4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

AF­TER many years wear­ing heavy-duty (and heavy­weight) hik­ing boots on 4x4 camp­ing ad­ven­tures, I took the plunge a while ago and tried out a light­weight (440g per shoe) pair of low-cut out­door shoes: Scarpa’s Oxy­gen GTX.

Scarpa is one of the most well­known and highly re­garded out­door shoe man­u­fac­tur­ers on the planet, and I have been a long-term wearer of the brand. My old pair of heavy­duty hik­ing boots pro­vided ex­cel­lent ser­vice in a va­ri­ety of con­di­tions (ev­ery­thing from three weeks of over­land 4x4 tour­ing in the NT to climb­ing Mt Kil­i­man­jaro) over their 12 years, so I was very in­ter­ested in the brand’s lat­est of­fer­ing.

Scarpa claims the Oxy­gen GTX uses Gore-tex Sur­round tech­nol­ogy to offer im­proved breatha­bil­ity in the shoe. The tech­nol­ogy is based around the move­ment of the col­lected in­ner mois­ture (pri­mar­ily sweat) out of the shoe via a “rev­o­lu­tion­ary breath­able spacer”. From this spacer, it then pushes the mois­ture out through the suede/ mesh outer.

I was ini­tially in­trigued as to how the ‘sweaty feet’ prob­lem of boots with wa­ter­proof/breath­able lay­ers would be ad­dressed, but this new tech­nol­ogy seems to pro­vide more ven­ti­la­tion – es­pe­cially in hot, humid parts of the coun­try – and still keeps dirt and wa­ter out.

More im­pres­sive is the shoe-fit. The Oxy­gen GTX has an elas­tic col­lar that makes for a much faster wear­ing-in pe­riod – I re­ceived th­ese barely three days be­fore head­ing off on a big multi-day hik­ing trip to Canada, which in­cluded plenty of scram­bling over moun­tain­ous ridge­lines and fol­low­ing rocky tracks, and I suf­fered no blis­ters, aches or pains.

Since that first break­ing-in trip, the boots have done plenty of camp­ing with the fam­ily. On th­ese trips I usu­ally only take the Scarpas, as they’re com­fort­able enough to wear around camp but tough enough to han­dle any hikes from base, where they in­vari­ably get stubbed into rocks, branches and what­ever else my gumby feet con­nect with.

Scarpa’s Sock-fit DVL con­struc­tion sys­tem is de­signed to adapt to the shape of your foot to as­sist in min­imis­ing po­ten­tial arch pain. Again, this all sounds su­per-high-tech, but the proof was def­i­nitely in the fact that I’ve never felt dis­com­fort with th­ese boots.

Over the past 12 months I have trans­formed into a big fan of th­ese light­weight, tough and ver­sa­tile shoes. The only time I’d ever reach for a heav­ier, high-an­kle boot would be if I were head­ing up high into the moun­tains on an ex­treme climb­ing or trekking ex­pe­di­tion. For ev­ery­thing else, th­ese blue beau­ties are my first choice.


Justin’s Scarpas have served him well, whether hik­ing in Canada or camp­ing back home. AVAIL­ABLE FROM: www.out­door­a­gen­cies.com.au RRP: $289.95 WE SAY: Light­weight; durable; ver­sa­tile.

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