Scarpa’s Vapor V rock shoe now has an upgraded model. The new Vapor Lace shoe offers a more customizable fit, which provides slightly more comfort and control. This shoe is ideal for vertical to slightly overhanging face climbing and mixed face and crack climbing.
Reviewed by Drew Thayer
Performance: The Vapor Vibram XS Edge Rubber soles provide a nice balance between sticky and strong. The sole flexes enough to provide ample surface area when smearing, yet the slightly pointed toebox with a well-defined edge provides excellent strength in small pockets and on razor-sharp edges. A slightly downturned geometry also provides more power during delicate footwork on small holds. The rubber extends over the big toe knuckle, allowing for more security and comfort while jamming or toe hooking. This toe pad only partially covers the top of the toes, however, and direct contact through the leather can be uncomfortable in some cracks, and eventually wears through.
Fit: Don’t let the slightly downturned sole and pointy toebox fool you, these shoes are extremely comfortable. The microsuede construction and Scarpa’s rand design result in a shoe that has pinpoint precision without any toe pain. I don’t have to size these masochistically small to get a shoe that is comfy on 5.9 slab and can still step hard into 5.12 edges.
The laces may make it slower to slip them on and off between pitches, but these shoes can be sized comfortably and still perform at a high level. The laces do a better job than Velcro at conforming the shoe to various foot shapes. The heel box molds like Cinderella’s slipper around my foot, compared to the Vapor V which always felt slightly baggy in my heel no matter how much I cranked down the Velcro. These shoes do not stretch much.
Bottom line: This shoe comes close to being a jack-of-all trades; it performs at a high level on a variety of rock types and angles. It’s a favorite for climbing in places like Eldorado Canyon, where I have to be able to jam cracks, smear on subtle slopers, and stand on tiny edges. Some people like a slightly aggressive, downturned shoe for climbing hard cracks; I’d recommend armoring the outer toes with a little shoe goo for this purpose.
Scarpa Vapor Lace on backcountry.com
Scarpa Vapor V (women’s) on backcountry.com
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