HomeTactical & SurvivalThe First Lightweight Hiking Boot With RECCO: SCARPA Moraine Review

The First Lightweight Hiking Boot With RECCO: SCARPA Moraine Review

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Nature is a dangerous place to recreate, but that certainly isn’t going to stop me from hitting the trail. I love to hike despite the risks. Sure, I could get lost and stranded. I could break an ankle and have no way of extricating myself. Lightning strikes, animals attack, and accidents happen. To quote Bilbo Baggins, “It’s a dangerous business going out your front door.”

If you want to play outside, you have to accept a certain level of risk. Gear and technology can help mitigate that. It’s why people wear helmets, use avalanche beacons, and carry emergency survival equipment.

It’s also why, in the last few years, you may have noticed a lot of gear featuring RECCO — a reflective strip built into a product that can help alert rescuers to your specific location in the case of an emergency. RECCO reflectors have been popular in ski equipment for decades because its useful for locating buried individuals in an avalanche.

But since 2015, we have started to see RECCO in more than ski gear. Today, you’ll find it in running vests, climbing harnesses, outdoor apparel, and daypacks. It’s become a widespread tool for search and rescue (SAR).

The Moraine Hiking Shoe from SCARPA is the latest product to incorporate RECCO. It marks the first lightweight hiker to incorporate the system into its design. Should anything happen, as long as the Moraines are still on my feet and my feet are attached to my body, SAR would be able to locate me.

In short: SCARPA launched the Moraine hiking shoe in March 2024. It took a classic hiker design, with a supportive midsole and sole, and added a RECCO reflector. The shoe itself is solid, yet comfortable outdoor footwear. The Nubuck leather outer sheds water, and I felt stable in the Moraine even when traversing alpine scree or rocky riverbeds. The fact that it can also act as a rescue reflector in the case of an emergency adds a new level of utility and peace of mind.

If you’re in the market for hiking footwear, check out GearJunkie’s guide to the Best Hiking Boots and the Best Hiking Boots for Women. None of those come with RECCO reflectors, but there are some great options to compare against the Moraine.

  • Weight
    1 lb., 4.6 oz. (men’s size 9)
  • Upper
    Oiled Nubuck leather with 100% recycled fabric
  • Lining
    PFAS-free waterproof membrane
  • Midsole
    2D EVA
  • Outsole
    PRESA HIK-04 & SuperGum
  • Insole
    Nylon insert
  • Available heights
    Low and mid
  • Last
    RHA
  • Primary material
    Leather

  • Stable and supportive

  • Lightweight

  • Grippy traction

  • Built-in RECCO Reflector


  • Only comes in two colors

  • Midsole EVA foam gouges somewhat easily

SCARPA Moraine Hiking Shoe With RECCO: Review

RECCO

RECCO has been around since 1983. For many years, ski resorts equipped with handheld RECCO detectors were the only places where RECCO was useful. In the event of an avalanche, they could be used to locate buried individuals without a beacon.

However, in 2015, RECCO launched its helicopter-based search system, RECCO SAR. This made it possible to search much larger areas, opening up many possible applications for the technology.

This was when RECCO reflectors began to appear in outdoor gear and outerwear outside of snow sports. The first boots to incorporate RECCO into their design were the Asolo Arctic EVs. Alfa then made the Jerpe Hunting Boot with RECCO, Dachstein made the Mont Blanc mountaineering boot, and Jack Wolfskin followed suit with the 1995 Texapore winter boot — all with RECCO.

So RECCO in boots is nothing new. The SCARPA Moraine, however, is the first lightweight hiking shoe to incorporate it. Really, it’s the only everyday hiking shoe with RECCO. All other examples are massive, technical, and/or burly winter boots.

Materials, Weight, Price

SCARPA boasts a laundry list of technologies endowed to the Moraine. “ACTIVEfit” refers to gender-specific sizing and fit, while “ACTIVEimpact” relates to the combination of materials that are meant to help absorb shock and reduce stress and fatigue.

However, one proprietary SCARPA technology caught my attention. The brand’s “SuperGum” is a specific type of rubber used in the Moraine’s outsole. SCARPA claims it offers a high-friction grip in wet and dry conditions and is extremely abrasion-resistant.

The main material in the Moraine’s outer is Nubuck leather, interspersed with 100% recycled nylon. It’s a nice-looking shoe that wouldn’t draw a second glance at a brewery or casual restaurant. Both men’s and women’s versions come in two colors.

At 1 pound, 4.6 ounces, it’s a notably light hiking shoe. It’s also competitively priced at $185. I chose to test the mid version of this shoe, but it also comes in a low for $170 (a $10 difference).

SCARPA Moraine Hiking Shoe: In the Field

I got the SCARPA Moraine into testing several weeks ago and have taken them on a handful of day hikes, a weekend of camping, and numerous jaunts about town. And to be perfectly honest with you, there’s nothing earth-shattering about these shoes. The quality is great and what I’ve come to expect from SCARPA footwear. It hits the mark, but it isn’t shattering any conventions.

Out of the box, I didn’t feel any pinches, hot spots, or even discomfort. My feet feel stable and supported when I wear the Moraines, and despite their leather construction, they don’t weigh me down.

Unlike some other lightweight hiking shoes, these will not double dip as trail runners. Don’t expect them to feel featherweight when you get them on. That said, there is only one pair on GearJunkie’s guide to the Best Hiking Boots that weighs less — the Keen Targhee IV.

The Moraines felt right at home scrambling on scree and rocky riverbeds. I was honestly surprised by the traction of the 4mm lugs when I was scurrying over wet rocks at the base of a waterfall.

I can’t say I hiked in extended rainfall in these shoes, but I did kick around in a creek to test the water repellency. Most of the water fell off in beads and rivulets. What little absorbed into the Nubuck leather didn’t get through to my socks.

I did experience some hot feet while I was trail jogging on a few occasions, but the shoes seemed to breathe pretty well overall. When I was hiking at a regular pace, they felt fine.

Fortunately, I haven’t needed the RECCO feature in my testing (yet). But it’s nice knowing that if something were to happen, SAR teams could scan for me from a helicopter, and my shoes might just flag them down.

SCARPA Moraine Hiking Shoe With RECCO: Final Word

According to Garmin, hikers and backpackers make up roughly one-third of the SOS calls triggered through Garmin devices. They are, by far, the most common type of SAR call made every year. Without a satellite communicator or some other kind of emergency SOS device, locating those people can be extremely challenging for SAR teams.

RECCO changes that. With the RECCO SAR helicopter-based search system, rescuers can scan for people from the air. If you’re lost, injured, unconscious, or otherwise incapable of getting out of the backcountry, that might just save your life.

The Moraine Hiking Shoe from SCARPA is a notable step in the progression of RECCO from the slopes to the trail. They’re solid, comfortable, supportive hiking shoes. And the built-in RECCO reflector offers a safety net that reduces the risk of going out your front door.



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