Scarpa is well-known for their serious alpine boots and climbing shoes, but with the explosion of the trail running market, they have been quick to present a solid product offering to trail runners looking to stay with the Scarpa brand. I was first introduced to the Scarpa Raptor at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in early 2009 and finally got my hands… err… feet into a pair over the past few weeks. Lets see how they fared.

About the Scarpa Raptor Trail Running Shoes

Built as a multi-discipline trail shoe for both running and light hiking, the Raptor is new for 2009. Built with a highly-breathable upper, snug-fitting ribcage design and supportive TPU Crossbow system in the heel to combine for a great-fitting shoe. Outsole lugs are medium profile for just the right balance between traction and versatility.

More Raptor Details:

  • Synthetic and nylon mesh upper
  • Compression molded EVA midsole
  • Lightweight Trail Plate foot protection
  • Trail Speed outsole
  • Colors: Pewter/Curry (tested) or Ash/Chili
  • Weight: 13 oz. each
  • MSRP: $90

Scarpa Raptor Trail Running Shoes Review

Scarpa Raptor Review

Thrown into the mix with Montrail, Merrell, La Sportiva, Vasque, New Balance, Salomon and LaFuma, the Scarpa Raptor trail shoes are an interesting blend of trail running shoe, casual shoe and approach shoe. Slipping them on, they feel super-comfortable with a flexible midsole and ample mesh in the forefoot for extreme breathability (something some trail shoes lack). The snug fit is great right out of the box and the low-profile design keeps you in tune with the terrain and adds to the stability of these shoes.

All of that combined to provide a decent shoe in a variety of conditions. These are really like an outdoorsy cross-trainer that can go from gym to trail with reasonable efficiency. I really like the cushioning of the shoes… again, they aren’t the most cushioned of trail shoes, but they aren’t like racing flats either.

Scarpa Raptor Trail Running Shoes Review

As with all shoes, I have to replace the insole with an aftermarket one. With the snug fit of the Raptor, I opted for the Superfeet Black insoles for their low-profile and lightweight design. It turned out to be a perfect combo for my flat, normal-volume feet.

I found the low-profile traction to be well-suited for both loose and rocky terrain and soft, tacky trails. As the majority of people who will purchase these shoes will use them for multi-discipline activities, I ran in them and then hiked in them while carrying my 2-yr-old daughter in a Deuter Kangakid. In very rocky terrain, the forefoot protection became a bit under-matched, but on smooth terrain, comfort was superb. Also, under the weight of a 30-lb pack, the forefoot seemed to compress a bit too quickly as I felt every variance in the terrain.

In their sweet spot of a multi-discipline shoe, these offer a great value in a lightweight and versatile mountain shoe. They are highly-breathable and comfortable in everything but extremely rocky terrain or carrying heavier loads.

Good Raptor

  • Feels lightweight on the trail (despite 13 oz. each on paper)
  • Very breathable
  • Excellent traction
  • Low profile design improves trail feel
  • Gusseted tongue to keep out trail grit
  • Comfortable uppers require zero break-in

Bad Raptor

  • Forefoot protection is lacking on rocky terrain
  • Forefoot cushioning insufficient for heavy loads (a 30 lb. pack maxed these out)
  • No DWR finish… they absorb water quickly, but also dry quickly

Bottom Line: Scarpa Raptor

Not a specialist, but more of an outdoors generalist that can also tackle the urban jungle. I love the comfortable fit, but there are better dedicated trail runners if that’s what you’re looking for. The price is right and there are few outdoor cross trainers on the market today with enough crossover appeal as these. Another tip… order 1/2 size larger as these run a titch small.

Buy Now: Scarpa at REI

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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