Follow Phil from our Exeter shop as he takes on some elite La Sportiva footwear and gives his thoughts.
Where to start with this superb lightweight walking and trekking mid-height boot from La Sportiva? After five months it’s apparent to me that the company has put a lot of thought into this design, and it’s not just another throwaway lightweight footwear offering, of which there are so many on the market.
The first thing you notice, crucially, is that they are super comfortable straight out of the box, the boot is going to suit someone who has a standard “D” width foot. However, it would not be suitable for anyone needing a higher volume boot or additional width.
The two features of the boot that make it stand out for me, are the heel and ankle arrangement, and the lacing bridge.
The heel and ankle support on the raptor is amazing and completely disproportionate to the otherwise super light feel of the boot as a whole, I wouldn’t have said it was possible to get that much ankle support from a boot that was as light as this is, but wearing is believing!!
This is, in part, due to the lacing bridge system that La Sportiva has built into this design.
When you go to tighten the boot laces, the Raptor effortlessly ratchets the upper around your foot without putting undue stress on any one part of the lacing system. Which is very important, as the lower part of the lace bridge is made up of fabric toggles. Another feature of the Raptor that I really like is the top aglet (toggle!) of the lacing bridge is metal and has a vertical slot in the front to easily locate the lace and this makes it super easy to finish lacing the boot.
The sole of the raptor is low profile, which I found to be super grippy on the dry rock on a recent climbing trip where I had to down-climb a decent route with a very heavy fully loaded fifty-litre backpack.
Obviously, no footwear is immune to slipping on green slime and polished rock, but I have found these to be reassuringly stable on mixed terrain (including tarmac and concrete!) and superior to other similar lightweight walking boots that I have tried.
There is a reasonable and surprising amount of stiffness through the last which will help prevent the Raptor from flexing and protect against general excessive wear that you might otherwise expect from such a lightweight boot. There is also a substantial heavy rubber toe box protector which again shows La Sportiva thoughtfully putting the strength into the design where it’s needed!
It is early to say how this boot will stand up over years, but the longer I have it the more optimistic I feel. I believe this boot is ideal for day-to-day wear, all varieties of hill and mixed terrain walking in moderate climates, and also an excellent approach boot, although it is not classified as such. I certainly wish I’d had a pair when I did the Everest base camp trek! I also love the fact that lazy me doesn’t have to take the raptors off before I drive my car home!
Available in both men and women’s variants…