User Review: Scarpa Men's SL M3
Price Paid: 100 GBP (?)
As the last reviewer put it: there needs to be a lighter, three season version of this boot.
I've worn Scarpas for decades and this is my favourite boot. No *tex membrane to hold in sweat, a good fit, good leather (but see below) and a fantastic, confidence-inspiring vibram sole. The lace system gets better, even if the eyelets look a little cheaper, with the new versions.
Lately I have been looking after my partners newer version of these and I notice that Scarpa is still taking value out, perhaps in an effort to compete with the cheap Asian-made boots. (If my boots are ever made in China, please someone shoot me, as I will be beyond hope.) Specifically, Scarpa seem to be using a slightly lower-grade leather (the tan looks cheaper anyway) and they're certainly using a smaller piece for the entire boot. Perhaps the ankle fit is actually better when they use thinner, separate pieces for the top of the boot but I doubt it - it looks like a lower cost design. They are also taking the leather from the inner cuff and replacing it with that stupid stuff that is not hard wearing, I forget what it is called but it looks like a 'wicking' material.
I have read that there is a newer version still and mention is made of a lighter material in the sole (no longer steel?) but it looks like the leather is even less for the one piece construction. I have searched in vain for a non *tex, full-grain leather boot for three season use, with a secure sole and so on, but alas, there isn't much out there. The crowd doesn't want to look after their boots and they don't seem to mind if they have to replace them every few years and buy another cheaply made, sweat-inducing pair of boots as long as they have that label to tell them there is nothing to do and nothing to fear.
I still love my Scarpas, though it will probably be the last pair I buy (Zamberlain don't look any better - all their boots have a *tex membrane and most of them are new-buck). I like them most when I am struggling on loose ground or even a patch of ice and I know that they will comfortably stop me from making a fool of myself (Vibram deserves some credit there).
For those who find themselves banging their toes, I would suggest that you go half a size up and wear a thicker sock (it is a winter boot, after all), try the boot by knocking it against the carpeted floor at your local shop, if possible, or just get used to the idea that you usually have to tighten your boots a little on the descent to stop yourself slipping forward (that is why they have a 'speed lacing system'). It sounds smug but I did/do all of the above after learning the hard way.