Scarpa Vapor V Climbing Shoe

8.9 score
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Editor rating: 8.9 / 10
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Scarpa Vapor V Climbing Shoe Review Facts

With the market filled with tons and tons of superb climbing shoes, it can be tough to narrow down the field. Well, today, we want to take a look at one of the top competitors. It is the Scarpa Vapor V Climbing Shoe.

First things first, if you know anything about climbing, then you should be familiar with the brand name Scarpa. They are a world-renowned brand, and the quality of their Scarpa Vapor V is one of the reasons why. This moderate climbing shoe is best-suited for rock climbing. In reality, it is an all-purpose workhorse.

It definitely holds its own in the performance end of things. However, it is arguably known for its supreme comfort and comfortable fit. Even during all-day climbs and adventures, the Vapor V is going to poach your foot.

Then again, being a moderate climbing shoe, it also struggles in certain respects and also has somewhat of a break-in period. For most of you out there, though, it will be well worth the price of admission. If you are interested to learn more details about this climbing shoe, take time and read our detailed review on Scarpa Vapor V.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Places your foot in a strong and powerful position

Designed with a Vibram XS edge for improved grip

Sports a padded mesh tongue

It can handle steep caves and faces

Features a strap closure system

Plenty of sizes are available

Offer supreme comfort all day

It is not cheaply constructed


It is somewhat lackluster at edging

It feels very clunky right out of the box


It was alluded to earlier and it really does reign true; if you are into climbing then you have probably heard of Scarpa. They have been around for several decades now (they were founded in the late 1930s) and have made a name for themselves in that time.

Of course, even when you get outside the realm of climbing, Scarpa has succeeded. They have made their mark on several different industries (such as skiing and hiking). Over the years, they have continued to develop new and improved footwear with advancements in their materials and technologies.

Do not think that it is just the general public that they have impressed, either. Scarpa has earned several awards over the years for their excellence. What all this is getting at is the fact that you can place your trust and confidence in this brand. Let’s just say they are not some average Joe when it comes to climbing shoes and other footwear.


This is classified as a moderate climbing shoe, but what does that mean to you? Put, it makes the Vapor V an excellent choice for technical climbing. But, as previously noted, it is just a workhorse that can tackle all different types of climbs (from crack to multi-pitch climbs).

As you can see from the photos, it sports a downturned shape. What this does is place your foot in an ideal position that allows for excellent power transfer and superior foot strength overall. At the same time, however, this shoe is not as performance-oriented as aggressive climbing shoes. It is also not the best for single-pitch climbs, but you will begin to get a sense for that later on.

Thanks to the downturn curvature of the sole, though, this will be ready to handle steep caves and faces. All in all, it is one of the more versatile climbing shoes on the market, and you will probably find yourself selecting it for your climbing adventures time and time again. And, to make this adventure complete, make sure you check the guide on the best climbing equipment.


On the surface, it would appear that this shoe would excel at edging and providing you with ample grip during your climbs. The reason for this is it has been engineered with what is known as a Vibram XS edge. Vibram is a brand, and their name is stapled on some of the best climbing and all-purpose shoes on the market.

Some of the best soles and edging materials come from Vibram. And, their XS edge is undoubtedly no different. As compared to other Vibram materials, the XS edge is a bit harder (it is rubber) and is optimized for edging. It is not quite as precise as other edging materials, but it is incredibly sticky and grips very well.

What could be the problem as this section was set up as such? Overall, the Scarpa Vapor V feels a little lackluster in the edging department. Various testers around the world have noted that it can take some time to get accustomed to how this shoe grips. One of the primary complaints is that you need to press down hard to feel the edges of the rock.

Now, it still gets the job done, but it does not offer the same security as other climbing shoes out there. Over time, it will become less of an issue as you get used to the feeling of edging with it. However, do not get these words twisted around and believe that this shoe will not grip. The Vibram XS edge does accomplish that quite well.


This is where this shoe shines the brightest. It is not as if you will be walking or running with your climbing shoes, but that does not mean that they should not be comfortable to wear. It is clear that Scarpa understood this ideology when they engineered their Vapor V., put if you can adequately fit in it, you will not be complaining about the comfort it provides.

Two main factors contribute to this. The first is the fact that this shoe does not exert a lot of tension on your Achilles. This is important as climbers need to be cautious about Achilles tendinitis (which is caused when you place repetitive strain on your Achilles tendon). Though it seems subtle, this “feature” allows this to act even better as an all-day climbing shoe.

The second factor is the padded mesh tongue. In addition to the padding that is going to keep your foot relaxed and protected, the mesh is going to allow your foot to breathe. After all, the last thing you want is to feel like your foot is going to suffocate from the heat. All in all, there is just little to complain about regarding the comfort of this shoe.


Alright, so let’s take a look at how well the Scarpa Vapor V fits. For starters, to point this out, Scarpa does offer their shoe in a plethora of different sizes. From 4.5 to 16, there are a ton of options at your disposal. And, right on the Amazon product page, you can access the official sizing chart to make sure your measurements are good to go.

This is handy as there have been quite a few users who have claimed that this shoe was a little on the small side. For the record, the heel needs to fit snugly, but there also should not be an excessive amount of pressure on your Achilles. So, if need be, you can order a half-size up. But, again, access the sizing chart as this will be a much better reference point for you.

Of course, there is something else that needs to be talked about here. In case you did not already gather from the photos, the Scarpa Vapor V does sport a strap closure system. Strap closure systems, in general, are handy in climbing shoes as they offer quick and convenient on and offs.

If you wanted to slip off this shoe in-between your climbs, you could easily do so because of the strap closure system. This may be a feature that some of you covet more than others, though.


Let’s say that climbing shoes do not last forever, and that is no different from this specific shoe. A lot of it depends on the frequency at which you use climbing shoes, but you may need to replace some of them once a year. As such, it makes it hard to come right out and say how many months and years this shoe is going to last you.

What can be said definitively, however, is that Scarpa engineered their Vapor V with quality in mind. This is not a cheap shoe (nor by its quality or its price), and it does show. It sports a 100 percent synthetic core, and this is not uncommon for climbing shoes.

Now, as this is a fully synthetic climbing shoe, it is not going to stretch a great deal. As such, you should not expect the fit of the Vapor V to change all that much over time. At the same time, the synthetic microsuede upper does have a little more give in it than uppers with solid fabrics.

A bonus with this design is the fact that it can be re-soled. What this means is once the current sole has reached its end, a new sole can be added. Hence, this further extends the shelf life of this shoe.


It is time to now talk about the second area in which this shoe struggles. Even though it is engineered with split outsoles for improved flexibility, you will notice that the shoe will feel very clunky out of the box. This is something that some of you will not be too fond of, admittedly.

Due to this, right away, you will notice that this shoe (while supportive) is very stiff. As a result, it can be harder to feel micro edges while you are climbing. As before, over time, this shoe will become a bit more sensitive and subsequently more flexible. It all comes down to if you are willing to get through the break-in period or not, quite frankly.

Hence, this is another reason why this climbing shoe is not precisely preferred for single-pitch climbs. It is better over a sustained period as the more you wear it, the easier it is going to become. It just takes a little patience is all.

Bottom Line

Put, the Scarpa Vapor V is just a fantastic climbing shoe that deserves all the praise and accreditation it receives. Not too many avid climbers are going to disagree, and that is why you will see it garner rave reviews all across the web.

It is an all-purpose, moderate climbing shoe that can tackle almost any type of climbing adventure you need it to (though there are some exceptions). It is also universally recognized as one of the most comfortable climbing shoes out there, period, which makes it superb for all-day adventures.

Being equipped with high-quality synthetics and a high-quality closure system, you can also rest assured that this shoe is going to last. Granted you treat it with care, it will repay you tenfold.

However, this is also not a perfect climbing shoe. Straight out of the box (while not uncomfortable), it is quite stiff and not very sensitive. Additionally, it is not precisely an edging machine as you will need to develop a feel for how this grips on your climbs.

All in all, you need to be somewhat patient with this shoe as it will take some time to get accustomed to it. But, before too long, you will begin to understand why so many climbers have raved about it. It is worth the price of admission, and that is all you need to know.