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Out of the box it is plainly obvious that The Boosters represented another level. They have a sporty and radical design and they are built to a standard superior to other makes. Not surprising when one considers that these shoes originate from Italy, the home of chic design and fast cars. On my feet they felt comfortable despite the space age cut. So comfortable I was concerned the wrong size, but no, as it transpired they were just right. On the rock, the boots are very sensitive and the amount of feel from the inside edge and toe were unprecedented. The Boosters were exceptional at edging on the inside edge and when toeing pockets however, there is not much longitudinal rigidity, as might be expected from a shoes with only a partial sole, consequently the feet have to work a bit harder. Because the outside edge is aggressively angled towards the toe I found it necessary to turn the foot more when using this edge and this took some getting used to. The arched design of The Booster really comes into its own when climbing steep pocketed walls and I recommend these shoes unreservedly for this type of climbing.
For me however, probably the greatest feature of these shoes is the positioning of the Velcro straps that secure the show onto the foot: Much thought has gone into this and the strap nearest to the ankle is angled in such a way so as to really firmly clamp the shoe on the foot and keep the heel in place. In my experience this is the first shoe to really crack the problem of heel lift.
I fine addition that should be of interest to the intermediate to advanced climber.
The Mago and the Booster share 99% of the same DNA. Both are exceptionally designed and constructed thoroughbred shoes. The Mago is basically the lace up version of the Booster. Like the Booster, the Mago offers superior sensitivity, with the added advantage of a lacing system. On overhanging rock, when toeing holds is an advantage, the Mago is king. The radical last shape may not be everybody's cup of tea and I found a certain amount of acclimatization necessary, especially when using the outside edge. If you climb overhanging rock then The Mago should be your shoe of choice.
Greg Chapman, General Manager at Rock and Run has also reviewed the Scarpa Booster. He said, "Being a dyed in the wool 5.10 Velcro fan it took some effort for me to actually get round to pulling these new Scarpa's on but when I did get round to it I was quietly impressed."
You can read Greg's Review here and view him actually testing the shoes in the video clip below.
You can view the Scarpa range of rock shoes at www.scarpa.co.uk
Craig Smith started climbing at Caley in 1979. After reading Physiology in Manchester, he climbed full time for several years, during which he made numerous hard for the day first ascents (Great Flake, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Conan the Librarian, Rumblefish, Let Them Eat Jelly Beans, to name but a few) and repeats, at home and abroad. He is a Royal Society Fellow and a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Cell Physiology at the University of Manchester. Still as keen as ever and climbs as much as possible between injuries, births and DJ-ing. He is married to the Molly and they have two children. They live in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Craig Smith: