One of the most common hurdles we come across in the shop is convincing people that a decent pair of boots will cost more than a McDonald’s and a cinema ticket. We understand money can be tight and some things can be considered ‘luxuries’ but boots really split the camp. There are the “my feet carry me everywhere so I want them to be warm, dry and well supported” heroes and the eternally damned. I’ll leave you to place yourself.


For those in camp one, I would like to talk about my Salewa Rapace GTX for a moment. I got mine about three years ago when I wanted an all-round boot for the UK. Nothing to attack full winter with and obviously a bit much for a summer stroll on the beach but for all those boggy, gruelling ascents of typically British nature in between these are ready to make the journey with me.


The break in was relatively gentle. The tongue of the boot irritated me on the first few hikes with a thinner sock but has since softened and ceased to bother me. The thick nubuck uppers and Gore-Tex lining, with a bit of TLC, are still more than happy shrugging off everything from puddles to deep bog whilst the technical soles allow for nimble ascents of any grade of scramble making even the local mountain goats jealous.


Despite not being a B2, the Rapace will take a new-matic crampon, though a flexible bar may be necessary for bigger boot sizes or heavier loads (you or your kit). The sole unit is a durable vibram number with a deep tread and dedicated climbing zone; despite this, as with any of the harder wearing soles, you do feel like Bambi on ice when sheer rock faces get super slick and slimy. If I ever find the fabled boot that handles this without falling apart in a season I’ll let you know but until then I jump in my Scarpa Oxygens for shorter days on wetter rock.


The nubuck uppers have been heat treated to stop them stretching. This has a couple of major benefits. First, stretch is completely negated. The fit on day 1 is the same as the fit on day 100 and that makes buying them so much easier.. Secondly, the nubuck remains unbroken. No weak points for water and mud to sneak in through and start breaking down the sensitive mid-layers of your boot. Fancy stuff, eh?


The midsole is stiff enough to keep longer hikes comfortable and help with carrying bigger bags but also offers enough flex to keep the ankle grounded in the boot. I rarely feel entirely at one with bigger boots being a light build but these things are just an extension of my body. I’m hoping I can keep them going for a few more years.


- Will