- Quality materials and assembly
- Reduced or non-existent wearing in period
- Tough but responsive sole
- Leather isn’t for everyone
I bought these Scarpas in early spring 2016, for around £180 from GoOutdoors (from a physical shop for once!) and as far as I can see, they are the tough boots from the idiom. So far I’ve covered around 500 miles in them; wading through streams, walking over hills, climbing up mountains, stomping through snow, slogging through mud, and they have yet to let so much as a drop of water in. All the while they’ve provided a high level of comfort which I didn’t have to earn with a prolonged wearing in period, they fit comfortably right out of the shop.
The majority of the boot is covered in a 2.4-2.6mm leather, with a calf leather upper and tongue joint. Although a little stiff to begin with (as leather always is) creases wore in straight away at the ankle bend, providing that tailored fit that I have only ever experienced with leather boots. They have picked up a few cosmetic bramble scratches over the last year, while these haven’t even come close to affecting the boots performance, they have left me a little self conscious about further damage in a way I probably wouldn’t feel wearing boots with a synthetic construction.
The stitching, glue and general construction is all fantastic quality from what I have seen in the last 12 months, nothing has budged even a little bit. The sole has hardly aged at all, its deep tread still as effective as day one, and even the inner sole is in good condition; still springy albeit missing some surface colour from wear. The comfort level has only increased as I have worn them in, there have been no weak links when it comes to build and material quality.
To compliment the great quality, Scarpa have realised a fantastic design to boot. They are a great mix of old and new boot style; comfortable, traditional calf and cow leather with hi-tech comfort inside and a Gore-tex waterproof lining, all topped off with a springy, bomb-proof, plastic sole. Having worn my pair in deep snow and at the height of summer without dampness creeping in and all sweat creeping out, I can say that the waterproofing and breathability of the Delta is fantastic. The laces will stay put all day even without a lace locking mechanism and although it’s quite tricky to get the tongue to stay in place to begin with, once you have worn them enough to mould the leather into place, lacing them up is a breeze.
The sole is springy and manages to feel surprisingly responsive for what is quite a large chunk of plastic, even with the very sturdy toe protector at the front. I’ve felt thoroughly connected to the earth in them almost all the time, these boots are definitely built to make you feel like Godzilla crashing down a hill, rather than a highly tuned and nimble hill walker.
The boots have what Scarpa calls “ActivFit”, which means Scarpa made the boot using a special ‘last’ which is the analogue for a human foot used to mould the inner padding. These hi-tech lasts apparently allow for a softer padding to be used inside the boot, and this abundance of soft cushioning is what makes the boots feel better than others right out of the box. The boots also feature a breathable memory foam innersole, which really doesn’t let you down when you find yourself standing for long periods of time eating lunch or waiting for others on the trail. Without knowing about any of these features at the time, I thought they felt better than all of the other boots I tried straight away and I have only had one incident with blisters, so apparently it all works.
The direct competitors in the 3 season leather boot range include the Mammut Brecon II, which costs ~£170 and the heavier Meindl Bhutan MFS, which costs ~£180. Reading reviews of the competition, I am not instilled with confidence the way I was approaching Scarpa; build quality issues aren’t what you want to hear when investing in something you want to last up to 5 years. There were actually several user reviews that included lines such as “never gonna last 10 years like my old Scarpas”, far reaching brand reputation for quality is always a good sign. From what I have seen, the alternative with the most to offer comes from the British company Anatom, their Braeriach 3 season boot costs only £144 and has been reviewed positively so far.
With a regular oil and wax I can see these boots lasting me at least another 5 years, if they remain this comfortable I’d be happy to wear them all that time too. Insulative, grippy, comfortable and visually pleasing; they tick all the right boxes and support you in all the right places. I’ve recently seen them online as low as £160, so while not exactly a bargain, they are still very good value.
I’d definitely recommend them and would buy another pair in a heartbeat.