La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

8.8
8.8 score
[Editors rating (9.0) + Users rating (8.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.8)/10

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La Sportiva Ultra RaptorReview Facts
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If you truly love the outdoors, or know someone that does, then this review is for you. It’s time to put away the heavy leather mountain boot and come into the 21st century and start enjoying nature by getting in there with it, not just watching it. The Ultra Raptor by La Sportiva is the ultimate trail running shoe; and it’s not only meant for running, but for grueling trekking as well.

In this review, we will dive into what makes the Ultra Raptor the shoe of choice for trail lovers that fight against slick rocks, steep slopes, and layers of ice before most people have breakfast. La Sportiva spared no expense with their Ultra Raptor, and trail enthusiasts everywhere are chomping at the bit to take them out on their next excursion. Let’s get into what makes trail runners claim “once you hike in the Ultra Raptors, you will never hike in anything else.”

Pros
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • EVA Rock Guard protects against rocks and debris
  • Great durability
  • Stability from the midsole and upper helps prevent rolling in neutral runners
  • Sticky FriXion XF rubber provides excellent grip and traction on a variety of surfaces
  • The Impact Brake System works to lessen impact and improve surface grip while going uphill or downhill
Cons
  • Some runners found them to be slightly heavy
  • Slight lack of different color and style options
  • Some testers experienced slippage on wet or technical surfaces
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of the Ultra Raptor uses the Frixion XF Green compound. Trail runners find that this signature green rubber is stickier and softer than anything that is out there right now. The compound sticks to everything while wearing down at a respectable pace. It is crucial to have a harder rubber compound when creating a hardcore trail shoe, which can last longer and make the ride a less bouncy and more responsive underfoot.

Trail runners that tested the Ultra Raptors on the Pacific Crest Trail reported that extra durability is important when you are miles away from civilization with limited supplies. They also found that the lug pattern on the Ultra Raptor’s full coverage outsole is impeccably designed: it sticks like glue to just about any surface. La Sportiva’s patented Frixion Green oval shaped lugs compress underfoot giving unmatched cushion and ground contact. The Ultra Raptor’s outsole is in a class of its own.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

Trail runners found the cushioning for this shoe to be excellent. Shoes with a wide heel tend to add much-needed stability, and the Ultra Raptor has found the perfect measurement for most feet. La Sportiva used a piece of MEMIex EVA that covers the entire midsole. What’s different from most protected trail runners is how the stone guard made of compressed EVA is flexible and acts as rock plate, instead of a rigid plate. The drop is 8mm.

Runners found that this midsole offers great protection over the toughest of wet, rocky trails they could find. Even after hiking for twenty miles on difficult terrain, the midsole kept their foot feeling comfortable. Additional protection and control is provided in the arch by La Sportiva's Flex Transfer Shank, which is part of the their new Impact Brake System. Runners and slow-paced hikers alike found that this shoe gives a lot of control and torsional rigidity when making their way downhill at a high rate of speed. Downhill hiking adds a significant amount of stress to the muscles and joints of the leg, but thanks to the precision that testers received, it’s no longer a problem.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper of the Ultra Raptor utilizes plastic overlays to perfectly wrap the midfoot and to provide its well-known excellent lateral support. Runners enjoyed the smart lacing system and found it to be very secure and never caused their feet to have any hot spots. Additionally, the Ultra Raptor has a very comfortable upper that is mainly comprised of breathable mesh.

Runners enjoyed the mesh during long and hot days on the trail. You will find that the fit is comfortable through the heel and mid foot and a no-slip fit thanks to La Sportiva’s leather-like overlay on the inside of the heel. The outside of the heel uses a skeleton cage stabilizer for the heel counter. According to hikers, the Ultra Raptor was kept free from debris with a smart a one-piece overlay design stitched under the overlays; but over the tongue. This effectively keeps rocks and pebbles out of the shoe without adding any pressure points to the top of the foot.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The men's shoe weighs 12 ounces and the women's shoe weighs 10.3 oz, which is slightly heavy for a running shoe. However, testers found that it was feather light when on the foot in deep wooded terrain, soaked in water. When it comes to this type of utility shoe, weight is not necessarily as huge of a factor as protection and traction. The bottom line is that it is significantly lighter and less bulky than a traditional leather mountain boot, and just as rugged. Hikers received more grip, more protection, and more breathability without having to wear outdated footwear. When compared to any other trail shoe in its category, the Ultra Raptor comes in par for the course.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

La Sportiva took every single component of this shoe and its breathability into consideration. Testers took notice of how the nylon air mesh and synthetic leather uppers were highly breathable and extremely lightweight, reducing the risk of blisters and hot spots. The EVA rock guard is strong enough to protect you from sharp and jagged rocks while still being light and air formed, leading to dissipation of natural body heat. The most important thing to take into consideration in regards to the breathability of the Ultra Raptor is that it’s been tested in perhaps every single environment on Earth, and has proven itself time and time again for giving hikers and trail runners the ultimate in breathability.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

No longer does comfort have to be a luxury for hikers and trail runners. Whether you are backpacking through treacherous mountainous terrain or simply taking them out on a non-technical trail, you will have the most comfortable trail shoe known to man. The mesh upper keeps your feet dryer by allowing sweat to rapidly evaporate and maintaining a comfortable and dry shoe. The heel pocket is perfectly engineered to take a beating while dissipating the impact without punishing the hikers. La Sportiva’s new MEMlex midsole provided all testers with incredible cushioning and shock absorption while out on their treks. Another comfortable factor that runners enjoyed was the moderate 8mm drop and how it helped their feet transition naturally, so that every foot strike felt smooth.
Style
Style

Style

La Sportiva took a very stylish approach when designing this outdoor shoe. Runners enjoyed the small details such as matching lacing and highlighted accents across the sole of the shoe. The black and yellow color was a crowd favorite, providing outdoor enthusiasts with a perfect blend of performance and style. The majority of black is accented with smooth yellow lines that make the pleasing shape of the shoe stand out. Lace holes are dual colored and depending on the color selected, will match perfectly with the interior and padding of the Ultra Raptor. The final touch of carbon fiber on the outer heel adds that touch of slickness that will make La Sportiva’s looks stand out among its peers.
Durability
Durability

Durability

All testers were more than happy with the durability of the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor. They report that the stiff nylon shank found in the sole and the heel are TPU reinforced and feel like they will withstand everything that can be thrown at them. On the most hardcore of use, expect a little over one hundred miles of use. Keep in mind that about 4% of the general public will put these shoes through that amount of use.

Typical wear lasted well into three hundred plus miles. Take a quick image search for the Ultra Raptors and you will find beat up shoes that have seen a ton of rugged outdoor wear without so much of a single popped seam or ripped mesh. That’s because La Sportiva tested the materials in the most grueling of conditions and with the harshest of wear in mind. The product is an extremely durable outdoor shoe that can take a beating.
Protection
Protection

Protection

This shoe offers protection at every level. The rubber in the outsole protects users against feeling the ground, the Impact Break lugged system reduces the feel of impact, and the rock guard protects against bruising. In the midsole, the EVA foam and Flex Transfer Shank work to absorb shock and protect joints. The upper protects against heat, cold and wind, as well as blisters and hot spots.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

There are a plethora of factors in play to give you the best responsiveness out there. The TPU overlays hold your foot in place no matter what angle the landing. Testers found that when they were crossing creeks with very low visibility, the Ultra Raptors were able to adapt to the hidden surprises of uneven rocks that lay beneath the surface. Providing a responsive structure between the midsole and the outsole is the new Endurance Platform EVA insert that balances load and shock forces to create a feel that is unique to this pair of outdoor trekkers.
Support
Support

Support

While you are on your next outdoor adventure, you are going to rely on a strong support system from your footwear; especially at the most challenging of conditions. The Ultra Raptor has ability to make every foot strike much easier on the hiker with a smooth heel-to-toe drop and added heel stabilizing construction. The nylon shank gave runners incredible support to their feet and ankles, especially when they experienced unpredictable terrain. Not only does the Ultra Raptor give you support, but it gives you support when you really need it. That can make all the difference in the world when you might find yourself miles away from civilization.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

Quite simply, you can take the Ultra Raptors anywhere in the world with extreme confidence. From standard outdoor hiking and backpacking in mountainous terrain to treacherous highly technical trails, there is nothing that La Sportiva’s shoe cannot handle.

The Ultra Raptors have been tested in all four seasons and in every single type of condition that you can think of, and it has become the must have shoe for serious outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. Outdoor lovers have called it the "most grippy" outsole they have ever used. It will stick to it like glue to wood, leaves, dust covered slabs, wet rocks, slick stone, talus, scree, crushed gravel, anything and everything that you can encounter out there. There is no terrain that the Ultra Raptors will not be able to handle.
Price
Price

Price

Although the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor is more expensive than some other shoes, there isn’t an outdoors lover, nature enthusiast, or hardcore hiker out there that isn't will to pay more money for it. In fact, most hikers consider this shoe to be an important utility just as much as a backpack full of supplies is. There is a reason that testers not only buy the shoe once, but a second and third time. That is because there simply isn’t anything else on the market that even comes close to the Ultra Raptor. The price is an incredible value for the dependable product La Sportiva delivers.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor provides excellent traction. The Frixion Green oval-shaped lugs are placed around the joints of the foot and stick like glue on surfaces ranging from roads to technical trails, allowing users to go uphill or downhill without any problems. Although some testers did experience slippage while going on wet or technical surfaces, the shoe does not have the necessary spikes to give proper traction on snow, ice, or slippery surfaces; runners who are planning to go on those types of trails will need to use a different shoe for those purposes.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

As a trail running shoe, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor is more stable than flexible in order to safely go over technical terrain, but it is still flexible enough to allow the foot to move comfortably. The outsole will bend to allow runners to go up or down trails. The midsole conforms to the foot's shape in order to cushion landings and give some responsiveness. The upper fits to the shape of the foot and moves with the foot as it goes on trails.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor offers a level of stability suitable for neutral runners that keeps the foot from rolling while going up and down trails and over technical terrain. The outsole's aggressive impact lugs were designed to lessen the impact of landings and help keep the foot stable. In the midsole. the Flex Transfer Shank in the arch provides a neutral level of arch support to help prevent the foot from rolling inward. The upper adds additional stability by giving a snug fit and that allows the foot to move while keeping it stable in order to prevent injury from sliding or rolling while going on trails.
Drop
Drop

Drop

This shoe has an 8mm drop. In the men's shoe, the heel is 29mm high and the forefoot is 21mm high, while the women's shoe is 27mm in the heel and 19mm in the forefoot. An 8mm drop is slightly lower than a standard 12mm drop. It distributes the cushioning more evenly, which allows for more natural transitions while still having a little extra cushioning in the heel and promoting forward momentum. A lower drop also allows for more of a midfoot strike, while the standard drop favors heel strikers.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

  • TPU lacing harnesses give a snug fit and provide support

  • Polyester mesh lining on the heel and tongue wick moisture to help keep the foot cool and dry

  • Nylon air mesh and synthetic leather uppers are highly breathable and lightweight; thermoplastic urethane reinforcements support your heels

  • Compression-molded EVA in the midsole provides great cushioning and absorbs shock

  • Molded nylon shanks add stability and improve toe spring

  • Sticky rubber outsole has a special lug pattern and an Impact Break System that reduces impact and improves traction
  • Bottom Line
    Bottom Line

    Bottom Line

    From the excellent traction on slick wet rocks to the excellent foot protection against rocks and roots, there is nothing better suited for tackling harsh outdoor environments. The truth is, you never know what you are going to come across when you set out for your next outdoor adventure. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that you have a pair of outdoor footwear that have been put through pretty much everything and keep coming back for more? If you or a loved one have a passion for going outside and getting your feet wet (literally), then the Ultra Raptors are for you, no questions asked. Much like all other hikers that have used La Sportiva’s Ultra Rapotors, once you try them on your next outing, you will never use another pair of outdoor trail shoes again. Now get out there, and conquer the trail!