Review: Scarpa Vapor Lace Climbing Shoe

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MSRP: $175

MSRP: $175

Here along Colorado’s Front Range, we have a lot of old-school vert face climbs. But it’s rare to find the requisite shoe that’s not clunky—even on thin face and crack features that demand edging power, you need some sensitivity and smearing. With the retooled Vapor Lace, Scarpa has crafted a fleet (only 7.6 ounces per shoe) all-arounder that fits this niche. The new Vapors use Scarpa’s Pressure Absorbing Fit (PAF) heel, which splits the slingshot rand around the Achilles and allowed me to size down for a glove-like fit. After a few Netflix-on-the-couch nights of break-in, the shoes were a beast on the first route I took them up, a gently overhanging crimp ladder with foot jibs, micro-edges, divots, smears, and nipples—and wicked highstep rockovers. The edging support was mega-stable thanks to the Flexan midsole, with zero wobble on tiny face holds. But it still had a subtle sensitivity and smearing flex for confident foot placements. This versatility comes courtesy of the thin (3.5mm) XS Edge sole, pointy, lightly downturned toebox, and the D2 Rubber Toe Cap, which weds stiffer rubber on the cap’s lower half with flexible rubber on the upper half for forefoot give. For 5.10-and-up thin face and trad climbing, the Vapor Lace is damn near perfect.

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