Hiking Sandals

Made of lightweight materials. They don't have much top-of-the-foot coverage so they're mostly suitable for well-maintained trails and summer hikes. Also useful for crossing rivers and streams. They come in open and closed-toe designs. See the best hiking sandals.

Hiking Shoes

The low-cut equivalent of hiking boots. Comfort is paramount in the creation of these shoes so they often have flexible materials. Generally used for day hikes. See hiking shoes.

Hiking Boots

Mid to high-cut models designed for more aggressive hikes and backpacking. See hiking boots.

Mountaineering Boots

Specialized footwear. Often insulated and used in technical routes, ice climbing or expeditions. See mountaineering boots.

Good to know

For hikes that won't last for more than a day, go with hiking sandals or hiking shoes. Tackling trails with greater challenges will require hiking boots or mountaineering boots.

Day Hiking

Shoes or boots for hikes that only last for half a day. Flexibility and lightness are the highlights of these kinds of footwear. See the best day hiking shoes and the best day hiking boots.


For multi-day trips with a heavy pack. Manufacturers emphasize durability and support in the creation of backpacking boots. See backpacking boots

Speed Hiking

Designed for users who want to cover a greater distance by going fast, usually with a light pack. See speed hiking shoes.

Winter Hiking

Boots that grant insulation to the user during hikes. See winter hiking boots.


Mainly sandals. Aside from hiking they can be used for other purposes such as water activities. See multi-sport hiking sandals.

Good to know

Casual hikers can choose day hiking footwear or multi-sport sandals. More info here.



Shoes with a cuff that goes below the ankle. See low-cut hiking shoes.


Boots with an ankle-height cuff. They provide extra ankle support. See mid-cut hiking boots and mid-cut mountaineering boots.


Boots with a cuff that goes above the ankle. In the case of insulated ones, they may reach the calf. Also grants extra ankle support. See high-cut hiking boots and high-cut mountaineering boots.

Good to know

Generally, for trails that are easy to tackle, go with low-cut shoes. Go mid to high if there are more trail obstacles.

Men: 30.3oz
Men: Normal
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Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.


Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who does not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overproanation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.


Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.


We spent 8.1 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what hikers think:

8 reasons to buy

  • Footwear critics were able to experience a thrillingly comfortable ride in their SL Activs.
  • Droves of owners applauded the boot’s tenaciously grippy outsole.
  • Its overall support was hailed as one of a kind by numerous users.
  • More than a dozen of testers spoke quite positively of the boot’s one-to-one fit.
  • The SL Activ impressed several Scarpa loyalists with its insurmountable durability.
  • Some wearers fell in love with this boot for its ability to keep water walled off despite not having proper waterproofing.
  • Professional reviewers gave the Scarpa SL Activ aces for featuring a kind of lacing system that is easy to tighten and configure.
  • This backpacking gear made a small number of consumers extremely satisfied with its amazing flexibility.

3 reasons not to buy

  • A few owners got very disappointed with the Scarpa SL Activ’s lengthy break-in time.
  • Expert reviewers threw shade on the boot for being quite heavy.
  • Not being offered in a women’s version was enough for a footwear critic to give this trekking gear a thumbs-down.

Bottom line

In terms of comfort, support, and fit, it appears Scarpa engineers have really knocked it out of the park with the SL Activ. They have also crafted something greatly captivating in this footgear on the traction front. Having said that, they should’ve taken more time to make its lumbering weight far lighter and its long break-in period a whole lot shorter. All in all, wearers would have to look past the Scarpa SL Activ’s meager list of misfires to fully experience every good thing it has on offer.



4.9 / 5 based on 30 ratings

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Expert Reviews

Experts are hikers, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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95 / 100 based on 8 expert reviews

  • 100 / 100 by Two in Tasmania • Two in Tasmania • Level 1 expert

    [T]hese are going to last us many many years so it's well worth considering three or four season boot like this Scarpa SL Active.

  • 100 / 100 by Outdoors Magic • Outdoors Magic • Level 3 expert

    We’re not massive fans of 3-4 season boots for non-winter use here, stiff soles make more sense when you’re kicking into snow or wearing crampons, rather than on hot summer mountain days, but that’s personal preference and some people will choose to use them all year round.

  • 92 / 100 by Live for the Outdoors • Graham Thompson • Level 3 expert

    A solid performance from the standard-bearer for the 3-4 season category, but there’s no women’s version.

  • 90 / 100 by Active Traveller • Mike Walker • Level 3 expert

    Yes, these are pricey boots, but build quality, performance and looks are all first rate and for anyone who is serious about their winter walking the SL Activ has to be worth checking out.

  • 90 / 100 by The Great Outdoors • The Great Outdoors • Level 2 expert

    The Italian build is excellent, and I expect them to last me a long time. Just as well!

  • 100 / 100 by Longshot Photography • Ken Long • Level 1 expert

    They are comfortable, warm, fantastically well made and super tough. I’m very very happy with them, and am looking forward to putting many more miles onto them over the coming years.

  • 100 / 100 by Edward Cheek • Edward Cheek • Level 1 expert

    For me, it is the most comfortable boot I have ever owned – everything that I have thrown at it, it has taken within its stride – you name it, it can do it.

  • 100 / 100 by Follow the Compass • Callum Wilson • Level 1 expert

    To conclude, I would recommend these boots to anyone who, like me, is looking to walk all year round in the British Isles and possibly venture further afield for some basic alpine walking on well trodden routes.

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Updates to Scarpa SL Activ

  • The Scarpa SL Activ is the revamped version of the SL M3. Among the key changes in this redesigned version is the addition of a heavy-duty rubber rand at the base of the upper which its former self lacked. 
  • This updated model is constructed with a technology called Activ Fit. Absent in the previous build, this technology gives the boot improved stability and a more streamlined fit. 
  • Scarpa engineers gave this footgear a semi-stiff midsole. This kind of build quality puts the SL Activ under the B1 category which makes the boot compatible with C1 – strap-on crampons. 

Scarpa SL Activ size and fit

Scarpa’s SL Activ is a high-cut boot crafted specifically for male backpackers. Its fairly true-to-size fit is intended for wearers with regular feet. It comes in a range of half and full sizes. It is built on the BD last, improving the user’s foothold and giving the boot the right amount of volume for more cushioning. The gear’s speed lacing system provides a custom lockdown. 


Preventing backpackers from sliding or losing their footing over various types of backcountry surfaces is the Vibram Biometric outsole. It is based on the XS Trek compound, allowing it to stay durable for longer and remain responsive even in wet conditions. Its self-cleaning lugs are engineered at opposing angles to provide multi-directional grip


The Scarpa SL Activ has a dual-density PU midsole for terrain stability and comfort underfoot. It comes with a dynamic TPU shank which gives additional medial support. Right on top of this stabilizing component is the Activ Plus footbed. It is made of memory foam, granting familiar comfort over time. 


Covering the foot safe from the elements is the SL Activ’s HS12 Sherpa leather upper, complete with a fabric liner courtesy of 37.5. Its sturdy thickness (at 2.7 millimeters) offers support and a level of scuff resistance. Its full-on rubber rand further bolsters the boot’s defenses against abrasions.  

Completing the upper’s equation is the boot’s quick lacing system. It uses synthetic laces and combination eyelets made of metal.