Winter trail running can be a tricky endeavor. One of the biggest obstacles can be keeping your feet warm and dry in varying winter conditions. The Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G is a modern take on a winter trail running shoe and it checks all the boxes.
Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G Winter Trail Running Shoes Features:
- Utilizes the Ribelle Run profile and last
- Mated to a Polartec Windbloc bootie
- Wrap360 performance fit system
- Utilizes BOA Fit System with Li2 dials and Dyneema laces
- Ultra-sticky PRESA SUPERGUM W rubber compound and 5mm lugs
- Stack height (heel/toe): 24.5mm / 20.5mm
- Weight: 15 oz. each (45.5, actual)
- MSRP: $239
Winter trail running unlocked
Deep in the doldrums of winter, I had found myself stuck in the virtual world of Zwift for winter training. After 6 weeks of nonstop snow, it was time to look for something to get me outside. My current pair of Salomon Snowcross CS winter running shoes were showing their age, so it was with great delight that the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G’s dropped into my lap. First off, whoa… what a name. I feel like there should be an esquire or III added to the end, to add a cherry on top of that mouthful. Aside from the long and hard-to-remember name, the Kalibra G’s have been a Godsend.
Looking through the specs, you’ll be quick to note that the Ribelle Run Kalibra G’s utilize some of the best and most expensive components. With Polartec Windbloc uppers and a BOA Fit System, there’s little wonder why these are among the most expensive trail shoes you’ll ever buy. But, the melding of all the components really makes these outstanding as dedicated winter trail runners.
As mentioned, the BOA Fit System utilized here knocks it out of the park in terms of foot-cradling and adjustments. Using their dual-ratcheting Li2 dials, it’s easy to dial in the proper fit and either loosen or tighten them on-the-fly. Those micro-dials offer pinpoint fit, but it is easy to twist two clicks when only one is desired. In other words, don’t ham-fist the dials, but consider them as precise tools delivering a precise fit. Occasionally, I would tighten them one click before a descent to lock my foot firmly in place. Outside of that, the heel cup is deep and comfortable and the entire system is completely dialed-in.
The Polartec Windbloc uppers are windproof and highly water-repellant. No, they aren’t “waterproof,” but you’ll be hard-pressed to get these to yield to the elements under normal conditions. Certainly, an extended dunking in water reaching the BOA dials will allow water entry, but for winter running in the snow and slush, I’d consider these “waterproof.” Splashing around in a local mostly-frozen stream further proved that to be the case.
Throughout my testing, the first thing that I love about these shoes is they get me outside and onto the trails when I may have otherwise hopped on the Stages SB20 Smart Bike for a Zwift session. I don’t like going more than a week without a trail run and the Ribelle Run Kalibra G’s have given me an escape from the depths of winter. That alone is worth the price of entry as I feel I have regained my soul by getting onto the trails again.
I’m a fan of BOA for cycling and trail running shoes and the Li2 dials are the best. It’s easy to dial them in and fine-tune the fit. It’s also easy to get them off as well. The only niggle is that the heel pull tab is difficult to grab and is a necessary element to pulling these shoes on. Once your feet are settled in place, all its takes is a zip of the waterproof zipper and snugging up the Velcro cuff. A few steps later, a quick twist of the Li2’s dials you in for a winter run.
The bootie offers excellent weather protection — even in deep snow. And, the cuff can be cinched down to further ensure snow doesn’t enter from the top. I post-holed in snow above the cuff and only a touch of snow ever entered. Speaking of post-holing, don’t be fooled into thinking that these offer extensive ankle support, because they don’t. Yes, there’s an ancillary amount of added support, but don’t go running through deep, variable snow with reckless abandon. Run carefully because a twisted ankle will certainly come if you aren’t carefully stepping on sun-crusted snow.
As testing miles have added up, the local trails have started to thaw in the most exposed areas, so I went from 100% snow-covered trails to about 50%. Since the base of these shoes is a capable trail runner, dirt sections feel comfortable and smooth. Cushioning is on the firm side in cold weather, but I would never call these harsh. They offer a nice, comfortable stride on all terrain.
Soft, dry snow conditions are lots of fun, but does feel a little like you’re running on the beach. As the snow becomes packed down, the PRESA rubber treads bite with confidence. Both uphill and downhill traction on compacted snow is superb. Even into hardpacked conditions, I didn’t ever feel the need for spikes. It was only when I encountered slick glare ice that I would slip around. If trail conditions become icy, a pair of traction devices would be recommended.
After a solid 5+ mile run, the uppers do get a little warm, but never soggy. The Polartec Windbloc fabric expels moisture well enough to not be a concern. I’ve worn them with mid weight and heavy weight socks — depending on temperatures. I’d recommend using longer socks with these, but keep in mind that the bootie cuff will tend to pull your socks down a little. It was lessened by tucking the Patagonia Peak Mission Tights into the cuff, which reduced the pressure on the socks.
Fit: I wear a size US 11.5 in most running shoes and have found Scarpa’s to run small, so I went with the 45.5 Euro size and they are perfect.
- Amazing tools to get me outside in the winter
- Weatherproof for snowy conditions
- Excellent traction on everything but glare ice
- BOA Fit System and Li2 dials are superb
- Offers foot-cradling comfort
- Sticky rubber without spikes that damage floors
- In spite of their overall weight, they don’t feel clunky at all
- Cuffs pull your socks down a little
- Don’t submerge them
- You’ll still slip on glare ice
The Bottom Line: Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G
The Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G’s are a necessity if you want to continue trail running in the dead of winter. Granted, you must live in a snowy climate, but for those of us who do, these are amazing. With weatherproof and breathable uppers and capable, sticky outsoles, the Kalibra G’s hit the spot. And, incorporating the divine BOA Fit System just puts these over the top. Well done, Scarpa!
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