Scarpa athlete Richard Bentley spends a lot of time on the Scottish Mountains, so, we can take his word for it when it comes to recommending the perfect boots on how to tackle them. If you want dry feet and comfort when on the mountains then read his very useful guide.
During Spring and Autumn, I spend a lot of time in the Scottish mountains running mountain leader training and assessment courses. Over many years I’ve come to know what kit works and what doesn’t.
When I’m packing for a three-day camping assessment expedition, and the weather is looking particularly “Scottish”, keeping weight down, yet packing the right kit to be comfortable can be tricky.
The Manta Pro GTX
I remember my first pair of Manta’s, back in the late 80’s! Big heavy brown leather boots that I would lovingly soak with dubbin every few weeks. Everyone working in the outdoors had a pair, they were indestructible.
Over the years the Manta has evolved, through blue and red leather M4’s, GSB’s, to the high tech all round mountain boot it is now. It’s lighter, more waterproof, and more comfortable than ever. But it’s still the Manta.
Keeping your feet dry whilst walking across the Scottish mountains isn’t easy. It seems that sometimes the only real solution would be a welly with a vibram sole!
Thankfully, the Gore-Tex lining technology used in the Manta Pro GTX works superbly and keeps the water out.
There is some nice ability to personalise the fit of the Manta Pro GTX’s. The heel lock down is snug and you can adjust the volume by playing around with after market insoles if required. The toe box is fairly roomy which is great for long days in the mountains. If it’s cold and thick socks are worn there is plenty of adjust-ability in the lacing system to compensate.
The thing the Manta has always excelled in is, it performs well over a huge range of terrain. Over the years I have scrambled the Skye ridge, climbed VS in Summer and grade IV in Winter and worn them for days on end walking and trekking. The front rocker on them allows for easy comfortable walking over long distances. The lateral stiffness allows for precise climbing when needed. The B2 rating means that come Winter they are ready to keep on giving as a superb Winter walking / easy mountaineering boot.
The Marmolada Pro’s
I almost think of these as the Manta’s baby brother. The original Marmolada’s were a relaxed scrambling boot with a fair amount of flex for comfort. The new Marmolada Pro’s are firmly aimed at trekking and hill-walking, but have the ability to scramble. Compared to the Manta Pro’s they are lighter, the fit is snugger, they flex more and are less warm.
When the weather is warm and wet these are my go to boots. The Outdry system Scarpa use in their less stiff boots is a revelation in long lasting waterproofness. I have hammered these boots through bog after bog and they have never let me down. I can head out on expedition and not think about taking spare socks! Now that’s faith.
Cosy and comfortable
These boots work best with a thin to mid thickness sock. You can then really feel the heel tension and sock fit technology molding round your feet. I have found there is no real need for aftermarket insoles with these boots. The fit is super comfy straight out of the box.
The mix of rocker and toe flex gives your feet a lovely ride over a wide variety of surfaces.
Both boots will handle everything the Scottish mountains can throw at them. At the colder ends of the year, April /November I will usually choose the Manta Pro’s. For the warmer months, the Marmolada Pro’s. You will not go wrong with either.
If you can only have one, then the Manta’s will give the widest scope of use.
Whichever you choose you’ll have dry, warm comfortable boots that will eat up the miles.