/ REVIEW: Scarpa Vapour V
I'm really struggling with the climbing shoe market currently. It's being ruined by indoor bouldering, and a rush to super soft down turned models. The original Vapour V was an excellent all-rounder, the next generation a much less convincing proposition, being really uncomfortable on anything other than a short boulder problem.
Shops are now trying to sell me these and Five Ten Anazazis as their comfort models, this was a top end performance shoe 15 years ago, and still is to my mind on a lot of terrain. Where can we find good trad shoes nowadays?
How about a shoe for all-day comfort on VS to E3 routes? This shoe looks like it is repeating the mistake of being marketing led.
I like the Vapour V for sport climbing. They perform better at Malham for example than the Scarpa Instinct models (Lace/VS/VSR) which feel less supportive.
And I find XS Edge rubber is better then the Grip rubber on limestone generally, Grip tends to roll on small edges.
> How about a shoe for all-day comfort on VS to E3 routes?
Haven't tried them yet, but I'll be checking out the Scarpa Maestro when I find a shop to try them on.
> I like the Vapour V for sport climbing. They perform better at Malham for example than the Scarpa Instinct models (Lace/VS/VSR) which feel less supportive.
Out of interest is this with the current or previous version? I might have said the same for the previous version, but not so the current model. The Instinct VS is (at least for me) a whole lot better, and I did try them side by side in order to test this (albeit subjectively).
As with all these things, it's personal preference, so I'm not saying you're wrong - I'm just saying they didn't work for me.
> How about a shoe for all-day comfort on VS to E3 routes? This shoe looks like it is repeating the mistake of being marketing led.
A very good question indeed...
As per the comments above, it's a bit of a minefield as what works for one person won't necessarily work for another - it all comes down to fit and personal preference.
Personally I find the Maestro a bit on the soft/flat side, which is the same issue I have with the Anasazi (which I've always wanted to like, but never got on with). I've got pretty high arches, so tend to prefer something a little more downturned and have used a blend of La Sportiva Katana Lace, La Sportiva Otaki, Scarpa Instinct VS, Scarpa Instinct Lace, and Scarpa Boostic over the past few years. When it comes to edging the Boostic really does take some beating, but it's definitely at the higher volume end of the spectrum - particularly when compared to the Katana Lace - which also has a fantastic edging performance.
When it comes to comfort, just make sure you get something that fits the shape of your foot and I would hope that any of the above would work for you. Clearly other brands exist, those just happen to be some of the ones I've used/reviewed/liked.
The original Vapour V was a fantastic shoe - good on all terrain, and you could get them in Decathalon for about £50. A ridiculous bargain.
Then they changed it, needlessly, so that what used to be a perfect shoe for my feet suddenly no longer fit because the last and heel were now totally wrong. The price also went up.
This latest model seems even worse, based on Rob's review.
When the second Vapour V came out, I eventually switched to the Scarpa Instinct Lace which is an absolutely brilliant shoe in terms of climbing. However, the rubber wears out incredibly fast, and the material around the laces literally falls apart after a few weeks (this happened with both pairs I've owned).
I've been a Scarpa enthusiast for the past 3 years (the only shoes that regularly seemed to fit my fat feet and perform well) but due to frustration of them changing a winning model, and not wanting to pay £120 a go for shoes that wear out way too fast (the Instincts), I've recently switched to Tenaya. Currently wearing the Oasi as an all rounder and my god they are good. Trad, bouldering, sport - one shoe to rule them all.
Scarpa need to up their game - I'll be exploring more of the Tenaya range and I think they could soon be putting a lot of brands to the sword.
Edit: I also tried the Scarpa Techno X for trad. I initially liked them, but I've now decided they are rubbish - exclusively using them in the gym and aiming to wear them out there, to save other shoes for outdoor use.
p.s. before anyone says "Get the Instincts resoled", the way may weird feet work is that rubber looks fine one day and then is pretty much worn through down to the ends of the skin of my toes the next, so I generally don't have an opportunity to get them resoled because one minute shoes seem OK, the next I've totally trashed them. Probably because the crucial trashing usually happens outside, during a trip, and because I have weird feet (and probably shite technique)
Re good trad shoe, I want to try the Tenaya Masai, as an alternative to the 5.10 anasazi pink which I am convinced Adidas have massively scrimped on and made inferior over the past few months, as well as changing the sizes of the shoes they are putting out without notice, i.e. a size 7 bought in November was markedly bigger and floppier than a size 7 bought in January (this wasn't just me: happened to a friend, and UKC forums confirmed other people had same experience). Very irritating, and that's me now done with 5.10, as I found my recent pairs of Anasazi pink to be very low quality compared to previous pairs. Genuinely, I think they are scrimping on the build process in various ways - the shoe is getting worse.
Problem is I want to try on a pair of Masai before buying, and can't seem to locate a London stockist. Any ideas anyone?
Try Rock On - The Birmingham store stocks some Tenaya so I'm guessing mile end will too.
I'm not sure being market led is a mistake. In fact it makes good sense from a business perspective. Have you seen how many bouldering centres are opening and how full they are? I can't comment on outdoor sport climbing but I haven't seen an uplift of Trad climbers at the crags.
On a personal level, I had both previous iterations of the Vapour V and liked them for that stage in my climbing.
I now have a decent selection of shoes at my disposal but 95% of the time I reach for the super soft, downturned variety (Scarpa Furia S at the moment). I appreciate that suits my style of climbing but may not suit everyone else.
I was looking to try a pair of Boostics as an alternative to the Miura VS (which ove been told is probably being diacontinued?), but no one seems to stock them at my usual haunts. How's the fit by comparison and are they as stiff?
My favourite trad shoe is La Sportiva TC Pro. I have two sizes - ones I bought originally, wore out and resoled for all day / easier routes, and one half a size smaller that I got more recently for single pitch / harder routes although to be honest I could use the larger resoled pair on anything I can actually climb and they won't be holding me back. Laced so you can get them pretty tight if you need to but otherwise super comfortable and very stiff - worn them for hours without issue. Only downside is the price but they last a long time and have taken to resoling really well.
On the market point: I feel this is similar to what's happened in clothing. The biggest market for outdoor clothing is skiing / pootling about town when it rains a bit. Hence why companies like TNF focused a lot of their gear looking cool around town / on the slopes. Actual hardcore climbers are a much smaller market so don't make the bigger firms as much money.
Shoes will be similar - I'd imagine there are a lot more indoor boulderers now than outdoor trad climbers so the companies can make more money if they focus their range on this market with a few "specialist" shoes for the hardcore outdoor crowd. Some companies will stay true to their roots others will focus on the bottom line - probably depends mostly on who ultimately owns it (i.e. private vs investment firm / shareholders). On the upside we've seen in clothing a number of brands stay dedicated to technical clothing and new smaller brands pop up to fill the gap left by the bigger firms more generic products.
Mile End only stocks the Oasi unfortunately.
Next bet would be Banana Fingers @ Bristol - not exactly down the road though
> Shops are now trying to sell me these and Five Ten Anazazis as their comfort models, this was a top end performance shoe 15 years ago, and still is to my mind on a lot of terrain. Where can we find good trad shoes nowadays?
> How about a shoe for all-day comfort on VS to E3 routes?
There's a ton of models out there that would be great for all day comfort on VS-E3 routes, here's a thoroughly non-comprehensive list of models that should be easy enough to find at one of your favourite climbing retailers:
Scarpa Helix / Force V / Maestro
Boreal Joker / Zephyr / Ace
Sportiva TC Pros / Mythos / Finale / Tarantula
FiveTen Gambit / Asym / WallMaster
Evolv Royale / Kronos / Defy
Black Diamond Aspect / Momentum / Focus
> Problem is I want to try on a pair of Masai before buying, and can't seem to locate a London stockist. Any ideas anyone?
They used to stock the Masai at the Castle - worth checking there
Yeah I may just use their online size guide and take a gamble. At £85 the Masai is a pretty competitive shoe price-wise.
Ah good stuff. I was going to check there on Monday.
incredibly detailed review covering all aspects, probably the most detailed review I've ever read for climbing shoes.
But i couldn't help being curious about:
The new Vapour V uses Scarpa's 'FR' last, which is the lowest volume in the range.
a comment about the FRW being even lower in volume.
does that mean the the FRW isn't in the same range or is it a mistake about how low volume the FR is or is it something completely different? I was a scarpa devotee for years but then they just stopped fitting my feet so I'm keen to know more about their lasts
FR Womens ?
Mile End is my local gym and just to note that it doesn't have any Tenaya shoes currently.
They had Tenaya Oasi on Wednesday...
> The new Vapour V uses Scarpa's 'FR' last, which is the lowest volume in the range.
> followed by
> a comment about the FRW being even lower in volume.
> does that mean the the FRW isn't in the same range or is it a mistake about how low volume the FR is or is it something completely different? I was a scarpa devotee for years but then they just stopped fitting my feet so I'm keen to know more about their lasts
You've busted me there, that is indeed an inconsistency.
To justify my somewhat skewed reasoning, the FR last is the lowest volume 'for men' and the FRW is the lower still, albeit for women; however, that line of thinking doesn't quite add up when you take gender out of the mix, because at the end of the day they shouldn't necessarily be looked at as men's and women's shoes, more as low volume and lower volume shoes suitable for either sex. If you've got low volume feet I'd highly recommend trying both on.
Thanks for the feedback too
It's been quite a few years since I've used the Miura Velcro, so wouldn't feel confident in commenting on the differences for fear that it'd fundamentally be blagging it. With that in mind, take the following with a large pinch of salt...
I think the Boostics would be higher volume and - if memory serves me correctly - stiffer than the Miura VS. Size-wise they tend to come in around 1-2 European shoe sizes beneath your high street shoe size, depending on how tight you like them (i.e. I'm a 42 normally and a 41 in the Boostics).
Thanks to everyone for the interesting commentary so far, it's good to get the thoughts + feedback - makes it a much more interesting thread!
> Only downside is the price
Also their lack of availability in the UK
(only Needlesports, to my knowledge)
Where's that grit boulder problem please, as the landing looks almost perfect! :0)
Cheers, I'll let you know how large that pinch of salt is, if Scarpa bring some along to Tradfest next month. I just wish shops in North Wales or The Peak stocked them!
> Out of interest is this with the current or previous version?
Current version. VS is noticeably softer.
I think it’s more than just fit. It’s the range that are being sold. I’d love to buy a pair of Mythos but rare as rocking horse proverbial.
Five10 Moccasin too, although I think these may no longer be made.
It's something of a chicken and egg situation: if shops don't stock them then you can't try them, hence you don't know if they fit; if you don't know whether they fit, you're less likely to buy them...
Yeah that's probably true now that Cold Mountain Kit in London (and Reading?) has closed down. Got all of my rock shoes there as the staff really knew their stuff, pity it closed.
me and my lower volume feet appreciate your feedback....
and your validation ;)
My daughter unfortunately wears her shoes out at a similar rate to outgrowing them at present so resolving has never been an option. I have a collection of shoes with holes starting in the toes in what are pretty good shoes. A few pairs of vapour v’s too.
surprised no one has mentioned the extra padding. They seem to be a very comfortable shoe, especially good for young kids making progress to slightly more technical shoes than those when you 1st start climbing. That seems to still be there but for a long shallow footed climber I must admit my daughter thinks the heel feel is a big step backwards. She now has to really clamp the straps down to do strong heel hooks even though she has gone for the same size as her previous vapour v’s. A friend has taken to gaffa taping them on if heel hook is required.
She has has the tanaya masai and really liked them but prefers the Velcro straps of vapours.
All in all she is happy with them as her comfortable do everything shoe
'Padding' could be putting it a little too strongly, there's not exactly much excess beyond the lining.
When it comes to the heel, I'd actually say this is one of the areas that seems to have received universal acclaim, insofar as they seem to have nailed an incredible/slim fit. In fact, I know a whole bunch of boulderers that went out and bought a pair specifically for the heel (extravagant though that might seem).
Whether or not this fits you is another thing, which leads me on to my previous ramblings: I'd say that anyone gaffa taping a shoe onto their foot needs to take a serious look at why they're using the shoes in question, because - let's face it - if you've got to gaffa tape them onto your foot, they probably don't fit...
I still don't envy any youngster working their way through shoes. It's hard enough making a decision about which pair to wear, and which actually fit, when your shoe size has been the same for the best part of 20 years!!
I just created an account basically to say AWESOME review! I really wish other climbing shoe reviews were 1/4th this detailed and thoughtful. Most are along the lines of "great shoe, I used it ___________ and it performed wonderfully at everything." I do agree with the split personally of the Vapor Vs.
Like Compo, I am also confused about the lack of high performing all day trad shoes on the market. Everyone used to say "that isn't what the market wants" but then Sportiva created the TC Pro and I seriously don't know a climber that doesn't own a pair, they must of sold a million of them by know. I am pretty sure there is a market out there for this type of shoe, especially if you live anywhere near granite or cracks...
But, the TC's don't fit my foot (toe narrow in the forefoot and too tight on my heel) and I think the tongue shape and extremely fast rand delam are pathetic (I am on my fourth pair with at least one resole each..).
I really wanted to like the Maestro but they seemed really clunky, a little soft, and the heel farted worse than any show that I have tried.
My fingers are crossed for the here-any-day now Five Ten Grandstone because I definitely have a Five Ten foot. They have been promising this shoe as a competitor to the TCs for years now, but I am beginning to wonder if we will ever see them....
> Everyone used to say "that isn't what the market wants" but then Sportiva created the TC Pro and I seriously don't know a climber that doesn't own a pair, they must of sold a million of them by know.
At a guess, you're not British then? When I lived in Finland, quite a few climbing mates had TC Pros and they were easy to get hold of from the small number of shops that sold rock shoes in the country, but I don't think I've seen anyone using them in the UK - definitely no one I've climbed with over the last 4 years since I moved back has been using a pair. Not even sure if you can buy them in UK shops?
The only place I've seen them is (was) Cold Mountain Kit in London.
> Not even sure if you can buy them in UK shops?
I also find this really odd because as an allround trad shoe they're superb.
Few friends have them in the Lakes but we have Needle Sports.
Maybe a group test of "flat performance shoes" as they are alluded in this UKC article https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/skills/series/neil_gresham_technique_and_training/technique_-_choosing_your_footwear-10488 would be an interesting read for many readers.
> Not even sure if you can buy them in UK shops?
My understanding is that they're not included in the standard range Sportiva import to the UK.
No demand for them, obviously...
(Presumably Needlesports have a special arrangement?)
Flat performance shoes - isn't that the very definition of the anasazi range (and, presumably, their unparallel equivalents)?
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