Scarpa Vapor Lace - Long Term Test

The new Scarpa Vapor Lace climbing shoe has arrived at the EpicTV Shop. We all know how much climbing shoes change over time. As they stretch and mould to your feet, the feel of the shoe changes. It is almost impossible to draw a conclusion about a shoe after just one session or a brief climb. With that in mind we have decided to do a long-term test of this shoe. Take it away Matt…

Vapor Lace 1


I have been wearing an older model of the Scarpa Vapor Velcro for a while now and it’s quickly become my favourite climbing shoe. I have been looking for a shoe I can wear for long sport climbs and multi-pitches, yet still be aggressive enough so I can push my grade. On paper the Scarpa Vapor Lace ticks all of these boxes.

 
The Scarpa Vapor Lace is designed as the sister shoe to the Velcro version, and keeps the ethos of the original, with a few new and unique features.
Scarpa Vapor 2


The rubber sole stretches the entire length of the shoe, rather than stopping mid-way like the Velcro model. This makes the shoe much stiffer and improves the way it climbs on small footholds. This stiffness continues with a rubber ‘exoskeleton’ that crisscrosses the out-side of the shoe. It features Scarpa’s tried and tested Vibram Xs Edge rubber, which I have used before and have always been impressed with the performance.

Initial impression

This is my first lace up for a while as I’ve preferred the ease of taking on and off a Velcro shoe. I want this shoe to be my go to multi-pitch and sport climbing shoe, and with that in mind I didn’t want it to be uncomfortably tight. I have a habit of sizing my shoes very small as I like the feeling of security and power that gives me on small holds.
Scarpa Vapor 2.5


I went for a 8.5 UK size, with my street shoe normally a 9 UK. My toes are still crimped at the end but not as much as I usually prefer. I found the heel fit quite surprising as it wasn’t as snug as I was expecting, although this might just be my foot shape.


I have never understood the manufacturers blurb about a ‘single piece synthetic upper’. However, the Vapor lace is ridiculously comfortable when I put it on. The single piece upper means there is no uncomfortable stitching on the inside and my foot feels encased and protected by the shoe. It is certainly an improved feel to the other Scarpa shoes I own.

Climbing

I took the shoe to my local climbing wall in Les Houches, Chamonix, to put it through the paces.
 
The Mt Blanc Escalade wall is known for having very small footholds and insecure smears, so it was going to be a good test for the shoe. In short, I was impressed. The shoe felt a bit bigger than I was used to, but when I learnt to trust it, I found it extremely stiff and precise. The fit is so comfortable, it just seems to wrap around my foot and the laces make it nicely adjustable.
Scarpa Vapor 3


I climbed up to 7b sport routes and tried it on some steep bouldering, but nothing seemed to phase it. I was concerned that the loose feel of the heel would be an issue, but so far it hasn’t been a problem.

I’m still not 100% convinced about lace up shoes as it is an extra faff, however, it didn’t annoy me as much as I thought it would.

I’m looking forward to taking the shoe out on real rock. I’ve got some climbing trips coming up so it will be interesting to see how the shoe handles real rock.
Scarpa Vapor 4

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