There are a few common truths when it comes to outdoor gear. One of those is that wearing good quality footwear it vital to getting the most from your time in the outdoors. Further to that, finding boots (or shoes) that both fit well & are appropriate for the activities you’re undertaking is key.

About 18 months ago I found myself planning for a trip to Tasmania to walk the Overland Track in winter. Coming from Queensland & not having done a longer trek like this for some time – I knew that my existing lightweight hiking shoes & old worn-out boots might not be up to the task. Luckily I was working in Paddy Pallin, where there’s wall full of boots to try-on.

If the boot fits…

Trying-on footwear is important. Everyone’s feet are different & thankfully there are plenty of different brands & fits of hiking footwear available. After trying a few different boots on – I quickly found that some of the Scarpa range had the best fit for my feet – which are somewhere between narrow & medium in forefoot width, narrow in the heel & with a fairly low volume. Mving forward I begun to focus in on which boots in the Scarpa line-up were best suited. Since I was looking for a sturdy trekking boot, capable of multi-day hikes & carrying a full-sized pack, I discounted some of the lighter options. I also decided some of the heavier boots were a bit overkill for my needs. Thus, my choices boiled down the Scarpa Delta GTX & the Scarpa Kinesis GTX.

The last used for these two boots is the same – Scarpa’s Active Fit which Scarpa describe as “allowing for exceptional foot-hold also has enough volume to allow for modern levels of cushioning to be incorporated within the boot thus enabling both greater instant comfort and all day performance.” Both the Delta & the Kinesis fit me quite well, however the Kinesis seemed a touch more comfortable & gave me a better heel-lock. The upper of Kinesis is also a mixture of suede leather & synthetic mesh – which I knew would breath a bit better than the full-leather uppers of the Delta in hot QLD weather. The  outer-sole sole on the Kinesis is Vibram, with a partial shank used to give the boot stability. The laces feature a nifty lace-lock which made getting the tension dialed correctly a breeze. Taking care of keeping water out is a Gore-Tex lining.

So the decision was made – I purchased a pair of the Kinesis GTX & begun wearing wearing them around the shop right away. With just over 2 weeks to go before heading to Tassie, I knew there wasn’t much time left to break these shiny new boots in.  I wore them around almost everyday, & did manage to squeeze in a few 10km trips to & from work, which combined proved to be just enough. To improve the fit even further I added a pair of Superfeet Green Innersoles to my boots – to take up a bit of the volume & give me a higher arch profile. Of course good boots should be paired with good socks – so I bought 2 pairs of Wigwam Merino Comfort Hiker socks & some Icebreaker Merino sock liners to complete the package.

Note: For the ladies, there is also a Women’s version of the Kinesis called the Mythos GTX.

‘These boots were made for walkin’

Of course, Tasmania lived up to it’s rugged reputation – Whilst walking the Overland track in early June I encountered my fair share of rain, mud, creek crossings, snow & sleet. As expected the Kinesis took all of this in their stride without a worry. My feet stayed warm & dry for the first couple of days. During side trip across a swamp on day three, I found myself suddenly waist deep in water. Despite wearing gaiters, my boots were soon inundated. I drained them out best I could & left them by the hut’s gas-heater overnight to dry out. For the remainder of the trip they (like the weather) stayed somewhat damp. Luckily, combined with dry socks each day, walking in damp boots didn’t lead to any problems or discomfort for the remainder of the hike.

tassie grid3

Whilst climbing Mount Ossa on day 4, ran into some cold weather & snow. This lasted for several hours during which my feet were plenty warm & the aggressive grip on the soles kept me upright on the snow covered rocks. The tread on these boots is really great, & even on wet rocks & tree-roots I found them to have excellent grip. By the time I reach the end of the hike my boots were wet, dirty & smelly – but my feet were fine & that’s what counted. When the ferry arrived at lake St. Clair a group of eager hikers disembarked ready to tackle the week-long journey ahead. One fella noticing my boots asked how they’d fared. ‘Great, no problems at all’ was my reply. Which, considering I saw a fresh pair of the exact same boots on his feet, was definitely the answer he was hoping for.

I’ve now been wearing the Kinesis for well over a year & my opinion of them has only improved. They’ve been on numerous multi-day & day hikes here in Queensland, from subzero winters out at Girraween NP to muddy summers on the Border Ranges. Whilst scrambling up the granite boulders of Girraween the excellent grip of the soles again proved it’s worth, although not quite as tacky as my Scarpa approach shoes. Whilst descending the loose rocky flanks of mount Barney I was glad for the stability & ankle support provided. For some easier walks I’ve definitely considered these boots as overkill, & have then switched to lighter shoes. That said, I’ve definitely found that my confidence is always higher when wearing the boots, even if they are a bit heavier & warmer on my feet.

Kinesis-Girraween-2

Naturally my boots are starting to look a bit worn, but definitely not worn-out. I try to wash them every few months, or after a particular muddy trip. I’ve also re-applied a Nikwax DWR treatment to the leather several times. Good boots will last, but only if you care for them. If you’re not sure about how best to look after your hiking footwear, check out THIS article.

Conclusions

Before using the Kinesis I’d not had great experiences with hiking boots. Looking back I can now see that I’d never bothered to find a pair that actually fit my feet well. My experiences with the Scarpa Kinesis GTX been great so far & I’m sure they will continue for serve me well in years to come. I’m always  impressed at how comfortable, supportive & confidence inspiring they are. Since buying the Kinesis, my Scarpa collection has grown to include mountaineering boots, approach shoes & rock climbing shoes. I’ve been continually impressed with my other Scarpa footwear & can recommend them with confidence.

Kinesis-Girraween-1

Review: Scarpa Kinesis GTX
Fit & Size90%
Comfort90%
Grip90%
Support90%
Durability85%
Value85%
PROs
  • Strudy boots that offer excellent support
  • Comfortable & well padded
  • Great grip & stability that always inspires confidence
CONs
  • A tad heavy for easier day-hikes
  • Can be a bit warm on hot summer days in QLD
  • Suede leather uppers get dirty easily
88%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (17 Votes)
67%

About The Author

Lachlan Gardiner

Lachlan works as a freelance photographer, writer and videographer. His practice lies somewhere between storytelling and being a total gear nerd. Often found hiking, mountaineering, climbing, cycling, packrafting, or just hunting down the next story - Lachlan will take basically any excuse to get into the outdoors. In between all of the above, he also works in our Paddy Pallin store in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

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