Those who know me really well know that I am an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast in addition to being an avid runner. For a majority of my previous hikes and a one backpacking trip, I had been wearing a pair of traditional hiking shoes. They weren’t cheap and they were from a reputable outdoor gear company, so you can imagine how incredibly bummed I was that after some longer hikes and that one backpacking trip, my feet were sporting some gnarly blisters. My boyfriend, blister free in his trail running shoes, suggested that perhaps I try out some trail running shoes as well.
Luckily, I was given the opportunity to try out a pair of Women’s Scarpa Proton shoes (Ed. Note – thank you to Scarpa for providing a pair for review), which are, according to the brand’s site, made for alpine runs and ultra training. Scarpa, which started in Asolo, Italy in 1938, is a family owned company widely recognized for their high quality and innovative footwear.
So back to my new Scarpa Protons. My initial impression of these was literally: Yowza! A good yowza. I love the look of them and the color combination of turquoise and black, which are both the prominent colors of the shoes. The shoes came with two sets of laces, an orange pair and a black pair; I opted for the black, although the orange didn’t look too bad as the shoes also happen to include hints of orange.
Scarpa Proton Specs:
- Upper: Synthetic Leather & Polyester mesh
- Lining: Polyester
- Insole: H-EVA Plate
- Midsole: Compression Molded EVA
- Sole: Vibram Genesis
- Last: TRPW
- Sizes: 37 – 41(half sizes)
- Weight: 294g; 10.4oz (1/2 pair size 38)
Retail price: $129.00
My first official run in the Protons was the day after getting them and it was through a nature preserve near my work. The trail itself, consisting of dirt and rock, is approximately 3 miles round trip. While that distance probably isn’t the most ideal for testing my new shoes out, I really just couldn’t wait any longer to give them a go. I ran this same trail for a few days straight just to break in the shoes. Overall I would say that the Protons provided a comfortable cushioned ride for those runs and there were no noticeable irritations on any parts of my feet. Also, considering I normally run in barefoot style running shoes, I didn’t notice the Protons (which weigh about 4oz more) to be clunky or feel heavy.
The real test for the Protons came from a 13 mile hike with quite a bit of elevation gain.The combination of distance and elevation would have previously left me with at least 2 blisters on each foot wearing my regular hiking shoes. Admittedly, I was a littler nervous that this would be the same fate while wearing the Protons. However, post 13 miles, this was not the case at all. I seriously experienced zero hot spots and didn’t even notice any spots on my feet that may have been subject to irritation; I even inspected my feet after the hike. In addition to elevation gain, the trail itself featured some really rocky areas and areas that would seem easy to slip on, but the traction of the shoes seem to really dig in well.
Pros: I love the look of the shoes, even the color. My boyfriend even commented on how cool the bottom of the shoes were when he was hiking behind me, as they are a bright orange; only noticeable when I lift my feet to take a step. I love that these feel lightweight, but are solid enough for even the rockiest terrain. They also breathe really well, the upper portion of the shoe made of a fabric-synthetic leather, so my feet didn’t feel like they were suffocating, even with bulky hiking socks on.
Cons: Really the only con I can think of is wishing that they were waterproof. I know Scarpa makes waterproof running and trail shoes however, so I will definitely be checking those out in the future.
For now though, I am looking forward to so many more adventures in my Scarpa Protons! I have even been really contemplating running an ultra marathon and these would be perfect for training in.