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Backpacker Magazine – 2010 Editors' Choice/Gear Guide

Gear Review: SCARPA Bhutan GTX Hiking Boots

A versatile boot with impressive support for its weight

by: Berne Broudy

SCARPA Bhutan GTX (BP Photo Department)
SCARPA Bhutan GTX (BP Photo Department)

Heavy Duty
Mid Duty
Light Duty
Most Versatile
“Get big-boot performance in a surprisingly trim package,” said one Alaska-based tester after tromping through loose dirt and stones, mud, and snow—then climbing Pyramid Peak’s knife-edge summit ridge. “It handled heavy loads in ankle-twisting terrain, but wasn’t too stiff to rock hop.” The Bhutan’s secret recipe: It borrows the versatile sole package from SCARPA’s Kailash, which earned an Editors’ Choice Award in 2008, and pairs it with a full-grain nubuck leather upper, which boosts stability, protection, and durability.

The Vibram sole has deep, widely spaced lugs that grip and brake securely, and shed mud and debris. It’s layered on a shock-absorbing midsole that mixes EVA (under the heel, for extra cushion) and polyurethane (elsewhere, for durability). After carrying 50 pounds through Zion National Park, one tester said, “Impressive support for a midweight boot. Normally, my feet are fatigued at the end of a day, but after seven hours in the Bhutan they felt great.”

Allow a couple of days to fully break it in, but then expect a stable, all-conditions boot that should last a decade or more. A Gore-Tex liner and high tongue gusset provide reliable waterproofing, but the combination of membrane and all-leather upper is warm in hot weather. Fits narrow- to medium-width feet. $199; 3 lbs. 2 oz.; m’s 38-48, w’s 36-43

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Reader Rating: -


Star Star Star Star Star
Aug 18, 2013

Awesome boots. I have done about 200 miles of the Appalachian Trail wearing them, and they are holding up great. No signs of wear and tear yet. They are very comfy, and have saved my ankles more times than I can count. If you are looking for a pair of good long-range hiking boots, then these are wonderful.

Mar 23, 2012

These are seriously for people with low-volume feet. Even the wide version will pose trouble for people with a triple-E width.

May 12, 2011

These boots are the top of the range for this sole. The bottom of the range is this one and as you can see it lacks the metal bits where the shoelaces go. The Kailash is the middle of the range and this is the top. For me, two things stand out: the quality of the workmanship is outstanding; and the leather upper makes them quite a bit stiffer than the Kailash. I'm trading up, but they're outstanding to me.

Mar 25, 2011

I have this boot and love it! I have a narrow foot and narrow heal and this boot fits like a glove. Very little break-in is required. I tried on a number of boots from Merrell, Asolo, Danner and several more, but this fits me the best.


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