UKH

Scarpa Rush Mid Kid GTX Boots Review

© Dan Bailey

Equipping growing kids for the outdoors can really stretch the family finances. While budget-friendly clothing, charity shops and hand-me-downs all help soften the blow, one corner it pays not to cut is footwear. What your nipper wears on their feet, and how well it fits, will have a heavy bearing on the day's ratio of joy to misery. As a caring parent you'll want to be sure that their feet are dry and comfortable, and if you're taking the kids on rougher, steeper ground then footwear with decent support and grip is arguably a safety essential.

A pint-sized boot that's good for more than just pint-sized hills  © Dan Bailey
A pint-sized boot that's good for more than just pint-sized hills
© Dan Bailey

We do a fair bit of hillwalking with our girls, plus occasional easy scrambling and the odd overnight backpacking mini-adventure. With several models to choose from, Scarpa's range of children's footwear should have you covered for most family-oriented situations along those lines.

Last year we reviewed the Little Terra, an all-leather-upper boot for kids. We said at the time that they should last well and have good hand-me-down potential, and now they've duly been adopted by our youngest, Edith (9).

Daisy (11) has recently moved on to the Rush Mid Kids GTX, a model based quite obviously on the adult's Rush shoe. While the Rush is a sturdy shoe aimed at the crossover between walking and trail running, the mid-height children's version is more boot-like. A waterproof-lined model with a synthetic upper, it feels well suited to spring and summer use, but it's still a proper boot with an ankle cuff, and a sole that's supportive and grippy enough for decent hill days.

Weight and build quality

At 616g for Daisy's pair of size 37 / UK 4 (Scarpa say 420g/pair size 31), the Rush Mid Kids GTX is quite a light boot, weighing a little less than the other kids' boots (all of which are now smaller sizes) in our hall footwear jumble.

It's proving a really good boot for child-friendly easy scrambling   © Dan Bailey
It's proving a really good boot for child-friendly easy scrambling
© Dan Bailey

With its leather upper and crafted feel, the Little Terra (made in Romania) is quite a sturdy boot for its weight, while the Rush Mid (made in Vietnam) feels more more plasticy and mass-produced, in keeping perhaps with its trainer heritage. While Daisy hasn't yet had time to wreck them it seems less likely they'll remain in a decent state long enough to hand on to child number two. Lighter, softer synthetic footwear generally isn't as sturdy as old fashioned leather, so this isn't a criticism of the Rush Mid Kids in particular.

Value for money?

These boots cost less than the Little Terra (now £85) but still a fair bit more than stuff from Decathlon. I've nothing against the latter - we've shod our kids there for years - but the Rush Mid Kids do seem to have a higher standard of design and materials than you'd be likely to find with a budget alternative. The key factor in the value question is how long they'll last, something we will have to look at again a few months hence.

Straight out of the box, Daisy found them comfy enough for full hill days  © Dan Bailey
Straight out of the box, Daisy found them comfy enough for full hill days
© Dan Bailey

Fit

These boots are available in a range of sizes from a teeny 27 to a 38 (UK 5) that could fit a smaller-footed adult. As with the Little Terra, the Rush Mid Kids has quite a broad and forgiving front end - you don't want to be cramming growing feet into something too narrow or asymmetric, after all. We think there's a little less volume (ie. depth) at the toe than in the Terra, though there's not much in it.

The heel cup holds Daisy's foot in place with no lifting or rubbing, though with a stitched seam right over the achilles you may want to get your nipper to pay particular attention to heel comfort when trying these on, since there may be potential for some kids to get rubbing here. Slightly lower than the Little Terra's, the ankle cuff has enough padding for comfort while remaining sufficiently flexible that they don't feel clumpy or clumsy to walk in. If your child sometimes struggles with the restrictive feel of boots then this could be a good model to try them with.

The waterproof upper is pretty much essential for kids who'll generally find all the muddy puddles and streams   © Dan Bailey
The waterproof upper is pretty much essential for kids who'll generally find all the muddy puddles and streams
© Dan Bailey

Lacing is smooth-running, but doesn't extend as far towards the toe as on the Little Terra, so there's less scope to fine tune the fit at the front. The laces are also much thinner and more shoe-like than the sturdy ones on the more expensive boot.

Upper

Apart from the ankle cuff, the upper essentially feels like a running shoe, with a light synthetic mesh for coolness and breathability. Areas of plasticy film have been heat-sealed over the mesh to provide a bit of structure and minimalist protection, around the toe for instance. It's a softer, thinner upper than that of a leather boot such as the Little Terra, and while it doesn't provide the same level of support or protection for the foot on rubbly ground, it's lighter, cooler, and noticeably more breathable - a distinct advantage in summer.

We think they're quite funky-looking, and Daisy loves the colour (also available in black/blue)  © Dan Bailey
We think they're quite funky-looking, and Daisy loves the colour (also available in black/blue)
© Dan Bailey

When it comes to trail shoes I personally prefer unlined every time, but since kids seem to have an unerring ability to walk through the bogs rather than stepping around them, the addition of a Gore-Tex lining here is welcome. While the outer mesh wets out, we've yet to notice water getting inside, so the waterproof lining is clearly doing its job. Neither have there been any complaints of sweaty feet, though to be fair we've had few days out in double digit temperatures so far this spring. Given there's a membrane somewhere inside, the upper does seem surprisingly breathable - in fact a quick test shows that I can literally breathe through the mesh toe (well it's one way of checking).

The Presa sole has a reasonably chunky tread, and an adequate heel  © Dan Bailey
The Presa sole has a reasonably chunky tread, and an adequate heel
© Dan Bailey

They're supportive enough on steeper ground, and the rubber seems grippy on rock   © Dan Bailey
They're supportive enough on steeper ground, and the rubber seems grippy on rock
© Dan Bailey

Sole

Smaller children arguably don't need (and definitely don't want) the sort of solid sole you might find in an adult boot, and I'd say Scarpa have struck a good balance here between comfort and support. Given the comparative softness of the upper, I was surprised to discover that the sole of the Rush Mid Kids is actually rather sturdier than that of the Little Terra. For comfort there's a nice springy forefoot flex, but it also has enough torsional rigidity to provide a good measure of support underfoot on steeper ground.

The Presa outsole has a reasonably deep tread that seems to do its job on wet and grassy ground, and while the heel breast isn't huge there's enough of a ledge to offer some downhill traction. With no clean edge at the front, the rounded toe is clearly oriented to walking rather than scrambling, but that doesn't seem to have held Daisy back so far. Compared to well-used older boots, the tread does seem to be wearing quite quickly under the forefoot, so that's something we'll want to watch.

There's enough support and grip for confidence on steeper, more broken ground  © Dan Bailey
There's enough support and grip for confidence on steeper, more broken ground
© Dan Bailey

As with the adult's shoes from which they descended, a deep spongy midsole provides plenty of cushioning on hard ground, and while this clearly isn't going to survive scree un-scuffed, it contributes to the soft, forgiving feel that makes these boots quite a hit.

Summary

While they don't seem as sturdy or built to last as Scarpa's leather alternatives, there's a lot to be said for the Rush Mid Kids GTX. Light but supportive; waterproof-lined but still cool and breathable; forgiving on the foot for all-day comfort - they tick a lot of boxes, and seem especially good for spring and summer days. Though £70 is quite a lot to pay for a lightweight kid's boot, I do think you're getting your money's worth in this case. We certainly have one satisfied customer.

Scarpa say:

RUSH MID KID GTX is a mid-cut outdoor footwear for trekking. Very light, with a technical and strong fabric upper. Suitable in all conditions with a gripping rubber outsole, adapt to all kinds of terrain.

  • Sizes: 27-38
  • Weight: 420g/pair size 31
  • Collar: autofit 3D padding, wrapping the ankle for comfort and protection.
  • Upper: technical mesh with heat-sealed film external cage for more support, designed by SCARPA®. Internal toe cap for more protection.
  • Lining: GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Footwear membrane for maximum breathability and waterproofing
  • Lacing: the laces are connected to a webbing system that spreads the pressure uniformly and allows to customize the fitting volume, improving the wrapping feeling around the foot
  • Sole: developed with IKS Technology (Interactive Kinetik System) that offers new comfort and cushioning standards

For more information scarpa.co.uk


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