I’m a heavy user of outdoor footwear. I walk many miles on all sorts of terrain in all weathers: what’s more, I treat my footwear with contempt! Really, I can’t be bothered with the concepts of cleaning or airing! So I am a very harsh critic when it comes to shoes.
I also always opt for the practical and comfortable. I have to, I have a bunion on my left foot, an old injury to my hip, and I’m usually trying to do many things at once at the same time as walking (carrying small children, talking on the phone, eating lunch…that sort of thing). I have no time to worry about walking, so I need sturdy and decent shoes to carry me along.
When my last pair of every-day-faithful-walking-shoes fell to bits I plumped for these bad boys, the Scarpa Rapid Womens’ Alpine Trail Running Shoe, and have been in shoe heaven ever since. In fact, I raved about these shoes so much that I was forced to give my original pair away to my mum who was off on a walking holiday in Spain, and buy another pair for myself!
In all honesty there is only one significant thing wrong with these shoes (apart from the RRP which is high, but which can be beaten if you shop cannily online) and that’s that they are absolutely rubbish on wet terrain – particularly lethal on cobbles.
But let’s look at the pros first, and there are many of them…
- These shoes are lightweight yet very well made.
- They are attractively styled (although the colour might not be to everyone’s choice if they were perhaps in search of subtlety).
- They make you want to bounce about, run, jump and basically skip!
- I have never before donned a pair of shoes that made me want to run – how does that even work? But they are so comfortable, so perfectly supportive, so comfily bounce-able, that simply just walking about in them seems a shame!
- They have a rubber rand around the toe to prevent scuffing and to encourage stone kicking.
- They make you feel very secure, connected and grounded, even on relatively uneven or rocky terrain.
- And according to the product literature: “Scarpa have utilised compression moulding to produce an EVA midsole with a 6mm drop from the heel to the toe which creates a natural movement from heel strike to take off increasing shock absorption and helping to reduce fatigue.”
For wearing in dry conditions on anything, (except really scary high up bits of dangerous mountains), I give these a gold hammer rating.
I absolutely recommend them – no qualms at all. They are my preferred shoe of choice for all day, every day wearing at home, in the garden, out walking, out playing, up hill, down dale…
I even wore them on a run to test them fully, and they performed better for my aforementioned ailments than my Asics running shoes!
HOWEVER…these shoes are not suitable to wear in wet weather. But then they don’t pretend to be either – after all the upper of the shoe is: “a mix of durable suede and lightweight, breathable 3D mesh fabric…” not some magical waterproof material that might suggest you can wear them in wet weather.
So, nowhere does this shoe pretend to be anything other than it is (see above description) however, you’d think that this perfect shoe should be fine in the rain. After all it is perfect in every other way. And so it came to be that my mum came a cropper in hers when wandering the wet and cobbled courtyards of the Alhambra.
As a result I thought I’d do my own final test of the Scarpa Rapid Womens’ Alpine trail running shoes out in the wet, and see whether it was my mother’s instability as opposed to the shoes’ failing that caused her to tumble…
I popped mine on after a particularly heavy downpour and went for a test walk as far as the park with my daughter.
The shoes really weren’t particularly secure under my feet on the damp pavement, and they were truly lethal on the wet rubber matting around all the play equipment at the swings. I would have been better off with bare feet because I could hardly stand up!
So, in conclusion these shoes are possibly the best shoes in world unless it’s raining or has recently rained. I can’t say fairer than that.