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Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3 HD Review

Scarpa Ribelle 3 Review

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Overall
4.4
  • Comfort
    (4)
  • Protection and Support
    (4.5)
  • Traction and Grip
    (5)
  • Performance on rock
    (5)
  • Performance on snow/ice
    (4)
  • Thermal comfort
    (4)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

Boot designed for fast & light technical mountaineering. Evolution of previous Ribelle models for lightness, precision and performance in technical terrain. Polartec membrane and HDry lining for thermal comfort and protection, Speed Lacing and Drop 6 lacing to maximise climbing performance. Definitely a new standard in ultralight mountaineering boots.

Pros

  • Lightness
  • Precision and sensitivity when climbing
  • Easy fit
  • Good thermal comfort

Cons

  • Durability
  • Uncomfortable heel when walking
  • Some difficulty with crampon set
  • Some trial and error needed to find the right lacing

Scarpa’s Ribelle is an iconic boot for many, one of the first boots on the market designed by Ueli Steck for new wave mountaineering. Expectations were high, as this boot set the standars for Fast & Light technical mountaineering footwear, where lightness and precision are prioritised over support and thermal comfort.

Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD

With the Ribelle Tech 3.0, the Asolo-based company wanted to revisit the first model, moving away from the more versatile features of the 2.0 version. According to the manufacturer, the Ribelle Tech 3.0 is an extremely technical boot, where performance and precision take precedence over versatility and durability.

We were able to explore all these details at the Scarpa Experience at the Outdoor Business Days in Riva del Garda.

Technical Features of Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD

  • Tech fabric + Microtech RE hydro + TPU shell
  • Hdry and Polartec lining
  • Precision Tech Roll Lite outsole
  • Sock-fit plus gaiter
  • Weight 660 grams (single shoe size 42)
  • DropSix
  • Speed lacing system derived from trail running
  • Lace Protection Cover (LPC)
  • Fast Strap Velcro for ankle strap adjustment
  • Ortholite O-Therm footbed
  • Vibram MegaGrip compound outsole
  • Manufacturer Country: Italy
  • Manufacturer link
scarpa boot on rock

Test mode

I have used the Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD on varied terrain (glaciers, mixed rock and snow ridges) as well as high altitude traverses (Breithorn and Gran Paradiso), with passages on rock up to IV+. I have done long ascents, about 7000 m of altitude gain in one month.

scarpa ribelle tech 3.0 HD high altitude mountaineering

Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD on-site test

First impression

Lightness is the first thing you notice when you pick up the Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD (660g in size 42). However, you will notice that there is more padding in the liner than in the previous two models. The low drop (6cm between the heel and the toe) and the speed lacing, a detail reminiscent of trail running shoes, are immediately noticeable.

Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD

Lacing, comfort and fit of the Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD

The most innovative aspect of the Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3 Hd is the Speed Lacing System, already used in trail running shoes. Adjustment is quick and you can easily change the tension of the laces even during use. On the other hand, it is not so easy to find the right tension for your run.

Speed lacing system in detail
Speed lacing system in detail

The laces also reach down to the instep, and to adjust the fit around the ankle, you have to use the tension of the Velcro strap (Fast Strap Velcro).

So it takes a bit of trial and error, and the tension changes from uphill to downhill, from walking to climbing, but once you find the right setting and gain some confidence, the new system becomes quite practical.

mountaineering test of scarpa boot

The laces – very thin and delicate and easily damaged by crampons – are protected by a PU cover, slightly elastic, equipped with a solid and well trued cover (Lace Protection Cover). There is also an elastic band around the neck to collect the laces and keep them compact.

Overall, I immediately got a very good feel for the fit, with good forefoot clearance that gives excellent toe feel. Support, sensitivity and softness in the heel go hand in hand. The Ortholite footbed offers good thermal comfort as well as softness and comfort.

Otherwise, I found the heel rather stiff and uncomfortable, especially when climbing.

Walking behaviour

When it came to walking, I had mixed feelings. I had been walking for a long time (7 hours straight with 2200 metres of climbing) and the rolling is very natural.

It almost feels like wearing a classic low-rise shoe. This is where the synergy between the upper and the midsole, which Scarpa calls the Dynamic Tech Roll System, comes in, where the cramponable heel notch does not stiffen the midsole.

The roll also features the use of Drop 6 (difference in thickness from heel to toe). In short, everything to make walking more natural.

walking on a glacier with scarpa boots

However, all this softness when walking is transferred to the heel, which I did not find particularly comfortable. On very steep climbs, the heel becomes uncomfortable and a little painful.

The heel is definitely the stiffest part of the boot, and even when I adjusted the laces I could not find the ideal setting for my foot. This is definitely the least convincing feature of the Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD.

Heel detail

Behaviour on rock

On rock, as I had hoped, the Ribelle show themselves for what they are. Precise, powerful and sensitive. The toe box is very similar to that of a boot and you have no problem loading and “feeling” the small indentations in the rock.

Again, much of the credit goes to the Dynamic Tech Roll System construction, which protects against lateral twisting of the foot. The 6mm drop ensures maximum proximity of the foot to the rock, increasing precision and sensitivity.

rock climbing test with scarpa boots

The Vibram Mega Grip sole is reminiscent of booties and does indeed wear very easily. However, as you can see, Scarpa wanted to create a boot that was more performance than durability, so I was not too surprised to see the first signs of sole wear after a month of intensive use. In any case, the Ribelle can be re-soled, according to the instructions on the Scarpa website.

vibram sole
Sole

Behaviour on snow and with crampons

With summer use, the assessment I can make on snow and ice is certainly not exhaustive, but I have the impression that wearing crampons somewhat distorts the roll of the boot. Again, I felt more stress on the heel than I should have, as if all the stress from the stiffening was being transferred to the back of the shoe.

Test with semi-automatic crampons
Test with semi-automatic crampons

Another negative point concerns the adjustment of the crampons. The hook-back lever tends to get stuck in the sole and you have to force it a little to get it to click into place. I tested the boots with both Blue Ice’s Harfang Alpine and Petzl’s Vasak and had the same problem in both cases.

Waterproofing, thermal comfort of the Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD

On the other hand, compared to the previous models, a lot of innovation has been done on the lining and in general on the insulation of the Ribelle.

In short, these boots felt warmer than I expected. The Polartec Windbloc lining also embellishes the Sock Fit gaiter, making it softer and more comfortable as well as insulating.

polartec windbloc

The HDry membrane then improves the waterproofing of the upper, as I was able to verify when when fording several rivers on the way to the Gervasutti bivouac (I completely submerged the boot several times).

waterproofing test

Protection and waterproofing are also a feature of the gaiter, which is made using knit technology, i.e. a mixture of yarns with different structures (including Polartec Windbloc).

The stitching system of the bootleg is also excellent and solid.

Another element that increases the thermal comfort of the Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HD is the insole, which is made up of a fusion of several materials that are only a few millimetres thick. The upper fabric is followed by a memory foam midsole and ends with an open-cell Ortholite material with thermal aerogel foam. All this provides softness, thermal insulation and high comfort in the roll.

the insole

Comparison with the Ribelle family

The Ribelle Tech 3s mark a major departure from the previous model and in many ways return to the wake of the first model.

With the Ribelle 2.0, Scarpa tried to appeal to a more cross-cultural audience by offering a versatile and more structured boot, as opposed to the fast light purism of the first Tech OD model.

While maintaining the experience of the 2.0, the 3.0 tries to follow the minimalism of the first model, where performance and lightness are more important than durability and resistance to wear.

On the other hand, there has been a constant change in terms of thermal comfort, which has been gradually improved with a slight and progressive increase in weight.

Here is a summary table of the main characteristics. In the case of thermal comfort, we mean a relative value, i.e. in the context of fast & light boots (e.g. not for winter mountaineering).

MODELWEIGHT SINGLE BOOT 42LININGTHERMAL COMFORT
Ribelle OD620 grPrimaloft + OutDry laminated in the upper2/5
Ribelle 2.0 HD640 grPrimaloft + HDry membrane3/5
Ribelle 3 HD660 grPolartec + HDry membrane4/5

Recommended for

Scarpa Ribelle Tech 3.0 HDs are finally a minimalist product, but rich in details, suitable for an experienced or even very experienced audience. Performance and lightness take precedence over durability (very easy to wear).

Personally, I was surprised by their strengths and did not expect such an immediate feel, which is a shame because of the restrictions on the heel when walking.

Personally, I see the 3.0 as a second pair of boots to be used in situations where lightness and climbing precision are required. For more continuous use, I would recommend the 2.0, which is more versatile and durable.

In short, only for demanding, very demanding mountaineers.

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4 Responses

  1. I was wondering about the thermal comfort of those boots. Will it be warm enough for hiking in the Alps during Spring-Autumn season?

    1. hi konrad, they have good thermal properties (better than previous models). Except in the winter season, can be used in the mid-season

  2. Could the heel issue be as a result of not being used to a flatter foot ie more even loading across the entire foot hence more ‘pressure’ in the heel as opposed to the larger drop promoting more forefoot loading?

    1. Hi Scott. It’s hard to answer with certainty. In my opinion, it’s more a matter of construction. The type of lacing does not allow for classic tensioning. In addition, the remarkable sensitivity of the forefoot makes it unload a lot on the heel. But it’s the first boot I’ve tested with these sole thicknesses. Probably the problem is the sum of all these things

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