Does the perfect boot exist? It’s hard to say; but I’ve always looked for one boot that I could wear no matter where I go on the hills. It’s a big ask, as it really depends what sort of hillwalking you mostly do and where you mostly go. But the Scarpa Marmolada Trek promises to be the perfect boot as it is described by the manufacturer as ‘the next generation of superlight hiking boots, with the weight and dexterity of a low cut shoe, but providing foot and ankle protection and all the features of a mountain boot twice its weight’. That is a big claim, to say the least.
First impressions count, and the Marmolada Trek looks like any other top-quality synthetic hillwalking boot, so it is certainly not overselling itself in terms of appearance. Grab it and it feels reasonably light, but at 1415g (pair, size 46) it’s not the lightest option out there; however you have to take into account the performance when comparing weight, as many lighter boots are far more flexible and far less durable than the Marmolada Trek appears.
The upper of the Marmolada Trek is a mix of synthetic and suede leather that has good stiffness and feels quite robust, while a full rubber rand adds further durability. The toe box is nice and firm, and the upper generally feels able to support the foot on rockier ground better than most general-purpose 3-season boots and lighter footwear. Inside there is an OutDry, rather than a Gore-Tex, waterproof lining. The lacing also extends well down to the toe for a more precise fit.
Underfoot is a very impressive Vibram Mulaz S sole, with widely spaced lugs that are a good depth for keeping a grip on softer ground as well as gravel and mud. Grab the boot by the toe and heel, and there is a lot of stiffness here, suggesting that this is much better for scrambling than most 3-season boots and any lightweight footwear.
The real test comes when you put these boots on. The fit is very neat and precise – and I instantly found them comfortable when I took them directly from their box to the Lake District fells. There’s a precision of foot placement here that you just don’t get with average 3-season boots, and that stiffness in the sole further enhanced my confidence when scrambling over Grade 1, 2 or 3 routes.
For general walking they’re great too, which is a bonus because many boots with this scrambling performance are less impressive on paths and grassy slopes, but they coped really well. However, that stiffness in the sole does mean that bendier and more cushioned boots are comfier for pure moorland or path walking; but those sorts of boots are less precise when scrambling.
Upper L-Tech and S-Tech synthetic, 1.8mm suede, OutDry waterproof lining
Sole Vibram Mulaz S
Sizes 41-48 (men’s); 37-42 (women’s)
The Scarpa Marmolada Trek is designed as a technical hillwalking boot that’s good for scrambling, and to that end it’s perfect. It is lightweight for its scrambling abilities, but lighter boots are available if you don’t need that level of performance. Lower-priced boots exist, but again not with such scrambling or walking performance. 4.6/5
Review by Graham Thompson
Published in Trail magazine February 2015