Gear Closet: Scarpa Rapid LT Light Hiking Shoes

Last week I shared my thoughts on the Scarpa Kailash GTX hiking boots, giving them high marks for being durable and comfortable for use in a rugged environments. I liked how those shoes provided plenty of support for long days on the trail and solid traction, even on wet surfaces. This week I take a look at a completely different shoe from Scarpa and come away just as impressed, although for some very different reasons.

The company’s Rapid LT is a light hiking shoe that is perfect for those shorter, less demanding days on the trail. While it lacks the high ankle support of the Kailash, it still provides a rugged sole that maintains a solid grip on a variety of surfaces. In fact, I was extremely impressed with how this shoe held its traction on loose rock, wet pavement, muddy trails and slick rocks at the bottom of a small stream.

Lightweight and built for speed, Scarpa designed these shoes for fast peak bagging, speed hikes and to serve as an approach shoe. I personally found their versatility went well beyond that however as I comfortably wore the Rapid LT’s mountain biking, casual hiking and just kicking around town. In all cases, my feet were very comfortable and protected no matter where I went, including some rather rocky trails.

I’m the kind of person who prefers his shoes to be a bit on the form fitting side as I find that it helps me to stay well connected to what ever terrain I’m moving through. The Rapid LT definitely falls into that category, so if you have wider feet, you’ll definitely want to try them on before you buy. In my case, I really appreciated how they felt on my feet, allowing me to move quicker and with more confidence on the trail. They fit so good in fact that although I haven’t tried them in this capacity, I feel they could even be used a rugged trail running shoe.

Constructed from a blend of suede, recycled synthetic leather and a polyester mesh, the Rapid LT’s shrug off dirt, scuffs and other potential wear without even slowing down. I’m impressed with how great the shoes still look in spite of the fact that I have been wearing them often and in a host of different capacities. Despite them becoming my favorite new shoe, my pair of Rapid LIT’s look like they just came out of the box. Judging from the number of comments I’ve had while wearing them recently, I’d say they look pretty darn good as well.

As impressed with the Rapid LT’s as I’ve been, I was even more impressed when I learned the cost. These shoes run just $110, which I feel is quite a bargain for something that is this versatile and comfortable to wear. This is the kind of footwear you can take with you on just about any kind of trip, whether you’re heading to Europe for a leisurely escape or to Africa for something a bit more wild. It’ll also serve as a great shoe for shuffling around Base Camp after you’ve kicked off your heavier mountaineering boots or when you’re speed-hiking the Appalachian Trail. In short, this is the kind of shoe you want in your gear closet no matter where you’re headed or what activities you intend to take on.

Kraig Becker