Scarpa Hydrogen Trail Runners
I got the chance to test the Scarpa Hydrogen trail runners. Scarpa is an Italian company which is a world leader in specialized boots such as for skiing, climbing, hiking, and trail running. It is a family run company located in the Asolo region of northern Italy.
The reason to wear a trail runner instead of a boot is for weight reduction. The idea is that if you reduce a few ounces off the feet, you save tons of lifting over the course of a day. As evidence of this, the Scarpa Hydrogen weighs 869 g (1 lb 14.5 oz) compared to the boot I hiked the JMT with the past two years, the Keen mid hiking boot which weighs 1053 g (2 lb 5 oz). That difference of 6.5 oz, repeated by 10,000 steps means lifting 4000+ additional lbs. Makes me tired just thinking about it, and the Keens are considered light boots! The risk of a trail runner vs a boot is that if you ever clock an ankle against a rock, its really going to hurt. Also, if you start to turn an ankle, the additional height of the boot might give you more chance to recover from the turn.
I've used the Scarpa on trails, in rain and mud, on rocks, and its very comfortable. I've seen people with shoes with too soft a sole become incapacitated from rocks poking through the soft sole. After a few miles on a rocky trail they can be really hurting. The Scarpa has a pretty stiff (and protective) sole, which flexes well in the ball of the foot. I like that it has a classy understated appearance and is not flaming orange or fluorescent green The lugs are in a Vibram sole, and average 4 mm in depth, same as my La Sportiva trail runners. The shoes have a Goretex liner, which helps keep feet dry unless water comes over the top of the shoe. I love wearing the Scarpas and can foresee hiking many comfortable miles in them.