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Reach your next rock climbing site adequately protected and in as much comfort as possible in a pair of high-quality Scarpa approach shoes. Such kicks, although closely resembling some of the best hiking shoes out on the market, are sufficiently equipped to help you navigate rocky terrain, especially where some light climbing is required. Yes, in Scarpa approach shoes, you can tackle low-grade ascents without sporting your preferred climbing shoes yet. So complete your gear with a pair from this world-class brand and rack up those miles both vertically and horizontally.
Scarpa approach shoes and the benefits they bring to the table
Best Scarpa approach shoes - December 2019
Level of comfort
Scarpa designers are known for their ability to engineer highly comfortable footwear—from low-cut hikers to mountaineering boots. Their approach-centric offerings are no exceptions, as most pieces from this brand are crafted with plush materials, which include high-grade suede leather for the most part. Indeed, in a pair of Scarpa approach shoes, you can hike and climb with enough cushioning all over.
Approach shoes by Scarpa are built extra sturdy to withstand destructive elements hikers encounter in the lead-up to their climbing spot. To put things into perspective: Virtually every pair comes with an upper made of stitched-on suede leather. Its high-wear areas are reinforced with heavy-duty rands, against which abrasive hazards are expected to slide right off, leaving the shoe’s main shell practically unscathed. Recommendation: If your approach route is filled with loose talus, opt for Scarpa approach shoes with 360-degree randing.
Movement restriction is something many a hiker-slash-climber can live without. Fortunately for you, most Scarpa approach shoes have a kind of construction that promotes mobility. Case in point: Many approach kicks in Scarpa’s lineup have contoured yet adequately rigid collars, allowing users to pull off tricky maneuvers involving the ankle and the lower leg with efficiency.
Another facet of the versatility offered by these Scarpa kicks treads along the line of utility. Yes, besides approach adventures, they can also be used for a short walk in the park or a quick trip to the nearby grocer. A few of them may even pass for sneaker-type shoes.
Are Scarpa approach shoes versatile enough for trekking or backpacking trips?
While such pieces from Scarpa have seemingly chunky soles, what they got may not be as cushy, protective, and resilient as those seen in high-quality backpacking boots. So if you are planning to bring a pack with you on your next approach excursion, load up as light as possible.
Being able to mount on edges and similar projections securely is one thing, being able to do the exact same thing but with enhanced sensitivity thrown in is another. The latter is pretty much highlighted in virtually every pair of Scarpa approach shoes, in that each comes with an extra-thin outsole, which delivers heightened responsiveness underfoot, especially around the toe section.
Although most approach kicks from Scarpa are not lined with a waterproof membrane, a majority of them have a level of resistance against intrusive wet elements. This feature is made possible by giving their protective uppers, particularly those made of suede leather, a water-resistant finish.
The uniqueness of Scarpa approach shoes
Founded by Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness in the late ‘30s, the Italian company Scarpa boasts some of the most confidence-inspiring outdoor shoes and boots for men and women. The company stepped into the approach scene sometime in the 1980s and has since made advancement strides with their growing roster of approach-oriented offerings. Their desire to deliver high-quality footwear shows no signs of waning—a passion that only being stoked further by the support and demands of their outdoorsy fans far and wide.
Scarpa’s expanding library of approach-type hikers is flexible enough in terms of asking price. Nearly half of what the brand offers are quite affordable, having an average price of about $140. Approach kicks with more features are priced higher, but none goes beyond the 250-dollar mark, which is considered very expensive in today’s standards.
Notable components and technologies
Activ Impact. This Scarpa-exclusive technology affects the shoe’s sole unit. Its primary responsibility is to make landings safe by proactively absorbing shock, spreading it across the sole system, and away from the impact zone during transitions. It also improves the wearer’s mobility by granting improved energy transfer from the leg to the foot.
Activ Fit. This proprietary construction system bolsters comfort by making every approach shoe specific to the fit demands of men and women. It capitalizes on the contours of the shoe’s interior and sole unit to enhance the user’s maneuverability. It also makes the gear extra durable.
Vibram sole technology. Virtually every Scarpa approach shoe comes equipped with a hard-wearing outsole courtesy of Vibram. It comes with multi-faceted lugs and grippy treads (in some Scarpa models) for sufficient adhesive power on a variety of backcountry surfaces. It has the capability to smear on small boulders thanks to its dedicated climbing zone.
Midsole. Responsible for cushioning the foot and stabilizing the user’s balance in practically every Scarpa approach shoe is a resilient midsole made of EVA (or ethylene-vinyl acetate). Some models have it in two densities (also known as a dual-density midsole), providing extra comfort and ample support at key locations. Its robust yet cushy construction provides adequate shock absorption on impact without sacrificing comfort.
Scarpa approach shoes fit and sizing guide for men and women
Scarpa approach shoes (men’s and women’s) are offered in standard width in a range of half and full sizes. Every pair is built on a Scarpa-designed last to give the foot extra fit precision. Lockdown personalization is possible with the use of the hiker’s cuff-to-toe lace-up closure.
Are you all set to scout for a pair or two of Scarpa approach hikers? Before you hit the road, be an informed buyer by reading through the following fit and sizing tips first.
- Did you know that your feet swell and that they do so almost always towards the end of the day? The swelling happens when your veins pump more blood to your feet, usually after a strenuous activity involving your tootsies. With that in mind, shop for shoes late in the afternoon or around early evening.
- Wear your trusty approach socks while trying on shoes. With them on, you will have an easier time determining whether or not a pair is too tight, too loose, or just right.
- The forefoot space in your next approach shoe should have a combination of snugness and roominess. With that kind of toe zone fit, you would have ample breathing room for hikes while adequate tiptoeing precision on low-grade climbs.
- Play around with a variety of lacing schemes. This part might be time-consuming, but the rewards just might be pretty worth it.
- Do not skip half sizes. In fact, it is a good idea to try on shoes half a size up (or down) at a time to help you find the best-fitting Scarpa approach shoes. By including half-size options in the equation, you can also zero-in on a pair that has that precise-yet-roomy forefoot zone.
- If the store permits, test the approach shoes you have on by walking up and down inclines, edging on steps, and smearing on surfaces. The pair you are looking for must be comfy enough on day one. It must have little in the way of lift (heel part), if not none at all. Determine whether your toes can lie comfortably within its toe box with just the right amount of snugness for precision.
Frequently asked questions about Scarpa approach shoes
Where can I buy Scarpa approach shoes?
One of your local (brick-and-mortar) footwear stores is a good place to start. If the shoes you are looking for are not available anywhere, going online is arguably your best bet. Here are a few tips on shopping for Scarpa approach shoes online:
- Consider customer feedback as well as fit and sizing recommendations from retailers. From there, work with your findings.
- Research on a couple of trusted online retailers and find out about their return/refund policy.
- If possible and if the store you trust offers hassle-free returns and refunds, order two pairs—one in your actual street size, the other either a half size smaller or bigger. By doing this, you would have a higher chance of snagging the right-fitting pair without placing another order.
Can you tell me the best Scarpa approach shoes?
This is one question only the customer—you—can answer. Yes, the internet will have top-10 lists for you, and such lists are good for guidance. That said, your personal preference will have the weightiest bearing in determining the right Scarpa approach shoes for your precious tootsies.
Can I resole Scarpa approach shoes?
Yes, some models in Scarpa’s collection of approach-centric kicks may be resoled. You may send your shoes for a resole directly to Scarpa (shipping and handling fees may apply) or have them resoled by a trained/licensed cobbler or shoemaker. Tip: Clean the soles of your gear before sending them in for a smoother resole transaction.
10 best Scarpa approach shoes
- Scarpa Mescalito
- Scarpa Mescalito GTX
- Scarpa Mescalito Mid GTX
- Scarpa Crux Air
- Scarpa Zen Pro Mid GTX
- Scarpa Gecko Air
- Scarpa Crux
- Scarpa Gecko
- Scarpa Zen Pro
- Scarpa Kalipe