive for a trail shoe
  • Can be resoled


  • Sole can wear quickly
  • Narrower fit may not suit everyone (wide fit available)


The uppers feel almost as soft and forgiving as a trainer, even though they are made from nubuck leather, which obviously brings a little more structure and protection at the slight cost of some increased weight. So-called ‘compression lines’ in the midfoot help to wrap the foot for a more dialled-in fit. This is interspersed with perforated areas to aid breathability.

The rear of the shoe has an unusual heel cage for improved stability, while the forward section has a prominent toe cap to guard against painful impacts. The lacing system is threaded through a series of webbing eyelets that ensures it’s easy to pull everything in tight, giving a secure fit with no heel lift.

Laces of La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX hiking shoes

Under the laces, an integrated stretch gaiter guards against water ingress, which is further aided by the use of a waterproof-breathable Gore-Tex Extended Comfort lining throughout. This proved to be reliably effective, without getting too hot and sweaty. Of course, they do feel warmer than an unlined shoe or boot, but they didn’t get overly sweaty or uncomfortable on test. The tongue is a lightly padded, low-profile design, while the rear of the shoe features a sculpted collar and an elevated heel section with an Achilles cutaway. It strikes a nice balance between overall support and flexibility.


Underfoot, you get high levels of comfort from a shock absorbing EVA midsole, which feels noticeably more cushioned than more minimalist trail shoes. The 9mm drop is relatively generous, which makes this a good shoe for hard-packed trails and long distances. Yet the streamlined build means they don’t feel imprecise or clumpy.

Logo of La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX hiking shoes

The sole has plenty of lateral stability, reducing torsional twisting that can stress or fatigue the foot. There is plenty of front flex for an easy walking action though – and the fact that they were originally built on a running shoe last mean it’s possible to really pick up the pace. This is aided by the rocker sole, which encourages a rolling gait.


The soft and tacky FriXion Blue rubber outsole grips brilliantly on dry, rocky ground. However, this is also its drawback, in that it is so soft that it tends to wear quickly. This was a little surprising to us because of La Sportiva's compounds, FriXion Blue is supposed to be the hard wearing one. And conversely, on very wet and sloppy terrain, traction isn’t quite so impressive, probably because the 4mm sole lugs aren’t the deepest or most aggressive. In short, it is better suited to mountain trails than muddy hillsides.

Lugs of La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX hiking shoes

Having said all that, an ‘impact brake system’ – a fancy name for a heel brake – does give a little more bite when descending. It’s also worth noting that our tester Matt walked the entire 268-mile Pennine Way national trail in a mid-cut boot version of the Ultra Raptor II, which uses exactly the same sole unit. This is a trail that crosses some of the boggiest moorland in the UK, and he was more than happy with their performance.

Price and performance

This time around, Matt tested the leather low-cut version of the Ultra Raptor II trail shoe extensively in the hills and mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia), North Wales. The uppers proved impressively durable and offered reliable waterproof protection. Only the sole unit showed signs of wear, probably because the rubber compound used for the brand’s FriXion outsoles is noticeably tackier and softer than most other brands. Critically though, it can be resoled. But this is still a great hiking shoe for all sorts of big hill days and summit-bagging missions.

Side profile of La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX hiking shoes

It is worth noting that we found the fit to be slightly narrow, especially at the toebox. This may or may not suit you, but the Ultra Raptor also comes in a wide fit, which might be worth trying even if you normally take a regular width. As ever, try before you buy. Get the fit right though, and in all other respects this is a superb shoe.

All-day comfort is excellent. The uppers are lightweight yet durable, with a chunky toecap and locked-in heel counter. On the foot the shoe feels structured and supportive, inspiring confidence when moving fast on technical terrain. If you’re after a similarly lightweight but capable mountain hiking shoe, then with an RRP of £175, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II GTX competes squarely with various rival models from premium brands like Scarpa, Mammut and Zamberlan.

On the other hand, there are lighter and slightly lower-priced trail shoes than the Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX, but they tend to sacrifice overall protection and durability. If you want similar characteristics but are prepared to sacrifice a little extra weight for the sake of even plusher cushioning, then you could consider something like the Hoka Anacapa GTX, with its trademark oversized midsole. Of course, what you gain in on-trail bounce, you tend to lose in terms of precision and feel, which in our opinion makes the La Sportiva a better choice for mixed terrain.

Toe box of La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX hiking shoes

If you need a sturdier, mountain-focused shoe for scrambling over technical terrain, then the La Sportiva TX series of approach footwear are stiffer and more structured alternatives, though arguably less versatile for walking on easier ground.


Delivering solid traction, stability and all-round support in a precise and durable package, La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II GTX trail shoe is a superb choice for tackling mountain tracks and paths.

How we tested the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX

Sprayway cape wrath jacket on outdoor writer matt jones

Your tester for these rugged and rock-ready hiking shoes is Matt Jones, one of the foremost gear testers on our team at LFTO. Matt lives in the heart of the Eryri (Snowdonia) mountains and spends every minute of decent weather stomping up to variously difficult-to-pronounce summits.

Matt also gets his fair share of shocking weather, which allows him to test all the best waterproof and mountain hiking gear.

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