Scarpa Vapor V Review: My First Impression After Testing

So I recently bought the Scarpa Vapor V and this post is about my first impression of the shoe.

Long story short: I really like it.

I bought the shoe because I was looking for a climbing shoe that provides decent support to the outside of my foot. After testing out a couple of shoes, I finally settled for the Scarpa Vapor V with velcro.

Scarpa Vapor V Review

I did not need too much of an aggressive shoe. The bouldering gym I climb most at simply doesn’t have a lot of overhanging areas and that is why you would get more aggressively downturned shoes in the first place. Since I climb a lot, comfort is an important factor for me in choosing the right climbing shoe. The Scarpa Vapor immediately felt right. 

Here’s some key points I’ve noticed during my first impression of the Scarpa Vapor that I think will help you determine whether this is the right climbing shoe to buy for you too:

  • It provides great support all around your feet
  • It’s a moderately aggressive shoe, but it’s definitely not overdoing it
  • It has a sturdy rubber patch for heel hooks, but the sides of the heels are soft so you need to make sure heel hooks are well placed
  • It’s actually quite comfortable, even on first time wearing it
  • You can get them in your normal street wear size 
  • They will stretch up to half a size only, because they’re made out of synthetic micro suede rather than leather, which doesn’t stretch as much (and is vegan!)
  • It’s a great all round climbing shoes, aggressive enough to climb overhanging rocks with more ease than neutral shoes, while not being too downturned, so it’s still useful in climbs that involve some cracks and slab climbing.
  • May not be the best for dynamic boulders, since I prefer neutral shoes for stepping on volumes when building momentum for a dynamic move. But that might be a matter of getting used to and wearing them a bit more.

Let’s jump deeper into my Scarpa Vapor V Review where I answer more specific question that you may want answered before deciding to buy this awesome specimen of climbing shoes:

Is the Scarpa Vapor V good for multi pitching?

While I mainly use these shoes for top roping single pitches and for bouldering, I reckon this is a great shoe for multi pitches too. 

The reason is that they’re quite comfortable, which is what you’re looking for when you’re planning on wearing them for 6 or 8 hours during a multi pitch. You won’t get a chance to take your climbing shoes off during a multi pitching session, so you better make sure that you know that you can keep them on for the entirety of the send. 

If you’re planning on using the Scarpa Vapor for multi pitches, I recommend you don’t get them in a size smaller than your street wear size.

Is the Scarpa Vapor V a good bouldering shoe too?

Most definitely! This is a great all round climbing shoe and I’m super glad that I got them. I would say that they’re slightly better at edging than at pocketing, but overall you’ll find that these moderately aggressive climbing shoes give you the precision that you need.

For bouldering I would recommend that you don’t get them in a smaller size than at most 1 compared to your street wear size. If you want that level of aggressiveness, you’d be better off buying a more down turned shoe like this La Sportiva variant.

How’s the toe hooking on the Vapor V?

So you might not know this, but the Scarpa Vapor V is actually an augmented version of the previous Vapor. It’s actually an improved version, to be more precise.

One of the updates to the shoe is a better rubber pad on your toes, that’s specifically there to help you land solid toe hooks with great friction. 

So yeah, if you care about toe hooks, definitely get the Scarpa Vapor V instead of the old Vapor.

Can I wear the Scarpa Vapor if I have wide feet?

This is an important question to me, because I categorise myself as a person with wide feet.

The fact that I bought these may tell you enough. They’re good for wide feet.

The downside to this is of course that they score a little worse as a pocketing climbing shoe. Still, it shouldn’t be over exaggerated how wide these shoes are. You won’t feel like you’re walking in clowns shoes – like, at all.

The wideness of the shoe, moreover, is compensated for by the narrowness of the toes. You’ll find that they provide great support even on the smallest edges or even in finger pockets, albeit that they’re not so sensitive that you can feel the exact point of contact with your toes. So make sure that you actually look where you place your feet, as proper climbing technique dictates anyway.

The Vapor V is a great shoe for sweaty feet

The tongue of the Scarpa Vapor V let’s through a lot of air, which significantly improves the breathability of the shoe. So if you wear your climbing shoes without socks, as most more serious climbers do, the Scarpa Vapor V makes sure your feet won’t feel like you’ve hiked through a swamp at the end of your multi pitch.

The Scarpa Vapor V won’t accidentally come off as easily

I have to admit, they came off once when I put a lot of pressure on my heel hook – but this was because I was breaking them in while wearing socks. I haven’t ran into this problem when climbing without socks. Keep in mind that I bought these shoes in my street wear size.


But the point I’m trying to make here, is a little bit different. Some climbing shoes have both Velcro strips the same way, so if you stroke your feet past an object you’re at the risk of ripping loose the Velcro. 

Intelligently, Scarpa decided to have the Velcro strips face two different ways on the Vapor V, so you’ll never have both your Velcro strips come loose at the same time when you make a mistake.

Conclusion

The Scarpa Vapor V is a great all round moderately aggressive downturned shoe that is suitable for most styles of climbing. If sensitivity is your top determining factor in choosing your climbing shoes, the Scarpa Vapor probably isn’t the right shoe for you because the sturdiness of the shoe diminishes your ability to feel the rock with your feet. However, that same sturdiness provides great edging capabilities and the Scarpa Vapor V has everything else you could be looking for in a climbing shoe: decent crack climbing possibilities; great toe hooks and rock solid heel hooks; the comfort to get you through a whole day of multi pitching (without sweaty feet!) and the precision you need to stand on tiny anomalies in the rock face.

I’m a happy owner of the Scarpa Vapor V, and I’m sure you could be too! If you’re interested, you can check the current price at Amazon using this link.

Climbing Blogger

Zealous boulderer, gear geek and editor. Typically has more flappers than fingers on his hands. Occasionally enjoys the feeling of being scared of heights. Mostly prevents looking down too much, though, and cheers at the invention of climbing chalk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *