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Scarpa Kailash Review

Scarpa Kailash
Photo: Scarpa
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Price:  $219 List
Pros:  Good traction
Cons:  Poor support, not durable
Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Atherton Phleger ⋅   ⋅  Aug 18, 2015
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Our Verdict

The Scarpa Kailash is a best-selling, critically acclaimed boot. In 2008, it won a number of awards, including the illustrious Backpacker Magazine's "Editors' Choice Award". Since then, other boot manufacturers have taken notice, improving on the features that once put the Kailash at the front of the field; namely weight, comfort, and support. While we still consider the Kailash an excellent boot, our 2012 review found it quite outpaced by its current competition. We have enormous respect for this boot's pedigree, but as of right now, we believe there are better options.

Our Analysis and Test Results


These boots are great for all the same reasons they were in 2008. They are light, comfortable, and supportive. As with most synthetic boots, there is nearly no break-in period. They are as waterproof as a rubber glove.

A commonly named favorite feature of the Kailash is the heel cup, which is said to eliminate blisters and hot spots. While this is true, it certainly isn't unique of the Kailash. None of the boots we tested gave us blisters. It seems that in the intervening years since the Kailash's debut and initial success, other boot manufacturers have updated their technology.


We devised a devious durability test for this review, one that involved six weeks of continuous wilderness canoe tripping. Canoe trips are notorious for destroying boots, and it's not uncommon to go through several pairs of boots in a single summer, so we were duly impressed when the Kailash lasted four full weeks intact. But then one seam near the ball of the toe blew, and a few more followed, as documented in the pictures above. (The all-leather boots and the La Sportiva eco managed to make it through the entire summer, and then a few months of park ranger-ing, with only aesthetic damage.)

Atherton Phleger