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Scarpa SL

rated 4.5 of 5 stars

The SL has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best backpacking boots for 2024.

I was looking at Vasque, EMS (Alico), Asolo and Merrell when I read about Scarpas at this site. I tried a pair of Scarpa Deltas on during a business trip to Maine and LOVED the way they fit (size 47) my average width and low to average volume foot but I felt that they would be too light for my rocky, rutted, muddy, snowy trails of New England so I held out to look for the slightly stiffer SL's. I tried on a pair of Merrell M2 Superlights in comparison and there was none. The Merrells just did not feel as good. I found a pair of SL's locally in Connecticut, again experienced the fabulous fit, and bought them. I am wearing them at the office to help break them in and they still feel amazing! They hold my foot snugly and comfortably and I think that they will break in quickly. The quality of finish work is first rate and I could not find a single defect on them. The SL's also have a better sole than the Deltas using the Vibram Grinta sole which is very deeply lugged and grippy. So far, I would HIGHLY recommend them but I'll submit another note in a month or two to let everyone know how they are doing.

Materials: Leather
Use: Day hikes/light backpacking/moderately rough trails
Break-in Period: Starting
Weight: 3 lbs 7 oz (MFG)
Price Paid: $229

My first pair of boots promised much. Fine leather, a nice stepping motion from the sole and a feel of heavy duty indestructability.

The leather is not treated for water resistance and despite periodic treatment with wax based preparations will become soaked during a long walk. OK, you can stand in 3 inches of water for a minute and not get wet but then so what.

The stepping motion is great for normal demands and I'm still happy with it. The rounded heel contour is a nice inovation. However the front of the sole is a little flat and tends to slap down a bit suddenly.

Onto the break in period. The sole is meant to flex along a pre-defined line quite evident to the eye. This concentrates the flex in a narrow crease of leather across the top of the foot. A lace link lies just across this link and would dig in to my feet on any but the smallest step. This did not happen in the shop where the crease has yet to develop. A year later the leather and the sole were supple enough to start flexing elsewhere.

The front of the boot is a little narrow for Anglo Saxon feet (hey and I'm from Serbia) with a heel a little too wide.

Materials: Leather
Use: 3 season trekking, no crampons
Break-in Period: About a year!!!
Price Paid: £80 UK

What a great boot! It was comfortable but a little stiff out of the box. I have trouble getting a good fit with some boots as I have a narrow heal but wide toes. Break-in took a while but about what one would expect from a boot designed for rough trails. I added Superfeet insoles as the footbed was a little hard - even with Thorlo Treckers and liners. This made a HUGE improvement and I would recommend them for use with any boot.

The Scarpas are great for the roughest trails I ever hike and are fine for bushwacking too. They stay 100% waterproof (after Nikwaxing) even after hiking all day on rain soaked, very muddy trails - you can step in mud/water up to your ankles. The soles are plenty grippy. The ankle support is not up to some boots I've tried but they don't choke your ankles either - as long as you don't have weak ankles I think that's preferable.

I dread the day these wear out and hope they still make them then.

Materials: leather
Use: rough trail/heavy pack
Break-in Period: ~50 miles
Weight: 4 lbs.
Price Paid: $205

Excellent professional product.


  • Indestructible
  • Comfy
  • Ankle support


  • Pricey
  • A bit heavy
  • Soles very slippery on ice

As a hiking guide in Banff National Park I needed a boot that was comfy, had good ankle support, and was virtually indestructible. If you waterproof these boot properly they will become just that. I just wish I could say that about the insides, but then again they would not have been as comfy.

So after five years I replaced these boots with the exact same boot. They now come with a footbed and the toe protector is different. Though I don't like to do a review unless I have used them for at least a year I am pretty confident in my purchase. Don't ever stop making them.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Top Price

Version reviewed: 2002 model with Grinta Sole

Deliberated over which boot to buy, Scarpa Manta or Scarpa SL, needed a very heavy duty hiking boot which has to cope with glacier traverses and very rough scree slopes in addition to travelling and general track walking. Mantas seemed to be too stiff and are more of a light mountaineering boot (for want of a better term), wheras the new SL is a heck of a lot stiffer than the older version, yet is still not as stiff as the Manta. The new SL also has the old Grinta sole (thank god) as the M3 sole delamed too much ont he 2000-2001 models, the Grinta sole has great grip on rock and wet surfaces. If you need a warm, well made boot for heavy duty backpacking and 4 season off track walking with a heck of a lot of support, then this is the boot for you (if it fits your foot!).

Materials: Silicone Impregnated Leather
Use: Rough Off Track, 4 Season Walking Boot; Compatible with 10 point strap in walking crampons
Break-in Period: 7 days
Weight: ? light for a boot like this.
Price Paid: $AUD380

I looked all through this page, as well as every boot review in Backpackin Library, snooped around and finally went and tired on a pair of these boots. I know you're not supposed to buy the first pair of boots you try on, but I couldn't help it. The quality of these boots jumps out all over you. The feel is solid and comfortable. I've been wearing them to work for a few days to break them in, and I can't wait to eat some trail miles with them. I will update after first trip. I had a pair of Vasque Skywalks for 12 years before I bought these. It was hard not to just buy another pair of those, but I wanted all leather for the next 12. My 1st impression on these boots is tremendous. Thanks to all the SL reviews on this page that pointed me in the right direction!

Materials: Leather
Use: Rough Trail w/pack
Break-in Period: 3 days
Weight: 2.5 lb
Price Paid: $139

These are the best medium weight boots I have yet owned. They fit my rather narrow foot perfect right out of the box. I really didn't have a break in. Currently these boots are about to be trash canned. After 3 summer seasons the soles are worn flat and the inside leather is starting to crack. No doubt I will buy another pair of these this winter, as soon as I can find some on sale. If anyone sees any on sale let me know? The only problems I had with the boots was the leather detaching from the sole around the heels. I had them fixed for 5 bucks and they never came apart again. I inquired about getting these re-soled recently, but the cobbler said the heel box was trashed. I highly recomend these boots for on trail w/ heavy pack or off trail w/ medium pack weight. Good Luck!

Materials: leather
Use: off/on trail w/backpack
Break-in Period: right away
Weight: ?
Price Paid: $200 ?

If I was allowed only one piece of footware this is it. By far the best boot I have ever owned. It is relatively stiff and took a full 3 months of everyday wear to break-in, but once it did wow what a comfortable fit. I never experienced a blister or hot spot during break-in...just a stiff boot. I considere my self an ultralight backpacker, however, I can not force myself to head out with anything less than a sturdy boot. I hate having to worry about where I'm going to step or getting my boots wet and all the stuff one needs to consider when wearing light weight shoes/boots while hiking. I'll put my Scarpas up against any boot on the market! Vasque, Asolo, etc. tried them all and there is no comparison. Buy these boots and you will own them for life.

Materials: Leather
Use: Universal
Break-in Period: 3 months
Weight: 3.5 lbs
Price Paid: $169 US

My old Scarpa SLs had put in a wonderful performance for 13 years and several thousand tough kilometres, but the resole price made a new pair a better option. I do a lot of extended snow and bad weather walking (for my kind of photography) and I had enjoyed my old boots in these conditions, so I did the research and came across the top brands. But the first set I put a foot in were Scarpa SLs (with Grinta sole). They were perfect first time on, so I paid up right away. Last month I did a 75km alpine walk and the difference from the older SL Attaks was staggering. No matter how rocky, wet, or sketchy the surface is, these boots offer high levels of grip and shock insulation, and give enough confidence to get over just about anything I encounter.

Materials: leather
Use: rough trail/alpine routes
Break-in Period: 2 days
Weight: 960 grams (one boot)
Price Paid: $AUD320

I've owned these boots for over 4 years now and have found them to be almost perfect. My only complaint would be the extended break-in period; but that's to be expected. I've used these to hike and camp up and down the Colorado mountains with packs weighing anywhere from 15 to 60 lbs with no problem. I usually bring my fly rod with me camping and have spent quite a bit of time standing in water with no leaks. I would recommend treating these at least a couple times a year with some sort of rub on water resistant compound to extend the life of the leather. I expect to wear out a couple more soles before I have to replace the uppers. A great boot!

Materials: Leather
Use: Extended Camping, Everyday sloshing around
Break-in Period: At least two weeks
Weight: Average
Price Paid: $230

Version reviewed: XX

I guess it's something of a cliche by now, having read the other reviews of this boot, but it's absolutely fantastic. The break in period was surprisingly short and the fit was perfect (I bought the SLXX for my wide feet). Although against all the rules (and common sense!) I first used them on a 27 mile LDWA event in the Dales, and my feet suffered absolutely no ill effects whatsoever. And to top it all off, they look fantastic aswell. Although I don't think I'll be needing another pair for a hell of a long while yet, I'll be buying the same again. Unbeatable, especially with the Berghaus Yeti Attak over-the-boot-gaiter (once you get the little buggers on, that is). Go buy!

Materials: Leather
Use: Year round UK walking and backpacking
Break-in Period: 2-3 days
Price Paid: £85 (reduced from £125)

Solid and very waterproof, this boot has (almost) made long and steep hill climbs easy.

The lacing system makes the boot very solid around your foot and doesn't concentrate the force of the lacing onto your ankle. Particularly, the hook holding the tongue in place adds a great deal of comfort. Almost never does the need arise to stop and adjust the boot.

I once had a slight sprain to my foot in the middle of a long hike (sustained when I ran into surf and fell -- duh) and was able to carry on with only slight discomfort by lacing my SL's up tight. Great support. I've had mine for four years now and they're going strong.

Strongly recommended.

Materials: leather
Use: rough trail w/ heavy pack
Break-in Period: 3 weeks on and off light walking
Weight: 1.4 kg
Price Paid: $AUD 300

Great boots. Broke-in good and now feel like fine leather gloves on my feet. Scarpa knows how to make a great boot. I tried Tecnica/Alta but felt like tanks on my feet, also very hot. Not too many miles on them yet but I expect many. My partner had new Timberland Eurohikers and they blew-out in less then 5 miles on the trail. Thanks to John at O.P.S. in Sarasota Fl, I had a very enjoyable trip. Take care of your feet and the rest of your trip will be a joy. SL's take care of your feet. Hope to bring updates as they become available. I highly recomend these boots.

Materials: Full Grain Leather
Use: Off Trail/Rough Trail w/heavy pack
Break-in Period: 15-20 miles around town
Weight: 3.5 lbs
Price Paid: $225

I have had the boots now going on 3 yrs and so far so good. The boot is very stiff and provide a tremendous amount of support. I like the boot and would buy another pair. The draw back to this boot is that it is very heavy and not really intendend for light weights. This classic 3/4 season hillwalking boot provides a superb combination of strength, support and comfort the highest and wildest hill country. Made from HS12 treated Sherpa leather for water resistance, durability and support, the SL also has a full Cambrelle lining. The performance Flex midsole and Vibram Grinta sole unit ensure excellent underfoot support over rough ground.

Materials: Leather
Use: Heavy Pack
Break-in Period: 1 - 3 months
Weight: 1.5Kg
Price Paid: $225

These are excellent boots. I wasn't really looking at Scarpas, but tried them on and they fit too well to ignore. My foot has little arch, medium width. I did add a pad under the tongue to add some volume.

I've used them mostly for hiking so far, in the U.S. Southwest and the mountains of Virginia, and they've felt good the whole way. They have a very nice heel to toe roll. I haven't had them in much water yet.

The Scarpas have been with me on one backpacking trip. Provided excellent support the whole time, and make you very confident on all surfaces.

Beautiful workmanship.

Materials: Leather
Use: Rough trail
Break-in Period: Minimal (for me)
Weight: 3lbs 12oz
Price Paid: $170

The Scarpa SL is truly a fabulous boot. The support is rock solid, the sole is stiff and grippy, and they can take a soaking and still keep your feet as dry as a bone. These are quite possibly the perfect hiking boot, or would be except for two problems, one of which is cosmetic. First, the instep is unusually low, which created some discomfort after long periods of usage. Second, the color, which is almost a "rust", makes the boots look cheap (a friend called them "fava's", after the dicount shoe store). This, however, is inconsequential as far as the boot's performance.

Materials: one piece leather
Use: off trail/heavy pack
Break-in Period: about one month w/ heavy use
Weight: about 3 1/2 lbs.
Price Paid: $205

These boots are excellent. Very supportive, durable, comfortable, and all around great. The Vibram sole grips like a claw. Good for walking around town to tough off trail work. For me the break-in was brief and easy, I had and have no blisters with these boots. I replaced the cheap insole (like on most boots) with one from SofSole. I have pair of Goretex Vasques which also love, but these are better in condition where these is not as much moisture and gore-tex is not needed. Buy a pair if you can, they are worth it, especially at the price I paid.

Materials: Leather
Use: rough trail to off trail w/moderately heavy pack
Break-in Period: two weeks for me, up to a month
Weight: 3.3lbs
Price Paid: $98 sale, $220 retail

Comments: Terrain: Green Mountains, Vermont, in Camel's Hump region. Very rocky, tree rooted with short steep rises and falls.

Task: Move 60miles in 2.5 days.

Load: 35lbs.

My age: 49

Team age: 30 to 49

Experience: ex Special Forces. One SEAL.

Review: Great boots. Supportive. Only foot damage was to right medial malleolus due to very slight foot defect from parachute accident. Kept feet dry. Did not collapse when wet, unlike go faster gortex boots I've used. Good grip on rock. Now off to try them in Scotland which will be rather more of a test.

Materials: leather
Use: very rough steep wet trail with 35lb pack
Break-in Period: 50 miles
Weight: 3.5lbs
Price Paid: $190

Saw these on sale after winter at Marmot, last year's stock. Break-in: Wore around house, garage, walked the hills of Seattle once at lunch. Treated with sno-seal. Tossed stock inserts and replaced with SuperFeet.

All the other reviews say it all. Great classic boot styling, no problems yet with feet or boot. Can be tight on top of foot, I expect this area to break in more.

More than enough support for off-trail ramblings and supports mult-day packloads well. Crampons would probably not stay on this boot, it does flex somewhat.

Materials: leather
Use: trail/off-trail/moderate pack
Break-in Period: walked around town at lunchtime once
Weight: 3.3 lb
Price Paid: $120 on sale

I've had my Scarpas for over a year now and absolutely love them. My brother, an avid hiker and walking maniac, turned me on to them by just having a pair that lasted him 4 years now and they're still going strong (after 1 resole)

i've worn mine out on uncountable trips around home and on a 14 day trip to alaska and their durability and strenght is unbeatable. I would absolutely recommend them, as a matter of fact, I'm getting my younger brother a pair for christmas this year!

Materials: leather
Use: heavy pack/off trail
Break-in Period: 1-2 months
Weight: 4 lbs
Price Paid: $225

I have worn these in the Italian Alps, Yosemite, all over California's Central Coast, three solid months on survey in highland Peru, and as work boots after that. Fantastic!

Only problem is that I now have to have them resoled and the cuffs repaired. Break-in was rough, but I usually have problems with that having very narrow English feet, but once done, very comfortable, though the insole is a bit thin. Replace that, and they became my new best friends.

Materials: Leather
Use: Trekking
Break-in Period: 1 month
Price Paid: $225

Having problem feet, it took a long time to get a pair of boots that could be used every day for work in Maine and still last more than 1 or two field seasons. These boots are great!. I liked the ankle support and the fit after a couple of months break-in time. One special bonus is that finally- a pait where the vibram sole actually stays glued to the boot!

Definitely buying another pair (my wallet will weep!)

Materials: Leather
Use: rough trail, daily use
Break-in Period: 2-4 mo.
Weight: 3ilbs
Price Paid: $219

Am an experienced mountaineer. Read all the great reviews of this boot. My experience was quite different. Break-in was hell. Had to wear pads on top of my foot because the pain from the crease (created under normal hiking conditions) in the heavy leather was unbearable. Feet have gotten wet from a day of light rain hiking. Boots are broken in now, more comfortable, but the insole leaves something to be desired. Won't buy this boot again.

Materials: Leather
Use: Light to Heavy Packing
Break-in Period: 50+ Miles
Weight: Boots = 4.5 lbs, Me = 175 lbs
Price Paid: $219

I love these boots so damn much. they are built so fantastically well, it is amazing. the boots broke in quite easily after a couple of hikes and some lubrication. never had a blister or hot spot, let alone ankle problems. i will never buy any other boot besides this one (after i resole them once more) butter, etc. i don't get wet feet because i use biwell...

Materials: leather
Use: medium pack
Break-in Period: 1 month w/ two 10 mile trips
Weight: light
Price Paid: $250

I have owned Asolo, Vasque, Merrell and many other boots but they are nothing compared to these. I have used them with strap on crampons, backpacking, scrambling, sledding, shopping and everything else. I love these, great support, tough, waterproof and the Vibram Grinta soles grip like no tomorrow.

You would have to wear them to believe it. I have backpacked 25 miles in a day and everything hurt but my feet.

Materials: Leather
Use: Rough trail Off trail w/heavy pack
Break-in Period: 2 weeks every day
Weight: These boots are so good who cares
Price Paid: $230

So far, these boots have been great for off trail travel through Pennsylvania's toughest cover. My feet have been comfy in wet, dry, steep, snowy, and slushy conditions. Scarpas seem to be very well made (I had to send a pair of Gore tex Danners back cause my piggies were gettin' soaked). No problems thus far.....but make sure you get a good fit before you buy!!

Materials: Leather
Use: rough trail, off trail, grouse hunting, all around abuse.
Break-in Period: About three weeks of kickin' around
Weight: normal
Price Paid: $230

I hate to write reviews but these boots deserve my thanks.

They are the best boots I have had...I cannot image anyone not enjoying these boots for years. They keep me going when the rest of my body hurts. I will buy another pair after these and my friend have switch to these after see how they hold up....I Highly Recommend the SCARPA SL.

Materials: Leather
Use: heavy pack/off trail
Break-in Period: 1-2 months
Weight: 4 lbs
Price Paid: $200, less on sale

I have owned my scarpas for about five years, and they are still going. These are the most comfortable, most efficient boots I have come across. This goes for any model that they have made. My buddy has been hiking for 35 years, and he won't use anything now except Scarpa. My brother, father, sister, and mother all wear these boots, and have never had a complaint.

Materials: leather
Use: rough trail w/heavy pack
Break-in Period: none what so ever
Price Paid: $200

Replacing my first pair of SL's after 4 yrs of heavy use, and they have been great. Never got a blister until I replaced the stock insoles with SuperFeet. Traction outstanding, even on steep loose stuff with 50+ lb. pack. Will definitely replace with another Scarpa product, either another pair of SL's or the Fitzroy. They are worth the hefty price tag.

Materials: leather
Use: logging roads to talus slopes, all with heavy pack
Break-in Period: non-existent
Weight: <4 lbs.
Price Paid: $210

Scarpa SL's are an excellent boot. I hiked the first 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail with non-SL boots and had nothing but problems. I broke in my SLs on the trail and my boot problems went away in week one. The boots have well over a 1,000 miles and are holding up GREAT. Go get a pair.

Materials: Leather
Use: Rough trail/heavy pack (AT)
Break-in Period: 6-8 weeks
Price Paid: $225

Great boot, excellent fit. I found them great for all my uses from Scottish mountain walking to summer trail walking in the south of France. Sometimes doesn't provide support for nasty mis-steps but other than that medium wear over last two years. Great boot for any one except heavy mountain climbers and skiers.

Materials: Leather
Use: trail/hill
Break-in Period: virtually none
Weight: 1.6kg
Price Paid: £125

I think I'm the only person on the planet who found these boots difficult to break in and uncomfortable on easy terrain. However, with better insoles, these boots are absolutely superb carrying heavy loads or on mountain hikes where support is crucial.

Materials: Leather
Use: Mountain hiking,canoe tripping
Break-in Period: 1 month
Weight: 3-4lbs
Price Paid: $299 CDN

After 8 weeks to break in, perfect. Hiked over 120 miles at Philmont with full pack. Great. Best boot I have used.


Materials: Leather
Use: Rough - Off Trail
Break-in Period: 6-8 weeks
Price Paid: US $189

Still have the same boots from 1996 with close to 2000 miles on them I still wouldn't trade them in for anything.

Materials: leather
Use: all terrain, heavy backapcking
Break-in Period: 6-8 weeks
Price Paid: $225

Great boots, tried them all.

These fit and perform the best.

Materials: leather
Use: rough trail/off trail
Break-in Period: 2 months
Weight: 5.5
Price Paid: $225

takes awhile to break in the heel area.

Materials: leather
Use: rough trail with heavy pack
Break-in Period: not sure, not broken in yet after 15mi at yosemite
Weight: under 4 pounds
Price Paid: $190

Wonderful boots, comfortable beautiful.

Materials: Leather
Use: mountain walking boot
Break-in Period: ?
Weight: ?
Price Paid: $300 cdn

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