Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A need to try again?

28th November 2008

It’s been a while since I mentioned my Scarpa ZG10’s on here. Over the summer, I took a risk in taking them with me on my bout of island hopping because I feared that I needed their waterproofing with the weather that was being forecast. As it turned out, I went to one of the few parts of Britain where there was sunny weather but I still put them to good use and needn’t have had the worry that most occupied my mind: ankle discomfort. Any breaking that I had been doing paid dividends there.

Since then, I have found that if I did get unpleasant weather, they would cope well with it. Their robust construction meant that crossing of rough country around Skye and South Uist was easily within their operating range. More recently, I confirmed this when I took them on that crossing of waterlogged terrain from Ardlui to Butterbridge. Having a solid rubber rand all around the the bottom of the uppers makes cleaning easy too, a useful attribute in this season where mud is often encountered.

So, there’s a lot to like about them. There is, however, one constant nagging doubt remaining at the back of my mind and that relates to how well they fit me. Scarpa is one of those manufacturers that resolutely sticks with European sizing, even on the U.K. market. Because of this, I wonder if I ended up with a pair of boots that is a U.K. half-size bigger than what I really need. In the shop, they appeared to fit fine and I didn’t detect too much looseness while breaking them in but it was my taking them north on that island hopping excursion that found them out. On my most recent hiking trip to Cumbria, I found that wearing thicker socks and using volume adjusters really did help and I don’t remember much heal lift, so long as any laces didn’t fulfill an urge to loosen.

My having qualms about sizing and fit is something of a shame, considering how well the Scarpas otherwise perform, but it is often said that fit is the most attribute of a pair of boots and I would have to agree. It would be worse if the boots were too small for me but their being a little too big can be troublesome too so the thought of trying out alternatives does linger in my mind. Since there’s only so much that you can learn from trying boots out in a shop, the idea of renting a pair to see what they’re like sounds an intriguing way to avoid spending money on what isn’t suitable (I have a vague recollection of such a service being advertised). Of course, having firmer idea of what you want helps too and could get you away from picking a particular brand or model to seeing what a shop might have on offer, taking advantage of their expertise in the process.

I have yet to decide on a boot hunting mission so I’ll continue to see how I can get on better with my ZG10’s while continuing to ponder the footwear issue. They have already taught me a lot so there my be more to learn and they may loosen more with use with fit improving as a result; it happens with Raichles, apparently, but I will not be depending entirely on this happening with all boots. Even if the Scarpas were to get replaced by others for much of my hill wandering, I would still hang on to them because one never knows what might happen that would have me seeking out a spare pair for some weekend away; I am sure that they would serve a bigger purpose that what they have taught me so far.

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