THE SCARPA MISTRAL GTX hiking boots offer the best of both worlds. Light and comfortable, they are perfect for leisurely walking, but they are also boots you can take on a serious hike. I have tested these boots on several coastal tracks, covering a wide range of terrain, including loose gravel, wet grass, soft sand, steep hills and (lots of) stairs, slippery rocks and a little more mud than I’d bargained for.
Scarpa claims these boots are ready to wear straight out of the box. Like always, I had been so busy that I hadn’t had a chance to break them in, so it’s fair to say I was a little nervous the first time I laced them up and set off; I hadn’t even brought Band-Aids along for the blisters I assumed I’d get.
I needn’t have worried. The boots were snug and comfortable all day. I have very narrow feet with a high arch, but the boots were true to size and fitted perfectly. I tend to roll my ankles, but the Mistrals offered excellent ankle support, and the rubber toes offered great protection.
The leather of the boots is 1.8mm water-resistant suede, lined with Gore-Tex. What started off as a light drizzle soon turned into a heavy downpour – not so much fun to walk in but it gave me the perfect chance to test the waterproofing. To my surprise, my feet stayed dry. The boots feature Vibram Energy outsole technology which is claimed to give serious traction on a wide range of trail conditions and, on test, I found that they did just that, offering excellent grip negotiating steep hills and when clambering over rocks slick from rain.
Another feature of the boots I loved was that they were so light. I used to think that the heavier the boot, the more protection it must offer. My old hiking boots did exactly that, but after a few hours they would start to feel heavy and cumbersome. When I first picked up these featherweight boots I was sceptical they would offer the same sort of protection. I’m now a convert. Even on my first outing my feet were still comfortable at the end of the day.
They look stylish too; smoky grey with a polar-blue trim that does a good job of hiding the dirt. They look and feel so good I often wear them on my daily walk from Clovelly to Bondi.
RRP $279.95 outdooragencies.com.au