The Scarpa Cyclone GTX is a solid three season walking boot featuring a distinctive exoskeleton to give support and stability. It's been brilliant for rough moorland walks over the last few months, and feels like it will last another 10 years (or a nuclear apocalypse).
Stiffness and support
The outer of the Cyclone GTX is constructed from 1.6mm of nubuck leather which gives a soft and supple feel in the forefoot and generally throughout the boot. However on top of this Scarpa have added a distinctive exoskeleton (made with a 'unique dual injection technology', apparently), to create something a lot less traditional-looking. This external structure wraps very prominently around the heel before tapering towards the toe, resulting in a boot which feels forgiving and flexible at the front end, but with a much more structured feel at the rear. The idea is to give you both a high degree of torsional support when walking on rough ground, traversing slopes etc, while at the same time permitting a nice natural walking gait thanks to the flex at the front. Overall I'd describe it as a reasonably stiff boot for the weight, although thanks to its unusual construction it's a tricky one to categorise!
Fit and comfort
Scarpa offer the Cyclone GTX in both a men's fit and a lower volume/women's model. They seem to size slightly on the large size - I'm usually a UK 10/EU 45 in trainers but I went down to an EU 44 in these boots. Experience of Scarpa footwear among the review team has often been the opposite (ie we've had to go up a size), so Scarpa are clearly positioning this particular model in more of a comfort than a technical category. With a notably rounded toe shape and a wide fit towards the front, and quite a bit of volume, the men's Cyclone GTX have a relaxed, comfort-oriented feel, while at the same time I've found the fit closer and more foot-hugging around the midfoot. Of course this new 'TAI' last won't suit everyone, so as ever with footwear it would pay to try them on before buying.
According to Scarpa the biggest benefit of the exoskeleton is that the Cyclone GTX are able to be instantly comfortable and supportive. On the whole I've found this to be true: out of the box they were great and didn't need any wearing-in which you might expect from a boot of this nature. They are also extremely comfortable now. However, after a few outings the exoskeleton on the right boot suddenly decided to start digging into my achilles and was unbearably uncomfortable. I padded it out with a folded sock for a long walk and since then it has bedded in, and the boots are once again great.
In a size EU 44 the combined weight of the boots is 1370g making the Cyclone GTX roughly middle-of-the-road for a pair of boots of this robustness; you can certainly find lighter boots, though I doubt many of them would be as supportive for their weight as this model. Thanks to the fit, comfort and forefoot flex, the boots don't seem cumbersome or clumpy for their weight, and have a reasonably low-profile feel.
The Vibram Shell Trek sole is built to last and, after a winter and spring's use, there's no sign of wear. You'll see a deeper, more aggressive tread on many boots, but the outsole used here is very much up to the job for which the boots were designed, - all-round country walks, trails and easier hill days. I'd say the sole is very grippy, even on slippery snow and ice (though do note, these are not by any means crampon-compatible winter mountain boots), and whether it's wet grass, damp rock or mud, I've always felt confident in my footing when wearing the Cyclone GTX.
A dual density midsole provides a fair bit of cushioning, and if you're walking for any distance on tarmac, or stony farm tracks, the Cyclone GTX beats many boots for comfort underfoot. However they are still boots, and since there's little flex in the sole compared to a trail shoe, most people would probably prefer shoes on the pavement. That's not really what boots are for, and as such I only tend to wear them when heading out to the hills (though they did me well around town during the snowy/icy conditions this winter).
I really like the Cyclone GTX and they're my go-to boot for rough, wet or slippery ground. Apart from the one painful instance with the exoskeleton, they have been extremely comfortable and I always feel like I'm on solid ground when I'm wearing them. I also think they look pretty sleek and the Gore-Tex lining keeps my feet dry. Overall they're an excellent boot for less-demanding, all-round UK use, and even in winter if you're just going for a low-level country walk.
This outstanding hiking boot uses a new and unique dual injection technology that develops an exo-skelton, elevating the upper support and protection to new levels for a direct injection boot. The graded thickness of the injection allows a progressive flex to be developed, facilitating a perfect balance between torsional support and instant forefoot comfort. The inner/ softer PU affords outstanding shock absorption and is strongly housed inside the outer layer. The new last is centred on delivering that all important instant comfort. The waterproof and luxurious Nubuck upper features thermo-embossing details to control the upper support and offer a truly dynamic and aggressive appeal. The lace furniture allows the fit to be controlled with both a lace lock and tongue centralisation facility.
- Weight: 1370g / pair size 44 (our weight)
- Sizes: 41-48 (men)
- Last: TAI
- Upper: Nubuck 1,6 mm, with SCARPA® design
- Lining: GORE-TEX Performance Comfort for a greater warm, comfort and waterproofness
- Sole: Bi-density sole with ex points to help boot reactivity on dynamic walking
- PU insert in low density for shock-absorbing (1st injection)
- FLEX POINTS to help foot flexion and reactivity of dynamic walks
- MIDSOLE PU in medium density for more support and stability (2nd injection)
- PU in medium/high density for VIBRAM® rubber outsole support and stability
For more info see scarpa.co.uk