ProView – SCARPA Women’s Vapor V
As a member of the USA ice climbing team, I find myself doing a wide variety of climbing year-round. Since my summer training necessitates trading in the crampons for rock climbing shoes, the Scarpa Vapor V accompanied me through just about every type of climbing that you can imagine. From days at the dry-tooling crag to long multi-pitch trad climbs, and everything in between, these shoes seamlessly transitioned to whatever style of climbing that I needed them for.
SCARPA Women's Vapor V
Product Description: A percise, versatile and best-selling shoe that marries a comfortable fit with steep climbing performance, the redesigned Vapor V features fresh colors, a microfiber upper and our Bi-Tension™ active rand for a premium combo of durability and sensitivity.
Offer price: $175 MSRP
Designed as a ‘comfort performance shoe,’ the Scarpa Vapor Vs are ready to take on any challenge that you throw at them. These great all-around shoes are versatile enough to excel at everything from steep faces to crack climbing while keeping your feet happy for those lengthy climbing sessions. A slightly wider-than-average toe box may lead to sizing issues for some users, but if you can dial in the sizing, the Scarpa Vapor V may just become your new favorite shoe.
- Painful to break-in
- Low sensitivity
The day before I got my Scarpa Vapor Vs in the mail, I made the rookie mistake of leaving my only other pair of climbing shoes at the crag, never to be seen again. The day after my Vapor Vs came in the mail, I was invited to climb the classic Bastille Crack in Eldorado Canyon with a couple of friends visiting from out of town. I knew better than to break in my new climbing shoes on a four-pitch climb as a party of three, but had no choice. The break-in climb was admittedly kind of rough, but, after that first day, they were ready to rock!
I had previously sworn off the Scarpa Vapor climbing shoe after a bad experience where a climbing gym employee put me in the wrong size (read: two sizes too small) and told me they’d stretch. Pro tip: they will not stretch two full sizes. After the initial break-in period, I found these shoes to be incredibly comfortable. It’s not uncommon for me to wear these for hours at a time in the gym without taking them off between climbs. I did find the heel cup to be a bit loose, but it did not affect the overall performance.
The moderately downturned Vapor Vs come in teal and pink for females, and blue and yellow for males. While the male version is not a new color combo, I really enjoy the uniqueness of the female version.
The micro suede upper and suede foot base inside the shoe makes the Vapor V comfortable to wear for extended periods of time during either big multi-pitch routes or long sessions at the gym. The tongue on this model of the Vapor V is noticeably more padded than the previous model, which adds an extra level of comfort and breathability.
The newer model also sports an elastic band over the top of the foot for increased support, eliminating the need to downsize. This is a big improvement over the prior model where the tongue would slide and bunch up between the two Velcro straps. I found that the two angled pull loops in the back of the heel made it quick and painless to get the shoes on. I also noticed that the midsole is stiffer than the previous model which allows the shoe to excel on steeper climbs.
The wider toe box doesn’t allow for much sensitivity in small pockets or on edges. With that being said, Scarpa did reduce the amount of the rubber on the top of the shoe over the big toe, a feature which had led to pain in the form of squished toes in the previous model. This small change has led to enhanced comfort and allows these shoes to inflict minimal pain in thin cracks, where these shoes really shine. I also found them to be surprisingly good for smearing on slab climbs considering the downturned shape. Between their crack climbing, slab climbing, and multi-pitch capabilities, I found these shoes to be very versatile.
I had a small rubber piece come off on the Velcro strap, but it didn’t result in a loss in functionality. Other than that, the shoes have held up exceptionally well. After two months of consistent climbing (3-4x a week), the Vibram XS Grip 2 sole is barely showing signs of wear. I don’t anticipate needing a resole for another couple of months.
The Final Word
Designed as a ‘comfort performance shoe,’ the Scarpa Vapor Vs are ready to take on any challenge that you throw at them. These great all-around shoes are versatile enough to excel at everything from steep faces to crack climbing, while keeping your feet happy for those lengthy climbing sessions. A slightly wider-than-average toe box may lead to sizing issues for some users, but if you can dial in the sizing, the Scarpa Vapor V may just become your new favorite shoe.
About the Gear Tester
Lindsay Hastings is a Colorado-based athlete who began climbing in 2016. She started with rock climbing and mountaineering but quickly pursued more technical climbing styles like ice and mixed climbing. This past winter Lindsay competed in the Ice Climbing World Cup Tour as a climber on the USA Ice Climbing Team and finished 11th place in the World for speed ice climbing. When she’s not training for competitions, you can find Lindsay pursuing her next thrill through hiking, photography, mountaineering, trail running, and conducting gear reviews. Lindsay works as a Product Coordinator for BOA Technology in Denver and is also pursuing an Outdoor Industry MBA!