Test of the ideal adventure partners for cold winter outings and treacherous terrain during rainy seasons

12 January 2021

Designed to grind kilometers on long and very long trails, but also ideal for shorter activities from a fast & light perspective, the PROTON XT GTX are excellent adventure partners for tackling cold winter rides and treacherous terrain during rainy seasons.

Sturdy and with the right bodywork, the maximalist model from Scarpa is the zero-worry and all-comfort version loved by trail runners who want to think about running and nothing else than running during their outings. Without worrying too much about the hours they will spend on the trails, the unfavorable weather conditions, or the kind of terrain they will find under their feet ... provided, for the latter aspect, that the pitch is not too technical.

But let's go in order and start from the beginning, from opening the box in which my precious pair of shoes was packaged. I take out a shoe, I weigh it, and I use both hands to try to compress it. The first sensation is extreme robustness, given above all by the important midsole, the upper in Gore-Tex membrane, and the numerous inserts that give the shoe a protective structure.

The attention then shifts to the tread and right here I find confirmation of the Proton XT's vocation for winter trails. It does not matter if you will find water, mud or snow on your route, the 5 mm lugs will guarantee you safety and control of the run, maintaining a good technical compromise even on dry terrain. In this regard, the design of the blocks is interesting, so much so that on the official Scarpa website (found at the bottom of the page) you can find a useful scheme that divides the tread into its four zones.

The cushioning is also excellent, which will be confirmed by field tests. Much of the credit goes to the EVA midsole and the two precious inserts integrated into it (again in EVA), one for the heel and the other for the forefoot respectively. You will not find the usual insole in the package, as Scarpa provides an insole marked “Ergonomic Fit”, divided into two parts where on the heel one is again EVA material. More cushioning than that…

As for protection, we can mention the reinforced toecap, commonly found in protective trail models, and the ergonomic shank for anti-torsion support - and you may ask, what is it? Don't worry, suffice it to say that thanks to this support most of the twists (even those of the ankles) will become a distant memory.

But let's move on to action, that is, to field tests.

I wear shoes and, once the laces are tightened, the upper perfectly wraps the midfoot, offering that pleasant feeling of wearability that will not be new for those who have already raced with the Scarpa company models. The tongue is soft and gives extra comfort, so I pick up the laces in my pocket and start running.

Here are summarized the four main characteristics of the Proton XT GTX, collected on the basis of the first outings for a total of about 150 km of trail.

Protection. The robust and well-structured upper gives a feeling of extreme protection from the first to the last kilometer of running, even and especially over long distances. The aforementioned anti-torsion support, placed between the midsole and the tread, can give a feeling of stiffness but at the same time will be appreciated on the most uneven terrain. I was surprised positively in dealing with very bumpy descents (those with coarse stones, where the foot changes support at every step) at full speed, while my companions were busy not losing control and running stability.

Grip. We talked little about it so far, but the Vibram® Megagrip sole really makes the difference on any type of terrain: grass, mud, rock, you couldn't ask for better grip on the Proton XT. A successful test on snow, one of the favorite terrain of these shoes.

Cushioning. Who is not interested in safeguarding their joints? The longer the distances are, the more inexorably our legs will tend to wear out. Thanks to the massive EVA midsole, cushioning becomes one of the key qualities of this model. Rest assured that at the end of your long and very long workouts, recovery times will be very fast.

Comfort. The field test confirms the sensations experienced during the test fit. The foot, despite a rigid setting of the chassis, finds comfortable spaces inside the shoe and a decidedly pleasant softness. these thoughtful shoes.

We have finished the field tests, but before saying goodbye I would like to leave a mirror that summarizes the pros and cons described so far.

The Proton XT GTX are the ideal trail shoes for those looking for a solid and indestructible model (really, they are so strong that I think they can last forever). The best conditions where you can take advantage of them are winter trails and, thanks to their stability and super cushioning, they will be appreciated by users who dedicate themselves to long and very long trails.

Really recommended for those seeking comfort and relaxation, especially after many hours of use. Absolute comfort was appreciated even on the shorter trails and, given the shoe's sturdy construction, we have no problem telling you that the Proton XT (with or without GTX membrane) can even be used to practice the full spectrum of fast activities. & light.

Who is this model not aimed at? It is substantially heavy and not suitable for both fast trails and even less for vertical shots, in short, for those occasions when an agile shoe is needed to help push the accelerator.
In addition, the not very flexible sole, a strong point for those looking for easy stability, is inevitably also not very sensitive, making the Proton XT unsuitable for technical trails, where in practice there is the need to "feel" the ground underfoot. .

This is all, people. The world of mountain running is constantly changing, every year we are faced with models that cover increasingly specific portions of the market. The difficulty often consists in knowing how to orient oneself in this world made up of multiple sectors, which sometimes lead us to focus our attention on some too technical model that, in the end, we will not be able to understand or fully exploit. Obviously, enjoy the mountains as you prefer, but if you want to spend your outdoor adventures in all simplicity and carefree, then the Proton XT are for you.

C. Regazzoni


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