UKC

Scarpa Little Terra kid's boot Review

© Dan Bailey

It's not often these days that you see a children's boot with a full leather upper; fabric/suede seems to be the norm. But though it has a traditional look, the Little Terra (always love a name with a pun) is anything but a heavy, heel-shredding, old-fashioned leather boot. No painful breaking-in period here. These boots are light and supple, yet protective and supportive, and Daisy (age 10) found them comfortable from day one. If you don't want to put the nipper off walking for life, then make sure their boots are easy on the feet. The Little Terra scores big in that regard, and our junior reviewer has been keen to wear hers at every opportunity, from Munro summits to school days.

A little brown boot with a lot to like  © Dan Bailey
A little brown boot with a lot to like
© Dan Bailey

Cost vs value

Bearing in mind a child's inconsiderate habit of growing out of things, £80 seems a top-end price - especially when decent kid's boots (of the fabric/suede variety) can be had for half the outlay. But while we've got on well with £40 boots from Decathlon, and I can't fault them at the price, the Litte Terra just feels a cut above in terms of quality. They're made to the usual high Scarpa standard, so if you have more than one child, and assuming they're properly looked after (the boots, not the kids), then they ought to offer good hand-me-down potential.

Weight

At 656g for our review pair of size 35 (UK 2.5), the Little Terra seems perfectly acceptable for a boot of this sort (Scarpa quote 640g for a pair of size 32), and the weight is pretty much on par with other decent kid's boots in our family gear pile.

Giving them a workout on a dry and dusty Beinn Eighe  © Dan Bailey
Giving them a workout on a dry and dusty Beinn Eighe
© Dan Bailey

Fit

With a broad, rounded toe - something I also wish could be said for more adult footwear - the Little Terra is designed to go easy on growing feet. You don't want to be cramming them into close-fitting boots! This shape seems to suit Daisy's similarly wide foot very well, and while there's also quite a lot of volume - or depth - here, we've filled the space by adding a second insole.

Heel lift has not proved an issue, and while the cuff offers some ankle support its soft padding and forgiving flex allow for a good range of movement. In terms of nimbleness, she can outrun me downhill with ease, and the fact that she's wearing leather boots rather than trainers isn't holding her back in the least.

Lacing is smooth-running, and the metal hooks seem sturdy. In Daisy's size 35 you do get an excessive lace length though, so I'm forever telling her to tie up the loose ends, which become something of a trip hazard. I presume there's a standard length lace that covers a range of sizes.

They're soft, yet supportive enough on rough ground  © Dan Bailey
They're soft, yet supportive enough on rough ground
© Dan Bailey

Light enough to feel nimble on the foot, not clumsy   © Dan Bailey
Light enough to feel nimble on the foot, not clumsy
© Dan Bailey

Upper

In a world that seems obsessed with gendered children's toys, clothes and footwear, as a parent that doesn't want to foist a mental straitjacket on my kids I am pleased that this model is unisex, and doesn't come in pink or blue versions. In fact, the bird watcher's acronym LBB (little brown bird) suits the Little Terra too. With their muted, traditional look these little brown boots don't vie for the attention in the same way as showy colourful models, but don't let that persuade you that they're not worth a look.

The 1.8-2mm full grain leather upper is soft and supple, yet offers a decent amount of protection on rough ground. Fewer seams than you'll get on a suede/fabric model means less stitching to get damaged and start leaking. However, kid's footwear takes a particular hammering and we found that the uppers rapidly scuffed up to more of a nubuck texture. Regular re-treatment is required, a discipline I've yet to pass onto my children. A bit of rand at the toe would not have gone amiss. 

The sole is nice and grippy on the rock  © Dan Bailey
The sole is nice and grippy on the rock
© Dan Bailey

Inside, the lining is soft and un-sweaty, while the mesh-covered padding at the top of the tongue and cuff seems nicely breathable. Since most of our walks involve some element of Scottish bog, we've welcomed the waterproof lining, though it's arguably a bit belt-and-braces when you already have a decent leather upper with minimal stitched seams, which is going to keep out most water anyway. While no further info about this waterproof lining is offered on Scarpa's website, it certainly seems breathable enough, and Daisy hasn't complained of sweaty feet even on hot days.

Sole

For grip on a range of ground, the outsole has a good deep tread, and having so far tested it on scree, wet grass, spring snow and moderate scrambling terrain, Daisy has yet to have a mishap. Compared to other children's boots I've seen, the heel breast is particularly deep, and the downhill braking effect that this offers should be good for peace of mind if you're descending steep slopes with the offspring in tow (or towing you). However the rubber seems quite soft and I suspect it'll wear at the toe relatively quickly.

An aggressive tread, with a really decent heel breast  © Dan Bailey
An aggressive tread, with a really decent heel breast
© Dan Bailey

This is not the stiffest and most supportive children's sole I've seen - our various Decathlon boots have more rigidity. Here you get a lot of forward flex, and quite a marked torsional softness too (the lengthways twist between toe and heel). In an adult's boot a sole this bendy would usually be found on a poor quality budget model, but for lighter children I don't think the sole's comparative softness is a bad thing since they're putting less leverage and weight on their feet anyway. For a smaller child on less demanding terrain in summer conditions, perhaps what you really want is something springy and forgiving. Daisy certainly hasn't yet suggested that her boots aren't clumpy enough.

Little Terras, ideal for little terrors everywhere  © Dan Bailey
Little Terras, ideal for little terrors everywhere
© Dan Bailey
 

Insole

Our main criticism of the Little Terra so far, is the poor quality of the insole. Even on pricey adult's boots these can be surprisingly rubbish, but in this case doubly so. The brushed upper side started pilling within the first day, and after a couple of wears this layer had rubbed right through at the heel, leaving a patchwork of tears and raised fluffy bits. Understandably Daisy found this uncomfy, so we've covered the footbed that came supplied with a much older but as yet bobble-free insole from another pair of boots. It'd be worth investing in a decent insole.

Scarpa say:

The kid's Terra is a classic brown walking boot designed specifically for children's feet.

The Terra Kids has a sturdy leather upper designed to be comfortable but also offer good levels of ankle protection for young adventures. A waterproof lining protects against rain and puddles, and the easy-running lacing allows quick adjustment to get the perfect fit.

The SCARPA designed sole not only offers grip and durability, but also support under-foot for long walks in the hills.

  • Sizes: 27-38
  • Weight: 656g/pair size 35
  • Lining: Waterproof
  • Sole: Integra Junior
  • Upper: 1.8 - 2mm Leather

For more info see scarpa.co.uk



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11 Jun

Once again, great to see kids' stuff reviewed, especially as I have a daughter two years younger. We are still in the Decathalon kit phase but considering branching out as they get older.

On a side note, what brand is Daisy's cap.....

That's Decathlon's finest, as is a lot of our kids stuff (pretty much everything we don't get given to review!)

17 Jun

These are great boots, we discovered them after our eldest got her feet soaked once too often whilst wearing fabric boots. Being out in the hills with wet feet is no fun at all, especially if you're out camping for a couple of days. She's now onto her second pair with the first pair being handed down to her sister and still going strong. Pricey but, as you say, a good investment if you can hand them down.


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