Scarpa Helix Review Facts
Climbing shoes are specialized shoes meant for rock climbing. They usually offer a very close fit with a very smooth and sticky rubber outsole. They are unique in that they have the smooth outsole and that they usually have an extended rubber rand which is the piece of rubber that covers the joint between the upper and outsole of a shoe. Climbing shoes are an important piece of equipment because they offer a better level of grip in comparison to regular hiking boots or running shoes. They are not meant for anything other than climbing though, as they do not offer the necessary support and protection offered and required with hiking boots and shoes. Climbing shoes fit differently than any other type of shoe. They support the foot but also allows a level of sensitivity that allows the foot to feel the surface it is touching. Additionally, they tend to be stickier than regular runners due to their requirement to stick to the rock’s surface without skidding off.
This article focuses specifically on the Scarpa Helix climbing shoe. This product is quite popular with consumers currently and we wanted to find out why. Scarpa is a company that started with mountain equipment. Their primary focus is on innovation and evolution of technical gear, focussing primarily on mountaineering equipment. We looked at consumer reviews to find out what people liked and disliked about this product. We looked at the materials used and the shoe’s construction in order to determine its quality and durability as well. We also looked at the shoe’s flexibility, structural integrity and breathability in order to provide a comprehensive review of this product. We hope that this product review helps you in your next purchase of a climbing shoe.
This product offers a slightly asymmetric shape and a flat toe profile, so it does not have an aggressive last in comparison to more advanced equipment on the market. This would make the shoe more comfortable when walking around in, though as typically with more aggressive lasts it is hard to walk flat-foot around walls or on paths.
This product is a neutral shoe which would allow a better grip on long routes and cracks but less grip on downturns and tensions. It is also not great for overhanging routes. This is discussed more in the traction section. The majority of this shoe (including lacing system and pull-on tab) is made of high-quality leather materials that give a little over time. The leather helps keep the shoe closer to the foot to offer better precision. Those who wore this product found that it is more of a beginners shoe due to its build and last, however, did find the shoe quite comfortable. The primary issue with this shoe is that it is quite tight initially which isn't an issue if sizing up, however, note that even though climbing shoes are supposed to fit tightly, these still need to be sized up. Overall, those who wore this product found that they were comfortable and supportive.
This product is mostly made out of a leather material. Leather is not only flexible but durable. It is, for the most part, weather resistant and can dry faster than synthetic materials typically. Leather is also ideal for comfort as it does stretch which allows the shoe to adapt to the shape of the foot and also keeps the shoe closer to the foot, giving the wearer a more natural step. This product also offers a leather lacing system
and pull-on tab which ensures that the areas of the shoe that experience pressure and pulls to hold longer. The construction of this product seems to also be good. Keeping in mind that the majority of the people wearing
this product are beginners as this is not an advanced shoe, those who did review on the shoe found that the shoe held together well and appeared to be made of quality materials. Overall, this product does seem to be a durable one. The biggest complaints about the shoe is that the leather stretches a fair bit and the other is that this shoe fits very small, the solution to this issue is to wear a size up which seems a little contradictory considering it stretches, it doesn't seem to stretch so much that it will eventually fit true to size. It seems to stretch about .5 of a size.
This product offers a 1.9 mm Flexan midsole. This material is standard in Scarpa shoes no matter the sex. It offers a natural but still stiffer feel to the bottom of the foot. The midsole hugs to the bottom of the foot in order to allow the climber to really grip onto rocks. The thickness is a little higher than standard which helps with the durability of the shoe but may also affect the sensitivity of the climb. Again, this product is not meant for an advanced climber,
they are more meant for beginners who are in the learning stage. Those who wore this product did find that the shoes fit well right out of the box and offered a natural and supported step. They are flat foot which means they can easily be walked around in in comparison to more advanced lasts.
The outsole of this product is made of a Vibram rubber material. Those who wore this product did find that they were 'sticky' right out of the box. The midsole of this product is slightly thicker than standard which does affect the sensitivity of the climb and the last of this product is flat profile which, as mentioned earlier, is better for walking around but not aggressive. The flat profile helps with long cracks and routes. It isn't as good for precision and edging or downturns and tensions which is needed for steep and overhanging routes. This product is definitely better for beginners for this reason. Though there doesn't seem to be many issues with the tread of this product, some found that they aren't as good for indoor, artificial walls with slippier rocks. This product works well on natural, porous and rougher surfaces, it doesn't work as well on artificial or polished rocks. This should be considered if this product is meant to be used on artificial surfaces. Reviewers did note that this product is sticky right out of the box which is handy. Overall, this product offers a decent traction when used on natural surfaces which is positive.
This product is mid-range in price
which seems about right considering. Obviously, with this type of product, this type of shoe is not easily versatile in that it can be worn any other environment than during climbs. They are usually just used for wearing right at the wall that the shoe is being used to climb. This shoe can be walked around in due to its flat foot profile but they are meant strictly for climbing walls.
They are made of durable materials, being mostly leather. This includes the lacing system and pull-on tabs. They are made in Italy which means they do fit a little smaller and should be sized up despite the stretching that is typically offered with leather products. Those who wore this product did find it to offer a decent amount of traction and grip when climbing on natural surfaces (less so on artificial ones). This product is made for beginners but does offer a professional grip. They also offer a flat profile which, again, is meant for beginners. Overall, the price of this product makes sense considering it is made of quality materials, seems to be constructed well, offers a flat foot profile and is made for beginners. It is a great shoe considering.
The sizing seems to be the area that is most debated. It is hard to tell if the wearer should be wearing their own size or sizing up. With climbing shoes, typically, you want the shoe to fit quite tight because this will offer the best control over the foot. It should not be loose as this can cause slipping around (very dangerous when on mountains). Those who wore this product found that their own 'sizing' (which was typically in comparison to their everyday running shoe) was far too small in this product and they needed to size up. The other issue people found with this shoe is that it does stretch because of the leather material used. It seemed that those who wore their own size, even though it felt snug, found that they were way too tight still later on even after they stretched and caused some calluses on their toes. For this reason, it is wise to either go to the manufacturer's website for sizing or to go a size above what your running shoe is in order to get the proper fit. It doesn't seem to stretch enough to wear your regular size. This will also save on the frustration that may be experienced if buying too small and not being able to return them due to wear.
The traction is discussed earlier in this article in the outsole section in more detail. Those who wore this product found that the shoes were sticky right out of the box. Those who liked the traction on this product were newer climbers. This product is a less aggressive alternative to professional shoes. They seemed to stick very well on natural rocks, however, did have issues with gym walls due to gym walls having artificial rocks that are typically a little slicker. This needs to be considered before buying this product especially if that is their intended use. Overall, the traction is great for beginners but not great for artificial walls.
The upper of this product is made mostly of leather. This would keep the shoe closer to the foot with a more natural feel. This also helps the climber with a more natural step and allows for greater control over the foot mid-climb. The leather does stretch, as mentioned earlier, which is ideal for breaking in and for a closer fit but not great for sizing. The upper of this product is made of a 1.8 mm suede which is extremely weather resistant but also prone to potential discoloration. Outside of the aesthetic effect, the suede would last a long time with less deterioration in comparison to most synthetic materials. Those who wore this product appreciated the close fit the upper offered and praised the control they had over their foot during their climbs.
This product weights 215 grams at size 40. This makes the shoe fairly light and would aid in the delay of foot and leg fatigue during climbs. Lighter weight also assists in the natural step of this product and would allow for greater control over the foot during hikes. This goes hand in hand with the upper and midsole. Overall, the entire midsole, upper and weight system work well together which is positive.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line is that this is a great beginner shoe. It offers a lightweight design with a sticky outsole. It offers a neutral or a flat foot profile which is great for beginner climbs and for those who need to get around comfortably while walking around a wall. The durability of this product is great as it is made of quality materials. Those who wore this product found it to be comfortable and sticky right out of the box which is positive. The primary concerns with this product seem to be the sizing and the intensity of the shoe. The sizing can be amended by sizing up according to popular opinion. The intensity is a problem for advanced climbers and those using an indoor, artificial wall. This shoe is ideal for anyone starting out, on natural walls and for those on a budget.