View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Footwear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Footwear. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

21st August, Kit review: La Sportiva Raptors

A posting on the TGO Challenge Message Board a couple of months ago alerted me to Snow and Rock’s half price offer on La Sportiva Raptors.

I’m currently doing the groundwork for my Home to John O’Groats via the TGO Challenge Walk (HTJOGVTTGOCW….easier to remember that way) which I have pencilled in for next year. Kit choice is an important part of this groundwork.

Now it just so happened that I’d been chatting to Alan about his choice of LEJOG footwear and Raptors were mentioned…..so I legged it over to our local Snow and Rock shop to be disappointed to find they only had Size 10.5 in stock and I really need Size 11. Not deterred, I tried a pair on….and the fit was perfect. Disappointment evaporated.

P1020674My Raptors….and yes, I know I need to mop the floor – a chap only has so much spare time for doing domestic stuff. 
A couple of days later I tried the Raptors out on the Long Suffering Rick’s LDWA walk around Walton, a flat 14-15 miler. The shoes were excellent, so excellent that I went back to Snow and Rock to grab the only other pair of Size 10.5 Raptors they had in stock.

I’ve done around 150 miles in the Raptors so far, Gritstone Trail, a curry walk :-), various LDWA walks and a few brain-straightening solo walks. I’ve even done a bit of trail running.

Raptors aren’t waterproof, and on Alan’s recommendation I bought a pair of Sealskinz waterproof socks but I’ve not had the opportunity to try the combination out yet. It’s summer y’see and I’m told it doesn’t rain in Timperley. And I’m gullible, but you know that.

The shoe has a solid feel with plenty of support. Unlike some fell / trail running shoes the Raptors feel solid enough to offer good protection against bashing into rocks.

The laces are good, staying tied up nice and tight after a full day out. There’s nothing more irritating than having to stop every now and then to re-do loosening laces!

The sole is very grippy, inspiring confidence on muddy descents….and I’m not good at decents. The La Sportiva website lists a number of approved resolers, unfortunately none are in the UK. The importers, Lyon Equipment in Cumbria, may be able to help, I’ve found them to be helpful in the past.

Overall I’m delighted with the Raptors. For £45 they’re an extremely good deal. Not so sure whether I’d have been quite so happy paying £90, at the end of the day they’re a glorified pair of trainers. They’re comfortable over distance and carrying a medium-weight pack although I’ve yet to try them with a heavy pack over distance. Looking at the quality of build, which is good, I expect these shoes to last me a long while – so even at £90 they’re still a good buy.

Now the bad news. Retailers flog stuff off cheap for a very few reasons. The reason for this particular flog-off is because La Sportiva appear to have brought out a newer design. Having said that, the new design looks to be very similar to the old design and on that basis I have no reason to believe the newer design will be any less comfortable or hard wearing.

The acid test….
Q: Would I buy another pair?
A: Yes, even at 90 quid.