The Scarpa Delta GTX Activ from the legendary, high quality mountain footwear manufacturer has been around for a few years now. For me, this is one of Scarpa’s most pleasing traits; they make a product that works (and sells) and then they stick with it. Many makers of fine gear change their products on an annual basis – planned obsolescence if you will, so that the customer is always left feeling their version of the product is out of date, leaving them wondering if they need to shell out and get the latest version. Not so with Scarpa who have the confidence, built over decades success, to stick with their impeccably stitched guns.
Take a one look at a pair Scarpa Delta GTX Activ and they just shout “classic mountain boot.” No fancy colours or space aged graphene technology. They are black and brown leather boots. I personally think they look great and will never go out of fashion.
The build quality is obvious from the first sniff of those calf leather uppers. A one-piece wrap around upper with only one stitched seam on the instep where water might think about getting in. Even if water tried, it’s got a layer of Goretex to get through before it reaches your feet – which isn’t happening. Scarpa’s “Speed-lace” steel lacing pulleys are super sturdy, no danger of you kicking them off the boot on a rock. For the tongue and ankle, Scrapa have used a luxurious soft nubuck style leather, possible offcuts from the Rolls Royce upholstery shop, for extra comfort where it’s needed the most. These boots don’t have a full rand, just a toe rand, which may preclude these boots from being purchased by more hardcore, or less nimble mountain walkers though. The soles, Vibram naturally, are big and aggressive and I personally like how the rubber is quite firm. A tougher rubber won’t grip as well on rock where softer rubber would, but I’ve had boots with soft rubber that have ended up looking like Swiss cheese after long walks on the UK’s more rocky summits (think Tryfan or the Scafells), but in the UK’s mostly muddy and grassy hill terrain the harder rubber will keep you from falling on your backside by biting into the mulch. It really depends upon where you envisage using these boots and if you are looking to venture onto mostly rocky terrain you may want to look at Scarpa’s more mountain orientated range such as the Ribelle Lite.
So what are they like to wear? Here’s where these boots may divide opinion. If you are looking for a light, nimble boot for dancing over the trails of the UK’s hills, these aren’t for you. A traditional boot, the The Scarpa Delta GTX Activ is more suited to traditional hillwalking. By that I mean hill walking trails, grass, bog and wet conditions. These are a heavy boot which means they will be bombproof and last many years, but they aren’t for fast and light use or scrambling. For that, you’d need to take a look at Scarpa’s Ribelle range once again. These boots are also stiff, really stiff, but that will suit our perpetually damp hills here in the UK. If you are looking for a long lasting, high quality, stylish boot for a supportive and confidence inspiring hill walking day out – these boots can’t really go wrong. Scarpa’s retail price is £270 but I picked a pair up for £225 from Go Outdoors (August 2023).