Sarah Stackman tests out Scarpa's Kailash GTX boots.
"The Larapinta’s effect on footwear is basically like chucking your boots in an industrial dryer with an armful of sand, a sack of rocks and a pair of crossed fingers. By the end these Scarpas looked nearly brand new, while friends all around me had rolled ankles, blow outs, peeling soles and broken eyelets from their footwear. The rugged design held my foot in place over the ankle-biting creek beds, while the sticky Vibram sole provides virtually zero slippage on rock scrambles. They were light and very comfortable once broken in.
There are a few things to note to make them work for you: while breaking them in (roughly 100km) they will feel very narrow if you have a wide foot, to lessen this (as with any boot) you’ll want to keep up a good on-trail foot care routine: moisturise your feet morning and night, take your boots off at lunchtime (to allow your feet to breath) and take some silicone toe protector tubes. One of the best products I took for blister prevention were Wrightsocks – an American company making socks with a liner built in. If I did the walk again I’d bring just two pairs of these and no others.
As the shock absorption is lessened in stiffer soled boots I also got a size larger and swapped out the insoles for heavy duty gel ones, which also allows you to cut them up for a custom fit as you go. If you follow this advice you should have very little problem with blisters. Overall I’d say these boots are the best choice for a Larapinta thru-hike if you take the advice above. They’ll last far longer than many others, making the price worth it going into the future especially considering the cost of evacuation is very steep should a cheaper brand fail you. Gel insoles and toe tubes are available at supermarkets."