Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor
$130, 1 lb. 10 oz. (men’s 9)
Sizes: Euro men’s 38-47.5, women’s 36-43
For a recent 28-mile dayhike through Idaho’s spectacular White Clouds Mountains—partly off-trail, with a cumulative elevation gain and loss of nearly 8,000 feet, including a steep, very loose scramble of several hundred vertical feet over a pass—I wanted the lightest shoes possible, yet ones with plenty of support, comfort, and traction. It didn’t take me long to decide on the Ultra Raptor, which I had worn a lot and reviewed previously. Not only did they perform as I’d hoped they would throughout this long and rugged hike, but afterward, my feet felt fatigued but otherwise not like I’d just hiked 28 miles.
My original review covers these shoes in detail. But I had not taken a dayhike or trail run this long in them before, nor done a serious, off-trail scramble. I was impressed with how well they gripped steep slabs and loose dirt and scree; how they remained comfortable over the course of a very long day; how the mesh uppers breathed so well that my feet never got sweaty, and my left shoe dried quickly after an accidental dunking at one creek crossing; and how the close fit from the collar through the midfoot helped keep trail debris out of the shoes. While my companions on this hike were dumping stones from their shoes several times—especially after that steep scramble in sliding scree—I never had to empty my shoes out. No matter what distance your trail runs and dayhikes, the Ultra Raptor is an outstanding shoe.
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.