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Top 7 Best Scarpa climbing shoes

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 quickly realized the demand for quality climbing shoes in Northern Italy’s quickly developing mountaineering scene and, as a result, their trusted and premium shoes can be found in almost every climbing gym across the world to this day. We are going to be looking at what makes Scarpa a trustworthy producer of climbing shoes, and comparing some of their most popular and innovative products available on the market.

What are the Best Scarpa Climbing Shoes?

Everybody requires something different from their climbing shoes depending on the routes they like to climb, whether they tend to climb indoors or outdoors, and also their ability. The following comprehensive list is only our opinion, compiled using personal experience, user reviews, and technical specifications. We have thoroughly explained each product, so even if it is further down the list, it may be more applicable to your needs, so do not presume that it isn’t as good as those in the top spots.

Additionally, after the product reviews, we have answered some common questions to help you to find the perfect Scarpa shoes for you.

1. Scarpa Instinct

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Leather

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The Scarpa Instincts are streamlined bouldering shoes, suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Designed to perform well on steep, overhanging roofs, the generous coating of rubber and downturned design ensure that your delicate toes are protected when jamming them into small pockets and when toe-hooking and that you retain power when pushing upwards in these angles. They are quick to put on and take off with their one strap velcro-design, and the thickness of the strap ensures that the product is durable.

The shoes are very rigid and strong, which is great specifically for overhangs, but they will not perform so well on slabs, although the flexible center does help a little to get grip on sloping surfaces.

Pros

  • Generously coated in rubber on the top
  • Aggressive downturn, perfect for overhangs
  • Easy-on velcro design
  • Flexible center

Cons

  • Extremely reinforced – performs well on overhangs but not so well on slabs

2. Scarpa Veloce

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Microsuede

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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.

Pros

  • 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 and slightly downturned

Cons

  • Rubber is thin and wears through quickly

3. Scarpa Vapor

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Leather, Microsuede

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The Scarpa Vapors are brilliant intermediate shoes, 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Long breaking-in period

4. Scarpa Origin

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Rubber
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: 100% Leather

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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 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.

Pros

  • Fantastic beginner shoe that is also loved by intermediate climbers
  • Strong and durable design
  • Flat profile, great for slab
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • No rubber on the top for toe-hooks
  • Not streamlined for overhanging routes

5. Scarpa Helix

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber, Synthetic sole
Closure Type: Lace Up
Shoe Material: 100% Suede

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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.

Pros

  • Another great beginner/intermediate shoe
  • Sharp rubber edge for standing on small holds
  • Comfortable to wear for longer periods
  • Versatile, flat profile

Cons

  • Laces take a long time to put on and take off
  • Toes wear through quickly

6. Scarpa Furia

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Vibram Rubber
Closure Type: Lace Up
Shoe Material: Microsuede

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Scarpa Furias are almost entirely coated in rubber. Paired with a sharp downturn design, this makes them streamlined for overhanging boulders of the highest grades. The modern strap design allows the shoe to fit comfortably around those wider feet, and the lightweight, breathable shoe feels surprisingly comfortable given how they look.

While being one of the strongest competitors on the market for overhanging bouldering, these shoes simply do not perform on more traditional slab climes and sloping surfaces as you will find it very difficult to generate sufficient traction using the aggressively downturned profile.

Pros

  • Adjustable velcro strap
  • Aggressively downturned – great for steeper climbs
  • Generously coated in rubber for toe-hooks

Cons

  • Firm and rigid shoe – will not grip well on sloping surfaces

7. Scarpa Booster

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Sole Material: Microfibre, Synthetic
Closure Type: Velcro Strap
Shoe Material: Ceramic Microsuede & Alcantara
Shape: Moderate Downturn

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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.

Pros

  • Thick and rigid rubber on the toes
  • Sharp downturn for steeper routes
  • Quick to take off and put on

Cons

  • Very solid shoe makes it very durable but limits sensitivity

All of these shoes are fantastic for different types of climbing and outperform each other in their own fields. If you are interested in modern overhanging boulder problems, the Instinct is a fantastic performer which will allow a little flexibility for other types of climbing. The Veloce is perhaps the best all-around performer, but do be aware that they do not last long. If you are a beginner, we recommend starting with something like the Origins until you are a little more comfortable with climbing shoes and what they are used for.

What You Should Know Before Buying Scarpa Climbing Shoes

With many stores insisting on a no-returns policy on climbing shoes, purchasing them can be an intimidating process and mistakes can be expensive. This is particularly applicable when buying online as it is much harder to try before you buy. It is well worth considering each of the following points when beginning your search for climbing shoes to reduce the risk of ending up with shoes that don’t work so well for you.

Most Important 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

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 disciplines of the sport, 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.

Price

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?

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?

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?

While Scarpa is keen to create vegan climbing shoes to be more environmentally conscious, they have struggled to find a glue that they can trust the quality of that is vegan. The brand has stated that they are working very hard on producing some vegan alternatives which we are likely to see soon, but only the expensive Furia Air shoes are currently vegan. In the meantime, some other climbing shoe manufacturers have already begun to address this demand in the market.

Are Scarpa Climbing Shoes 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?

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.

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