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Men’s La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Review


The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II have outstanding traction from gravel, scree, and boulders to packed trails and heavily forest routes.

Bottom Line

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Low is one of our top choices for hiking in mountainous, alpine terrain thanks to robust protection, a durable design, and outstanding stability. These are Gear Analyst Ian Krammer’s favorite shoes for mountaineering in the summer – he’s worn them for seven years on climbs of almost all Colorado 14ers and 200+ other Rocky Mountain peaks.

With oversized toe caps, reinforced heels, aggressive lugs, and stout rock plates, these shoes are built for the high country: their exceptional traction and off-trail performance are game changers. 

On the downside, they’re a bit overbuilt for lower-elevation hikes and packed trails. They tend to fit a bit narrow and small, so you may want to consider sizing up, and are not waterproof, dry slowly when wet, and can run hot in warm weather. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate trail shoe for peak-bagging and backpacking with light-to-medium loads on high alpine routes, these are your ace in the hole.

Quick Specs

Stock photo of the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II hiking shoes with a white background

Men’s La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II

Best Hiking Shoes for Technical Terrain


Price:

$149


Weight (Pair):

1 lb. 9 oz.


Heel-to-Toe Drop:

9 mm

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Comfortable
  • Sticky grip
  • Durable
  • Huge toe guard

Cons

  • Runs a bit narrow
  • High heel drop not for everybody
  • Limited breathability

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor iis have burly traction meant for rocky ascents.

Comfort

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Low require a brief five to ten-mile break-in period, but once they’ve softened and adapted to your feet, they will fit like a glove. We love the European sizing that La Sportiva uses – they’re an Italian brand – which allows for a more precise fit that caters better to the shape of your feet compared to American sizing. The Ultra Raptors provide excellent arch support and a snug fit from heel to toe that makes for a very comfy and stable ride. Thick construction at the heel and outsole, along with protective heel caps and reinforced TPU uppers, will keep your feet safe and protected in the most rugged mountain environments, from boulder fields and scree to summits and cliff sides. Their slightly stretchy, longer laces make it easy to accommodate different lacing formats based on your needs, and the laces stay secure once tied. The midsoles are a bit stiff, but this contributes to a truly stable gait on almost any terrain.

On the downside, the Ultra Raptor II Low fits narrower and is a bit small compared to other shoes on this list. That snug fit includes the toe box, so we highly recommend trying them on before you buy, and those with wider feet may find this model a bit uncomfortable on long treks. Because of the reinforced TPU uppers, we find the Ultra Raptors are not nearly as breathable as other options on this list, so they can feel too warm for most hikes below treeline during hot summer conditions. That said, this extra warmth is exactly what we love about them when cold winds hit on high mountain ridges. And, the stiff midsoles offer some of the best stability of any shoe we’ve tested on rocky high-peak routes, but they are not as comfortable on packed trails and established routes.

A hiker sits on a tree stump drinking water in a forest setting.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II are comfortable for long miles when you’re headed into rough mountainous terrain.

Traction

The rounded, spaced lug pattern offers tacky traction on slick, steep rock and soft, grassy descents, effectively shedding mud and debris. The aggressive 4.5 mm lugs combined with a truly sticky rubber composite and an excellent heel brake provide all-terrain traction and maximum grip from slick surfaces to steep slopes. Compression-molded ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) midsoles absorb shock and offer a ton of extra cushioning, and the EVA inserts add a bit of extra padding to keep the. 

However, the Ultra Raptor II Low’s impressive traction features come with a trade-off: they’re a bit overkill for nontechnical hikes. We don’t recommend these shoes for hiking exclusively on mellow terrain like established trails, since their structured design and stiffer soles aren’t as forgiving or flexible as trail runners. However, if you’re looking for a shoe for long days above 10,000 feet, the Ultra Raptors will keep you secure and strong on the mountain.

A hiker shows off the traction of his right shoe, which is in focus, and the rest of the shot is blurred.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II trail running shoes offer stellar traction on everything from slippery rocks and roots to steep ascents and descents.

Weight

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Low hiking shoes weigh in at 12.5 ounces per shoe, which puts them in the middle of the pack for their weight. Overall, the weight supports the shoe’s primary function: providing reliable performance in challenging environments. We find this is the Goldilocks zone when it comes to off-trail trekking since the burly construction offers top-tier protection and stability through tough bushwhacks, endless boulder fields, and sharp ridges. The weight distribution makes the shoes feel supportive without compromising on essential features like cushioning and grip. For hikers tackling rough and unpredictable trails, that added weight translates directly into excellent safety and comfort. 

However, the Ultra Raptor II Lows are not our first pick for backpacking on established trails or ultralight backpacking. The substantial toe cap and TPU overlays add extra weight, which can contribute to quicker fatigue over time and are not ideal for minimalists seeking a lighter, more agile shoe. This weight is also a disadvantage in warmer climates where a lighter shoe would be more comfortable. Despite these cons, for those who need a durable, protective shoe for technical terrain, the extra weight is a worthwhile trade-off.

A hiker walks along a trail in a rain jacket and full backpacking gear looking off in the distance in a forest setting.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II aren’t the lightest shoes we’ve tested, but they’re streamlined profile and outstanding durability makes them a great choice if you’re headed into the alpine.

Durability

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Low excels in durability, thanks to robust, oversized toe caps, reinforced heels, aggressive lugs, and stout rock plates. These features make the Ultra Raptors uniquely capable on routes full of sharp rocks and technical terrain and make them some of the most durable trail shoes we’ve tested. The thick toe guards and large TPU overlays shield your feet from roots, bramble, and sharp talus, ensuring minimal wear and tear in rugged conditions. Plus, the cushioned tongue and burly heel cup not only add durability but offer both comfort and protection. During testing, these shoes consistently performed well, lasting a minimum of 500 miles on the most brutal mountainous terrain – if you want reliable footwear for long-term use in challenging environments, you’ve found them.

Our biggest issue when it comes to durability is with the shoe laces and the tread. The La Sportiva laces have a fiber core, and the thin sheath wears down faster than most shoes we tested. Gear Analyst Ian Krammer finds that these laces wear down and blow out between only 200 to 250 miles, so we highly recommend picking up some backups at the time of purchase.

Close up of a hiker walking in a forested setting from the knees down.
The burly TPU overlays, beefy outsole, and large toecap and heel guard make the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II one of the most durable trail runners we tested.

Weather Resistance

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Lows thrive in cooler, high-altitude conditions. The shoes feature a robust construction with large TPU overlays that offer some protection against moisture and debris, but they aren’t waterproof (although we recommend the waterproof version for wet days). Their design includes a breathable mesh upper which is helpful for a bit of ventilation to help keep feet dry on warm days with clear skies. The combination of materials makes them suitable for high-country adventures where the weather can be unpredictable and temperatures cooler.

The Ultra Raptor II Lows are not our first choice for wet days, since they absorb water quickly through the exposed mesh, making them less ideal for wet conditions. Once wet, they can take up to two hours to dry out, which is a significant amount of time during continuous hiking. And, the shoes can feel hot during warm weather hikes, which limits their comfort and practicality in lower elevations or hot climates.

A hiker walks along a trail in a rain jacket and full backpacking gear looking off in the distance in a forest setting.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II’s aren’t the most weather-resistant shoes, but they dry fairly quickly once wet.

Should You Buy the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II?

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Low is perfect for hikers tackling technical, rocky, and alpine terrain and need the best of the best when it comes to protection and stability. These are ideal for high-altitude adventures, peak-bagging, and off-trail exploration because of their excellent traction, durability, and support. If you’re looking for comfortable but slightly stiffer hiking shoes for peak-bagging, backpacking with a medium-to-light load on high alpine routes, or a protective off-trail hiking shoe with a smooth ground feel, the Ultra Raptors are made for you.

We don’t recommend these shoes for ultralight backpackers and minimalists, since they are heavier and bulkier, and those with wide feet will want to keep looking since they run narrow. The Ultra Raptors also don’t perform well in hot, low-elevation conditions or wet environments due to their lack of waterproofing and slower drying time. But if you need reliable, protective shoes for rugged, cooler climates throughout the summer, the Ultra Raptor II Low is our top choice.

Close up of men's hiking shoe in a forest setting.
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II is a comfortable, durable shoe that’s built for mountainous terrain.

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?

If the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor IIs are at the top of your list, here are other shoes to seriously consider:

Saucony Peregrine 14: The Saucony Peregrine 14 offers similarly grippy traction and TPU overlays for fast movement, but they are much lighter and more flexible, making them a better option for those prioritizing agility over the ultra-rugged durability of the Ultra Raptor II.

Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX: The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX provides excellent support and, unlike the Ultra Raptors, is highly water resistant. The Ultra X 4s also thrive on rugged hikes, but come in a lighter weight, more breathable package, perfect for those who want a versatile, all-weather hiking shoe to treeline and beyond.

La Sportiva Spire GTX: The La Sportiva Spire GTX offers an even more durable construction with the same excellent traction – but with top-tier waterproofing. The Spires are more protective than the Ultra Raptor IIs and are everything we love about a hiking boot but in shoe form.

A hiker from the waist down poses in a forest setting
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II run a bit narrow through the midsole and toebox, but once they’re broken in you’ll feel comfortable for hundreds of miles in the mountains.



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