In this La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review, we’ll look at this popular lightweight boot from the renowned Italian footwear brand, considering its overall design, features, performance and comfort.
The mid-cut Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX hiking boot is derived from the highly regarded Ultra Raptor mountain running shoe. That trail shoe is a bit of a legend in the mountain running world, much loved for its near-optimal balance of cushioning, support, protection and traction.
The boot version has a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex liner and is similarly agile, supportive and well-cushioned, even after 100s of miles I put in them. Why would someone who has access to all the best hiking boots would use one boot so much? Read my full review below to find out, as well as some more details on the versatility of the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review: price and availability
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is available now at La Sportiva EU and La Sportiva US in both fabric and leather variants, both equipped with a Gore-Tex Extended Comfort waterproof lining. In addition, the boot comes in two width fittings, so you can choose from regular or wide models. Prices from £180/ $199.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review: specifications
- Sizes: Men’s EU 38-49.5, women’s EU 36-43
- Weight: 428g per boot (Men’s UK 8)
- Lugs: 4mm
- Heel-to-toe drop: 9mm
- Uppers: Nubuck leather or Abrasion resistant mesh with microfiber reinforcement band with anti-abrasion coating
- Lining: GORE-TEX Extended Comfort
- Footbed: Ortholite Mountain Running
- Midsole: Memlex EVA foam rubber with shock-absorbing injection
- Outsole: FriXion White/Blue in a highly abrasion-resistant compound, Impact Brake System and integrated anti-shock rubber toe cap
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review: design and features
The fact that this mid-cut boot is built on the Ultra Raptor trail shoe platform means it retains an agile, lightweight feel. The uppers feel as soft and forgiving as a trainer, even if you opt for the leather version. Underfoot, you get similarly high levels of comfort from a shock-absorbing EVA midsole. It feels noticeably more cushioned than more minimalist trail shoes or more substantial walking boots with firmer, PU-based midsoles. The 9mm drop is relatively generous, which makes this a good boot for hard-packed trails and long distances. Yet the streamlined build means they don’t feel imprecise or clumpy, unlike heavier boots.
Having said that, they still feel surprisingly structured and supportive. In particular, the sole has plenty of lateral stability, reducing torsional twisting that can stress or fatigue the foot. There is plenty of front flex for an easy walking action, though – and the fact that they’re built on a running shoe last means it’s even possible to really pick up the pace. On broken and uneven ground, the prominent toe bumper guards against painful impacts, as does the chunky midsole.
The boot also has an unusual heel cage and a lightweight rand for enhanced rear and midfoot support. Meanwhile, the lacing system is threaded through a series of webbing eyelets connected to an external TPU ‘skeleton’. It’s easy to pull everything in tight, ensuring a secure fit with no heel lift. The top set of lace hooks is also designed to minimise lace slip. It’s an excellent design.
The added height of the ankle cuff has two main benefits. Firstly, it delivers welcome additional support on trickier terrain or when carrying a bigger pack; and secondly, it adds an inch or two of extra flood height to keep out water and general trail debris. But since the neoprene collar and elasticated heel gaiter are both soft and stretchy, you still get good freedom of movement.
Protection from water ingress is further aided by the use of a waterproof-breathable Gore-Tex lining. This proved to be reliably effective, without getting too hot and sweaty even in summer. Of course, they do feel warmer than an unlined shoe or boot, but even wearing the leather Ultra Raptor Mid on a sweltering weekend in the Peak District, they didn’t get overly sweaty or uncomfortable. Just bear in mind that the tongue gusset only extends to the base of the ankle, so it’s still easy to overtop the boot in deeper streams, bogs and puddles.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review: performance
The first thing to note is that the fit of the standard boot is slightly narrow, especially at the toebox. This may or may not suit you, but it’s worth noting that the Ultra Raptors also come in a wide fit, which might be worth trying even if you normally take a regular width. We’d actually say that with this boot, the regular fit feels more like a narrow fit, whereas the wide fit is more like a regular. As ever, try before you buy.
Get the fit right, though, and in all other respects, this is a superb boot. All-day comfort is excellent. It has a higher ankle cuff than most, with plenty of padding plus an elasticated rear panel that reduces pressure on the Achilles. The uppers are lightweight yet durable, with a chunky toecap and heel counter. On the foot, the boot feels structured and supportive, inspiring confidence when moving fast on technical terrain.
The soft and tacky Frixion rubber outsole grips brilliantly on dry, rocky ground. However, this is also its drawback, in that it is so soft that it tends to wear quickly. Conversely, on very wet and sloppy terrain, traction isn’t quite so impressive, probably because the sole lugs aren’t the deepest or most aggressive. In short, it is better suited to mountain trails than muddy hillsides. Having said all that, we walked the entire 268-mile Pennine Way national trail in a pair of these boots, which crosses some of the boggiest moorland in the UK, and we were more than happy with their performance.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review: verdict
We tested the leather version of this boot extensively and wore it for over 400 miles of hiking and backpacking adventures across the UK. By the end, the uppers were in impressively good shape, and they still offered reliable waterproof protection. Only the sole unit showed signs of wear, probably because the rubber compound used for the brand’s Frixion outsoles is noticeably tackier and softer than most other brands. But aside from that shortcoming in terms of lifetime durability, this is still a great three-season boot for fast and light summit-bagging missions or lightweight backpacking trips.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review: also consider
If you’re after a similarly lightweight mid-cut hiking boot, then the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX competes squarely with various rival models from brands like Adidas Terrex, Inov-8, Scarpa, Mammut and Salomon. For more options, out T3's best hiking boots and best women's hiking boots guides.
Berghaus’ new VC22 GTX (external link) might also be worth a look. Just bear in mind that although there are even lighter mid boots than the Ultra Raptor II Mid, they tend to sacrifice overall protection and durability. On balance, we think the La Sportiva is the best all-around lightweight mid-boot we’ve tested.
If you want similar characteristics but are prepared to sacrifice a little extra weight for the sake of even more cushioning, then you could consider the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX or Trail Code GTX, with their trademark oversized midsole. Of course, what you gain in on-trail bounce, you tend to lose in terms of precision and feel, which, in our opinion, makes the La Sportiva a better choice for mixed terrain.
On the other hand, if you need a sturdier, mountain-focused mid boot for scrambling over technical terrain, then the La Sportiva TX Hike or TX4 Mid GTX are stiffer and more structured alternatives, though arguably less versatile for walking on easier ground.