Hiking and Backpacking Boots
Scarpa Rush Mid GTX
$199, 2 lbs./907g (pair Euro men’s 42/US 9)
Sizes: men’s Euro 40-48/US 7.5-14, women’s Euro 36-42/US 4-9
Having backpacked numerous times through the Wind River Range on summer’s tail—and more than once been greeted with buckets of cold rain and wind for days or finding out that over a foot of snow fell the day after we got out—for my latest trip, I wanted to stick my feet in boots that can handle any unpleasant surprises. Still, I also didn’t want to feel like I was lifting a cement block with each step or like my feet spent each day in a hot yoga studio. Our five-day hike showed me the Scarpa Rush Mid GTX were a smart choice for what we encountered as well as what we might have encountered—and an all-around superior hiking boot.
I wore these boots starting with over 35 pounds in my pack on a five-day, 43-mile, late-summer backpacking trip in the Wind River Range and found them quite comfortable hiking trails for several hours a day—comfy enough even to wear around camp (leaving the laces very loose and the tongue lifted to cool my feet, something I commonly do).
The medium-volume, sock-fit construction—with breathable, stretch fabric in the tongue instead of traditional, bulky gussets—embraced my feet closely and comfortably, preventing any slipping or rubbing, with good space in the toe box and a heel cup that anchored and cradled my heels very stably. And the dual-density EVA midsole with a TPU heel—both somewhat common in lightweight hiking shoes and boots—plus quite substantial torsional rigidity, especially for a boot so light, provided plenty of cushion and support for hiking for hours with over 35 pounds on my back.
I stood in shallow creeks to test the boot’s waterproofness and the Gore-Tex Extended Comfort membrane allowed no water inside while proving reasonably breathable, at least for keeping my feet from getting sweaty even under an alpine sun that often felt hotter than the ambient air temperature in the 60s and as high as 70° F one afternoon. In fact, I walked across a shallow and slow section of the New Fork River in my boots, on my toes to keep the water from over-topping them, and my socks stayed dry, even as it took at least 10 strides to reach the other bank, my boots dunking to midfoot with each step.
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The synthetic uppers combine breathable mesh fabric with protective PU overlays and sidewalls and a reinforced toe, helping to prevent feet overheating while armoring the boot against rocky, rugged trail or hiking off-trail.
The Rush Mid GTX features the same Presa Freedome IDS outsole found in Scarpa’s Rush trail-running shoe, with widely spaced, moderately but not overly deep, multi-directional lugs delivering grip and traction that never slipped while I hiked trails ranging from packed dirt and mud to loose, sliding scree and large talus boulders, and the pronounced rocker facilitates a quick stride on the trail.
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Besides minor abrasion to the soft midsole at the forward outer edge of each boot—outside your little toes, where hiking footwear often suffers the most wear and tear—the Rush Mid GTX seems very durable for most circumstances that most backpackers and dayhikers encounter.
Other models in Scarpa’s Rush series include the non-waterproof, low-cut Rush ($159), the low-cut Rush GTX ($189), the low-cut, suede Rush Trail GTX ($219), and the mid-cut, suede Rush TRK GTX ($239), all in men’s and women’s versions. The Verdict Remarkably comfortable, supportive, reliably waterproof, adequately breathable for all but the hottest hikes, and impressively light, the Scarpa Rush Mid GTX are all the boot many backpackers and dayhikers would need.
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Remarkably comfortable, supportive, reliably waterproof, adequately breathable for all but the hottest days, and impressively light, the Scarpa Rush Mid GTX are all the boot many backpackers and dayhikers would need.
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