Having explored the depths of footwear with the La Sportiva brand, I was thrilled to lace up a pair of their Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX for a test.
I took these Ultra Raptors onto a couple of off-the-beaten-path hiking trails, the steep descents of Wayfarer’s Route in Montana, and the unpredictable terrain of Bright Angel Trail in Arizona. For over six weeks, both me and these boots battled it all.
The Ultra Raptors shine when it comes to their impact brake system, offering excellent traction on technical terrain.
The hiking boot wasn’t without its flaws. The narrow toe box was a dash restrictive, but it still offered a comfortable foothold.
Also, counteracting the narrow issue was an ultra-supportive ankle cuff and ultra-tight Frixion white lug pattern that catered for a fantastic adherence on rocky trails.
Curious about how this product outshines its predecessor? It’s time to dig deeper into the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review.
This is the mid cut version. If you are looking for a low-cut trail running shoe, check our review of La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II.
- GORE-TEX liner
- Impact Brake System™ X-Axis™
- TPU lacing harnesses
Things We Tested When We Reviewed La Sportiva Raptor II Mid GTX
Upon my first encounter with the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX, I was intrigued by the promise of excellent traction. In fact, I quickly learned that the Ultra Raptor II Mid isn’t just a traditional hiking boot.
The uniquely designed FriXion® XF 2.0 soles gripped onto rugged terrain like a mountain goat.
Trekking through both dirt trails and rocky mountain terrain, I found the depth of the lugs and the rubber compounds of the sole provided just the right balance of grip and resistance.
However, the traction did come off as a bit slippery on very hard surfaces. But the Ultra Raptor II Mid promptly made up for this by delivering an impressive adherence on trails that were a mix of loose and compacted soil.
La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX strengthens the legacy of its predecessor. Sporting a robust, high-density abrasion-resistant mesh, it seems a lot more resilient. On local trails, through brush, and even some light scrambling, the hiking footwear showed minor signs of wear.
The toe box features a microfiber mudguard, which is a bit narrow but offers superior protection without sacrificing performance. While the ankle cuff seemed rigid initially, over time, it softened adequately.
A touch of concern, however, was the microfiber reinforcement band, which seemed prone to fraying over time.
But rest assured, the Sportiva Ultra Raptor II’s overall durability surpassed my expectations for a traditional hiking shoe, agile enough for light loads and lightweight backpacking.
When evaluating comfort with the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX, my first impression was the snug fit provided by the soft comfort collar and ankle cuff.
La Sportiva introduces a novel approach to footwear – an easy-fit spoiler, preventing any blisters or uncomfortable rubbing.
The Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boot is a tad narrow, which might lead to discomfort for those with wide feet after long hours of hiking.
In this case, I recommend ordering the wide fit or sizing up, as, from my experience with La Sportiva Ultra Raptors, the upper won’t stretch too much.
However, despite prolonged use, the TPU shank provided excellent arch support, making my long hiking trips bearable, and enjoyable.
Furthermore, the one-piece tongue and compression-molded EVA midsole enhanced overall comfort, making it my go-to boots for day hiking.
One of the essential aspects of any hiking footwear, especially one used for off-trail travel and fast hiking like the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX, is breathability.
This shoe showcases GORE-TEX extended comfort lining, providing optimal heat and moisture management. Yet, this also means that it feels a bit warm during particularly heated days.
On the other hand, the AirMesh in the uppers is breathable enough to keep sweating under control, and for most hours I spent hiking in these boots, I didn’t experience the suffocating sensation that usually comes with waterproof leather alternatives.
Out of the box, these La Sportiva shoes struck me with their deep and sturdy lug design on the outsole, which assured me of their potential stability on varied terrains.
This is why, our team featured them in our compilation of the finest hiking boots for ankle support.
The Mid height of the boot, combined with a high collar, offered essential protection and support to my ankles, particularly when walking on uneven or rocky terrains.
At first, I noticed these Ultra Raptors run a bit stiffer than your standard Ultra Raptor, which had initially led to minor hot spots around my toes while hiking.
However, putting in some socks with extra padding effectively countered this.
What impressed me the most about this boot was the MEMlex EVA midsole, bringing a nice surprise with its ability to cushion underfoot and offer a comfortable fit.
Though the boots felt a bit thick as I laced them up, the shape was well-suited for long trekks across dense forests or loose rocks.
Having experienced several hikes in wet conditions, I set my expectations high for La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX’s waterproof capabilities.
The GTX waterproof lining lived up to its reputation, keeping my feet dry even during hours of hiking in the rain or traversing puddles and snow patches.
Despite taking the shoe through its waterproof paces, my feet remained dry.
However, as with all waterproof boots, you won’t be able to maintain them dry if you dunk them up to ankle cuff level. If water manages to seep inside, expect a few hours until they become dry again.
On the other hand, these superior waterproof hiking boots can and will offer all-day comfort, as I was able to experience during my test, being a good option for most seasons.
A significant aspect to consider in a hiking shoe or trail runner is its weight. La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX struck a nice balance, though it is less of a lightweight design compared to standard trail runners.
Lifting my foot, I found the weight of the hiking boot often forgotten, paving the way for an immersive hiking experience. The hiking boot weighed about 16,64 oz per shoe – a weight distributed equally across the design allowing for a comfortable stride.
However, those seeking featherweight agility, similar to a traditional running shoe, might find the heavier Ultra Raptor II boot a touch cumbersome. Still, I appreciated the trade-off for added support in challenging terrain.
If weight plays a significant role in your choice of hiking boots, be sure to consult our guide on the top-rated lightweight hiking boots.
Fit and Sizing
As I tried them on, I noticed that these hiking shoes inevitably run narrower than standard hiking shoes, which might need some getting used to for hikers with wide and even regular-width feet.
Fortunately, La Sportiva offers the Ultra Raptor IIs in both standard widths and a wide version, with half sizes, ensuring even hikers with wide feet can find a suitable size.
For those seeking a snug yet flexible fit, one thing I would recommend is to try hiking boots with different pairs of hiking socks to see what works best.
Initially, I wore a thick sock that made the upper part feel tight, but switching to one with regular thickness drastically transformed my hiking experience.
Plus, the well-protected toe guard further offered enough space for my toes, even during winter adventures.
How Does it Compare with Other Products?
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX
Comparing it with La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX, the Ultra Raptor IIs have a distinctive edge in their specialized features.
Both boots employ GTX lining for waterproofing, but Ultra Raptor IIs better manage heat and moisture, ensuring dry and comfortable feet even in prolonged wet conditions.
Nucleo High IIs (priced around $239) outshine in their high-cut design, offering superior protection and support for ankle stability.
However, the Ultra Raptor II (priced around $199) wins with their FriXion® XF 2.0 outsoles, offering impressive grip tested on various terrains like muddy trails and rocky mountains.
Asolo Falcon GV
Asolo Falcon GV (priced at $260), boasts a solid Vibram® Megagrip outsole that offers excellent traction but lacks the balance between adherence and durability found in Ultra Raptor II’s FriXion® XF 2.0 soles.
In terms of comfort, Asolo’s lightweight designs are worth noting, but the snug fit of Ultra Raptor IIs with their comfort collar and ankle cuff stands out.
It can, however, be argued that the Falcon GV boot holds a slight advantage in terms of breathability as its Cordura uppers offer a formidable opponent to the GORE-TEX extended comfort lining of the Raptor IIs.
These hiking boots have their unique strengths, but for my hiking preferences, I lean towards the tested performance of the Ultra Raptor IIs.
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX
As someone who has hiked in both these boots, the contrasts and similarities struck me rather vividly.
With Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX ($175), I appreciated the Advanced Chassis™ and SensiFit™ technologies, comforting my feet as I wore them on my activities.
While wear resistance served well on most hiking terrains, it shied away when faced with a rocky landscape. The Ultra Raptor boots, however, chewed up such terrains thanks to its sturdy FriXion® XF 2.0 soles.
Despite these distinctive features, what truly set them apart for me was the pattern of the laces. The Ultra Raptor II boot employed TPU lacing harnesses, ensuring a secure fit as I hit uneven trails.
However, the Salomon model introduced the Quicklace™ system, allowing for fast lacing and offering an even wrap around the foot.
Comparatively, on the scale of price and value for money, the Ultra Raptor boot matched my expectations, while the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX hiked a step further in terms of affordability.
But when worn on lengthy treks across mud-covered slopes, the Ultra Raptor II trumped in terms of traction and wear resistance.
For more information on this product, check our Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX review.
Where Does It Perform Better?
On rocky terrains, the Raptor II Mid GTX showcases resounding performance. Taking my first strides, the soles stuck to the ground, giving me the confidence to go the distance.
I noticed the treads adjusted nicely to jagged landscapes, even when clambering steep hills or tackling challenging climbs.
Its reliable ground adherence truly shined when I ventured on dew-drenched boulders, a terrain where many hiking footwear would stumble.
What surprised me was their performance across seasons. They held their ground during cold afternoons and warm, damp mornings.
In snowy conditions, they did not disappoint either. Their construction, sturdy yet flexible, could accommodate the continuous freeze-thaw cycle, resisting cracking or other damage.
Plus, walking through melting snow, I was elated to find my feet dry by night owing to the effective GORE-TEX lining.
For a hike carrying a heavy pack, they were my first choice. They offered commendable support and didn’t exhibit any signs of stress or breaking. The secure lacing system ensured optimal control, preventing any twisting or sliding in the boots.
Where It Falls Short in Performance?
Delving into La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX, my first qualm, albeit minor, lies in its narrow toe box.
On extended walks, this noticeably snug space did provoke discomfort, especially on downhill treks where the toes bear the bulk of impact. If you prefer roomier hiking boots, the Raptor’s finer, somewhat boxy design might compel you to adjust your expectations.
While the breathable GORE-TEX lining performed excellently in moisture management, I did observe a slight letdown during more heated weather.
My feet would tend to warm up inside the hiking boots, an inconvenience one wouldn’t anticipate given the company’s reputation for their precedent performance in this area.
I also had some gripes with their performance when it came to climbing over smooth rocks. The tread didn’t adhere as much as one would prefer to these elements, which could potentially introduce a point of friction for climbers.
Lastly, I found the weight to be on the heavier end of the spectrum for a hybrid hiking-running shoe. If you’re headed for long-distance hiking or running where a nimble, lightweight boot is key, this hefty drop may not meet the ideal specifications mentioned on the website.
Do We Recommend It?
After trudging through various terrains and long trekks, I found that La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX makes for a reliable ally. The comfort and stability I experienced kept me confident with every step.
Though not my first option for extremely hot weather due to their waterproofing, I found their comfort and performance unbeatable in mixed and wet weather conditions.
Even in the harshest trail conditions, their excellent build protected my ankle and heel from aggressive impacts, and the shoe’s mid-height was an added advantage.
I was quite fond of the boot’s resilient character, resisting wear even after intensive use. With the unparalleled support and grip it offered, La Sportiva’s Raptor II extended my love for hikes and trail explorations. In short, every foot placed in these shoes felt like a foot planted in trust.
Yes, the regular variant of the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is vegan. It employs no animal-derived materials in its manufacture, making it suitable for those committed to vegan-friendly outdoor gear.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX shoes come in at a weight of 2.08 pounds for a men’s size 11.5 US. This offering balances stable footing and agility, delivering a footwear option that is both robust and maneuverable.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX demonstrates a unique stack construct with a heel stack height measured at 28mm, while the forefoot stack height is 19mm. This arrangement allows for optimized cushioning and stability during hiking journeys.
For the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX, men’s sizes span from 6 through 15.5, and women’s sizes are available from 7 to 16.5, catering to varying foot sizes.