The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX is a high-top version of the Ultra Raptor II GTX trail running shoe. While some might classify it as a hiking boot, it’s basically the same shoe with a high ankle cuff for increased moisture and impact protection. While the ankle cuff does provide some added proprioceptive feedback to alert you to a potential ankle roll, it is nowhere as supportive as a much heavier leather hiking boot like the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX.
I like the Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX for use in mud season or late autumn where the waterproof membrane and the high ankle cuff help keep my socks dry in cold and wet weather. The wide sizing is also a big win if you prefer more space for your toes to splay out when you hike.
Specs at a Glance
- Gender: Men’s (women’s also available)
- Drop: 12mm
- Stack: Heel: 27mm / Toe: 15mm
- Lug depth: 4.5 mm
- Cushion: moderate
- Closure: lace-up
- Upper: mesh
- Wide and Regular Width sizes: yes
- Weight: 34 oz/pair in size EU 44 (US 10.5+)
- Durability: 300-500 miles
- Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Extended Comfort
Features and Construction
The Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX has the same core features as the low version of the Ultra Raptor II Wide GTX Trail Running shoe including a super sticky rubber sole, an arched sole, a beefy front toe kick, great heel and side protection and a waterproof/breathable membrane. Really, the biggest difference between the mids and the lows is the added padded ankle cuff.
Wide Width and Spacious Toe Box
The Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX is considerably wider than the regular Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX and comes with a spacious toe box that is wide enough to splay out your toes. I switched from regular-sized Ultra Raptors IIs this year to the wide-sized version mainly for the increased toe box space, since I experience tingling in my toes when I hike, a condition called Morton’s Neuroma, caused by wearing trail runners and hiking boots that were too narrow for many many years. A wide toe box completely alleviates the condition, however.
The heel portion of these Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTXs is still a little wide for me, however, but I’ve found that the fit works well if I just wear a somewhat heavier sock. That’s fine with me because I’ve gone through 20-some pairs of Ultra Raptors and Ultra Raptor IIs over the years and they’re still my all-time favorites even though I’ve tried just about every trail runner ever made….or at least it feels like it. Once fitted, these perform exactly the same in terms of traction and protection.
Sticky Ruber Soles
The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is designed for hiking on rugged mountain trails. It has a rubber sole that’s soft and very sticky on rock, including wet rock, which you’d expect from a company that cut its teeth on making climbing shoes. The sole has an arch that is designed to minimize impact to the mid-foot and encourages landing on your forefoot resulting in better traction by the front lugs. It also incorporates a feature called the impact brake system, which are simply reversed lugs that assist in breaking in steep and slippery terrain. While this lug pattern works best on hard surfaces, it provides less traction in muddy conditions due to the modest lug height.
The articulated arch in the Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX also makes them compatible with more traditional hiking and mountaineering gaiters which is invaluable during mud season or in late autumn when you need less foot insulation but keeping your socks dry is still paramount. That’s when I like using these shoes, myself.
The arch permits the use of the heavy-duty gaiter straps found on high waterproof gaiters, something you just can’t do with flat-bottomed mids or hiking boots. Having an arch might sound like an obvious feature to include on a hiking mid for cold and wet weather, but shop around: arches are an increasingly rare feature on trail runners and mids.
Beefy Toe Kick
The Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX is well protected up front with a very beefy toe kick. It’s great for hiking across scree, gravel, and rocky trails. I don’t look at my feet when I hike across such terrain and this added level of protection lets me hike fast without worrying about bruising, painful impacts, or broken toenails.
Heel, Side, and Midsole Protection
These mids also have a TPU heel counter and TPU strips along the sides that anchor into the midsole for added protection and stability. In addition, an injection-molded EVA midsole with a TPU shank provides anti-torsional stability in the arch sole.
The ankle cuff is covered with a simple soft shell fabric and lightly padded. with a soft comfort collar in back to eliminate painful rubbing along the back of the leg just above the ankle. There are 7 inches of clearance from the sole to the top of the ankle cuff, so you can easily walk through puddles or rock hop over partially submerged rocks and not get wet into the shoe. I’ve found the waterproofing to be 100% effective in the Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX which makes them a joy to use in wet weather.
With a drop of 12mm, the Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX is nowhere near a zero-drop shoe and they’re decidedly not fashionable in that respect. On the flip side, it means that they are very easy to transition to if you’ve been wearing hiking boots or mids and want to try them, especially because no break-in time is required. You can literally put them on and start hiking without having to learn or train your feet and calves in the biomechanics of hiking in zero-drop shoes. It also makes switching back to boots much easier when winter rolls around and you need to wear insulated footwear.
The Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX is available in EU sizes, both full and half sizes which I find is optimal for dialing in a precise fit. I think the shoes are true to size, but you might need to buy a few pairs in adjacent sizes to dial in a precise fit if you haven’t used the finer-grained EU sizing before.
The mids include a hybrid foam insole which is thicker than that found in the low version of the Ultra Raptor but has no added heel support. I find that removing it increases the interior volume of the shoe and makes it easy to replace with a more durable insole that provides more heel support to prevent plantar fasciitis.
The La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II Mid Wide GTX excels in mountain terrain because its soles have sticky rubber which adheres well to rock, including wet rock, with a level of stability and protection that has no equal. Their wide toe box and sizing make them comfortable to wear by people with larger feet or people who want a larger toe box and are willing to shim out the extra mid-foot space with thicker socks. I also think they’re an excellent option for spring mud-season and late autumn hiking because they have arches that are compatible with waterproof gaiter straps. If you’re ready to ditch your winter boots for spring hiking season, but still want waterproof protection, I’d recommend trying these La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor II Wide GTX Mids.
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