Scarpa Oxygen GTX Review
Scarpa makes a wide range of quality footwear from ski boots, serious altitude boots – the kind you take up Mt. Everest – to climbing, hiking, and backpacking boots.
The Scarpa Oxygen GTX is quite the versatile shoe great for the trails, rugged backcountry terrain, and even for trouncing about in your day to day adventures. Scarpa even acknowledges that this is a fun shoe for everyday life in the “urban Jungle”. I can see use for all of these and intend to give them a good workout in a host of activities. I have taken these light hikers on rocky technical as well as sloppy muddy trails, worn them as my around-the-campground kicks, and running around town during inclement snowy weather.
First Thoughts of the Scarpa Oxygen GTX
Scarpa was started in 1938 in Northern Italy, and to this day remains a family run operation. I honeymooned in Northern Italy, and it’s a magical and beautiful place. About 10 years ago, they also opened an office in the USA. And wouldn’t you know it, they thought Boulder, Colorado would be a good place. Boulder has been named the Uber Athlete Capital of the USA, and on any given day you can find yourself surrounded by some top endurance or outdoor athletes (no matter the sport) who reside there. The lifestyle and proximity to some of the most amazing mountains, forests, and rivers for whatever your heart desires.
This is a light hiking/trail shoe. In the climbing world it can be considered an ‘approach shoe’. Climbing up vertical walls or going up heavy duty high altitude ascents definitely doesn’t start at your local park or at the trailhead. Usually there is a bit of hiking involved, and that is not something you want to be doing in your biggest and baddest boot, nor in your light and flexible rock climbing shoes.
Look of the Scarpa Oxygon GTX
I know this plays second or third fiddle in the whole scheme of things, but I do really like the appearance of this boot. It’s not overly busy, and sports a simple classic look. The use of several upper materials works well together to create a boot that has versatility for wear and use options. And it’s from this angle that the shoe will work quite well for use in and around town. They match well with Jeans, Khakis, or shorts. Especially, since they are a below the ankle shoe, they don’t scream “hiking” boot.
Features of the Scarpa Oxygen GTX
The key feature of the Oxygen GTX is the blend of Scarpa’s Sock-Fit construction with Gore-Tex Surround technology. This technology let’s your feet breathe in all directions even above and below. It’s mesh vent panels have a revolutionary breathable spacer underfoot. Great for hot weather hiking as it pulls in fresh air while your feet “exhale” overheated, and moist air.
The Protective Toe Rand is quite the feature. I like the term ‘Rand’. Not a common expression in the English language, but you can figure out what it means. In my native tongue, Dutch, it means ‘edge’ and this toe stop has a rubbery water proof feel. It creates a solid toe stop and provides a little bit of extra protection on the top as well.
Sock-Fit DV: Construction that hugs your foot like a sock. And that it does very nicely, I might add. I have a little bit wider foot, and it fits very well. If you have extremely wide feet, this may not be the shoe for you, but try them out before taking the plunge.
Vibram is a well know commodity these days, and any worthy shoe or boot will probably have that Vibram logo gracing its soles. This is the Symbios Sole which provides traction, durability, grip, and stability. I tell you I never had any issues and always had good footing no matter the terrain.
I know Scarpa is a top notch name in the Mountain climbing and hiking world, but I wonder if they would take note of a feature that the running shoe companies have embraced. I noticed a bit of heel lift as I was out hiking. This was something that occurred no matter the sock I was wearing. A ‘heel-lock’ or double eyelet at the top of the lacing system is designed to be able to cinch the shoe collar around the ankle tightly without over tightening the shoe on the upper part of your foot. With time as the shoe has molded to my foot this has become less of an issue, but thought I’d throw it out there for consideration.
I like the fact that these Scarpa Oxygon GTX shoes are ankle height. I broke an ankle some 25 years ago, and anything tightly wrapped around my ankle still feels very sensitive on my scar. That said, you do sacrifice some ankle stability, but if you roll with the trail, so to speak, you can use these for most terrain conditions. That’s where it’s versatility comes into play. The Vibram sole will provide grip and traction, and the Gore Tex Surround allows for breathability when the temperatures soar. Yet, the waterproof factor keeps your feet dry from the elements, as well as from sweating as airflow passes through.
I am active in a wide variety of activities that require a slew of different footwear options. I usually wear any kind of footwear around the house and town for a few days to get a feel for fit and function, as well as to fine tune the lacing and sole system. The one thing that gave me a bit of a fit was the sole insert on my left shoe. With no real active hiking of any kind, it had shifted backwards and is scrunching up at my heel. At first, I actually just used a piece of thin double sided tape underneath to just keep it in place, and I figured with time that the insert would sort of mold more to the shoe and my foot. That did not work, and I did have to put in new soles. I will mark this up as an anomaly as it only happened to one shoe, but it was part of my testing experience.
All in all, the shoe is quite comfortable despite some very technical qualities that allow you to feel confident taking on your local trails. Even with hikes up to 8 or 9 miles, I never experienced any blisters or hot spots that could halt a good outdoor day. Summer has been slow to surface in Colorado this year. Truly testing the Scarpa Oxygen GTX is hotter weather is still to come, but the breathability has done it’s job as I have not experienced any sweaty feet yet.
- Upper: Suede
- Lining: Gore-Tex – Extended Comfort + Surround Technology
- Insole: Polypropylene
- Midsole: Microporous EVA
- Last: BN
- Size: 40-47, 48 (half sizes)
- Weight: 437g, 15.4 oz (1/2 pair size 42)
- Color: Black/Iron Grey
Final Thoughts of the Scarpa Oxygen GTX
If you want a solid all around all-terrain hiking shoe, the Scarpa Oxygon GTX is a top notch performer. A great look, solid vibram under footing, a very fitting sock liner, and the Gore-Tex surround technology to allow your feet to breathe even in hot temperatures. I would highly encourage adding this shoe as a very capable trail hiker which can tackle pretty much any terrain you’d want to tackle.
MSRP: $ 189.00
For this and other Light Hiking Scarpa shoes please visit: www.scarpa.com