Climbing Shoe Review: The Scarpa Vapor V
By Trailblazer staffer: Nick Votto
I’ve recently had the chance to try out the Scarpa Vapor V’s and I’ve been very impressed with the overall performance of this shoe.
The specific model with dual Velcro straps, Scarpa also makes them in lace-up and slipper versions, all coming with the Vibram XS Grip rubber.
Though they could be used in any climbing discipline, these shoes excel at climbing and bouldering, holding a slight downturn in the sole, the Vapors are great on overhanging routes with small edges. The design beautifully concentrates power onto your big toe while still maintaining one of the wider toe boxes I’ve seen in a climbing shoe. This makes them much more comfortable than an ultra-aggressive shoe but without sacrificing much performance, if any. They also have a free- floating tongue to ensure proper fit and also making it easier to put them on.
My first chance to use them was doing some bouldering in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, before they had broken in (ouch)! Right away I could tell these would stick to very small foot pockets and I did some moderate bouldering with ease as the downturn helped me pull into the rock. Next up was the climbing gym. Normally I try and use old shoes in the gym as they break down very fast there but I figured I’d try it out. I immediately hopped on the 45 degree bouldering wall and did a number of hard problems my first try, again they were excelling on steep terrain where precise footwork is key. This was only the second use and they began to be much more bearable as I wore them for a good 10 minutes or more.
Today I was finally able to get out and do a longer 5.8+ route with them. For the entire 80-90 ft they performed very well not slipping one bit and excelling at crack climbing as well. They also continued to break in nicely and were quite comfortable for the duration of the climb. This shoe impressed me with its all around ability and I look forward to wearing them this climbing season and trying some hard climbs. I highly recommend the Vapor V’s and expect to be using them as long as they’re made.
Pros: Overhangs, tiny edges. A wider toe-box than most and a really locked down strap system. Great rubber and quick break-in time, shines on boulders and shorter sport routes.
Cons: May be a bit overkill for easier long routes, but I’ve yet to wear them on one!
Sizing: I’m a 42.5 street shoe and I bought a 41 which fits perfect. They are very tight fitting at first but break in after a few uses, much quicker than many shoes. Expect them to stretch about ½ to ¾ of a size.