Scarpa Epic Lite Review Facts
Although it looks like a trail running shoe, the Scarpa Epic Lite was actually designed for fast hiking. Vibram’s Megagrip compound and Etilas design enable high levels of traction on almost all terrains. It even comes complete with a Climbing Zone located at the forefoot to make precision climbing possible. A compression-molded EVA midsole and P-Flex Lite footbed work together to ensure durable and responsive cushioning. And its upper is made from a combination of mesh, TPU, and synthetic leather, which pair with other stabilizing features to provide a snug and supportive fit.
Scarpa has once again teamed up with Vibram
to ensure that the Epic Lite can provide a long-lasting and versatile wear. This particular model comes complete with an Etilas/Megagrip outsole with jagged octagonal lugs in the center for a stronger grip on surfaces that range from rocks and forests roots to mud and dust. More angular lugs are placed along the sides and around the heel to make uphill and downhill hiking easier and safer. Deep flex grooves are also present for a bit of much-needed pliability. All along the forefoot is a grooved, horseshoe-shaped component called the Climbing Zone to enable and enhance precision climbing.
Like many hiking models on the market, the Epic Lite features a compression-molded EVA midsole unit. Aside from providing supportive cushioning, it’s also able to retain its shape and resist potential damage even after constant use. Extra lines and grooves along the sides and heel area add to the shoe’s overall responsiveness. Adding to this shoe’s overall cushioning is a P-Flex Lite footbed
, which is also made out of EVA. Many who wear this shoe are happy with the levels of comfort and responsiveness these features give, as they keep them pain-free and powered up during hikes and climbs. With all this said, its overall design may not be enough for those who want more underfoot protection or arch support.
A breathable mesh serves as the base material for the Epic Lite’s upper, with overlays that are made out of stitch-on synthetic leather. The brightly-colored midfoot cage is made out of TPU
and allows the lacing system to provide a more secure fit. Added protection comes in the form of an asymmetric rubber toe cap and heel counter, both of which safeguard against potential impact and keep the foot locked into place. Its lining is also made from recycled polyester and employs a sock-fit design for a snug fit. Finally, an Auto-Fit soft tongue and collar support the instep and ankle without excess bulk and keep hiking debris from entering the foot chamber.
At first, the Epic Lite might seem like it would be a heavy shoe. Men’s sizes are known to average out at just under a pound, and women’s sizes can round out at 15 oz. Despite this, many enthusiastic reviewers have praised this shoe for providing a lightweight wear. According to some experts, the key is to not use this particular model as a running shoe as it’s been designed primarily for day hiking, scrambling, and occasional climbing.
Despite the thickness of its synthetic leather overlays, enough of the Epic Lite's mesh is still exposed in order to provide a highly breathable wear. This is especially noticeable on the top of the forefoot and along the sides, where hotspots are most likely to occur. And the inclusion of its recycled polyester lining further ensures proper airflow to these areas. Although this is able to reduce foot odor and prevent possible blisters and irritation, its narrow
fit may diminish this particular quality for some.
Most hikers seem to find the Epic Lite to be reasonably comfortable
, with a few minor issues. The overall design of the shoe's midsole unit ensures a cushy feel that also keeps them free of the pain and fatigue that would otherwise be caused by repeated impact. And buyers are especially happy with the inclusion of a P-Flex Lite footbed, as it adds to the shoe's cushioning and responsiveness. They also praise the durability of its upper's mesh material, the comfort of its polyester lining, and the non-bulky support and protection offered by its padded tongue and collar. With all this said, a lot of hikers wish that this model came with an underfoot protection plate
. Some were also dissatisfied with its overall support and very narrow fit, saying that they only caused them more pain during their hikes.
The Epic Lite has the same general silhouette and design elements as many of Scarpa's other models
. It features a low-cut and lightly padded collar, a traditional lacing system, and a pull tab at heel for easier insertion. Although it generally fits true to size, it is designed to be on the narrow side in order to give hikers a snug fit. Like other Scarpa shoes, it's also available in very limited color options. Both men and women are given dark grey
with a distinctive accent color for the midfoot cage. Men's sizes are available with an Ocean accent, while women's sizes have a Jade accent color.
The Epic Lite seems to hold up incredibly well on all types of challenging terrains, whether it be during hiking or a precision climbing session. Vibram's Megagrip compound is known to be incredibly strong, hence why so many hiking and trailing shoes utilize it, and the Etilas' particular design ensures a long-lasting wear throughout multiple uses. The same can be said for the shoe's compression-molded EVA midsole, which successfully maintains its shape no matter how or where it's worn. Although the upper's synthetic mesh could be prone to some tearing, it's been outfitted with synthetic leather and TPU overlays, as well as a rubber toe cap and heel counter, to ensure it maintains its shape.
Aside from a few missing components, the Epic Lite seems to provide a very protective wear for hikers and climbers. The design of its Vibram Etilas outsole, combined with the Megagrip rubber compound, gives runners a completely secure grasp on almost all types of rough terrains both wet and dry. The compression-molded EVA midsole is paired with a P-Flex Lite footbed for responsive cushioning that reduces the likelihood of chronic pain and fatigue. While its upper’s mesh material allows for proper airflow, its overlays safeguard it from early damage. The Auto-Fit soft tongue and collar also prevent hiking debris from reaching the foot, while the rubber toe cap and heel counter shield against impact. The only complaint that reviewers had was that they wish it came with a protection plate to keep their underfoot safe against jagged surfaces
The Epic Lite’s compression-molded EVA midsole isn't quite as responsive as an injection-molded version. Still, its overall design and durable cushioning do allow it to provide more-than-adequate shock absorption for hiking and casual running. Its P-Flex Lite footbed, which is made from a more pliable EVA
, enhances this even further to ensure that hikers stay completely smooth and stable as they move across difficult terrains. There’s no indication of how well its energy return is, also it seems to be good enough to keep the wearer powered up for several hours.
Overall, reviews seem to be quite mixed when it comes to the Epic Lite’s level of support. Most indicate that they feel satisfied with the amount of underfoot cushioning that the compression-molded EVA midsole has to offer. They also feel that the P-Flex Lite footbed enhances this sensation and that the upper’s snug fit and extensive overlays work to keep the foot supported and locked in. However, some don’t feel that it provides enough underfoot support for use on rugged terrains. They would have preferred a higher platform
and slightly softer cushioning for a more effective and comfortable hike.
Since it is a hiking shoe, the Epic Lite has to be able to carry the wearer through many different challenging terrains. Thanks to its Vibram outsole and protective upper, they can just as easily move along both rocky and forest trails as they can through thick mud and dust. Even grounds slicked by rain or snow don’t affect the shoe’s overall grasp. And although it does not have the same design as an average precision climbing
shoe, some buyers praised this model’s Climbing Zone for its effectiveness when going up rock walls and mountains. It should be pointed out, however, that this model is not designed to be water repellant.
The Epic Lite is just slightly above average in cost, with a $135 price tag listed on all major online retailers
and Scarpa’s own website. While this is definitely on the expensive side and may scare some buyers away, those who are regular hikers feel that its high levels of durability and traction make it a very smart purchase. The same goes for its surprisingly comfortable wear and tendency to fit true to size, adding greatly to its overall value. Of course, those who want extra underfoot protection should either buy an accompanying insole
or search for another shoe altogether.
Vibram has gained a solid reputation for creating outsoles that give incredible traction, and the Epic Lite’s Etilas design continues to prove this. Grooved, octagonal lugs are located at the center of the underfoot for both a firm grip and enhanced overall stability. The lugs on its sides and heel make uphill and downhill climbing easy. And its horseshoe-shaped Climbing Zone, located at the forefoot, even makes precision climbing possible. As expected, both the material and the design are able to function equally well on both wet and dry surfaces.
The Epic Lite has to have some reasonable level of flexibility in order to be useful for both hiking and flexibility. This comes mainly from the lines and grooves featured in its Vibram Megagrip outsole, as well as the grooves along its compression-molded EVA midsole and its upper's mesh material. All of these work together to allows some pliability to prevent damage and provide more comfort. Although it's still clear that this shoe focuses more on traction and stability than ease of movement.
Aside from ensuring incredible traction, the Epic Lite’s central gripping lugs also provide the wearer with the needed stability
for challenging hikes. The overall cushioning and responsiveness of both the compression-molded EVA midsole and P-Flex Lite footbed enable smooth movements that are uninterrupted by constant impact. Its mesh upper, which already fits very snug, is outfitted with stitched-on mesh overlays and a TPU midfoot cage that also makes up the lacing system. Both work together to help the shoe maintain its shape and offer an even more secure fit. Finally, its reinforced rubber heel counter wraps around at the back and aids the Auto-Fit soft tongue and collar with keeping the foot in place.
Online reviews and product listings don’t seem to list the Epic Lite’s exact drop height. While one did indicate that it features a zero drop platform, product photos don’t quite match this description. Regardless, this particular feature is definitely low in measurements at around 5mm or less. A number of hiking and trail running shoes are designed this way to allow for greater ease of movement, better balance and posture, and more control over the gait cycle.
-Vibram Etilas outsole with Megagrip compound
-Climbing Zone for precision climbing
-Compression-molded EVA midsole
-P-Flex Lite footbed for cushioning
-Mesh, TPU, and synthetic leather upper
-Sock-Fit DV tongue for easier insertion
-Recycled polyester lining
Even though buyers wish that it came with more protection and support, they generally seem satisfied with Scarpa's Epic Lite hiking shoe. Its durable outsole provides incredible traction across everything from forest trails and mud to mountainous terrains. Its midsole and footbed ensure responsive cushioning that safeguards the underfoot. And the various materials that construct its upper ensure a snug and supportive wear that is equal parts secure and breathable. All-in-all, frequent hikers are happy to make this shoe a staple for their fast-paced treks.