Scarpa Vapor V

8.8 score
[Editors rating (8.8)] = (TheGearHunt) score (8.8)/10

Editor rating: 8.8 / 10
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Scarpa Vapor V Review Facts

The Scarpa Vapor V is a proven classic that combines a super comfortable upper and curved provide to bridge the gap between flat-lasted comfort and downturned performance. It is an Italian import. Any climber will appreciate the shoe. They are meant to be a bridge between beginner and expert shoes. The Scarpa Vapor V has a great balance, precise fit, and all around performance. If someone is new to climbing and looking for a one shoe quiver that does bouldering, trad, and sports climbing equally well, the Scarpa Vapor V is a definite contender to consider. The shoes may be the something extra needed to make the chains. One of the few minor complaints of the shoe is that it causes a shoe ‘fart.’

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Adjustable fit
  • All-day comfort
  • Easy to loosen
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Great fit for most people
  • Highly versatile
  • Heel cup might not be as tight as expected
  • It causes a shoe ‘fart’


The Scarpa Vapor V has an outsole of 3.5mm Vibram XS Edge rubber. The Vibram XS Edge rubber has a little more firmness than the XS Grip. It is more comfortable and doesn’t wear out as quickly. There is plenty of grip for dime edges. Edging is more or less the specialty of XS Edge rubber. It is a half rand that does not go across the entire bottom of the shoe. It stops at the midpoint.

The backside of the outsole has ridges that provide extra friction for heel hooking. The heel stays in place well. The ridges on the heel are another excellent feature of the shoe. They are good for heel hooking and also protect and add support to the shoe.


The midsole is made of 1.0mm Flexen. The stretch of the shoe is kept to a minimum with the synthetic materials in the toe. The rest of the shoe’s upper is suede. It stretches slightly to give some breathing room around the midfoot.


The Scarpa Vapor V is primarily made of leather and synthetic. It is made of 1.8mm suede and microsuede. It is fantastic — the leather at the back of the shoe molds to the shape of the feet. The last is an asymmetrical, curved profile with strap closure.

The velcro straps are an improvement on the feature of some classic climbing shoes. The shape features a slightly downturned toe and relatively straight, but wide forefoot. There are specific lasts for men and women. The last for women has a narrow heel and a lower profile than for men. Women tend to have a narrow heel and lower volume in the front of the foot.

The heel is snug enough for heel hooking, and the velcro closure makes the shoe quick and easy to take off between pitches or boulder problems. That velcro closure is one of the favorite features of those who wear the shoes.

It is designed so that the top strap of each shoe opens on the side of the smallest toe and the bottom strap opens in the opposite direction. The synthetic material in the tongue absorbs sweat. It is padded material.

The inside is really clean. There is also mesh in the upper that serves something like a slipper orientation that keeps the shoe tight to the foot in addition to the velcro straps. The heel has a band that wraps around the shoe to lock the heel in tight.

The length is ideal. The shoes run a bit small and should probably be ordered in a half size bigger than what is usually worn. The shoe tends to have a nice curve. The rubber toe patch on the upper helps navigate the pitch of steep rocks.


The shoes weigh approximately eight ounces.


Many people equate rock-shoe performance with pain. It seemed as though the more a shoe hurt, the better it climbed. Heinz Mariacher designed the Vapor V with the goal of creating a performance shoe with what he called ‘instant comfort.’

Out of the box, they are comfortable climbing shoes. The ‘bi-tension’ randing and nearly flat toe box, billed by Scarpa as the opposite of the slingshot rand, drive the heel back instead of the toes forward. The configuration contributes to the comfort of the shoe and makes it adept at technical climbing and smearing despite being slightly downturned,

The Scarpa Vapor V offers all-day comfort to experienced climbers. They are very comfortable. Scarpa markets the shoes as comfortable edging shoes. They are all around performers that can be worn all day.

The velcro straps hold the air mesh tongue in place which makes the shoes very comfortable. The shoe pulls up and back on the foot which is very comfortable. Testers rated the Vapor V as nine out of ten in the comfort metric. Inspectors with wide feet found the shoe to be a favorite for climbing all day. The padding in the tongue keeps feet comfy in wide cracks, but not to the point that the shoes turn into a disgusting, sweating mess.

The heel has a snug fit that is not too tight against the Achilles. If the feet do need a break at belays, the velcro straps permit easy and quick off and on. Without being distracted by pain, climbers have no excuse but to pull and jam their hardest.


The Scarpa Vapor V has a fantastic look. It can be argued that the shoes are some of the best looking shoes on the market by any shoe manufacturer. They have an Italian flag logo, stitching that zigzags, and coloration that exudes quality. There is double stitching across the top of the shoe.

The shoe has a cool design in which the rubber comes up over the toe which is great for toe hooking and protecting the leather of the upper. There is a slight downturn to the shoe. Higher end shoes will have more downturn. Beginning climbing shoes will be a little flatter.

The velcro strap is a unique design. Scarpa Vapor V, with its alternating closure and a great look, is an excellent solution for climbing shoes. Velcro shoes are becoming a province in sports climbing.

At crags with edges, pockets, and sharp faces climbers are eschewing laces and embracing easy on and off velcro. Manufacturers have taken notice of the trend. Many tried and true lacked shoes now have velcro counterparts. Some of the most aggressive shoes are available only in velcro. People are even reaching for velcro shoes for trad pitches requiring technical footwork.

Most climbing shoes stop at size 45 European or Size 11 American. Trying to shove a foot into a size 45 when the climber wears a 45.5 or 46 can be done, but it is impossible to shove the foot into a thin crack. The Scarpa Vapor V is available in sizes up to 48 European or size 14 American.


Rubber on the sole wraps around the toe. It is useful for hooking and durability of the leather. The shoe uses the Vibram XS rubber sole. Because it is firmer than the XS Grip, it will last a little longer. It has plenty of grip but is not as soft as the XS Grip.


The configuration of the velcro straps is important when climbing a technical route because the bottom buckle would blow out quickly if the wearer drags his or her feet up the route or if the route has a techy balance

The middle of the shoe is not downturned quite enough to prevent the sound that is created when climbing with the shoes. It should be a little higher in the arch to create a dead space that would eliminate the noise made and cause the shoe to be a little righter and fit a little better in the arch.

Making a shoe for both trad and sport is a delicate art. The toes mush fit relatively comfortably to be able to jam a thin hands crack. Any dead space providing comfort will compromise thin edge performance. A shoe with any stretch makes finding a narrow sweet spot challenging. There is a noticeable downturn in the Vapor V.

It is softer than some comparably aggressive shoes. The downturn of the shoe is more reasonable than it seems when the shoes are worn. They are wider in the forefoot which makes them a good alternative for people who are wearing shoes that are too narrow.


When compared to the Scarpa Instinct VS, there is a deficiency in the edging metric. Testers were required to press hard in the stiff shoe so that the edges could be felt and that they would not pop out. They did not offer the same security felt on dime edges with other climbing shoes. The testers rated edging as seven out of ten.


Out of the box, the Scarpa Vapor V is relatively supportive and stiff which makes feeling divots on slabs and micro edges more difficult. After a break-in period, the shoes become more sensitive.

They are great when tired calves and feet need some respite. For face climbing that is single pitch techy a more sensitive shoe will make the climber feel more secure as not as likely to overgrip.


The shoes chosen for crack climbing make the difference between clipping and whipping the chains, especially if the faces outside the cracks are devoid of holds or are smooth like a hard granite or desert sandstone cracks.

The shoes are better than any other shoe for wiggling into finger cracks. They take the weight off of the arms so that they can shove a cam in or move between finger locks. The dual velcro straps cause no pain in wide or hand-sized cracks.

Constant foot torquing can cause damage to the buckles. With the right size shoe, climbers can charge up granite splitters comfortably for days. Testers rated the Vapor V as eight out of ten for cracking.

The comfortable and wide shoes were not the top for weaseling into small limestones. After numerous pitches, the shoe softens and will mash into pockets better, but still is not on par with the competition. Testers rated the Scarpa Vapor V as six for pockets.


The Vapor V helps advanced climbers push into demanding terrain. The shoes are an all-around high performing edging shoes. The sole is slightly asymmetrical that makes it ideal for improving climbing when going from a flat to steeper terrain.

The wearer can hook the feet and claw down on hanging rock or resin in the gym. The Scarpa Vapor V is excellent for all day trad if it is not sized too tightly. The slight downturn of the shoe makes it ready to handle caves and steep faces.

They are supportive of off-vertical, long pitches. The shoes take some break-in time before they feel sensitive. They function well as a weapon against thin cracks. The shoes are recommended for dicing and slicing up marathon gym sessions or multi-pitch climbs where sensitivity is not as important as close attention to technique and foot placement.

For rock types and disciplines such as clipping bolts on ’rhino’ stone in Little Si, Washington or bouldering granite in Leavenworth and Squamish, the Vapor V excels. For anything steeper than 45 degrees or in caves, a more downturned rigid shoe might be preferred.


The Scarpa Vapor V is not the top of the line but is not the cheapest shoe either. It is an intermediate priced shoe. The MSRP is $160. If the shoes fit well, climbers wear them pitch after pitch which increases their value every day. The Vapor V is a versatile shoe priced at $160. After a break-in period, the shoes climb most styles. They can be resoled. The shoes can be purchased on Amazon for about $124.

Key Features

*Bi-tension randing
*Slightly downturned and asymmetrical fit
*Stretch-gusseted air mesh tongue
*Synthetic and suede upper
*Velcro strap closure
*Vibram XS Edge rubber sole

Bottom Line

Scarpa makes a good looking shoe. The Scarpa Vapor V is an all-around high-performance edge shoe which is why it was designed. The upper leather and synthetic mix holds its shape during use. If you have long pitches and need to wear the shoes for a while, the Vapor V is the excellent shoe to have. It is an intermediate shoe. Professional climbers would likely choose another brand.

As the shoes are worn, they adjust to the feet. This is an intermediate climbing shoe that has plenty of grip, designed for edging, and designed for being worn all day. The Scarpa Vapor V is a quality take on climbing shoes with a dual Velcro feature. The shoe is formidable too. Reviews have coined it as an ‘advanced allarounder.’ The description doesn’t do justice to the powerful and precise, yet comfortable shoe.