First Look - Scarpa R-Evo GTX: £174.99 / 685g
New this spring, Scarpa's R-Evo GTX is a three-season trekking boot that the brand says heralds 'The Next Footwear Revolution' thanks to the use of something called Sock Fit technology
This was first used in the company's lightweight technical mountaineering boots like the Rebel range and is essentially a stretchy Schoeller fabric gusset - great word - that replaces a conventional tongue, reduces bulk at the top of the foot and - we're quoting here - 'literally sucks the volume out of the boot like the elastic gusset of a rock slipper'. It's also claimed to reduce weight and bulk.
- 1.8mm water-resistant suede upper
- Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable liner
- Sock Fit technology using Schoeller S-tech fabric
- Vibram Fagus Lite outsole
- BAG last
- Rubber toe cap
- Women's version also available
The first thing you need to know about the R-Evo GTX is that it's a Scarpa and that means you should be expecting top-notch build quality and components and, at first look, the boot doesn't disappoint. It looks handsome in the same sort of contemporary way as the latest Manta Pro GTX with orange highlights and thick water-resistant suede leather uppers.
It gets a waterproof Gore-Tex liner, a new Vibram Fagus Lite outsole and sleek, engineered-looking metal lace-hooks and at 685g per boot (size 43) it sits nicely in that Goldilocks slot between light and medium. Not heavy, but not flimsy feeling either.
But what about the star turn, you know, the Sock Fit technology. Well it sort of turns out that you don't really notice a conventional boot tongue until it's gone, but when it's not there any more, Stick your hand inside the boot and there's no folded extra thick tongue area, just a smooth layer of stretch Schoeller fabric, like, well, the inside of a sock in fact.
Put the boot on and snug up the free-flowing laces and there's an uncanny lack of bulk above the top of your forefoot and a pleasantly close fit. It's rather nice, feels a bit like there's a mild vacuum sucking the boot around your foot for a snugger fit. And going back to a more conventional tongue construction, you can definitely feel the difference.
It doesn't mean the boot will fit everyone - we find Scarpa's heel fit a little broad for the editorial test foot for example - but if your foot is broadly Scarpa shaped and compatible with the BAG last used for the R-Evo, it does seem to give really nice forefoot hold for a medium wide sort of paw.
Otherwise the boots feels solid and stable underfoot rather than ultra-lightweight nimble, which will suit those who like a bit of underfoot stiffness on rough terrain, the rubber feels grippy and while the lugs are quite closely spaced and not the outright deepest we've seen, we suspect they'll cope with most mountain trail conditions just fine.
These are the second boot with a stretch fit liner system we've encountered recently - the others are the radical new Arc'teryx shoes which use a separate Gore-tex and foam liner system - and we're intrigued. There's definitely an unusual closeness to the forefoot fit which we found quite pleasant on a short exploratory walk and makes a lot of sense with technical mountain boots where precision really matters.
We like the idea with walking boots too and the plan is to try and get some miles in with the Scarpas over the next few weeks and see how they go. Initial impressions though are that they do seem to give an uncanny forefoot fit which should suit anyone with Scarpa-shaped feet albeit with a slightly different feel.
Our advice, if you're considering the R-Evo GTX as an option is simply to go and try and pair for size and see what you make of the Sock Fit at first hand.
More information at www.scarpa.co.uk/trek/r-evo-gtx/