Helly Hansen Rapide Leather Mid HTXP ReviewMarch 15, 2013
- Durable leather upper
- Narrow and supportive through arch and heel
- Midfoot stabilizer reduces foot fatigue
- Easy to control over rough terrain
- Arch support in footbed
- Gusset is very low for a waterproof boot—only waterproof up to ankle
- Stiff cuff can be irritating on descents or unstable ground
Along with the Patagonia Drifter, this is one of the most versatile boots in the test: i.e. it’s at ease on everyday cruiser hikes but has enough muscle to handle rough terrain or longer treks. It’s super supportive on steep downhills, has great control, and is very stable on rocks. The high quality leather will also last several seasons (if the EVA midsole holds out).
Support & Stability
This is a low volume boot, which allows the upper to really “hug” your foot from the midfoot all the way through the heel cup. I felt so in control over tricky obstacles that it was almost like an extension of my foot.
Like most of the boots in the test, a midfoot shank eased transitions from heel to toe and reduced foot fatigue (even after a long day of field testing). Unlike the Lowa Bora, with its PU midsole, the EVA construction here will consign you to day trips and hikes with little to no pack weight. Still, I loved the comfort/performance versatility of the Rapide.
The cushiony EVA midsole and secure fit provided a pretty luxurious ride. My only gripe is that the relatively unforgiving collar irritated my ankle on unstable descents.
Quality and Construction
The Rapide uses Helly’s proprietary waterproof membrane, but surprisingly, the gusset stops below the ankle (so it’s really only half waterproof: fine for rain running off rain-pants, not fine for creek dunks to the cuff). Although the boot did get dinged for this oversight, it made up the points with its the ultra-durable full-grain leather upper and bomb-proof toe and heel caps. It’s also worth mentioning that the outsole is made of a noticeably stiff rubber with some of the burliest tread in the test, making it a great shoe for slick, nasty trails.
We gave the Rapide the Best Value award for delivering high performance without robbing you blind. The price point here, $130, was among the lowest in the lineup. This is a super value considering the Rapide was one of the most competent boots in the test—and it is made with durable, high quality materials.
A note on our durability rating: Because we rarely have enough time in a field test to actually wear out a boot, durability is determined by the materials used (ex: full-grain leather lasts longer than mesh); features such as rubber toe and heel caps; and whether or not the upper is constructed out of one piece of leather, or multiple pieces and materials sewn together. Our ratings are based on general wisdom and we cannot guarantee that a boot with a higher durability rating will actually outlast those with lower ratings.