The road to Ben Nevis Nov 2009

The road to Ben Nevis Nov 2009
The road to Ben Nevis Nov 2009

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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

New light weight boots from Scarpa

Scarpa Rebel Lite

On the last long walk my feet suffered badly from Scarpa SLs.

There's half a size or a bit more difference between my feet, and getting a perfect fit is impossible. Walking long in Scotland means walking with wet feet, and good fitting shoes and thoughtful foot-care is essential.

There are many who forego the traditional mountain boot for light-weight trail shoes. It is liberating to walk in shoes that weigh so little, but for a long trek with a backpack over rough ground I need more support. Over the last two years I've tried many boots, and eventually I bought the new Scarpa Rebel Lite GTX.

If you look at the website here they seem to tick all the right boxes as a combined mountain and trekking boot.

Are these perfect? I don't think so. I replaced the footbed with Superfeet and, for my smaller right foot, I added a heel wedge. I Still have some small movement at the heel.

So far I've used them for a few day walks. Much on grass rather than rock. To simulate mountain terrain I walked back and forth on steps near St Aldhelm's Head 11 times - probably 800+ metres up and down - without any foot problems.

Taking them on and off seems easier than many boots and shoes - something to do with the design of the tongue and lacing system. Scarpa call this 'sock fit' and it does feel a bit different. With Gortex lining they are quite warm (memo to myself to take my boots off when I stop for a rest) - it is unfortunate to have feet that are wet from perspiration.

They fail to grip in chalky mud (Dorset) which clags in the sole. Mud from peat (Derbyshire) is handled better.

Update. Three long days walking on mixed terrain in North Wales confirms that these are great on rocky ground. The stiff-ish sole levels out uneven stone surfaces and the slight flex is fine on road and prepared tracks. Traversing sloping ground they are reasonable supportive and on uneven, pathless terrain and on wet, soft ground they remained waterproof and attached to my feet. There were no blisters or other contra-indications.

Each boot with a Superfeet footbed weighs in at 850 gm (size 46 / UK 11) - to my surprise this is not much more that double that of my Inov8 Terrocs. The sole seems reliably stiff, and can take a crampon, but also flexes slightly when striding out. Not as thick as some other boots.

Ueli Steck is said to have a hand the design. If you've not come across this phenomena look here. There are several other films of this mountain speed king including some in Scotland. Does his amazing performance give something to these boots?

Having read about them on Scarpa's website my dilemma was to find a stockist and get them fitted. They seemed quite rare in January. From previous experience I know that it is good to have boots to wear around the home for several days to confirm the fit - our local Cotswold shop is one supplier that encourages this. I found that Snow and Rock had stock and I ordered two adjacent sizes. After two weeks I decided which I wanted (forgoing the temptation to take one boot of each pair for my odd sized feet) and send the second pair back for a refund.


  1. Hi Paul! Your review of the shoes is smart and explanatory. I was thinking of getting one for myself but your article has made me to change my decision. Now, I am not convinced that Scarpa is a good choice.

  2. Boots are a difficult subject but after 6 or 7 long day walks I am quite happy with these. Paul