Our verdict

Named after the Greek God of wind, the Boreas GTX from Scarpa is, without a doubt, an almighty backpacking boot that had us mowing down various terrain types effortlessly. Underneath its tough shell, however, is a gentle cradle that keeps our feet happy, making pack adventures across many miles extra memorable. What's more, it's a durable, tank of a boot at a reasonable price point.

Pros

  • Mesmerising comfort
  • Surprisingly light
  • Terrific surface traction
  • Quite durable
  • True to size
  • Supportive underfoot
  • Exemplary craftsmanship

Cons

  • Not for wide feet
  • Needs breaking-in

Audience verdict

78
Good!

Who should buy

We recommend the Boreas GTX as an excellent choice for: 

  • Backpackers looking for a stable and reliable waterproof companion for their next long-haul adventures
  • Those in the market for a year-round boot that performs consistently no matter how drastically temperatures fluctuate as the seasons change
  • Hikers who prioritise foot protection and durability in their hiking boots

Scarpa Boreas GTX uirw

Who should NOT buy

The Boreas GTX's toebox doesn't have much space for the toes to splay out, making it a blister magnet for those with broad feet. We recommend the Salomon Quest 4 GTX or the  Keen Pyrenees as roomier alternatives. 

As a waterproof boot, the Boreas GTX's leather upper does a great job of sealing our foot from the elements though this does make for a toasty ride. For a boot that boasts more suitable airflow for those dry, fairweather hikes, we recommend the Keen Voyageur Mid instead. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX eff

The Boreas GTX is a relatively heavy boot that's well-suited for carrying heavy packs long distances. For those in the market for a lighter option that feels quick and nimble underfoot for those more casual hikes, we recommend the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX instead. 

Breathability

Being watertight and having good airflow are mutually exclusive traits as our smoke test clearly demonstrates. The boot's leather and Gore-Tex upper didn't let even a wisp of smoke filter through as we pumped it in, thus earning the Boreas GTX a breathability score of 1 out of 5. As such, the boot certainly feels toasty, especially on warmer days, but does a good job of keeping our feet dry (albeit a little sweaty) as we splash across streams or riverbeds. 

The Merrel Moab 3, on the other hand, lets the smoke escape with ease throughout the shoe, making it a much better summer hiking option. 

Further confirming the airtight nature of the Boreas GTX is how a cross-section of its upper entirely eclipses our backlight.

Our microscope shot of the toebox, which resembles a NASA image of evidence of water on Mars, also shows how impermeable the Boreas GTX's upper is, with no gaps for water or air to get in or out of the shoe. This also means that the boot won't drain in the event of dunking them too deep and taking on water. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX jkve

Scarpa Boreas GTX Breathability
Test results
Boreas GTX 1
Average 1.7
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

To simulate extreme wear and tear, we fired up our Dremel to 5K RPM and set it against the reinforced section of the Boreas GTX's toebox with 3.2N of force. 

By the time the twelve seconds were up, we found that the tool had only done minor damage to the toe bumper and wasn't even able to reach the leather below. This excellent performance leads us to give the Boreas GTX a perfect toebox durability score and means that we can tackle even the harshest trails without fear of compromising its hardy upper. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Toebox durability
Test results
Boreas GTX 5
Average 4.4
Compared to 17 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Next, we turned our attention to the heel collar and set the Dremel against the Boreas GTX once more.

It's difficult to see from our aftermath photo but our tool's abrasive element was able to shred its way and disturb the padding within during the short four-second test. The damage is far from catastrophic, however, with this very respectable performance earning the Boreas GTX a heel padding durability score of 4 out of 5. We therefore don't expect the friction of heel rubs to cause significant damage to the boot throughout its lifetime. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Heel padding durability
Test results
Boreas GTX 4
Average 3.8
Compared to 17 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Pressing our durometer against the outsole yields a reading of 89.5 HC which isn't too far off our current lab average and usually denotes a good level of durability. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Outsole hardness
Test results
Boreas GTX 89.5 HC
Average 87.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
81.0 HC
Outsole hardness
92.0 HC

Outsole durability

To test the outsole, we increased the speed of our Dremel to 10K RPM and pressed it against one of the Boreas GTX's lugs. Apart from a small amount of rubber dust that piles up in the tread, our tool seems to have minimal effect on the boot. 

Using a tire tread gauge to measure the indentation left behind after the twenty-two-second test, we found that we had only shorn off 0.5 mm of rubber from the outsole. However, hiking boot outsoles are generally built strong to withstand harsh terrains so this isn't very much less than the average hiking boot loses under similar circumstances, based on our testing so far. This is still a great performance and means that we can safely expect a good 500 miles of hiking before seeing any signs of wear on the outsole, maybe even 500 more. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Outsole durability
Test results
Boreas GTX 0.5 mm
Average 0.7 mm
Compared to 14 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The Boreas GTX's outsole is ever so slightly short of our current lab average at 2.6 mm thick according to our caliper measurements. However, with that and the extremely durable lugs, there is still plenty of material underfoot to wear through before having to retire this boot. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Outsole thickness
Test results
Boreas GTX 2.6 mm
Average 3.1 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1.8 mm
Outsole thickness
5.6 mm

Weight

Tipping our scale at 20.6 oz (583g), the Boreas GTX is heavier than the average hiking boot based on our findings in the lab so far. That said, we didn't find its weight prohibitive as we were still comfortably able to gobble up the mile markers during our longer test hikes. What's more, that added heft gives us the feeling of having a sturdy base while carrying a heavy pack. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Weight
Test results
Boreas GTX 20.56 oz (583g)
Average 17.92 oz (508g)
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
11.71 oz (332g)
Weight
26.00 oz (737g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The Boreas GTX's heel stack is within spitting range of our current lab average at 34.2 mm thick according to our caliper measurements. This gives us a healthy amount of midsole foam to effectively dampen our landings and keep us high above any underfoot hazards while hiking in this boot. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Heel stack
Test results
Boreas GTX 34.2 mm
Average 35.9 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
26.2 mm
Heel stack
46.9 mm

Forefoot stack

The boot's forefoot stack is also just shy of our current lab average at 20.2 mm thick. This amount of foam also adequately mutes the harsh surface below while still keeping us low enough to the ground for stable and intuitive toe-offs. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Forefoot stack
Test results
Boreas GTX 20.2 mm
Average 22.5 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
17.0 mm
Forefoot stack
30.7 mm

Drop

With the stack heights falling so close to the average, it's no wonder that the Boreas GTX boasts an average drop height of 14 mm. This provides a healthy mix of an elevated and protected heel with a more grounded forefoot that's ideal for hiking. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Drop

 For those curious about a more parallel-to-the-ground hiking experience, we recommend the zero-drop Altra Lone Peak Hiker 2 instead. 

Test results
Boreas GTX 14.0 mm
Average 13.4 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
2.6 mm
Drop
20.9 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Pressing our durometer against the Boreas GTX's midsole yields a harder-than-average reading of 28.1 HA. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Midsole softness

This means that, while protective, the boot's midsole feels quite brick-like underfoot due to how little it compresses under our weight.

However, for what this lacks in comfort it more than makes up for with a stable and tank-like ride that gave our feet an invulnerable sensation as we stomped along the trails. This is especially beneficial for backpacking adventures as the firm foam won't feel wobbly under the added weight of heavy gear. 

Test results
Boreas GTX 28.1 HA
Average 25.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
15.4 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
53.3 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

To simulate exposure to cold conditions, we placed the Boreas GTX in the freezer for twenty minutes. Once chilled enough, we took another durometer reading of the midsole and found that it only became 16.5% more firm. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Difference in midsole softness in cold

This means that the boot's cushioning isn't as affected by exposure to frigid conditions as the average boot. As such, the Scarpa Boreas GTX will make a good companion for hikers looking to brave the elements and go for a trek no matter how low the mercury drops. 

Test results
Boreas GTX 16.5%
Average 21.5%
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Insole thickness

We measured the Boreas GTX's insole to be 6.3 mm thick which is right around the average for hiking boots. This provides us with a well-padded footbed that feels nice and cushy underfoot as we land. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Insole thickness
Test results
Boreas GTX 6.3 mm
Average 6.0 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
3.7 mm
Insole thickness
10.7 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

The stability of the Boreas GTX is surely the boot's crowning glory. Whether laden with camping gear or not, we were able to scamper along the trail with the surefootedness of a mountain while testing this well-grounded boot. We'll explore below how the Boreas GTX achieves this feat despite its relatively narrow platform. 

Torsional rigidity

We could barely get the Boreas GTX to budge as we bent and twisted it in our hands, leading us to give it the highest torsional rigidity score of 5 out of 5. This means that the boot actively resists the lateral contortions of our foot and maintains an extremely stable base. As such, we enjoyed such confidence with every stride while testing the Boreas GTX that even the God of wind himself couldn't blow us asunder. 

Test results
Boreas GTX 5
Average 4.2
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The Boreas GTX's well-reinforced heel counter is quite stiff, earning a score of 4 out of 5 in our manual assessment. This level of rigidity helps to mitigate excessive lateral movements at the rearfoot while still feeling quite comfy and supportive around our ankle. 

Test results
Boreas GTX 4
Average 3.4
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

At 109.8 mm wide at the forefoot according to our caliper measurements, the Boreas GTX's midsole is slightly narrower than our current lab average. However, this is still more than enough of a platform that it didn't compromise our balance while testing this boot. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Boreas GTX 109.8 mm
Average 112.2 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
96.3 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
124.6 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The narrowness of the midsole is more pronounced at the heel which we measured with our caliper at only 83.9 mm wide. This also didn't cause us to falter while testing Boreas GTX, rather serving to give the boot a more agile silhouette that made it easier to maneuver through tricky terrain. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Midsole width in the heel

Those more accustomed to having a girthier platform at the heel for even more surefooted landings should check out the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid as an alternative. 

Test results
Boreas GTX 83.9 mm
Average 88.3 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
71.7 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

We secured the Boreas GTX to our workbench and found that 44N of force is needed to bend it 90 degrees. This is very slightly stiffer than the average but still a rather stiff result. 

While being inflexible does sacrifice some level of comfort as our foot struggles to flex naturally within the boot, it also gives us a much more stable feeling on the ground as our foot isn't liable to bend over every obstacle we encounter. This also helps in preventing foot fatigue from over-flexion and is very supportive for those suffering from conditions like plantar fasciitis. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Stiffness
Test results
Boreas GTX 44.0N
Average 40.2N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
16.6N
Stiffness
84.7N

Difference in stiffness in cold

We also repeated the flex test after chilling the boot for twenty minutes and found that the Boreas GTX only became 13.8% stiffer than at room temperature. This makes it more consistent than the average hiking boot under similar conditions and means that the boot should feel just as supportive all year round without getting too frigid and uncomfortable as the temperatures drop. 

Test results
Boreas GTX 13.8%
Average 29%
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
100%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

At 4 mm thick according to our caliper measurements, the Boreas GTX's outsole lugs are on par with our current lab average. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Lug depth

They also form an aggressive tread pattern that provides us with excellent traction on just about every surface we come across. Not to mention the stickiness of the Vibram compound which means that wet and mossy rocks didn't give us much pause as we splashed through riverbed crossings. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Lug depth
Test results
Boreas GTX 4.0 mm
Average 4.1 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
3.0 mm
Lug depth
5.7 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Using our caliper, we measured the Boreas GTX's toebox to be 100.8 mm wide at its widest point. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Toebox width at the widest part

This is a little narrower than average but should be a comfy fit for those with narrow to normal-width feet. Broad-footed hikers, on the other hand, should consider a roomier alternative like the Keen Pyrenees which is spacious enough to account for some foot swelling towards the end of longer excursions. 

Test results
Boreas GTX 100.8 mm
Average 102.1 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
95.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
110.2 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The Boreas GTX's toebox tapers to 75.1 mm wide at the big toe which is significantly narrower than our current lab average. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Toebox width at the big toe

This feels a little constrictive and limits how much our toes can splay while hiking in this boot. Depending on foot shape, this can lead to hotspots and/or blisters if the big toe is constantly butting up against the sidewalls, especially if frequently descending hills.

Scarpa Boreas GTX b;jn;jn

For a boot with a more natural, foot-shaped silhouette, we recommend checking out the Altra Lone Peak Hiker 2 as an alternative that boasts more real estate for the toes. 

Test results
Boreas GTX 75.1 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
67.6 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
91.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The Boreas GTX's tongue is fully gusseted on both sides which effectively prevented any debris or water from entering the boot during our test hikes. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Boreas GTX Both sides (full)

Comfort

Tongue padding

At 13 mm thick according to our caliper measurements, the Boreas GTX's tongue is slightly more padded than our current lab average.

Scarpa Boreas GTX Tongue padding

This means that we enjoyed a secure and comfy lockdown without even a hint of lace bite while testing this boot. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Tongue padding
Test results
Boreas GTX 13.0 mm
Average 11.2 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
5.9 mm
Tongue padding
22.3 mm

Removable insole

The Boreas GTX's insole is fully removable so replacing it with an aftermarket one or a custom orthotic is possible if necessary. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Removable insole
Test results
Boreas GTX Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

The Boreas GTX doesn't feature any reflective elements, so we recommend exercising caution and using additional high-vis gear if hiking along dimly-lit roads at night. 

Scarpa Boreas GTX Reflective elements
Test results
Boreas GTX No