SCARPA MESCALITO £160
Can the best shoes compare to a boot for a wide range of terrain... or should they stick to what they do best?
■ Materia● Suede leather
■ So●e Vibram Dynamis LBT ■ Me■’s 40-47 ■ Wome■’s n/a ■ Weight 1062g (size 47)
I can see why this is a popular shoe with outdoor instructors and climbers, as it’s designed for technical approach routes to crags, such as scrambles and rockier paths – and it was certainly comfortable enough to be worn all day.
The good-looking upper is suede leather, but without a GoreTex waterproof lining I had to be careful where I stepped. The fit is neat and precise, with lacing that extends right to the toe keeping my foot secure, and there’s good cushioning underfoot, so my feet remained comfy, even during the long descent at the end of the day.
Even without huge lugs or a defined heel breast, grip was assured as we descended in the rain down a man-made stone pitched path. But this shoe really stood out from the crowd when scrambling, with great sole stiffness in the forefoot and toe area. I’d certainly choose these, rather than any boot I own, for scrambling up reasonably difficult rock routes.
Although my feet were dry on Great Gable, for sustained walking on wet days in the hills boots with a high ankle cuff and a Gore-Tex lining will keep feet drier and more comfortable for longer. And when crossing steep scree, I needed far more support than a shoe can offer, and I was pleased to have the option of a pair of boots to swap into at such times.
While the sole was great for scrambling over rock, the shallow lugs and absence of a heel breast would make descending wet grass and boggier paths quite dicey.
These are great shoes for what they are intended for, but are an expensive luxury for footwear that’s not ideal on all mountain conditions. Boots will always have their place for big mountain days where you’ll meet a wider range of terrain.
Ideal for scrambling over rock and very comfortable on rocky paths, but for a wider range of terrain other shoes and boots have real benefits.