|Rating:||8 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.6 / 2|
|Durability||1.8 / 2|
|Comfort||1.6 / 2|
|Weight||1.3 / 2|
|Support/Traction||1.7 / 2|
For a number of years I have very much been a dedicated trail runner user for my hikes. The only reason I ever tend to use a boot, which is rare, is when the environmental conditions demand it such as:
So when I decided to walk the 480 km Tasmanian Trail during wintertime there was a high likelihood of deep soft snow in some areas. So I quickly pivoted from a trail runner to a boot. This is where things get hard with my decision to change to a boot less than one week out from the start of the hike; I can hear you gasp ‘but what about wearing them in?’.
Firstly, in choosing footwear I use a size 15 US (size 50 European) and for those of you with similar size feet, you will know how hard that can be in finding options. If you’re a male with size 12 US or above feet you know your foot sizing falls in the bottom 2%. Size 15s are almost unicorn status. If I had a couple of months’ notice my choice would have been slightly broader. But after a quick search of the internet and a couple of phone calls I identified two options, the Scarpa Kailash Trek GTX Men’s Boot, and the Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Men’s Boot. These were the only boots available in my size on short notice; or for that matter medium to long term availability as well. In addition, I also have a broad forefoot which narrows the selection even further given many boots are made for narrow to mid-width feet.
After a visit to my local outdoor supplier and 30 minutes of testing I chose the Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Men’s Boot for the following reasons:
After wearing these boots for 200+ km how did they go?
First up the recommendation is to ‘wear in’ boots before hiking in them but I pretty much went straight into 20+ km days without any problems and in trying them on in-store I could tell that comfort and fit wasn’t going to be an issue. The other boot I tried on, the Scarpa Kailash Trek GTX Men’s Boot, while a broader fit, didn’t feel as comfortable which is why I ruled them out. Having said that if you have a really broad foot then this option is worth considering.
From a wear perspective if you look at the images below you can see that these boots have slight curve to the sole rather than a flat sole. When you walk in them they provide a ‘rocker motion’ which is a way of saying that they roll as you walk which can be a bit odd if you have never worn this type of boot before. This sole is meant to help with planter fasciitis as it limits the motion of the ankle and mid foot but as I have never had that issue, I couldn’t say if it does or not. It doesn’t take long for you to notice the roll to your gait and as boots go, they are pretty comfortable.
These boots are a full height boot and have a padded ankle collar for comfort and excellent ankle support. The lacing system is reasonably common on most boots and while it doesn’t have the pulley system that the more expensive Scarpa SL Activ have, they are an easy to lace boot. To complete the construction, the toe and heel protection do the job well and not once did my feet every feel under threat against the terrain. In addition, I had no issues with blisters and only minor issues with dead toenails with these boots even given I wore them straight out of the box with no real wear-in period.
Now some people may be surprised that I have classed this as a mid-weight boot but when compared to my heavy-weight Scarpa SL Activ Boot which are around 400 grams heavier, they definitely sit in the middle weight range. These boots have a suede upper as opposed to a full leather and feel comfortable on. I got to test out the waterproofing on this trail with a reasonable amount of rain and for good measure, I managed to sink into mud and cow poo over the top of one boot and yes it did fill my boot up but moisture didn’t penetrate the boot material itself.
The Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Men’s Boot sits in the middle pricing as you would expect with the features on offer with a recommended RRP of AUD$399 but you can usually find these at a cheaper price. Considering the features and the durability of these boots, they are great value for money. These are also one of those rare boots that go up to size 50 although you may need to look around to find them or else do a special order.
Now let’s look at the negatives. From my perspective I identified two negatives with these boots. The first was that they aren’t as grippy as other Scarpa boots I have tried. Every so often I found myself losing traction in conditions that I really shouldn’t have. It’s not a deal breaker but if supreme grip over a variety of terrain is something that is essential, spend the additional money for the Scarpa SL Activ Boot. The second negative isn’t specific to this model but rather all heavier boots which tend to slow you down. I found I couldn’t travel as fast or as far as I would in my trail runners which weigh in around half of the weight of these boots. In fact when I returned home and put my trail runners on for a walk, I felt like I wasn’t wearing any footwear at all – the weight difference was so noticeable.
My last issue is that in hot weather, your feet will sweat but this is also not something unique to these particular boots but mid to heavy-weight boots in general. This sweating has the potential to create hot spots and blisters if you are not careful although I rarely ever wear them in excessively hot conditions.
This is a great boot option from Scarpa and particularly if you have big beefy feet like me. The Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Boot will now become my go-to boot for those rare times I need waterproof and/or snow proof option.
You can purchase Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Boot online from Wildfire Sports
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AUD $399.00 RRP
Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Men’s Boot
Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Men’s Boot front and back view
Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Men’s Boot sole
Scarpa ZG Trek GTZ Men’s Boot top view
Scarpa ZG Trek Men’s Boot side view. Notice the curve in the sole that provides a ‘rocking’ motion to your walk
Scarpa ZG Trek GTZ Men’s Boot blue version
Tim wearing his Scarpa ZG Trek GTZ Men’s Boots complete with mud and cow poo from the Tasmanian Trail – definitely overdue for a clean
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker