I shunned the attention of a pimply youth who inquired after my intentions as I entered the shop and held out for the wiry, reassuringly bearded, old guy in the back of the shop. Sure enough they had the boot I wanted and the old guy measured my feet and told me I needed a size 11. He also proceeded to expound the virtues of third party insoles in place of the thin and weedy variety you tend to get with the boots.
As it turns out the Superfeet Insoles have been the best thing I’ve ever bought and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
These Scarpa’s have been brilliant. I found them instantly comfortable and my first walk in them, rather adventurously, was an 11 mile Lake District walk over Cat Bells and High Spy and back down the Newlands valley. The weather was very cold and much of the higher levels of the walk were frozen. It didn’t help therefore that the boots seemed to slip very easily, even on rock surfaces I wouldn’t have expected them to slip on. This made for a rather nervous descent from High Spy and I was much relieved to be back at the car in one piece.
On my next walk, however, this slipping wasn’t apparent at all and I put it down to the nature of the surface I was walking over at the time (more on this later). This was the only “breaking in” the boots needed.
Four months later I walked the Coast to Coast in them and they were as comfortable as slippers for the most part of the journey. I suffered one or two hot spots in the first couple of days and I developed a blister on each foot, both in the same place, but I put this down to the continuous walking rather than the boots. I’ve never suffered from a blister since in these boots.
The soles are lovely and grippy and the tread doesn’t easily get clogged up, even on muddy sections. The rubber bumper that seals the sole to the upper keeps out lots of water and also prevents damage like that I suffered on my original pair of Lowa’s.
Being Gore Tex lined they do tend to warm your feet up and this can lead to smoking boot syndrome when you remove them at the end of a long cold walk. But on the whole they keep the worst of the water out. At least until you start to experience degradation of the rubber bumper.
After only 14 months the boots started to fall apart. The seams started to split, the leather started to crack, the sole sections started to peel away from each other and the rubber bumper started to part company from the boot. The boots started to leak water on every walk and although they were still lovely and comfortable I knew I was looking at a new pair of boots.
I wrote to Scarpa and told them what was going on, I emailed them some photos of the problem and to be fair one of their customer service people contacted me and asked me to send them the boots. It cost me £8 in postage, but I returned them – with a note asking for them back as soon as possible, as the new walking season was upon us. Within 6 days I had a brand new pair delivered to the house. No explanation or anything, just a new pair of boots. That is still the best customer service experience I have had to date!
The new boots spent over 12 months in their box, until about 6 weeks ago in fact (March 2008). I used them for a short walk around the Yorkshire Dales – and spent the whole walk slipping on surfaces that I should not have been slipping on. These boots felt exactly the same as the original pair had when I used them for the first time. It must be something to do with the sole. Sure enough on the their next walk they were fine!
On the whole I can recommend these boots. They are comfortable and immediately so, they need very little breaking in. Their overall longevity remains a question, but that could be just they way I treated them. Not that I treated them badly, at least I don’t think so. There was no indication from Scarpa as to the cause of the failures in the original pair.