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Gear Review: Scarpa Tech Ascent GTX Boots

Scarpa Tech Ascent GTX

Scarpa Tech Ascent GTX

Boots
Scarpa Tech Ascent GTX
$239, 2 lb. 7 oz. (men’s Euro 42/US 9)
Sizes: men’s Euro 36-46.5, 47, 48, women’s 36-43
scarpa.com

Some boots are not all they’re cut out to be; others deliver even more than you expect. The Tech Ascent GTX falls into that second category. Billed as an approach-backpacking boot that’s supportive enough for carrying a full pack, yet nimble for climbing, these midweight, suede mid-cuts are an outstanding boot for backpacking with up to 45 pounds, as I discovered on a five-day, 40-mile family backpacking trip in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness.

Two design features deserve most of the credit for this boot’s versatility. The dual-density polyurethane midsole provides substantial shock absorption, but still retains sensitivity for scrambling or easy five-class climbing. (Still, it’s much closer to boot-quality stiffness than rock-shoe softness, so don’t expect to dash up moderate to hard rock routes in them.) The midsole’s support is bolstered by a full-length insole board called C-Flex and a nylon shank under the heel and arch area. And the sticky Vibram Vertical Approach rubber on the outsole gripped securely when I scrambled off-trail up and down granite slabs above our campsite at Little Frazier Lake in the Eagle Cap, aided by a smooth “climbing” zone under the toes and instep. Meanwhile, deep, widely spaced lugs under the rest of the forefoot and the heel bite into dirt, scree, steep gravelly trail, and mud.

Even beyond those standout features, though, the Tech Ascent shines for a fit that cradles the heel, suede uppers that wrap close around the foot, and asymmetrical lacing to the toe that translates to a closer fit and enhanced control when climbing. The Gore-Tex membrane kept my feet dry through a 90-minute downpour and breathed reasonably well, remaining comfortable even on hot days as long as several hours and 12 miles. Plus, construction is impeccable, from the reinforced rubber toe rand to the way the padded tongue doesn’t slip at all to either side. You get a lot of performance for a boot that’s under two-and-a-half pounds. Fit is best for medium- to high-volume feet.

BUY IT NOW You can support my work on this blog by clicking this link to buy the Scarpa Tech Ascent at backcountry.com.

See my reviews of other favorite backpacking boots and hiking shoes and my “Pro Tips For Buying the Right Boots.”

NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.

—Michael Lanza

 

About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

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Welcome to The Big Outside

photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I'm Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Sign up for my free email newsletter in the blue box above. Click on Subscribe Now! in the main menu (top right) to get full access to all of my stories on America's best backpacking, hiking, and outdoor adventures. And click on Ask Me in the main menu to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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