La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Review
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La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX
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|Pros||Lightweight, comfortable, excellent traction||Top-level hiking boot performance, excels in all metrics||Incredibly lightweight, comfortable||Very comfortable, supportive||Inexpensive, great waterproofing, quality material|
|Cons||Narrow fit, slightly small sizing||Expensive, not as great for hot and dry climates||Less durable than heavier models, thin sole||Average waterproofing, fair traction||Heavy, clunky, uncomfortable|
|Bottom Line||This high-performing hiking boot tears up technical terrain with maximum precision and is at home far from the trail||The gold standard of what a great hiking boot should be, and we heartily recommend it for those seeking the best possible performance on and off the trail||This mid-top hiking boot is ridiculously lightweight, though it offers excellent stability and traction for fast and light objectives||This super comfortable hiking shoe is one of our favorite budget-friendly models||This is a classic hiking boot that uses traditional materials and is an inexpensive option for someone who wants a beefy boot|
|Rating Categories||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Salomon Quest 4 Gor...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Merrell Moab 3 Mid...||Timberland Mt. Madd...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Salomon Quest 4 Gor...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Merrell Moab 3 Mid...||Timberland Mt. Madd...|
|Weight (per pair)||2.08 lbs (size 45 EU)||2.90 lbs (size 11)||1.85 lbs (size 11)||2.36 lbs (size 11)||2.31 lbs (size 11)|
|Boot Type||Lightweight hiker/day hiker||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot|
|Width Options||Regular, Wide||Regular||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide|
|Waterproof Lining||GORE-TEX extended comfort||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex||Waterproof membrane||TimberDry|
|Upper||AirMesh, microfiber, TPU||Leather and nylon||PU coated leather||Pigskin leather, mesh||Full-grain leather|
|Last Board/Shank||Nylon molded flex TPU||4D Chassis||Molded shank||Molded nylon||TPU shank|
|Midsole||Injection-molded MEMlex||EnergyCell||SensiFit||Super Rebound Compound||EVA|
|Sole||FriXion XF 2.0||Contagrip||Contagrip||Vibram TC5+||Rubber|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is a machine built for a steady diet of off-trail travel. It is lightweight, has excellent traction in all terrain types, and is extremely supportive despite its minimal stature. We find that this snug-fitting trail running shoe on steroids is one of our favorites for demanding cross-country travel over varied surfaces. Since it comes in a wide version as well, you are assured of getting the right fit to get the technical benefits this boot can deliver.
Straight out of the box, the Ultra Raptor II is ready to hit the trail. These are comfortable boots, and they are more reminiscent of a running shoe than a boot, although the comfortable padded panels that wrap around the ankle quickly make you forget that these are your typical trail runners. Thanks to the semi-rigid foam panels, we were able to feel comfortably protected from a rolled ankle, and with La Sportiva's unique speed lacing system, it is easy to get the right fit. The large toe bumper ensures that you won't stub your toe while bounding over technical talus fields, although it is a bit rigid, and we found it to be a little uncomfortable when our toes were swollen and sensitive after putting down a lot of miles.
These boots run narrow, so it is reassuring that they also come in a wide version, as the regular width fits right between a narrow and a medium-width foot. They are also on the small side, and we found that ordering our regular shoe size was too tight for all-day comfort and would recommend ordering a half size (European sizing) up from your normal street shoe for best results.
The Ultra Raptor II is one of the most supportive models in the two-pound-or-under club that we have reviewed. While still maintaining a light weight and flexibility, this boot also gives incredible ankle support and stability on rugged ground. The tall, 6.75-inch comfort collar is one of the few true ankle-high collars of any mid-top boots we tested. And, thanks to the lacing system, we got a very secure and stable wrap around our ankles to protect us from rolling on uneven surfaces.
When twisting this boot in our hands, it has solid torsional stability, though it can still flex freely and allow the foot to conform to the terrain in order to side-hill and smear on steeper sections. The injection molded MEMIex midsole and the nylon molded TPU transfer shank give the Ultra Raptor much more structure than you would think just looking at it, making it that much better of a contender while on challenging terrain or when carrying weight.
We have long appreciated the Ultra Raptor shoes for their outstanding traction in mountain terrain, and the new Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX meets and even exceeds our expectations. The Frixion XF 2.0 rubber compound is hearty and durable, though it is plenty sticky enough to be confident on 3rd and 4th class exposed scrambles. Not quite an approach shoe, it still offers much more capability than your average hiking boot.
The lug pattern on this boot is also unique. With a combination of thin, narrow lugs that bite into loose terrain and large, broad lugs that give more surface area contact for smearing, these are some seriously technically minded boots, and we struggle to think of a terrain type that they would not be suited for.
The Ultra Raptor II uses a tried and true waterproof/breathable membrane called Gore-Tex Extended Comfort, which we have tested over long periods in other La Sportiva models and really like. It is very good at keeping water out while still keeping our feet dry, happy, and not too clammy, as is the case with many waterproof membranes.
These boots have a usable flood height of 5 inches from the bottom of the outsole to the top of the Gore-Tex liner, making them capable of some pretty deep water crossings. They will also protect you up to 6.75 inches if you are walking through deep snowdrifts and just need the tall ankle collar to keep out the snow.
With a weight of 2.08 pounds in size 45 EU/11.5 US, these are not the lightest boots that we reviewed, although for the type of boot, the amount of technical prowess that it offers, and the support that you can expect, we feel like you get a whole lot out of boot for very little weight. Other boots shave extra ounces but have far less performance across all of our review metrics.
Although the Ultra Raptor is built entirely from synthetic materials and is objectively a lightweight boot, it is surprisingly durable. With an upper made of abrasion-resistant Airmesh, you get a durable and lightweight material that we have found to offer much more extended longevity than we might have expected from such a fabric.
Along the base of the boot where the upper meets the outsole, there is a microfiber mudguard that will take the brunt of scrapes and scratches as you hurdle your way through scree and talus slopes, and a large anti-shock rubber toe bumper protects the front of the foot from trail impacts. This is not as durable of a boot as the heavy-duty all-leather models, but we still expect a couple of seasons of moderate to hard use out of these boots before they start to show their age. And, if you so desire, the Ultra Raptor is available in a leather version for not that much more money.
Should You Buy the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX?
Yes. If cross-country and off-trail hiking is your thing, as it is ours, then you will love this boot. It is an excellent hiking boot, provides superior performance in nearly all our review metrics, and — while not cheap — is a good value due to the performance it provides.
What Other Hiking Boots Should You Consider?
For more of a mountain climbing focus, where snow might be expected, we really like the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX. It's a bit burlier than this boot, is more durable, and can accept a crampon. We also have enjoyed the technically-minded La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX, which is also more of a mountain boot and can deal with tougher conditions.
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