La sportiva ultra raptor

Gear Review: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

I bought this pair of shoes to thruhike the GR 221 mountain trail in Majorca /Spain. I put a lot of thoughts into my choice prior to my journey because it has been the first time that I chose trailrunners over hiking boots for a longer hike. I already had the Brooks Cascadias 10 at home but the cushioning seamed to weak for my sensible feet which easily get tender after long hikes.

I read a lot about Hokas and I ordered a pair together with the La Sportivas to compare them at home. They have been utterly comfortable when I tried them on and I especially loved the forefoot cushioning which I have never seen in other trailrunners before.

Finally I’m more than content to have chosen the La Sportivas because the footing of the Hokas (Challenger ATR) is god when it comes to the soles but very weak on the top of the shoes. And this has been my principal problem with the La Sportivas although they are much more stable than the Hokas.

review, test La sportiva ultra raptor
My feet disguised as clowns: The Hokas compared to the La Sportivas
review, test La sportiva ultra raptor
The La Sportivas after 300 kms and about 17.000 meters difference in altitude

 

Foot climate:
I wore them together with Falke RU4 and RU5 socks and I never had any feeling of excessive sweating even when temperature climbed. The mesh is wide and you have to wear gaiters on sandy ground if you don’t want your shoes filled with dirt at the end of the day.

Comfort and grip: 
I had no break-in phase. They were immediately comfortable from the beginning. I had one small blister as a result of a very long hiking day. In my opinion the soles are just perfect. Absorption is great but you can still feel the ground very well. The grip is perfect, too. Even on wet ground.

Stability:
And here comes the problem: The stability of the sole is perfect. But I hiked a mountain trail mainly consisting of sharp rocks and debris and  steep ascents are mostly connected with steep descents.
While I observed my co-hikers in their leather boots nearly running down those hills I had to be very slow and cautious because the top of the shoes does not provide enough stability to hold the feet in place over a long period of time. Some descents were longer than 10 kms and I had to tie the laces so tight that I didn’t feel my feet anymore. At the end of my journey I had bruises on both feet and one of them even bled.
Well, there was on good thing about all that: As I was forced to walk very carefully on the descents, I didn’t have any problems with my knees as I had on previous hikes.

Conclusion:
I love this shoes and I hate them. They are superb on ascents, but a real pain in the ass on descents. On my next mountain only trip I’m going to wear boots again. I will use them with delight to hike my really flat home region.

Data

 kind of shoe Trailrunner
top Mesh
sole Vibram
price 130 €
drop 10 mm
break-in none
weight/pair
(size 41,5 without insoles)
658 g
23,2 oz
waterproof No
marketing promises  optimum shock absorption

 

Evaluation

tested for 300+ kms
foot climate *****
grip *****
stability (sole) *****
stability (top) *****
protection *****
comfort *****
durability *****
toebox  wide & rather round

 

IMG_5073

And sometimes it’s just great to get rid of all your shoes and clothes and jump into the sea.

2 thoughts on “Gear Review: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

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