KUIU SCARPA CHARMOZ GTX BOOT REVIEW
Best Hunting Boot
Editor: RANDY JOHNSON
iReview Gear Lead Field Editor
HIGH DESERT WILD SHEEP GUIDES
Worldwide Hunting Adventures Hunting Consultant
Alti2ude Outdoors Pro Staff
The Charmoz Pro GTX by SCARPA is one of the most advanced, super lightweight, full synthetic hunting boots on the market today! These boots enable hunters or backpackers to navigate mountainous terrain that would normally require wearing boots that weigh much more. This is the perfect lightweight technical mountain boot for hardcore backpack hunts that don’t require the wearing of the most-heavy duty footwear. The Gunmetal color is a KUIU exclusive.
Extremely versatile, the flexion in the Charmoz Pro GTX is stiff enough to perform in the most rugged of mountain terrain, but has the perfect “softness” to hike for miles comfortably in what might be considered flatter terrain such as on a whitetail or antelope hunt.
The Charmoz Pro GTX is also very capable of carrying heavier backpack loads. A very comfortable boot, Scarpa’s Charmoz GTX is un-insulated, highlighted by the Vibram Mulaz outsole that features a tough, full rubber rand. Another interesting feature is that there are no metal rivets or hardware to break on the lower half of this boot! Instead, the lace loops are built into the same remarkably tough synthetic material that makes up the majority of the boot’s outside structure. Weighing in at an amazing 1 lb 11 oz the Charmoz Pro GTX is a durable, outstanding high performance boot.
JUST THE FACTS:
The innovative hunting team at KUIU is always researching and looking for the best in ultralight gear. After reviewing and testing numerous boot samples at outdoor shows they concluded that the Scarpa Charmoz Pro GTX was exactly what they had been searching for. Setting itself apart from other boots, the Charmoz is a “fully synthetic.” By utilizing cutting edge synthetics in the design of the Charmoz Pro GTX you save weight compared to leather as well as performance value out in the field. Amazingly, synthetic does not absorb moisture like leather does which is a huge advantage to Mountain Hunters. It doesn’t matter whether you are crossing creeks, bush whacking through wet brush or hiking for hours in a thunderstorm, the Charmoz’s synthetic material will shed water from its exterior. This feature reduces the stretch you get with wet leather and the breathability of the boot is enhanced greatly. The synthetic material has proven to be extremely durable.
Although not nearly as stiff as KUIU’s Grand Dru boot the Charmoz Pro GTX is still very capable of standing up to the wear and tear of rugged, high country terrain and in carrying heavy backpack loads. On the other hand, the Charmoz features soft enough flexion to be worn comfortably in flatter, less rugged terrain. The flex in this boot provides those wearing it with the best of “two worlds.” The Vibram Mulaz outsole and EVA+TPU midsole have been designed to accept semi-automatic crampons if needed. The Mulaz is a lighter weight, shallower lug outsole compared to the Vibram Total Traction yet is extremely rugged and provides great traction on any surface. The full rubber rand is tough and absorbs abrasion from sharp rocks and hard surfaces. As noted earlier, there are no metal rivets or hardware to break in the lower half of this boot as the lace loops are built into the same synthetic material that makes up the majority of the boot’s outside structure.
Scarpa’s factory Charmoz was a bright orange color so KUIU worked with and convinced Scarpa to make the Charmoz more “hunter friendly” with its new “Steel Grey” version for the KUIU consumer.
Scarpa has no doubt taken their quality boot manufacturing to another pinnacle with their production of the Charmoz Pro GTX and its synthetic material design to ensures breathability yet provide great protection from water, snow and mud. The rugged, full rand system protects your foot and ankle and the Vibram Mulaz S outsole is rigid enough to command excellent stability and torsional stiffness for any of the nasty, rough terrain that you encounter, yet it will maintain appropriate flexibility to comfortably hike easier terrain. The combination of all these qualities provides you with a new game-changing boot!
Please note the following specifications to get a comprehensive feel for how well Scarpa has designed the Charmoz Pro GTX:
• 1 lb 11 oz per boot
• Fully synthetic, nearly eliminates water absorption
• Full rubber rand
• Extremely breathable
• Stiff enough for steep, rocky terrain, but still comfortable in the flats
• Long-lasting Vibram Mulaz S outsole
• Upper: Nylon L-Tech Microfiber
• Lining: Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
• Articulated Tri-Flex Ankle
• Insole: Pro-Fiber XT 20
• Midsole: Pentax Precision XT / Dual-Density PU
• Sole: Vibram® Mulaz S
• Last: LFT
• Sizes: 42 – 46.5 (half sizes), 47, 48
Historically, it should be noted that innovation and tradition are qualities that SCARPA is based upon. A family owned company with its headquarters and performance footwear manufacturing facilities in the same regions of northern Italy where it got its start in 1938, SCARPA is immersed in the tradition of high quality Italian boot craftsmanship. Those features, along with the SCARPA’S legendary durability and fit, led to many of Italy’s early mountaineers using SCARPA shoes and in 1965, an Italian-American living in Boston began importing SCARPA footwear, making it the first manufacturer from the Asolo region to export to the U.S.
That pioneering spirit has continued at SCARPA. The company has many firsts to its name, including being the first to build a Gore-Tex boot.
In 2005, SCARPA opened its North American headquarters, headed by veterans of the outdoor industry in North America. They are passionate about boot making and equally passionate in regards to performance.
It’s no secret that I have reviewed and field-tested many great boots over the years. As a veteran wild sheep guide and outfitter for nearly 30 years who spends much of my time in some of the roughest terrain in North America, I’ve suffered through my share of blisters and hot spots while hiking countless miles and have worn out more boots than I should admit to. There’s no doubt that I have “time worn experience” out on the mountain. I demand boots that are not only comfortable, that will hold up in most difficult, rugged terrain, but are the best that top boot manufactures can produce. When I lace a pair of boots onto my feet it is with great confidence that they will get the job done for me. In my mind the boots you choose are one of the most important gear decisions that you will make. If your choice of footwear is not at the top of your “high priority list” then it should be; your footwear must be capable of getting you on and off the mountain safely without worrying about painful blisters or having your boot come apart. The boots I wear must endure sharp rocks, mud, cactus spines, water, abrasive sandstone and other obstacles that nature chooses to test on the human foot. My success and even my life at times is dependent upon the boots I wear. I simply can’t afford to have bloody toenails, bone bruises or blisters caused by a poor performing boot.
I had never worn or field tested a boot produced by SCARPA so when my friends at KUIU told me that they were working with this famous boot manufacturer to utilize a new lightweight, yet extremely tough synthetic material in the Charmoz GTX Pro I was “pumped” to get the opportunity to field test and wear this boot out on the mountain.
Since early last fall I have worn the SCARPA Charmoz GTX Pro on wild sheep hunts in terrain from the sandstone cliffs of southern Utah to the Chola covered mountains of western Arizona, Sonora, and along the volcanic gorge of New Mexico’s San Francisco River. I can tell you that I have put countless hard-core miles on the Charmoz in my personal field test that many folks might refer to as “hiking into hell and back.” Although the boots are non-insulated I still wore them in some very cold wet weather conditions in late November and found that my feet stayed reasonably warm while wearing a pair of Darn Tough Merino Wool socks with a polypro liner.
The Charmoz GTX features a stiff enough outsole in the Vibram Mulaz that I experienced great foot and ankle support. There was never an instance when I wasn’t confident about wearing this boot in some of the roughest terrain a man or woman could spend their time in. Carrying loads of up to 80 lbs on my backpack trips I was blown away by how light but incredibly tough, comfortable and supportive these boots were. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear the Charmoz GTX Pro in some of the toughest of mountaineering conditions.
I was a little skeptical of the full synthetic design in the Charmoz but can testify that Scarpa’s Nylon L-tech Microfiber definitely has some advantages over leather. I wore these boots while crossing streams, in wet snow and during some really nasty rainstorms throughout the fall/early winter and my feet never did get wet. The synthetic material is very water resistant and does not get “damp and over flexed” like wet leather does nor will the synthetic material get hard after it dries out as leather boots do.
The tread on this boot is excellent and still does not show much wear from the countless miles I have put on it. In the past I have broken metal rivets off of some of my leather boots in steep mountainous terrain but with the Charmoz GTX, you have no rivets to break as the lace loops are built into the synthetic material.
There was very little break in required for the Charmoz GTX Pro as I have not experienced even one hot spot or blister while wearing the boot. As with all my boots, I use a high quality orthotic insole instead of the one that came with these boots. I prefer a footbed that is very shock absorbent since I have developed several painful neuromas in my metatarsals with all the miles I have put on my feet.
MY CHARMOZ GTX PRO BOOTS AFTER 6 MONTHS OF WEAR
The soles on any boot I use must provide great traction and must have the ability to “grip and brake” when descending steep surfaces. I’ve been more than satisfied with how the Charmoz GTX Pro Mulaz outsoles have performed and held up against wear and tear in some severe terrain/conditions. I do much of my hiking on very steep sandstone formations. The Mulaz Vibram soles feel very secure in this terrain and provide outstanding stabilization. As with every boot, the toe box can fit different on each individual. For me, the toe box on the Charmoz Pro fits perfectly and has reduced the “jamming affect” I get with some boots when descending extremely steep, rugged slopes, especially while carrying heavy loads. In other words, I haven’t developed any really sore toenails! In the past while hiking with certain boots, I have lost several toe tails during a guiding season because of the beating they have taken in the toe boxes.
Charmoz GTX Pro Mulax Outsoles After 6 Months In The Field
Loose, rugged talus slopes or the cactus saturated terrain in desert sheep country can be very dangerous for backpack hunters as sharp rocks and the needle tips of Chola and Staghorn cactus can raise havoc with boots. I found the synthetic upper material in the Charmoz to be very tough, resistant and protective. However, in Sonora I did have several cactus spines penetrate the softer synthetic microfiber just above the protective rubber rands.
SCARPA CHARMOZ PRO GTX LACING SYSTEM – NO RIVETS TO BREAK
Without hesitation, I highly recommend the purchase of the KUIU Scarpa Charmoz GTX Pro Boots. They have performed to my highest expectations and I am very satisfied.
The Charmoz GTX Pro is priced at $329.99. After working with SCARPA, KUIU was able to have these boots manufactured in an aesthetically attractive gun metal grey color. The quality and durability you purchase with a SCARPA boot is well worth the price and should provide you with outstanding service and comfort.
Something that is also very important with any boot that I purchase is whether or not the manufacturer will stand behind their product. Regarding returns and exchanges KUIU and SCARPA guarantees satisfaction with every purchase. Returns are subject to normal usage. It is always best to contact Customer Service within 60 days of your purchase if there are problem.
What KUIU and SCARPA Could Do Better with the Charmoz Pro GTX:
I have really enjoyed wearing the Charmoz Pro GTX. My only recommendation is to reinforce the softer synthetic microfiber material on the sides of these boots just above the rubber rands as I did have several cactus spines in Sonora get partially through into my sock. Great boot however. Keep up the incredible work KUIU and Scarpa!