18 May Which trailrunners do I prefer? La Sportiva Ultra Raptor versus Quechua FH500 Helium
So is more expensive always better? I’ve bought the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor and Quechua FH500 Helium trailrunning shoes and brought them with me to Slovenia to test them both. Which trailrunners do I prefer? This is my full and honest review.
Trailrunners for hiking
So lets start off with telling you why I switched from hiking boots to trailrunners. I loved my Salomon hiking boots and I still have them in case I need them. I follow some American thru hikers on social media who are doing the AT, PCT and CDT and something they all have in common is that they switched to trailrunners. I was wondering why and did some digging. Some of the plus sides of hiking in trailrunners are:
- The weight of the shoes: They can be 50% lighter (or even more) than your average hiking boot.
- They aren’t waterproof: So that means they are more breathable which is also a big plus. And to be honest, whenever I did a water crossing with my Salomons they filled up with water through the top of the boot and they won’t dry overnight like a trailrunner would!
- They let your ankle do what it must do: No it won’t give you ankle support. They will let your ankle be free to move so your knees won’t have to take all the pressure. I’m not schooled on this topic, it’s just what I’ve heard and read during my research… But I did a lot of hiking in my trailrunners and so far my knees don’t hurt as much as they did when I was wearing high boots! So it seems to work, a lot!
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor
Let’s start of with my first trailrunners, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor. I bought them for €159,95 which I think is kind of expensive. We’ve tried several brands (including the Altra trailrunners) but both my husband and I liked these ones the best. My feet feel really secure but also have a lot of space in the toe box which they should. The grip of the shoe is really nice and I feel secure on all types of terrain, even muddy, wet and slippery ones. They are comfy, but stiff enough to guard you from rocks and other sharp stuff sticking into your soles. The best thing about the raptors is the protecting piece on the nose of the shoes. I am a bit clumsy from time to time and I like to kick and trip over rocks a lot. Oops. I haven’t felt anything yet due to the protected nose.
Quechua FH500 Helium
I’ve bought the Quechua FH500 Helium shoes for work and as an extra pair of hiking shoes when my Raptors are being cleaned. They have a price tag of only €59,99 which is almost €100,- cheaper than my Raptors… yikes!
Even when they are that much cheaper I really enjoy them! They are really comfortable and they look nice. The soles are a little bit more flexible and a little bit less protected against rocks and sharp stuff but nevertheless they do protect you well enough. The grip is good, but not as good as the grip of the Raptors. I feel less secure going over muddy and slippery trails in them, but still good enough! The FH500 Helium shoes also give you protection against kicking against rocks, so that’s really nice. I did a water crossing in them and they were dry and good to go within a few hours of drying. That’s more than I can say about my old waterproof Salomons! They also have nice laces which you don’t have to tie, and I enjoy that a lot. You can slip them on and off super fast.
Which one do I prefer?
It’s so darn hard to choose! I love love love my FH500 Heliums… I wear them most. If they’d had the grip of the Raptors they’d definitely win! I think they are prettier, they are so darn comfortable and the price tag is just awesome. But do to the big difference in grip compared to the Raptors… it’s a tie. Is the extra grip worth the extra €100,-? No… definitely not. I think the Raptors are a bit overpriced in comparison, but still… they are great shoes! They both are. So in conclusion… If you have a smaller budget, buy the Quechua FH500 Helium, if you like to be more secure and you don’t care about the price tag, buy the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor.