Verdict from 16 experts and +100 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Footgear authorities who have thoroughly tested the Scarpa Vapor V (men’s and women’s) simply adore the way it handles edges.
  • This Scarpa shoe built for the climb is comfy, say professional critics who have reviewed it.
  • Bloggers who have bought the Vapor V recommend it highly for bouldering.
  • A tester who has sent in it multiple times says that the shoe handles overhangs like a champ.
  • The Scarpa Vapor V climbing shoe is an astonishing tool for cracks, according to a few wearers.
  • Based on a couple of reports, this product is a highly recommendable rock shoe for beginners.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Several reviewers are unimpressed with the shoe's substandard durability.
  • The Vapor V is an expensive Scarpa piece, according to an expert.
  • An owner finds this Scarpa offering not very sensitive.

Bottom line

When it comes to edging, the Vapor V may be considered the real deal. While the shoe is exemplary on that front, its excellence in delivering comfort should not be overlooked.

This bouldering genius, however, might not be the most durable climbing shoe the brand has ever produced. To sum up, the Vapor V is a competent Scarpa performer, especially for those who can forgive its handful of missteps.

Tip: see the best climbing shoes.

Good to know

  • The Scarpa Vapor V, the strappy sibling of the Vapor Lace, is a versatile climbing shoe designed for precision and comfort. It has been redesigned to give it a modern look as well as to enhance its performance on steep terrain. 
  • From a mix of synthetic and other materials, the present Vapor V is a combination of synthetic (forefoot to heel area) and leather (bottom part). The designers changed the internal material to microfiber and lessened the volume of the tongue. A softer upper is the result of both changes. The Flexan retires in this revamp and is replaced with a Talyn, a stiffer insert that creates more support.
  • Its engineers built it with the company-owned Bi-Tension randing system. This particular technology bolsters the shoe’s durability and sensitivity. It also allows users to make precise toe placements with as little tension as possible.

Downturn. The Vapor V is one of Scarpa’s moderately down-cambered rock climbing shoes. This gives the shoe a pointed tip that is capable of mounting tiny protrusions and tricky edges with enhanced precision.

Applications. This all-rounder of a Scarpa offering is designed for bouldering as well as trad and sport climbing. Its designers equipped it with a set of components that gives it the ability to take on overhanging terrain. It is targeted at intermediate senders who climb both indoors and outdoors.

Scarpa’s Vapor V is a below-the-ankle climbing shoe for men and women. The women’s version is built around a gender-specific last. Climbing enthusiasts can set it to their desired fit using the shoe’s Velcro lockdown system. Built on a medium asymmetric last, it curves a bit toward the big toe. It will also stretch slightly (up to half a size).

Midsole. With the Vapor V’s Talyn midsole, owners can ascend their favorite wall or rock with enough support underfoot. It is made extra rigid and is extended to the heel to give the shoe improved structural integrity. It comes at a thickness of 1.5 millimeters.

Outsole. This bouldering, sport, and trad climbing shoe uses a rubberized Vibram outsole called XS Edge in giving climbers sufficient slip and skid resistance on different kinds of surfaces. Its split construction makes the arch area less stiff, rendering the shoe capable of providing ample flexibility. It is built with a level of firmness that makes it ideal for edging maneuvers. Its overall thickness is 3.5 millimeters.

The Scarpa Vapor V climbing shoe houses the foot in its low-top upper made of a synthetic material, called microsuede. It has an overall thickness of 1.8 millimeters. Its interior walls are not lined, giving wearers an intimate foot-to-shoe feel. A sturdy rand is wrapped around its lower perimeter, offering lateral protection and extra climbing security. This protective covering has a toe box extension which promises grip when toe hooking. The rand at its heel, on the other hand, mainly provides rearfoot support.

The shoe’s closure system uses two hook-and-loop straps. These adjustable straps are set through sturdy ladder buckles in opposing directions. Rounding out all things upper for the Vapor V are the two pull loops placed at the heel.

Scarpa knows a thing or two when it comes to delivering high-quality rock climbing shoes which the Vapor V is proudly part of. As such, their climb-centric offerings often get compared with one another. In the case of the Vapor V, the shoe that many climbers pit against it is the Instinct VS. These two offerings have several similarities—for one, both of them are moderately downturned shoes. That said, the points that follow will discuss the things that set them apart.

Outsole. The two climbing shoes in this comparison both use Vibram outsoles. However, the one in the Instinct VS comes in two parts—XS Edge at the forefoot and XS Grip 2 at the heel. The former has a thickness of 3.5 mm (same as the one in the Vapor V), while the latter is only 2 mm thick.

Pricing. If in need of a cheaper pair of climbing shoes, look no further than the Scarpa Vapor V. Yes, the featured shoe is about $10 less expensive than the Instinct VS.

Weight. There is a 10-gram difference between the men’s version of the Vapor V and the men’s variant of its rival, with the former being the heavier. That said, the women’s version of the featured shoe and its competitor have the same weight.

Target environment. The Instinct VS is engineered with outdoor use in mind. The Scarpa Vapor V, on the other hand, is both an indoor and outdoor climbing shoe.

Fit management. Although both Scarpa products use Velcro closure to give wearers a secure fit, only the Vapor V has two adjustable straps.

Pull loops. In this round, many might consider the Instinct VS as the winner. Indeed, it has an extra pull loop at the tongue, giving it a total of three. The Vapor V, on the other hand, only has two at the heel.

Is the Scarpa Vapor V beginner-friendly?

Scarpa does not list the Vapor V as a beginner climbing shoe. That said, its level of versatility opens its doors to climbers who take on vertical routes and steep terrain alike.

Is the Scarpa Vapor V vegan-friendly?

Although the Scarpa Vapor V is an all-synthetic piece, it may not be considered a vegan-friendly product. For vegan buyers, look into some of the best animal-free rock climbing shoes featured on this site.

Does the Scarpa Vapor V break in quickly?

The time required to break in the Vapor V completely is not officially published. With that said, repeated use with a little bit of patience is key to softening it up. Tip: Wear it for short periods to allow it to mold around the foot. Climb in it in short bursts to let the foot to get accustomed to its asymmetry and moderate downturn. Repeat the process until the level of comfort required for the planned routes is achieved.


How Scarpa Vapor V ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 38% moderate climbing shoes
All moderate climbing shoes
Bottom 30% Scarpa climbing shoes
All Scarpa climbing shoes
Top 29% indoor climbing shoes
All indoor climbing shoes


The current trend of Scarpa Vapor V.
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