Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G Review
Looking for a weatherproof, extreme trail shoe with a built-in gaiter to keep out the worst of the terrain for that next winter adventure? This week’s Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G review might be for you!
The Ribelle Run Kalibra G is based on the Scarpa Ribelle Run, which we reviewed earlier: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scarpa-ribelle-run-review/.
The Ribelle Run is a shoe that I enjoyed running in very much and has become a popular shoe with customers too. It’s no surprise that Scarpa have developed a hardcore winter version of the same shoe. The Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G shares the same responsive midsole and 4mm heel to forefoot drop. The stack height is 24.5mm thick in the heel and 20.5mm in the forefoot. The midsole is made of a medium density EVA that gives a responsive feel and protects the feet from stones etc.. on the trail. As with the Ribelle Run, the Kalibra G version has a rocker in the midsole like that found in Hoka and Scott running shoes. This slight curve to the midsole encourages you to pull your foot back as it touches the floor. This increases cadence and promotes a more natural, upright posture. It gives the Kalibra G the same responsive ride.
The outsole lugs have been deepened to 5-6mm so they bite better into soft ground like mud or snow. The lugs are made of the same ‘Presa’ rubber that offers excellent grip on wet surfaces, yet still durable enough to be used on harder tracks and trails. Crucially the Presa rubber doesn’t lose its properties when the temperature drops, which makes it an ideal rubber to use for the outsole of a winter trail running shoe.
The fit of the Kalibra G is purposefully snug, with a more traditional shaped toe box. This is the same sizing and fit as the Scarpa Ribelle Run. There are loops inside the shoe that allow you easily pull the shoes on. The shoes fit and hold the foot well on rough terrain or whilst running on a camber. The midsole offers a good level of cushioning and underfoot protection but at the same time will flex to take the shape of the ground, so you don’t get thrown around too much on rough tracks and trails.
Windproof, Water Repellent
The Scarpa Kalibra has an external gaiter made from Polartec Windbloc. This is a windproof and water repellent 3-layer fabric designed to keep out the elements and keep your feet warm inside the shoes. The fabric is soft and flexible.
The shoe inside the gaiter uses BOA’s 360 wrap lacing system. This pulls the shoe upper in around the heel as well as the top of the foot to give a snug, almost ‘bespoke’ feel to the fit. The Li2 Dial system allows for micro adjustments so if the shoe feels too snug or loose after the first mile or so you can easily adjust the fit. The gaiter is closed over the shoe with a waterproof zip. The zip fastener goes into a Velcro fastener.
Like the Ribelle Run the Kalibra G has a TPU rand that runs around the base of the shoes. This protects the shoe from getting cut by rocks or other abrasive materials on the trails as well as offering protection to the feet inside the shoes.
A lot of customers have made the mistake of thinking that the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G is a boot. This is an easy mistake to make as it looks like a boot when fastened up. However, it is simply a trail shoe with a built-in gaiter. The mens’ average 370g and the fit and feel is like a lightweight trail shoe when you are running in them. The soft material used for the gaiter and sleek fit means that you often aren’t aware you are running in a shoe that is any different to your summer trail shoes. What is different is that you feel protected, warmer and have the snug feel of a winter boot.
Shop Manager Craig Training on the Pennine Way
“The Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G fits the same as the Ribelle Run in terms of size and width with a more dialled in fit, as the BOA fastening pulls the shoe in around the heel as well as the top of the foot. The loops inside the shoe at the front and back of the opening make it easy to pull the shoe on.
The gaiter is soft, flexible, and not tight. The zip runs up from the outside of the shoe to the cuff, where the top stop sits under an elasticated strap with a Velcro fastener to hold it in place. You can have this as tight to the leg as you like. There is a reflective band on the front of the shoe. Once on, the BOA lacing system can be adjusted to hold the foot snuggly. This can be adjusted at any time, for example if your foot swells up a bit during a run.
I found the BOA very comfortable, and it didn’t come undone when running through undergrowth or getting wet, soggy and muddy.
The cushioning is a nice balanced level, soft but not squishy and un-energetic. It was comfortable on the road sections and gravel but very stable on uneven, muddy surfaces. I had a feel for the terrain without being too high off the ground. The 4mm drop allowed for a natural midfoot strike but enough cushion on the heel when descending. The low drop also helped make the shoe feel stable on rough terrain.
The grip is impressive, good on all the terrains the Pennine Way had to offer! Confident on clawing up muddy hills as well as running down. Only the sloppy mud was a problem but almost zero running shoes could have handled it and none would have then been comfortable on harder tracks and trails.
On my longest run in the Ribelle Run Kalibra G to date the weather was cold, foggy and damp at 7am but the Polartec Windbloc kept my ankles and feet at a perfect temperature. Even splashing through mud and puddles didn’t make any difference. A nice change from cold wet feet! Obviously when faced with crossing a stream I could have taken the footbridge but as this was a shoe test, I had to see how they would fair being submerged! Ankle height I got away with it but once I got deeper, I obviously soon felt the cold water come through. On the other side I sat down and emptied the trapped water from my shoes, readjusted the BOA laces and started running again. My feet soon warmed up and subsequent puddles didn’t bother me. The conclusion being that the Polartec Windbloc is water resistant enough for rain and puddles but isn’t designed for swimming!
I run mainly in shoes with wider toe boxes, but I could appreciate the lack of lateral movement in a narrower last, which meant I didn’t have any blisters on the soles of my feet caused by contouring. I also felt held by the shoe even when descending for long distances at speed. The Scarpa Kalibra G looked after me well during this 18-mile run over the Pennine Way. Fab.”
In summary the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G is a very versatile, hardcore winter trail running shoe. You aren’t doing your 2mile daily run in them, you’re tackling the Pennine Way in them over the winter. Like the Scarpa Ribelle Run it copes with a variety of trail terrain well, including some tarmac, mud and snow and varied track and trails. The ‘BOA 360 wrap’ lacing gives the Kalibra G a real personalised fit that can be easily adjusted. The Polartec Windbloc gaiter makes the shoes warmer and keeps out the wind, mud, grit and wet. As Craig found out, the Kalibra won’t replace your wellington boots but this thing is going to protect you from the cold, wet ground on a real adventure, especially at some altitude.