The Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX are a lightweight hiking boot from Industry giant La Sportiva. They have an impressive spec and will surely keep may hikers very happy, but their looks may be enough to put some buyers off.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Relatively lightweight
- Good support
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Styling may not be to everybody’s taste
La Sportiva are certainly one of the biggest names when it comes to footwear for outdoor pursuits, with a vast range covering everything from trail runners to specialized high altitude mountaineering boots. Their Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots are one of several mid-high hiking boots they offer. These are full of the innovative technology and cutting-edge materials we’ve come to expect from La Sportiva and also feature the brand’s signature bold styling – indeed maybe the styling on these will be a bit too much for some. None the less, these boots combine a great spec list of features in a very lightweight package and we’re sure they’ll be idea boots for many hikers.
Compare to Similar Products
- Black Diamond Men’s Mission Leather Low Waterproof Approach Shoes
- Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof Hiking Shoe
- Danner Panorama Mid
- Full guide: 20 Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Analysis and Test Results
If you’ve spent any time in the outdoors, you’ll no doubt have seen La Sportiva footwear. This brand are one of the biggest names in the industry here and they have a well deserved reputation for making great footwear that’s often packed with technical innovation – not to mention distinctively styled too! Whilst there are undeniably more high-tech and, dare we say it, futuristic offerings in their range, these Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots – which are a mid-high version of the Brand’s Ultra Raptor mountain running shoe – are certainly still brimming with state of the art materials and showcase La Sportiva’s design and manufacturing innovation. They’re the best of both worlds offering something between a hiking shoe and a hiking boot. They offer a light weight and, we think, very compelling package. But this does all come at a high price – as you might expect from a premium brand like La Sportiva.
H2 = Performance Comparison
The Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots feature one of La Sportiva’s in-house soles. The rubber sole has a deep thread pattern and promises to offer good grip on a variety of surfaces. No boot will ever offer perfect traction on all surfaces and anything icy or wet vegetation can be particularly slippery. However, the soles on these boots provide a sure footing on most surfaces and we think they are more than up to the job for most types of hiking from our testing. The boots are not listed as being compatible with crampons, but in icy conditions, a set of micro spikes could be added to improve grip.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots make extensive use of mesh in their uppers to provide breathability. The mesh is backed with a Gore-Tex membrane to help keep the boots waterproof as well as breathable.
As a mid-high boot, these Ultra Raptor II Mids offer better ankle support straight away over hiking shoes. The support they offer won’t be at the same level as what you’d expect to fine on dedicated, rigid mountaineering boots, but it’s still enough to take the edge of impacts and could well save twisted ankles or worse if you trip or fall on the trail. The tension on the ankle cuff on these boots can be adjusted to a degree via the laces, giving the wearer some control over this and therefore the ability to customize the fit.
Out of the box, these boots provide either subtle or minimal arch support, depending on how you look at it. La Sportiva’s approach here is in line with the other product sin our round up and we think that most buyers of these boots will be happy with this. However, if you feel you need extra arch support, it’s easy enough to swap out the included insoles for something that’s more heavily shape dot provide just this. This change could make a big difference to the comfort of these boots if you value arch support.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots are available in standard and wide versions. They are available in sizes from US 5.5/UK 5 /EU 38 up to US 14/UK 13.5/ EU 49.5 – we are particularly happy to see La Sportiva offering these boots in larger sizes.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots make use of fully synthetic materials in their construction. This is becoming increasingly common with high-tech, light-weight hiking footwear as synthetic materials are typically lighter than more traditional materials like leather and canvas and have also proved to be just as if not more durable. It’s worth noting that the Ultra Raptor’s also feature a Gore-Tex membrane which helps allow the boots to be both breathable and water resistant.
La Sportiva have a reputation for striking design and colors in their footwear – indeed they were definitely a pioneer of this in the outdoors industry. The Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots are certainly no exception here. Whilst we love the look of a lot of La Sportiva products, we wonder if the styling on these boots might be a bit too much – it seems overly stylized an almost aggressive to us and isn’t quite to our taste. That said the boot is offered in eight different color ways and some, we think, work better than others. ‘Maple and black’ – essentially orange and black – is arguably the boldest color way, and in our opinion it’s the one that works the best.
These boots are built for light weight – they are essentially a mid-high version of a trail running shoe, after all. However, whilst light weight often means that a product is not durable, we think these La Sportiva boots should hold up for a long time. Their construction certainly seems rugged and the chunky sole and durable synthetic material use din the outer don’t give us any fears for the longevity of these boots.
Weight is one area where the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots really impress. La Sportiva claim a weight of 940g/2lb 10z for a pair. Whilst there are far lighter products in our round up, they are all shoes. There are lighter boots too, but none with the rigidity of these La Sportiva boots. These boots hit a good balance between low weight and sturdy build which we think will surely appeal to many potential buyers.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots come with fairly generic insoles – just as all the other products in our round up do. We think that most buyers will be perfectly happy with these and will see no reason to change them. However, if you want to fine-tune the fit and comfort of your boots, then swapping out the insoles is a great way to do so. You can easily buy different insoles in larger outdoors shops, chemists and even supermarkets that offer improved arch support, deeper cushioning and so on. If you feel the fit or comfort of your shoes is slightly off, then this is a great way to get the fit and comfort you want., plus it’s a relatively cheap modification too.
No footwear is completely without a breaking in period, but modern outdoors shoes and boots are a world away from the rigid hiking boots of the past in this regard. These La Sportiva boots are comfortable straight form the box and we would be happy to wear them on long hikes after just a few shorter walks to get used to their fit. Of course, this is all very subjective. If you find yourself struggling to bed in your new shoes or boots, good fitting thicker or padded hiking socks – especially those made from natural fibers like Merino Wool are a great way to keep rubs from new boots under control.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid boots use regular laces. Laces may not seem that exciting, but they are a great way to fine tune the comfort and fit of your footwear. These boots have different lacing zones, and that helps even more as you can adjust the tension in parts and thus control the fit – you could have the boots tighter on the ankle and mid foot, but looser around the toes, for instance. You can take this even further and change the lacing patter you use to further refine the fit of your boots – we have a guide to this which is well worth checking out.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots feature a toughened rubber section around the toes. You couldn’t expect this to provide as much toe protection as you might find on more heavy-duty (and specialized and heavy!) mountaineering boots, but it will certainly take the edge of impacts should you trip or kick into something on the trail and could certainly save some stubbed toes or broken nails.
Hiking Shoes v Hiking Boots
The choice of hiking shoes versus boots is really down to personal preference. For more technical or challenging terrain or in places where you will encounter extremely cold weather, we think that boots are still the obvious choice – and specifically rigid mountain boots. However, for more general hiking, the choice is more personal. Boots offer better foot and ankle support and usually better rigidity whereas shoes are lighter and allow more freedom of movement. These La Sportive boots might seem to offer a good compromise between the two as they are essentially a running shoe design that’s been adapted into a mid-high boots. These boots make sense for those who like to hike quickly or with low-weight packs and will also appeal to those who dislike very heavy and rigid hiking boots.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots are certainly an impressive product. They bundle a lot of the tech and innovation La Sportiva are well-known for into a lightweight product that will certainly appeal to those who like to hike quickly yet surely. However, they are not cheap – though you can’t really say any La sportive products are cheap – and the design… well, we think La Sportiva may have taken things a bit too far in the wrong direction here. However, for many hikers we think these boots could tick all the right boxes and they remain a very compelling choice.
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