Scarpa Rapid Light Shoe Review

Scarpa Rapid Light Shoes...

Scarpa Rapid Light Shoes…

What are they?

The Scarpa Rapid Light shoe is a lightweight approach shoe. It features a low sole for stability. A grippy tread for traction. A flexible structure with a reasonable amount of cushioning to bridge the gap between heavy/stiff trail shoes and uber minimalist barefoot shoes.

Here is the MEC.ca product spew:

“Weight: 640g (size 42)

Eco-sensitive mountain shoe for a nimble hiking experience. Made from recycled material, the Rapid LT’s sticky rubber outsole provides excellent traction on sketchy terrain and its lightweight sole keeps you quick on your feet. Its moulded EVA midsole provides a balanced ride on uneven ground, while preventing your foot from feeling every rock and root.

  • Upper made from suede, synthetic leader, and recycled polyester mesh.
  • Lining is 100% recycled, strobel is 70%. Laces and webbing are 100% Eco-sensor recycled polyester.
  • Midsole has a moulded EVA, with an H-EVA plate for protection against impact.
  • EVA has an EcoPure additive to promote disintegration in landfill conditions.
  • Sticky Speed Lite rubber outsole, made from 25% recycled rubber.
  • Rubber toe rand to protect against stumps, rocks, and other kickable objects.”
Front and sole...

Front and sole…

How were they tested?

I used these shoes for the past 3 months on my bike commute, cycling around town and for urban street use.

Heel area...

Heel area…

Overall Performance

My initial intent with these shoes was to use they bikepacking to replace the trail runners I had been using. The Rapid Lights fit me well and were comfortable for my initial testing. They gripped my bike pedals and a variety of surfaces I encountered very well. However, after extended usage I realized the flexible soles were not comfortable for multi-hour rides even with large platform mountain bike pedals. Once I re-calibrated my expectations towards my bike commute and urban use I was very satisfied with these shoes.

Top view...

Top view…

Fit

I tried these shoes on at a whim not expecting them to fit me. They have a fairly low profile construction that looked too small for my wide feet. Surprisingly they fit me fine and were comfortable in the store so I took them home for some extended wear in my house. That went well so I started using them in earnest and haven’t had any fit or comfort issues beyond multi-hour bike rides. I did have to replace the stock laces with longer ones to get them to work. I guess my big feet open the shoe up a bit more than intended.

Nice and sleek even on my big feet...

Nice and sleek even on my big feet…

Stability

One of my dissatisfactions with the trail runners I had been using for bikepacking was poor lateral stability due to the raised heel. Hike-a-bike sections on steep terrain were not a ton of fun. That’s what got me keen on approach shoes as they all seem to feature a relatively flat sole with minimal drop from heel to toe – 7mm in this case. Putting on the Rapid Lights the difference in lateral stability compared to my previous trail runners was clear and I liked it a lot. I felt really low in these shoes with my feet close to the ground/pedals.

The sole...

The sole…

Traction

The rubber sole on the Rapid Lights is fairly soft and nicely grippy. Not as grippy on the pedals as my 5.10 mountain bike shoes, but more than enough for less demanding use like commuting. The sole worked well on a variety of wet and dry surfaces including wood, tile and smooth stone. I really liked the fact there was no plastic arch support in the bottom of these shoes which is a common feature on trail runners and results in a slippery pedal to shoe interface.

Flexing the Rapid Light...

Flexing the Rapid Light…

Flexibility

These shoes are fairly flexible. Somewhere between a barefoot running shoe and an average trail runner. For shorter rides up to 1hr and for general purpose walking around I like the freedom to move my feet around. For longer rides over an hour I started to want more support and structure in the shoe. There is a thin impact protection plate to deal with sharp rocks and such.

Rapid Light in women's colours...

Rapid Light in women’s colours…

Cushioning

I’m impressed with how “soft” these shoes feel given that they are so low to the ground and don’t have as much cushioning as a trail runner. These shoes are comfy to walk around all day on stone and concrete floors.

Tough, but lightweight...

Tough, but lightweight…

Construction

I haven’t used these shoes long enough to determine their long term durability. They are fairly lightweight and the construction looks sensible, but minimal. I’m expecting the same sort of service life I would get from a light trail runner – say 2-3yrs as long as they are not my go to shoes for everyday use.

As a bonus these shoes use a bunch of recycled materials and have been treated so they breakdown faster in a landfill at the end of their service life.

Dressed to bike commute with my Scarpas...

Dressed to bike commute with my Scarpas…

Style

These shoes look pretty nice for a pair of outdoor shoes. The low profile shape combined with a bunch of suede and orange highlights make them perfect for urban assault missions or going to work. They are comfortable to wear without screaming “I shop at REI/MEC!”. 😉

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