Thursday, December 29, 2022

Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G Review: The Ultimate Deep Winter Mountain & Trail Running Shoe? 5 Comparisons

Article by Jeff Valliere

Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G ($239)


The Ribelle Run Kalibra G is a serious winter mountain running shoe that is also great for snowshoeing and hiking. Featuring an integrated stretch gaiter, an internal BOA Fit System and incredibly well treaded and sticky PRESA outsole, the Ribelle Run Kalibra G is ready to tackle any trail in any condition. I tested them in deep winter and more temperate conditions around Boulder, CO the past month or so.

Pros:  Water repellant upper with built in gaiter keeps feet warm and dry, the BOA Fit System is easy to use and very secure, comfort and cushioning are OUTSTANDING!, protection, traction

Cons:  I can’t really come up with any cons.  I am tempted to say weight, but that is a stretch given how well built, protective and functional these are.  


Official Weight: men's 13 oz  / 370g (US9) 

Sample 13.9 oz / 394g (US men’s 10)

4mm drop


First Impressions, Fit and Upper:

I am immediately struck by how well built, exceptionally rugged and high quality the Kalibra G feels, with its premium materials, tall gaiter and supple, yet durable feel.  The upper is comprised of several technologies that ensure top level winter running performance.

For security, foothold and comfort, the Kalibra G features the EXO upper construction system designed by Scarpa.  Lateral protection (inserts and therm welded cage) combined with the upper, create an exoskeleton to better protect, support and contain the foot.  

For keeping out the wind, moisture and cold, Scarpa uses Polartec Windbloc fabric that is engineered for maximum protection from the elements.  This is an external laminate that makes the upper water repellant, breathable and durable.  

Additionally, Scarpa adds a WINTHERM layer, which is a thermoregulatory membrane that keeps body temperature balanced, guaranteeing excellent breathability and insulates the feet from the cold and heat thanks to two combined technologies, insulation and reflectivity.  I cannot confirm how it protects from the heat, as it is winter here, but can confirm that they are plenty warm on runs down to 0 F and do not feel overly warm when the temps are in the 50’s.  

I have run them in fresh snow, through slush and puddles and my feet stay dry and warm, with the only exception being excessive slush/puddles, I will experience some eventual soak through, but my feet do stay warm.  In all snowy conditions however outside of deep, sloppy slush, my feet remain quite dry and comfortable.

The BOA Li2 dial closure system is implemented very well, with a very easy and secure closure.  They are dual directional, meaning you can make micro adjustments to loosen and tighten with the laces a TX4 textile l constructed with Dyneema (stronger than steel) to provide smooth, even closure for a secure and customized fit.

The inner shoe is very supportive and secure, with a thick gusseted tongue that protects well from the thin laces, a nice padded heel collar and a nicely structured heel counter.

The toe bumper is substantial and protective, integrating into a 360 degree rand.

The built-in gaiter is very tall, perhaps the tallest of any winter run shoe I have tested.  It is easy to snug around my skinny ankle/lower leg with a premium stretch elastic collar with a velcro strap

Overall fit is true to size if a slight bit roomy, which is absolutely perfect for accommodating a thicker sock for winter use. I am at my usual size 10 and with my normal midweight wool sock, I find fit to be just right and could easily wear a thicker sock even without feeling too tight.  Security is excellent and I feel supremely confident with foothold in any condition/terrain.


The dual density EVA-CS midsole feels just right for this shoe, as it is well cushioned and compliant, not adversely affected by the cold, yet is firm enough to be stable and predictable in technical terrain.  It is integrated into the outsole to provide 7 independently functioning zones of shock absorption. I wouldn’t say that this midsole is necessarily responsive, but is quite appropriate for its intended use.  Within the midsole is a Dynamic Stabilizer Torsion frame made of TPU, which wraps under the arch and extends along both sides of the heel for enhanced rearfoot stability and torsion control. I can attest that the Kalibra G has just the right amount of flex, stability and predictability for the roughest terrain.


The PRESA outsole is Scarpa’s proprietary outsole brand, built on 80 years of outsole design experience.  The lugs are “only” 4mm in depth, but they are aggressively shaped for penetrating the ground beneath your feet, from soft ground to snow, mud and slush.  The rubber is what Scarpa calls SuperGum and balances high friction with durability.  

This outsole lug design is one of the best I have tested and combined with the sticky rubber outsole, I feel confident on all surfaces, except for ice of course.

While on the topic of traction, when conditions get icy or even steep on packed snow, I of course add Kahtoola EXOspikes or Microspikes with the Kalibra G accommodating them quite well.


The ride here is perfect for snowy, winter conditions, being smooth and predictable, not necessarily responsive, but energetic enough for efficient movement in tough winter conditions and bad trails/off trail.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G is at the very top of my list of winter trail running shoes.  They are exceptionally high quality, are very very comfortable and accommodating, warm, adequately water resistant. The tall built in gaiter is perfect and the BOA Li2 dual directional dial makes adjustments a cinch and is very secure.  Traction is off the charts and these shoes are just a joy to run in, be it for an hour outing or a full day snowy adventure.  I cannot recommend them enough!

Jeff’s Score: 10 / 10 😊😊😊😊😊😊

Ride: 10 - Smooth, well cushioned and not too firm in cold weather, the best of any winter shoe of this type.

Fit: 10 - Supreme comfort and accommodating fit, yet with exceptionally great security, much of which due to the well implemented BOA Fit System.

Value: 10 - $239 is pricey, but is in line with competitors and you can be certain that you are getting the very best quality and performance.

Style: 10 - Super classy and sharp IMHO

Traction: 10 - as good or better than any shoe out there

Rock Protection: 10 - I have never felt a poke or prod from even the sharpest rocks

5 Comparisons:

La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX  (RTR Review)

The most obvious comparison, both are very competent winter trail runners with built in gaiter, BOA lacing system, a waterproof/resistant upper, best in class traction and close in price.  While I “only” gave the Cyklon Cross GTX a score of 9.6, I could toss a coin on which shoe I prefer and it somewhat comes down to splitting hairs on the day.  The Cyklon is nearly 2 oz lighter (Cyklon 12.25 oz. size 10.5 vs. 13.9 in size 10 in Kalibra G) and that is quite noticeable on the run and ESPECIALLY when picking up the pace or running uphill.  Additionally, even though my Cyklon is a half size larger than the Kalibra, the Cyklon is a more compact and nimble shoe, which is a bit of an advantage when moving quickly in technical terrain.  The Cyklon with Gore Tex upper seems to hold up to slush/puddle soaking better than the Kalibra G.  

On the plus side for the Kalibra G, while they weigh more, they provide a more cushioned ride and plush feel underfoot, where the Cyklon can feel a bit harsh underfoot and somewhat less energetic.  I also really like that the Kalibra G has a more accommodating fit, that is just more friendly for a full day out, while still providing superb security and stability.  Lastly, the 2 way BOA dial on the Kalibra G is very nice and it is great to be able to add/relieve pressure with an easy twist.  

For shorter, fast runs, I lean toward the Cyklon Cross GTX, but for longer days at slightly slower paces, colder days and when I want more cushion and a more relaxed fit, I’ll reach for the Kalibra G.  They are both amazing and I can enthusiastically recommend either.

La Sportiva Blizzard (RTR Review)

At about the same price, the Blizzard has similar intent and performance and I like that it has built in spikes.  That said, the Kalibra G is much easier to get into with the zip gaiter and BOA vs. the tight slipper like design of the Blizzard (with laces and lace garage).  I also find the Kalibra G to be warmer and more protective, with better cushioning and a  more relaxed, accommodating fit.


Hoka Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX (RTR Review)

The Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX has a lighter, faster, more responsive feel, with more and more plush foam underfoot, so it is slightly better for longer distances on harder surfaces.  While the mid height of the shoe is welcome, it is not effective at keeping snow as the ankle hugging built in gaiter of the Kalibra G has. The Hoka does a remarkable job of gathering snow, forming them into hard snowballs and hurting the ankle, so adding an ankle gaiter when in snow is a must.  The Speedgoat is comparably warm, somewhat because of the upper, but I also think the thicker midsole and composition wards off cold from beneath.  The Speedgoat is also $50 less, so a good value and it has  amazing longevity.

Salomon SnowSpike CSWP (RTR Review)

The SnowSpike has an excellent fit and is quite warm, but not quite as warm as the Kalibra.  Weight is about the same.  The SnowSpike has aggressive traction with built in studs, deep lugs and performs very well in the snow.  Cushioning is great, but I will say that kind of like the Speedcross (very similar stack/design), the SnowSpike has a very blocky heel that feels high and tippy in technical terrain.  It is best t for hiking/slower running on less technical snowy trails, where the Kalibra G is better suited to technical terrain and faster paces.


Adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro (RTR Review)

A premium shoe costing $10 more, the Tech Pro has a similar design and intent: full zippered gaiter, water resistant upper, easy step in, and a BOA closure.  The Tech Pro is one ounce heavier in my size 10.5 (vs. size 10 for the Kalibra G). The fit is very roomy in comparison (welcome for casual jaunts, or thicker socks on cold days, but not for high performance) and traction is not nearly as good as the Kalibra G.  Kalibra G has much better cushioning and better fit/security.

The Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G is available from Scarpa HERE

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Jeff Valliere said...


Anonymous said...

These look awesome! Thanks for the review.
How would you compare this this to the salomon xa alpine? Thats my standard for this sort of shoe. I got 600 snow and mountain miles out of my first pair. From the review I'm guessing you like these better? Thank you

Jeff Valliere said...

The Kalibra G is more plush and comfortable, with better cushioning, also warmer and with overall better traction/tread. I liked the XA Alpine, but I found them to be a bit overly firm and not nearly as enjoyable to wear as the Kalibra G.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback. Those all sound like nice improvements over the XA.

Antoine said...

Fantastic review, as I was expecting! Thank you, Jeff.
In term of weight the are very close to the Uragano GTX.
Would you make a brief comparison? Especially in term of fit would be appreciated as I cannot run more than ~2h and avoid steep terrain because of the narrowness at the front of the Uragano.
Greetings. Antoine.

Jeff Valliere said...

Hi Antoine,

The Kalibra has a more friendly and accomodating fit for a wider range of feet, yet with the BOA Li2 dial, it is really easy and effective to create a customized fit and adjust quickly on the fly. Very secure, withouth being constricting (and if you need space, just back off the dial a click or two).

Antoine said...

Much appreciated. Those sound like an investment for next year! Best wishes. Antoine.