I took up bouldering at the start of this year at the Climbing Hangar in Liverpool, and soon got fed up of hiring shoes that I was quickly growing out of skill-wise. So in April I got some Scarpa climbing shoes for my birthday from Cotswolds, and I have to say I love them.
The Nitty Gritty, From Bottom To Top…
Scarpa are a well known and popular climbing (and hiking) shoe brand. These particular shoes are not particularly aggressive in their shape, but for someone who hasn’t been climbing long, and is largely climbing inside this is pretty perfect. By ‘not very aggressive’, I mean that the sole is fairly flat and my toes are nice and snug but not dying and crushing each other to accommodate a highly pointed shape. I find this great for smearing and for nice long sessions at the wall. The Rubber is Vibram XS Edge MM.4, which is a great all-round compound I’ve found for both indoor and rock.
These are kind of billed as shoes for those who like a bit of comfort, and I admit to being one of those people! They are really nicely padded around the heel and on the tongue which has inspired quite a bit of jealousy from people I’ve climbed with who are trooping up and down in and empty shell of a shoe. Although this padding does get quite moist when its hot, and putting on cold sweaty shoes is a bit grim at first, it’s a trade off I’m willing to make at the moment. My toes are also pretty comfortable (for a climbing shoe!) and I can climb for a few hours without needing to take them off.
The upper is suede, and feels tough and hard-wearing enough to chuck in your bag time after time. I chose the ladies ‘lipgloss’ coloured ones and I know it shouldn’t be about the colours, but getting a pair in white pink and orange was a massive win and its a little different from some of the other outdoor industry female-colour scheming. (Just a note, I find Scarpa in general are pretty good with their colours: quite understated but with good highlights of some not so typical colours particularly for women.) The Velcro straps allow for a good amount of adjustment, although sometimes I do feel a laces version would be good to just cinch in the tiny amount of slack I sometimes find. Lastly, the sewn in hooks at the back are perfect for pulling your feet in but also for clipping them together to hang off a bag or to just keep them together. I recently traveled back from Germany with them hanging off my hand luggage and they survived really well.
In conclusion, they are an excellent shoe for progression and getting your foot on the climbing ladder (excuse the pun). They are a little more forgiving in their construction so no extreme claw feet, yet rugged and with excellent compounds to keep your feet on the wall when you need them to be. I love mine, and will be sticking with them for the rest of the year for sure! But who knows what 2016 will bring!
Rating- 8 out of 10.