Scarpa's latest offering in the Marmolada series is aimed at walkers and distance trekkers who like to take more the daring routes, with enhanced stiffness and support for more technical winter capability than other models in the range. We sent Ellis Brigham Digital Exec Nicholas out with a pair of the Scarpa Marmolada Pro OD boots to see how they performed in their natural habitat: the Lake District...
Initial thoughts about the boot
Exceptionally light for a B1! A slick looking walking boot, nice and rigid too so it clearly means business. That said, it's still perfectly wearable as a year-round mountain walking boot.
- Water-repellent Suede Plus Idro-Perwanger uppers
- OutDry membrane & 37.5 by Cocona lining
- Autofit Collar & Sock-Fit XT tongue
- Up-to-the-toe speed lacing system
- Activ impact technology
- Vibram Drumlin sole with climbing zone
- 630g (single boot size 42)
Vibram Drumlin Outsole
That Scarpa also use Vibram's Drumlin outsole in their technical approach shoes says a lot about this technology. This is a boot that really comes into its own above the treeline, when muddy paths give way to rock and scree. Superb grip throughout the whole forefoot is confidence-inspiring even on slippery rock, and as someone inclined to clamber around every waterfall they come across, I can say this with some authority. The rigidity of the climb zone at the front of the sole gives excellent precision when trying to find a hold.
One of the features pinched from climbing shoes, this gives secure feel right down the boot for true sure-footedness on technical sections, all the while eliminating pressure points down the top of the foot.
Outdry Membrane & 37.5 Liner
Outdry is the Italian answer to industry leader GORE-TEX, and I found it performed really well. The membrane is bonded to the outer upper of the boot, meaning moisture ingress is stopped at the first opportunity. Scarpa couple this with a 37.5® Cocona lining on the inner, made from a combination of volcanic sand and carbon from coconut shells. It's a highly effective wicking and anti-microbial fabric that actually delivers - my feet still felt dry and fresh at the end of a big day out.
How did it score?
Foot Protection: 9/10
It's hard to knock these boots for protection, if you'll excuse the pun. The rand is bombproof, while the low density EVA insert in the Activ impact technology heel gives noticeable shock absorption on steep declines.
As I've mentioned before, these boots are at home in the mountains rather than on low-level walks, with the Vibram rubber and climb zone making scrambles a doddle. Even so, the lugs are deep enough to give plenty of purchase on soft ground and mud, with self cleaning grooves shedding muck efficiently.
The stability of these boots is excellent. I'm notoriously heavy-footed on descents (sorry knees) but the Heel Tension System was impressively supportive on both careful scrambles and momentum-carrying scree descents. The up-to-the-toe lacing system gives a really secure wrap right down the foot for stability when the path steepens, but the flex point lace locking system means you can customise the tension at the ankle, so you you're not forced to sacrifice any comfort in pursuit of stability.
Their trek credentials mean these boots have that proper all-day comfort that you usually only find in a non B-rated boot. The combination of lacing system, Sock-Fit XT tongue and Autofit collar all conspire to result in a very comfortable fit.
Scarpa lead the way when it comes to lightweight mountain boots. At 630g per boot, these are comparable with lightweight summer boots rather than B1s!
They're Scarpa - what else do you need to know? No really, they're hard to fault! Everything about them is well built and after a few tough walks I'm yet to find even a thread out of a place.
A slick, modern looking boot with a subtle details. I personally prefer mine a bit jazzier but the finish is clean and classy.
Pros and Cons
- Stiff yet comfortable
- Excellent grip on rock
- Fantastic cushioning
- Tying the laces can be fiddly thanks to the order of the eyelets at the ankle, but it's a small price to pay for such a secure fit.
Scarpa seem to have found that holy grail of performance and comfort that can be so difficult to achieve in a stiffer walking boot. With its pedigree in long distance trekking but borrowing heavily from approach and climbing footwear models, this boot occupies a versatile niche for both scramblers and UK winter walkers.