Scarpa Rapid LT Review
The introduction of the SCARPA Rapid LT in Spring of 2013 highlights an exciting crossover of the Mountain Minimal philosophy to a host of new progressive hybrids in this year’s Approach & Light Hiker Categories.
First Date with the SCARPA Rapid LT
This shoe is nothing if not sexy. Out of the box this was my first impression of the Rapid LT. SCARPA did it right by design in this shoe. Clean lines and cool Anthracite/Orange color contrasts work well on the profile-svelte upper, which is comprised of a suede/hybrid fabric combo. Design pieces team up to earn the shoe immediate street credibility. What’s more, the hybrid fabric is a combination of recycled synthetic leather and recycled polyester mesh. Look good AND feel good knowing your shoe is made in Planet Friendly best-practices design and construction. Nearly every piece of the Rapid LT from the lace and webbing to the sticky sole rubber incorporates up to 100% recycled material, and an EcoPure EVA additive in the midsole promotes degradation in landfill conditions. (Learn more about Planet Friendly standards at SCARPA.COM)
My pledge to clean, shiny, and new didn’t last long. General fit and feel of the Rapid LT screams comfort and performance and I was eager to put them to work. A short trip from my home base in Denver, the canyon lands surrounding Moab, UT affords a virtually inexhaustible testing venue. Early April conditions this year were prime with cool weather and just enough light to get long, full days in on the shoe.
Attention Peak Bagger types – the SCARPA Rapid LT is Courting You
The Rapid LT incorporates a low-profile, compression molded EVA midsole engineered with 7 mm of drop from heel to forefoot. The concept is to keep the foot closer to the trail surface. The application is increased agility and stability which field testing validated my initial out of the box impressions. The shoe delivers.
Equally at home both on-trail and off-trail, light and fast day trips in Arches and Canyonlands seemed to be the shoe’s bread and butter. Additionally, the rubber toe rand lends solid protection when scrambling over talus, scree and broken terrain – a feature put to work this past 4th of July weekend backpacking and scrambling among the notoriously steep, loose rock above Conundrum Hot Springs in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness outside of Aspen.
Rapid LT – Getting to Know You on Steep & Technical Terrain
SCARPA built the Rapid LT on top of the Speed Lite HDR sole. Not sure what Speed Lite HDR is? I wasn’t. No yellow seal of confidence; no tried and true sticky little dots. I was skeptical. The triangle lug pattern sticks surprisingly well. I’m inclined to think the relatively wide spacing between lugs enhances this performance aspect. Teaming up on top with relatively deep lacing into the toe box, the sticky rubber sole provides a degree of intimacy for precision foot placements.
While probably not on par in sticky performance with Stealth C4 or Vibram Vertical Approach, the Rapid LT platform compensates in comfort and support. They’re not going to climb 5.8 , but they’ll get me to the route in comfortable fashion though, and conveniently clip to my harness via the convertible heel pull loop for convenient carry when things get technical. Small and light at just over 11oz, these stay mainly out of the way on the harness. Long moderate alpine routes without a backpack or haul bag is a nice benefit. And rest assured, you’ll feel plenty confident when covering slabby and steep terrain along the way.
Do you enjoy going light and fast? Take note, the Mountain Minimal philosophy is on point in 2013 with the SCARPA Rapid LT. Minimalist principles combined with stability and support make this shoe a peak bagging machine. The shoe definitely knows its sweet spot. Planning for more miles and heavier loads, check out the Rapid LT’s bigger brother – the Epic Pro GTX. If it’s technical performance you’re looking for, the Crux, also from SCARPA, is a good place to start.
For more information, visit SCARPA.COM