Founded in 1938 in the shadows of the Dolomite mountains, Italian brand Scarpa has become a world-leading name in the manufacturing of climbing shoes as well as skiing and mountaineering equipment. With strong competition from other local brands such as La Sportiva, Scarpa is still a reputable brand among climbers due to the quality and performance of their shoes, and their brand can be found in almost every climbing shop across the world to this day. We’ve purchased and used different Scarpa’s climbing shoes before in our 10 over years of climbing, and we’ve loved the quality of them for various uses. Below, we’ll look at what makes Scarpa a trustworthy producer of climbing shoes, and compare some of their most popular and innovative climbing shoes available on the market.
What are the Best Scarpa Climbing Shoes?
Below you’ll find the list of the top 5 Best Scarpa Climbing Shoes. We compiled this list from scarpa climbing shoes we have used, asked others about, and researched further to give you the best possible roundup. With many years of experience with rock climbing shoes by scarpa you can be assured that this article will give you what you’re looking for.
We also wrote a buying guide and answered some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) at the end of this article.
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Weight: 0.86 pounds (0.39 kg)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Microsuede
Shape: Slight downturn
The Scarpa Veloce is something of a game-changer in the world of downturned shoes. The shoes are very soft and flexible, with a thin coating of rubber that allows your feet to retain sensitivity so you can connect with every little groove in the rock. The flexibility is helpful for performing on slabs and standing on sloping surfaces, yet the downturn of the shoe helps you to climb at your best on powerful and dynamic overhanging routes. The modern strap design is great for wider feet and quick to put on and take off. The biggest problem with these shoes is the fact that the rubber is so thin and soft. This is a great thing for flexible footwear and retaining sensitivity, however, it means that they wear through quickly and don’t last so long before they need a resole.
- Malleable and flexible rubber provides heightened sensitivity through your feet
- Quick to put on and take off with adjustable velcro strap
- Generously coated in rubber,
- Downturned perfectly for dynamic climbs
- Rubber is thin and wears through quickly
- Needs regular resoling
2. Scarpa Vapor
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Weight: 0.89 pounds (0.4 kg)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Leather, Microsuede
Shape: Moderate downturn
The Scarpa Vapors are brilliant intermediate bouldering shoes for women, especially for those who are beginning to transition from beginner slab style climbing to caves and overhangs. There is a small amount of rubber on the top of the shoe to protect your toes in your first toe-hooks, a slight downturn to give you power from your feet up on steep routes, and yet they are soft and flexible enough to provide confident footing on slabs and sloping surfaces. They are quick to put on and take off and have a relatively sharp inner edge to help you stand on small ledges.
Aside from the long breaking-in period that these shoes have, which is especially frustrating for those who have not used them (and as these shoes are perfectly aimed at those buying their second pair of shoes, this could well be the case), the Vapors are not particularly specialized in any discipline of the sport, which can be restrictive for those who want to focus on one type of climbing. One last plus point about this model and a lot of other Scarpa shoes is that it is vegan.
- Great all-around shoe for intermediate climbers
- Slight downturn but still flexible enough to perform on slabs Strong, reinforced straps
- Sharp inner edge for standing on small ledges
- Long breaking-in period
- Not specialized for a certain type of climbing
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Sole Material: Vibram Rubber, Synthetic sole
Closure Type: Lace Up
Shoe Material: 100% Suede
The Scarpa Helix is perhaps one of the better shoes on this list for climbing instead of bouldering. The lace design and flexible materials make them one of the more comfortable shoes to wear for longer periods of time, a point only augmented by the flat profile often found on beginner and intermediate shoes. They come with that signature Scarpe inner edge to help you stand on small holds in peculiar positions. They are a truly versatile shoe, particularly good for slabs and when you have to wear them for a long time.The toes on this particular shoe seem to wear through quite quickly, and while the rest of the shoe is completely unhindered, it will still need a complete resole frequently. Furthermore, if you try to use these in a bouldering gym, you will likely get frustrated at how long it takes to put them on and take them off.
- Another great beginner/intermediate shoe
- Sharp rubber edge for standing on small holds
- Comfortable to wear for longer periods
- Versatile, flat profile
- Laces take a long time to put on and take off
- Toes wear through quickly
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Sole Material: Microfibre, Synthetic
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Ceramic Microsuede & Alcantara
Shape: Moderate Downturn
The Scarpa Boosters are another great shoe for modern indoor and outdoor bouldering, particularly streamlined for overhanging routes. They are coated in a very thick, generous amount of textured rubber to help you get grip using almost any part of your foot, and the sharp downturn again fits in with the modern trend for climbing steep overhangs. They are quick to take off and put on, and strong and durable shoes.
The Scarpa Boosters are certainly not the most comfortable shoes on this list, and the solid design, while being durable and protective, definitely limits sensitivity and versatility.
- Thick and rigid rubber on the toes
- Sharp downturn for steeper routes
- Quick to take off and put on
- Textured rubber increases grip
- Very solid shoe makes it very durable
- Limited sensitivity
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Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro strap
Shoe Material: Leather
Scarpa Origin shoes are brilliant for beginners and intermediate climbers. The relatively flat profile makes them very comfortable, yet they have a very strong sole and so, with a bit of imagination, can also perform relatively well on easy overhanging routes. The sharp rubber edge gives you confidence on smaller holds, and the thick rubber takes a lot of wear and tear to get through. The Scarpa shoes are lacking in any protective rubber on the top, which means that your toes are going to suffer if you try to jam them into small pockets or toe-hook. This does, however, allow for a little more breathability as the suede is slightly more permeable than the rubber would be.
- Fantastic beginner shoe that is also loved by intermediate climbers
- Strong and durable design
- Flat profile, great for slab
- Comfortable fit
- No rubber on the top for toe-hooks
- Not streamlined for overhanging routes
Based on all of our experience with rock climbing shoes by scarpa, we found that Scarpa Veloce is the best scarpa climbing shoe available today.
Our Premium Option is Scarpa Vapor with all the best features and high-quality materials, but that’s only if you have more money to spend.
However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Scarpa Helix Climbing Shoes as an affordable alternative.
Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:
What You Should Know Before Buying scarpa climbing shoes
Most Important Scarpa Features
The most important features you should look for in climbing shoes should very much depend on the type of climbing you are going to be using them for. Scarpa, and indeed other climbing shoe manufacturers, do produce a variety of good all-around shoes, however, if you are pushing yourself in one particular discipline of the sport, you will probably want a more streamlined and specialized product. Boulderers and competition climbers will want a shoe with a lot of rubber coating, particularly if they are likely to be using them on very overhung routes. This is because you will be using the top of your foot more frequently for toe-hooking and when squeezing into tight pockets, and the extra rubber provides more grip and protection when doing this. Slab climbers and multi-pitchers will want a more flexible and comfortable shoe that provides plenty of surface contact on sloping volumes or rocks. Multi-pitchers in particular will want a shoe that they can wear all day without causing too much discomfort. While a lot of people think that an aggressive downturn is essential, most often it is not. It is highly beneficial for steep roof routes and retaining power when pushing up at such extreme angles, but otherwise can hinder technical moves on vertical or slab routes. If you are looking at downturned shoes, consider trying to find one that is quite malleable and flexible so that they can perform across a range of different styles of routes.
Downsizing Scarpa Climbing Shoes
Downsizing climbing shoes is a hotly debated topic in the climbing community with passionate debaters on either side of the divide. It is true that smaller shoes squeeze better into smaller gaps, and you can put more weight onto tiny footholds, but if your shoes are too painful to wear, you are simply not going to be able to perform with confidence to your maximum potential. With that in mind, each producer of climbing shoes has their own perspective on shoe sizing, and many climbers will feel more comfortable when choosing a size that is one or two sizes smaller than their regular shoes. Personally, my Scarpa Origin shoes are 1.5 sizes smaller than my regular shoes, and after two years of use and two resoles, I can comfortably fit into them even when wearing socks.
Scarpa comparison – bouldering vs rock climbing
Scarpa produces shoes that specialize in both bouldering and rock climbing, however, we would argue that their products tend to benefit boulderers and sport climbers a little more than multi-pitch climbers. If you keep with us and have a thorough browse through the featured shoes below, we will better explain which shoes are best for which type of climbing.
Scarpa is a well-established brand of climbing shoes, and most of their products are on the more expensive and premium end of the climbing shoe price scale. With that being said, they certainly make a larger selection of climbing shoes for beginners and intermediate climbers than brands such as La Sportiva, which are considerably more affordable, but less streamlined, than the shoes aimed at more advanced climbers.
Questions and Answers About scarpa climbing shoes
Are Scarpa Climbing shoes good for women?
Yes, Scarpa’s climbing shoes are good for women. Scarpa produces shoes for both women and men and adjusts the shape of the shoes accordingly to better fit the contours of the feet of each gender. Furthermore, the brand focuses on being as inclusive as possible, and through their Scarpa Stands program, hope to bring attention and equity to people of all genders and color in the climbing community.
Are Scarpa climbing shoes good for beginners?
Yes, Scarpa shoes can be great for beginners. Scarpa shoes may not be the cheapest, however, the brand produces a wide variety of shoes that are perfect for intermediate and new climbers. Great products to try out are the Scarpa Origin, Scarpa Helix, and the Scarpa Velocity, which we haven’t featured on this list. All of these shoes are mid-range in terms of price, great all-around performers, and feature a comfortable flat profile which is more than sufficient when starting out.
Are Scarpa climbing shoes vegan?
Yes, some Scarpa shoes are vegan. Scarpa works hard to produce shoes that are eco-friendly and do not involve animal cruelty.
Are Scarpa climbing shoes true to size?
From our experience, yes, Scarpa climbing shoes are true to size. As previously mentioned, each climbing shoe manufacturer has its own perspective on shoe sizes. With Scarpa, most climbers tend to buy climbing shoes that are one or two sizes smaller than their regular shoes, however, all of this should depend upon your personal preferences and the specific model of shoe. Obviously, you will have to leave a little room if you climb in socks, and bear in mind that they will stretch a little over time as you regularly use them. We truly recommend trying before you buy if possible, as the wrong size shoe can create some serious problems for your feet or your climbing ability.
Do Scarpa climbing shoes stretch?
Yes, all climbing shoes will stretch a little over time, albeit only a small amount. Those made from synthetic materials will stretch a little less than those made from leather or more natural materials, but you will find that after a few painful sessions, the shoes will become a little more malleable and comfortable to wear. If you do not use your shoes for a while, they may revert back to their original size.