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The Scarpa SL M3 Men's Backpacking Boots' silicone-impregnated leather uppers stand up against the most abusive trails while they give you water protection for wet-weather hikes. Scarpa added articulated cuffs to increase flexibility while still giving you the support you expect from leather boots. Vibram M3 outsoles increase the SL M3 Backpacking Boots' traction on steep, rough, slippery trails, so you stay on your feet and continue your hike with ease.

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Lacing eyelets breaking off

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:True to size

I have a pair of Scarpa SL M3 boots which I purchased about 5 years ago. They are used only in winter hill walking in Scotland with occasional crampon use. They are excellent boots except for rivets securing the eyelets breaking off due to rusting rivets. Scarpa UK advise that use of japanned steel rivets is normal in the trade but other manufacturers advise otherwise and use non corrosive rivets. If you manage to hold onto the lacing eyelet they can be secured by bolting to the boots with 4mm dia. bolts, nuts and washers. I have effected this repair on my boots and they work well after the repair. A bit Heath Robinson I admit but effective.

1st Pair Lasted a Decade - Hard to Trump

  • Familiarity:I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit:True to size

About 3+ years into my second pair. 1st pair made it through perhaps 3,500-4,000 miles from the Himalayas to the gorgeous trails of Hong Kong. Simply indestructible. 2nd pair not as robustly made, but high quality nonetheless. Handled crampons flawlessly on glacier climb up the Hotlum Bolam Ridge at Mt. Shasta this summer.

I have relatively wide feet and these accommodate to a tee. True to fit as well. Break-in time: Almost immediate.

Only downside: Stiching on top interior performed well for a year and then started to unravel. Small technicality in my book. One other oddity: I've tried contacting Scarpa USA but number on website is inactive.

1st Pair Lasted a Decade - Hard to Trump

scarpa locking lace hooks

scarpa locking lace hooks


    I've been wearing these boots for 6 years now. They are the most comfortable footwear I own and they probably are bombproof. My walks are generally between 10 and 20km in a day but often I am scambling over rocks or wading up creeks. Unlike my friends' Gortex and various other pretty boots, the glue, the stitching and the leather on mine has never failed. The sole on my oldest pair is getting thin now but still functions as new. I've just bought another pair of SL M3's to put in the cupboard "for a rainy day". And their sizing options are fantastic. I do wear off the shelf orthotics in them and I would recommend this to everyone. For me it adds $50 to the cost but they'd still be cheap at twice the price.


      When I got these boots, I was sort of concerned for the fit, as my feet are somewhat oddly shaped. Not a problem. Any issues I have with the fit at this point I believe will be resolved as the boots break in. Speaking of which, they are crazy stiff. It doesn't get in the way of my walking motion, but these are not for the casual hiker/day hiker. I will use them with a fairly heavy pack. I didn't find them to be too heavy as some have complained about. I was actually surprised at how light they felt compared to what I was expecting.

      These boots are definately built to last. I can stride over all sorts of terrain knowing my feet are protected. I will have to update this review as I get more miles on them.

      Mine fell apart a bit

        After approximately 77 days of wear the fabric lining at the heel tore away in one of my SLs. I have since heard that this also happened to someone else (although admittedly after more use). Anyway, the shoes have a great pedigree, but I have a suspicion that there is a design flaw at that part of the heel for this model SL. Or perhaps there is a batch out there with a weakness in the fabric.

        In the end the local distributor (I am Australia based) decided that this was not covered by warranty. This obviously seems like a convenient line to take for them. That is, they chose not to entertain the idea that there happened to be a weakness in the fabric of that boot, instead choosing the “normal wear and tear” line (which I of course cannot disprove). I kept the Scarpa company in the loop on this and I can only assume that their silence means that they support this approach to customer service.

        So this one is a cautionary tale.

        Hey Andrew, if those were purchased through Backcountry upi can use the chat feature and they can get a return set up for you. You'd have to cover the shipping back to Backcountry but atleast you won't be stuck with the boots.

        I have experienced the same fault with the left boot an SL M3 model.
        They have seen a couple of years use, including 2 month long visits to the Himalayas, and a number of weekend hikes.

        The boots are otherwise in good condition. This leads me to believe there was a design over site, where the inner lining meets the boots upper.

        Anyway - has anyone else with this issue had their boots repaired by Scarpa (regardless of warranty status)?
        I'd like to know if it can be repaired and secondly if i can rely on this brand/my current boots, for future endeavors.

        My thanks in advance

        I just had the same problem on one of mine. Even though they came apart on me, I am getting another pair.

        I am on the search and rescue team in one of the busiest areas in the country for mountain rescue. I have worn my scarpas for over a year before the stitching came out, which is about the life expectancy for a boot on my team... I am getting mine repaired by a local shop. But I am also gonna get another pair and make this pair my boots I wear when my main boots get wet.

        Good but too heavy

          Just returned from 2 months of trekking in India and Nepal. I found that while these boots offer fantastic protection and great traction, they were just too heavy for me. They were fairly waterproof, though I did get a bit of wetness after 8 hours in snow (that is a lot for any boot) The lugs are huge, and take some getting used to since you add a couple inches of height but they handle any terrain, and I was never worried about twisting an ankle. The break-in period is significant, but it is always that way for top-grain leather. Overall, it is a well-made boot but I would only buy it again for a technical mountaineering trip, not a trek.

          A Solid Preformer

            So, I got this in a size 15(50) Wide. Even in a wide, it was still pretty narrow in the toe box, but I hoped that, being an all leather boot, the leather would stretch to fit my boot. I was wrong. I took them on one 40 mile backpacking trip (after hiking 50 miles in them to break them in) and they wound up tearing my feet up. I blame myself for this tho, and not the boot. The boots themselves are badassed. The Vibram soles are super stiff and great for the jagged granite rocks you'd find in the Sierras. They don't get very hot, and are extremely water proof (see the picture I posted). I hiked with a 50lb pack over some pretty gnarly terrain and the balls of my feet never once felt even the sharpest rock. BUt like I said, the boots didn't fit right. They were much too narrow in the toes and (I don't know if that caused this) my heels pushed into the back of the boots unmercifully on even the slightest incline. I wound up getting blisters all over my feet. Once again tho, that's my own damned fault. I knew the boots didn't fit the best, but I didn't have enough time to break in another pair of boots before the trip, and I didn't want to call off the trip, so I went anyways. (It's hard to find a last minute 15 Wide.)

            I've used the Asolo Powermatic 200, the Lowa Banff and Trekker, and the Danner ML2, and out of all of them, this is the heaviest and stiffest. That's great of you plan on using crampons though, and honestly, after they're broken in, you hardly notice the weight. I wind up returning them just because I found the made-in-Germany Lowas fit my wide toes much better, but in terms of quality, I'd say these are on par with Asolos and Lowas, thought they're definitely beefier than the two (The Danner ML2, though, is better used as a paperweight.)

            If your looking for a solid pair of boots and your feet are narrower, you def won't go wrong with these bad boys. They're def one of the best and good from anywhere between backpacking and snowshoeing, to things that require crampons. (that's what the little green dot on the sole means- stiff enough to use with crampons).

            Hope that helps.

            Scarpa SL M3 Vs Zamberlan Vioz GT Vs Asolo GV 520

              The winner? All three equally. Cop-out maybe, but let me explain myself.

              Italians make the best backpacking/mountaineering boots. Period. Show me an exception, and I'd say that to be a very rare exception to this experience driven rule.

              From the beginning I was torn on which boot to get first. They are all in a similar class. They are all Italian companies. Zamberlan and Scarpa manufacture their boots in Italy, however Asolo has their operation in Romania, an Eastern European neighbor. Asolo has always had their manufacturing operation in Romania (at the same factory), and it is my belief that they are of consistent quality (I own other Asolo footwear).

              To the brass tacks -- all 3 have high quality semi-rigid leather uppers. Two are waterproof, and one is highly water resistant. The Vioz Gt and the GV 520 are built with a Gore-Tex liner making them 100% waterproof. The SL M3 utilizes silicone impregnated leather, and is highly water resistant (but this is an advantage in it's own right as I discuss below).

              It is my opinion that the three different boots are the highest quality, highest utility, and highest durability in this rough class on the market today. So how the hell do you decide? Well, as we all know a boot is only as good as its fit on an individual foot. The SL M3 may be the best hiking/rock traversing boot ever made, but if it does not agree with your foot's profile it will undoubtedly be one of the worst. So before you buy, try them on. Try these three boots, and try three others. Get an idea of what meshes best with your foot's profile.

              If they all seem to fit equally well then what?

              Well, that's the issue I ran into. I finally went with the Zamberlan Vioz Gt because it was fully waterproof. I went with the Zam over Asolo's waterproof option for no other reason than the boot felt a hair better on my foot.

              Skipping forward... I have acquired all three boots. I say acquired because each boot is an asset and investment in your outdoor and daily life. Over time the three boots have taken on different roles. They are each a different tool, and like tools in your garage, no one tool is better than another holding quality, craftsmenship, etc. constant. Different tools are utilized under different applications.

              The application of my three different boots:

              I wear a running shoe in a US 10.5 or about EU 44.

              Zamberlan Vioz Gt (EU 44): I use these for blitz hikes and mountain running. I know it sounds crazy to run in these bad boys, but they perform wonderfully, and I can see no other footwear option that would equal its performance when I want to run me a mountain. I ran the the sand dunes in southern CO from campground to highest point in 30.15 minutes using these monsters --This boot runs true to size, and fits a mid profile foot. Its sole is rigid with a slight flex in the front ball. Break in period (short). My 44s fit perfectly snug.

              Asolo GV 520 (EU 45 wide): I use as my in the middle "tool of all trades" boot. I love to wear them around in my daily life, and find them hard to take off at night. I hike, do heavy load summer mountaineering, puddle hopping, whatever in these. They perform exceptionally at everything I put them through. --This boot runs a tad skinny and a hair short. They fit a slimmer profiled foot. Its sole is rigid from front to back. Break in period (short to medium). My 45 EE's fit perfectly snug.

              Scarpa SL M3 (EU 45): I live in the CO rockies and there's a lot of uneven and jagged granite to be had. I have found the the SL M3 to perform the best on intensive - granite rich hikes. Its super rigid soles keep my feet comfortable on the most unforgiving rock. Its overall rigid design keeps my ankles in line, when those rocks start moving unexpectedly. There's something about them that just excels on rock. They't don't have gore-tex so if you don't keep up on your waterproofing (take care of your boots guys) you can get quick moisture saturation, but this has never been an issue for me. All leather, and no gore- tex may seem like a disadvantage to some people, but it depends on your situation and use as I've explained. However, I love that it is an all leather upper with no liner. It really is a thing of beauty. The all leather feel is a pleasure like no other -- my feet always feel good in them. Get the SL M3's on your feet, and I don't think you'll care that they don't have Gore-Tex. --This boot runs a hair skinny and maybe a little short. They fit a slimmer profiled foot, but I have wide feet, and regular width is perfect. It's soles are extra rigid with little flex to be found. Break in period (medium to long). My 45's are perfectly snug.

              Clarification: just because I use one boot for certain applications, and one for others, does not mean that I couldn't use any of these boots successfully in any of the applications I've described. They all perform equally well. In my particular case each boot has tended towards separate uses.

              My advice to you if you're unsure of which boot to buy: brainstorm in detail what your actual use will be like. Consider what activities you do most, consider how much rigidity you desire, consider moisture environment, consider availability and access to water proofing products, consider weight, etc. As I said, get them on your feet. Get an idea of each boot's profile relative to your foot's profile, and consider if the FEEL of any one boot on your foot meshes with whatever uses you foresee yourself using them for (holding previously mentioned criteria in mind).

              Scarpa SL M3

                I have used the previous version of this boot for about 10 years. They were great. I have used the latest for several hikes now and they seem much easier to break-in than the old ones. The toe-box is bigger and the heel fits snug.
                Overall , nothing else I have tried comes close. They cause permagrin while traversing difficult terrain. The sole is very supportive but flexes a little and adds a spring to your step. The ankle support actually gives your ankles something to lean on while descending steep slopes. They fit like a glove, but might be too narrow for some. Like Hummers for your feet.

                Best I have ever had

                  I have have lost of boots over the years and by far these are the best. They have no "watterproof" liner but thats actually good. My foot dosn't sweat as much and they dry way faster. The rear of the boot holds your heal down and keep it from sliding foward. I would recommend these to any one with a narrow foot who insists on a tight boot with great ankle support.

                  wicked comfy

                    I took these boots on a 3-day backpacking trip in the White Mts. immediately after buying them - no break-in period at all. Result: no blisters & no hot spots. Feet stayed dry through extended water, slush, snow, mud, etc. Only downside - they scuff easily.

                    Wide feet guys

                      Lots of detailed info in the other reviews. I just wanted to add for us wide feet guys that these do not fit that wide. I was told they were wider than the old old narrow italian last. I guess they are a bit but still tight. I love a full leather Scarpa and will be stretching them and wearing them anyway. I know they'll adapt quick enough from experience. I'm a EE with high arches.

                      Also if you're looking for a dress / hike boot I think this is a poor choice. Unless you really enjoy maintaining the leather weekly. (I'm not being sarcastic-some people enjoy the maintanence part) It is a beautiful boot but if you really use them like 'Guru' (in the pictures) does they'll end up looking like his no matter what! Leather this beautiful, tough and still supple scuffs and that's the way it is.

                      Unanswered Question

                      Ive recently broken a couple of locking...

                      Ive recently broken a couple of locking lace hooks on my SL m3 scarpa's and need to get them replaced. Can I get them repaired through Back Country or recommend someone who will do a Scarpa quality job?. The locking eyelets are cast and not the best idea especilly in rocky terrain as they will be prone to knocks but the rest of the boots are the best ive had and the fit is perfect for me would hate to have to swap them. would even consider standard hooks if i could keep the boots.

                      regards wayne

                      Ive recently broken a couple of locking...

                      What product do you recommend to maintain...

                      What product do you recommend to maintain the leather?

                      Best Answer

                      Hey jas5579292,

                      A couple good ways to maintain the leather on the Scarpa SL M3 Backpacking Boot - Men's is applying the Nikwax Conditioner For Leather. Also, the Nikwax Fabric & Leather Spray Footwear Treatment is good for re-treatment of the waterproofness of the leather.

                      Can these shoes be resoled once worn...

                      Can these shoes be resoled once worn out?

                      are these boots good on slippery rocks...

                      are these boots good on slippery rocks etc.?

                      I have a bulbous heel that extends a bit...

                      I have a bulbous heel that extends a bit farther back than most peoples feet and just previously bought the scarpa Barun and still have the problem on inclines where my heel in the only thing lifting up on the boot which causes MAJOR blisters. I had the asolo FSN 95 before these and had them for 5 years and still got the same blisters on the back of my heel. I decided its time for a new boot that fits my heel. I tried this boot on for a few minutes on a incline thing in the stores and they felt better than most. Is there any boot out there that caters to my kind of foot? is the M3 the boot for me? I need help on this one.

                      Looking for a boot similar to this Scarpa...

                      Looking for a boot similar to this Scarpa SL M3 but lighter (bum knee here). Also does any boot have the old style Vibram Lug soles anymore? Those are the best for working in hilly,grassy slippery terrain.

                      This producto it's compatible with...

                      This producto it's compatible with crampones

                      Hi, Are these boots available in 44.5 BXX...


                      Are these boots available in 44.5 BXX (ie. wide fitting)? Also, how does the width compare to Scarpa Manta or Escape (DL last) mountain boots?

                      Advice much appreciated. Kind regards, Dion.

                      The wide width (BXX) is still quite narrow in the forefoot, and mostly just adds volume, not width. I have a medium width foot and found the BXX model too tight in the toes/forefoot but with a little too much volume for my foot. Too bad, these are some of the best boots out there right now. I wish they fit me

                      I have found a new pair of scarpa SL 3...

                      I have found a new pair of scarpa SL 3 backpacking 2008 model boots and I want to know if they have waterproofing like a gortex liner. If not what would a person use in waterproofing them?
                      Thanks, Roger

                      Roger, The SL M3 does not use Gore-Tex mainly because it doesn't need it. The one piece leather has almost no seams and the leather is treated so the boot is effectivly waterproof right out of the box. Over time you may need to re-treat the leather to maintain it's waterproofness and you can use something like Nikwax for this.

                      Scarpa recommends Nikiwax Aqueous leather proofing system. A Scarpa rep told me NOT to use Snowseal. Here is a direct quote: "The only thing I would not recommend using is SnoSeal, as it is silicon based and prevents you from resoling the boot later if needed."

                      The leather is waterproof right out of the box because it's super thick and impregnated with silicone, but that won't last forever (neither will Gortex), so it should be treated.

                      Hi there. I bought a pair of very similar...

                      Hi there. I bought a pair of very similar Scarpa Boots in the late 1990's, size 10.5 which fit perfectly until the birth of my kids. Now my foot is a touch broader and the boots are too tight -- n.b. I presently buy 10.5 Wide Saucony Omni 7 for running.

                      What size should I be looking at in 2010 for the SL M3's?


                      Do you have boots in a narrrow size. size...

                      Do you have boots in a narrrow size. size 11
                      Which boots if you do or where should I look.


                      Write your question here.I as considering...

                      Write your question here.I as considering the m3 or the asolo 520/535..What is anyone's thoughts on the vib sole on the asolo with pu construction. I'm no fan of the eva or anything close as it does not last. Also talked to a shop re the water proofing. They said snow seal is a nno/no. The last time I tried aqua seal or nike wax it sucked and went back to snow seal. Have they made real improvements? I never had any issue with snow seal, only had to recoat often.

                      Best Answer

                      I can speak about the Asolo boots with great confidence. (Read my review on the 520's). I own both & use them for backpacking, high alpine routes including summiting, rock work, & ridge walks. In the early season or if I suspect numerous snowfields, glaciers, etc., I wear my 520's since they are Gore-Tex lined. Any other time I wear my 535's. I've had these boots since 2004 & they have yet to be resoled. The Vibram soles have been worn down a bit as expected but no delamination anywhere. I can't personally speak for the Scarpa's but do know they make a fine boot which I might have owned @ one time or another if they only had been available in a narrower width.

                      BTW, whoever told you that using Sno-Seal is a nono, is a dodo. I totally agree with you. Sno-Seal is the only weatherproofing product I've ever used on full-grain leather footware for many years & it works great! You don't want to have a build-up of any product on the leather so it's best to occasionally buff off any excess before reapplying. Just like any other skin, leather has to be able to breathe.

                      Sno seal softens the leather too much. If you want to ruin your expensive $250 all leather boots, there's no better way to do it than soak it with sno-seal regularly aside from pure mink oil. Scarpa recommends their own silicone based product, which works with the way they treat the leather initially. Better to stick with that.

                      How long has this boot been made in China?...

                      How long has this boot been made in China? I have a pair now and they are great. I think that I have had them over five years. I prefer a boot mad in europe, I haven't had much luck with ones made in China. Bret

                      BREATHABILITY? do other people have problems...

                      BREATHABILITY? do other people have problems with breathability in these boots? waterproofness is not a problem, rather the buildup of moisture from internal sweating- resulting in damp socks and damp lining - even still now as winter approaches.

                      do other people with years of experiences in these boots have same problems with breathability have tips for solutions?

                      I have worn Thorlo athletic socks which are synthetic, well padded and have served me well in a number of one-third marathons and even they can't keep up with dissipating the perspiration generated by my Scarpas. I had to face it that wearing heavy leather boots is something I can only do in the coldest of weather. Otherwise, I wear well-vented synthetic membrane lined boots such as Keens.

                      Write your question here...Does this boot...

                      Write your question here...Does this boot come in 43.5 in a wide width

                      How generous are the sizes? My daughter...

                      How generous are the sizes? My daughter has large feet size 43 euro, 11 australian ladies, what size will she need as she will have to get a mens model. thanks Eileen O'Hara

                      I need a lot of support. I want to use...

                      I need a lot of support. I want to use this boot for backpacking. I used to have some all leather Merrills, but they delaminated.

                      I'm about 265lbs and carry an big pack as well. Will these boots hold up?

                      Unanswered Question

                      I?m stationed in Sicily conveniently located...

                      I’m stationed in Sicily conveniently located at the bottom of Mt Etna. My question is, dose anyone have experience hiking over sharp lava rock with these boots. I’m afraid the leather will get snagged and torn. Plus what would be the max comfortable temperature could you ware these boots? Thank you in advance.