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Trail Running Shoes • May 31, 2024

Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra HT BOA Review: Dialed-in Dynamo

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What You Need To Know

Weight

10.9 oz. (310 g) for a US M8,

9.2 oz. (260 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

Stack height unavailable (4 mm drop)

Best For

Tackling trails with a dialed-in fit

Key Features

TPU Rand, BOA lacing system, Wrap 360 closure, Presa outsole

On The Run
Excellent fit and lockdown Solid Presa grip Some BOA quirks to iron out
Price / Availability

Available now for $199

Introduction to the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra HT BOA

ALLISON: Reviewing the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra HT BOA shoe was an eye-opener for me, as it marked my initial encounter with the Italian brand Scarpa. Living in an area where Scarpa products aren’t readily available made this introduction all the more exciting. I had heard of Scarpa, mostly climbing and skiing, so I was also intrigued to see how it would translate into trail running.

What immediately caught my attention was the BOA closure system. Reminiscent of cycling shoes, this feature allows for a customizable fit with a simple turn of the dial. Another feature of note was their Presa outsole, which I would compare to the more common Vibram outsole (I’ll provide more details below).

JON: Scarpa was also an unknown brand to me going into this. Funny enough, once this shoe came in the mail, I started noticing it on the feet of climbers and mountaineers on television everywhere. I could tell it was a household name for those who are summiting mountains or on the crag, but I had never seen anyone wear these on the trail.

There is a lot going on here. The BOA lacing, aggressive outsole, and an upper built like a tank make it feel like a mix between a cycling shoe and a mountaineering boot.

The upper consists of thick mesh with heavy-duty overlays around the toe box, arch, and heel. There is a BOA fit system instead of traditional lacing. Like Allison, running shoes with BOA lacing is a new frontier for me. I’m a big fan of using it in cycling shoes since my foot stays in one position, but I was skeptical about using it in a running shoe where there’s so much dynamic movement. I tend to lace up pretty tight on the trail, combined with a runner’s loop for ankle support, and I didn’t want to lose that. The dial made me feel like a video game boss — with that one small area of weakness that you have to hit to defeat. I didn’t want the dial to knick a rock, come undone, and have me flashing red.

The midsole is light and firm to the touch. Scarpa’s Presa outsole has an impressive number of lugs to help promote traction. The tread is designed to work with the 4 mm drop and push-off on the forefoot while maintaining stability in the midfoot. The heel is designed to offer extra control and help slow you down if you need to pump the brakes.

Besides my doubts about BOA, my initial reaction was how heavy-duty it was. There’s a lot going on here. Even the name is a mouthful. I am just a simple man who runs on rooty, muddy East Coast trails, not the Alps. Is it too much for my use case? Let’s find out.

What we like about the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra HT BOA

ALLISON: While testing the shoe, I found myself liberated from the constant worry of my shoe laces coming undone, thanks to the BOA closure. I am renowned for my tripping abilities, so alleviating that hurdle was a huge relief. Now, if only Scarpa could remove all the rocks and roots…

I also appreciated how lightweight the shoe was compared to other models. It offered a minimalistic feel that encouraged agility and speed even on technical terrain. Another standout aspect was the generous, breathable toe box, which not only enhanced comfort but also promoted stability, especially during descents, where, once again, this klutz needs all the help she can get!

As I rain on various trails, from rocky paths to muddy tracks, the shoe consistently impressed me with its exceptional traction. The Presa outsole gripped the terrain with confidence, delivering a secure footing even on technical surfaces.

JON: I really appreciated the attention to detail in upper protection and traction. It gave me extra confidence to tackle trail obstacles that I normally tiptoed through. I could go right through the mud and had great control both on impact and lift-off. I could easily hop on rocks and wet logs, and the shoe worked its magic.

It looked and felt heavy in my hands, but it performed quite well. I could hit descents fast and pick it up on the climbs. I could easily lift my feet up to dodge obstacles.

As for the BOA lacing, it’s not bad! What impressed me about BOA is how much tension the cables can take on. I was able to get them pretty tight and never felt like they were going to snap. I also got a decent amount of ankle support. The greatest part may have been the fact that I could just lift the dial up and get out of these quickly when I was done, versus having to try and untie triple-knotted laces with dirt caked on them.

Overall, the shoe fit great. There was plenty of room in the toe box, and it was comfortable. It was not narrow or too wide, so I saw no need to size up or down.

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What we don’t like about the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra HT BOA

ALLISON: Although it was challenging to pinpoint a flaw in this shoe, I did encounter one issue: the tongue rubbed against the front of my ankle. This friction slightly detracted from the overall experience, prompting me to desire a more ergonomic design in that area. I believe implementing a lighter, lower-cut tongue could effectively resolve this discomfort.

JON: While I was impressed by the BOA lacing system, it wasn’t perfect. Almost every run, I had to stop to tighten the dial. To be fair, I do this when cycling, but it’s less of a nuisance since I can usually do it while in motion.

I had some issues with the tongue as well. It kept riding down and I had to really make an effort to pull it up. I had some of the same issues with friction on the front of my ankle. I had to make sure I wore tall socks.

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Final thoughts on the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra HT BOA

ALLISON: The Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra HT is a minimalist trail runner’s dream come true. It offers worry-free runs with its secure BOA closure system, lightweight design, and spacious toebox. With outstanding traction to boot, it strikes the perfect balance between performance and comfort.

JON: I had a fun first experience with Scarpa. They incorporated some of the best things from a mountaineering boot and put it into a lightweight package to tackle on the trail. It took me a little bit to warm up to these, but I enjoyed it overall.

I would say one of my favorite times using this was at Old Rag in the Shenandoah Valley. This is a challenging trail that goes straight up and has about a mile of rock scrambles, followed by a steep descent and fire road back to the car. I could easily tackle everything that was thrown at me. I easily hiked up to the rock scrambles and then had perfect control on the rocks. Running down after the summit and back to the car was very pleasant; especially since it had rained and it was slick.

I know this isn’t what it’s made for, but running on the pavement felt awkward and clunky. Often, on my home trails in Patapsco, I connect different trails via asphalt, and it just felt out of place whenever I did this. I don’t see myself moving to the Dolomites anytime soon, so this is something I deal with.

That said, I don’t know if this is something that I really need on the types of surfaces that I am normally on. There were times when it felt like all the bells and whistles in this shoe were overkill. Was it nice? Definitely! But I could find something cheaper than the $200 price tag that meets my needs.

If you are looking for something to tackle technical rocky terrain, then this is a perfect fit. Otherwise, you might want to save some money and opt for something less expensive.

You can pick up the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra HT BOA for $199 at Scarpa using the buttons below.

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Authors

Allison Mercer
Allison Mercer
Southeast Reviewer

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Allison is a die-hard sports enthusiast and long distance runner. As co-leader of Trail Sisters and FKT manager, she’s dedicated to fostering community and empowerment in the outdoors.  Fun fact: she met her husband on Strava, proving that it does go down in the DMs.

More from Allison
Shoe Size

9

Fav. Distance

Long

PRs
  • 5:57

    50 Mile
  • 3:39

    50K
  • 2:49

    26.2
  • 1:22

    13.1
jon ober bio photo
Jon Ober
Big Guy Reviewer
  • Instagram
  • strava - logo

Jon accidentally got into running after impulsively committing to run a marathon in 2010. After losing 100 pounds and having a hell of a debut, he decided to stick around. He runs with the Faster Bastards and his happy place is Patapsco Valley State Park where he leads the Thursday night Ober Hills run. When he isn’t running he’s looking for cats to pet.

More from Jon
Shoe Size

13

Fav. Distance

26.2

PRs
  • 2:56

    Marathon
  • 1:25

    Half Marathon
  • 38:48

    10K
  • 18:47

    5K
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