/ Scarpa SL Active Boots

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martinph78 on 26 Apr 2013
Hi all,

After a long and hard search for boots I finally tried a pair of Scarpa SL Actives today and was surprised to find that they fitted! Great news as they are one of only three boots that meet my spec on paper but I'd ruled them out as been narrow. Small amount of heel lift in the left boot, but my left foot is smaller and EVERY boot does this a bit. Nothing a bit of moleskin won't take out so expected.

Anyway, they are very expensive (major purchase for me), more expensive than my Meindls! So before finally spending my money I thought I'd double check that there are no known issues with them. Rather than reviews, I'd like a long-term user opinions on: durability, sole wear, eyelets (do the rollers seize up, looks possible?) all year-round use, waterproofness?

I will be using them for everything. Scrambling, backpacking, trekking, fell walking etc most of the year. (I have Nepals for when it's properly winter and trainers for the short hot summer days).

Not really after a recommendation for another boot as I have looked, if this one gets the thumbs up I'm happy spending the money. If not I'll go for the Meindl Borneo. As I say, tried them on, can buy them locally, just want that last bit of reassurance as it is a huge amount of money to me.

Many thanks, Martin
m0unt41n on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978: Used SLs for years last model and one before that. I wear the soles out, a pair usually lasts me a year and half, although I have always found some cracking on leather on top where it bends over base of toes despite looking after them carefully. Completely water proof. Worn them on a few trips to Karakoram on trek ins and on glaciers before finally changing into plastics or doubles. Thoroughly recomend.

I have wide feet so always got the BXX and stretched them, havent tried the new model. They are meant to be wider than the SL BX but are they as wide as the BXX? My feet are wide across toes but normal / narrow at heel. Size 10 but I get size 48 SL to get the width and use Superfeet to hold foot in place.

I would get them if they fit you. I use mine exactly as you intend to use yours. For everything unless easy and warm or very high and cold.
martinph78 on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to m0unt41n: Thanks, they sound good. I have wide toe/narrow heel as well. I tried the 8 today, my normal size, but might try the 7.5 before buying, just to check. Hard to tell where my toe is in them though as they are very stiff around the toe box. I found the lacing very comfortable and adjustable.

Completely waterproof was nice to hear, cheers!

I liked the Meindl Burmas (except the goretex lining in the summer and for trekking), but the leather of the scarpas looks even better quality. What do you treat yours with?
CurlyStevo - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978: mine are about a year old fairly average use. No issues so far. they do get less comfortable but less hot as the foam compresses but thag improves as the leather wears in. Dont bother with the scarpa silicone stuff its crap, go for grangers bees wax!
Ray Sparks on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978: Good boots you wont go wrong with them, i have used the scarpa cream with them never had an issue with water ingress totaly water proof.
martinph78 on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Thanks. I have some Grangers G-wax, I think that is bees wax. Meindl recommended it over their own sport-wax oddly!

Sounds like I'm set to get the cheque book out if there are no horror stories about soles falling off or leaks after 5-mins walking the dog!
m0unt41n on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978: I use the Scarpa HS cream, it doesnt build up a layer that some other treatments do.
Joe G - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978:

> Sounds like I'm set to get the cheque book out if there are no horror stories about soles falling off or leaks after 5-mins walking the dog!

After 5 mins walking the dog...

No, I like mine. The old models (which were majorly changed about 10 years ago) were great, then the newer ones came along and the sole was a bit odd and didn't fit my feet but I fixed that with a heel lift footbed. I'm now on my 4th pair of SLs and would buy another pair. Haven't tried the new Activ version but sounds like there's no huge change. Great pair of comfy all-rounder boots.
Johnny_Grunwald on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
Brilliant boots, get them. After a week in Scotland I was probably the only one of nine people with toasty, dry, comfy feet. They are surprisingly positive even on delicate scrambles and will take walking crampons no problems. A great all rounder and worth every penny IMHO
CurlyStevo - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to m0unt41n:
i find the scarpa hs cream provides very little protection and allows the boots to be scuffed quickly.
Johnny_Grunwald on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978:

I use G Wax and find the boots still look great and don't let a drop of watet in.
martinph78 on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Martin1978: Sold! Thanks all. Feel much better about handing my money over with such positive feedback.

Cheers, Martin
martinph78 on 17 May 2013
In reply to Martin1978: I've finally got my boots, and I'm breaking them in/making the most of the 2 week comfort exchange guarantee in the house.

First impressions are they should last me well. You can see the difference in quality compared to my Meindls, which I thought were good.

They are not as comfortable as my Meindls though, not at the moment. The Meindls were instantly comfortable (cushioning/soft). I appreciate these are a stiffer boot with thicker leather but do they tend to soften up a little with breaking them in? A few reviews claim instant out of the box comfort but I doubt I'd want to head straight out on a 10 miler in them at the moment. They aren't painful or uncomfortable as such, just not slipper-comfy out of the box like the Meindls were.

I had them fitted properly, turns out my feet are nearer a 43 than a 42. They also put some heel lifts in, under the insole. I guess you can never tell until you get outdoors but it has been many, many years since I've had to break a boot in so can't really remember if they all felt like this at first and I was spoiled with the Meindls.

Thanks, Martin
CurlyStevo - on 17 May 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
take out the heel lift and chuck these under the insoles would be my advise

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scholl-Footcare-Air-Pillo-Insoles-Cushioning/dp/B001DZVF14
martinph78 on 20 May 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: I'm taking them back, tried a million lacing options and can't get rid of the heel lift. Not happy as I really don't know another boot that meets my requirements :(

Will try a size smaller but standing on the footbed I only have 5mm to spare at the end, which I think would be needed to allow for feet swell, kicking steps, descending etc?

It seems to me like the lacing system is the problem. Meindl use a hook in the right place, that pulls your foot back into the boot/heel area. The SL's have a looking hook here, and it is set to far down for me.

Not happy, looks like a few more weeks of wet feet in my old boots :(
Deri Jones - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Martin1978: Did you try the Manta? I'd tried a pair of SL's and had problems with heel lift and odd creasing across the forefoot that was digging in to the top of my foot. Tried the Manta and they are a different fit - got rid of the heel lift and creasing, but they've softened up nicely to wear year round with a few doses of Nikwax. Dry feet and robust enough to do pretty much anything.
This was the generation before the current model, not sure if the current model is beefier than the last?
CurlyStevo - on 20 May 2013
In reply to Deri Jones:
the SL Active are quite a different fit to the SL M3 so your comments are not really applicable.
martinph78 on 20 May 2013
In reply to Deri Jones: The Manta is too much boot for year round use I think, but I did try them last year as a winter boot but found them too narrow a fit.

I've been and swapped them for a size down today and the fit feels much better. Heel lift has pretty much gone so the 43's weren't right. The 42 seem a better fit overall. It's really difficult to tell without going for a long walk in them, but then you can't take them back if they are no good. It's an expensive gamble!

Pero - on 21 May 2013
In reply to Martin1978: I take a size larger in the Manta than the SL. Not sure why. Both are a good fit, but with the SL in 47 and Manta in 48.
martinph78 on 21 May 2013
In reply to Pero: I must admit, I was about to take back the SL's as they were hurting my feet sat around the house yesterday. Had them on most of today and they feel better so think that they are breaking-in a bit. I've laced them missing out the cross-over at the lace lock, and that has taken pressure off the bridge of my foot.

I reckon that they are going to be fine once they've broken in a little more. They certainly aren't Meindl-comfy straight out of the box!

I'm selling my La Sportiva Nepals as they are a touch large for me. I might look at the Manta as a replacement as I don't need a B3 boot.
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martinph78 on 31 May 2013
In reply to Martin1978: For anyone else reading this, they are a great boot, very happy :)

Wore them at the weekend in the Lakes for lots of walking and scrambling. Very comfortable and despite the warm weather my feet didn't get too hot. Took them off at the end of the day and any slight dampness dried in less than 30mins. Definiately made the right choice not going for goretex lined again! Soles are very grippy, and I'm used to cimbing in boots of this type. Also, despite the stiffness/weight of the boot, I found them very comfortable and not tiring over a long day of boulder hopping/scrambling/climbing/walking.

Just the job.

Thanks all.


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