Scarpa Vapour Lace Long Term Test - Part Two
A few months ago I started testing the new Scarpa Vapour lace. I wrote an article about my first impressions of the shoe. Since then I have had the opportunity to use the shoe on a variety of different rock types and climbs.
I have been surprised at how soft and sensitive the shoe is. I find the Velcro version quite stiff so I was expecting the same from the lace up version. Although initially this took me some time to get used to, I have grown to really like the feel of the shoe.
I was trying it out on the crags of Finale in Italy, a place full of steep and polished limestone sport climbing. It’s easy to trust the shoe when standing on tiny holds, as the softness gives you lots of feedback from the rock. The Vibram Xs rubber is really sticky and gives me loads of confidence.
The Scarpa Vapour Lace has a ‘single piece synthetic rubber’, which is a fancy way of saying that the shoe is designed to be as comfortable as possible. Sliding my foot into the shoe really is a joy, it seems to suck onto my foot with no edges or bumps to irritate. I have climbed some 40-50m long pitches in Fair Head, Ireland and never felt the need to take my shoes off. Usually I am desperate to take my climbing shoes off as soon as I can.
I have been really impressed with how good the shoe feels when I am heel hooking. The snug fit and wrap around rubber gives awesome grip. I have quite narrow feet and in the past have struggled with shoes having a baggy heel. No such problem here, as the lacing system is great at taking out pockets of space in the shoe.
On a recent trip to Sheffield, England, I was able to try them out on some classic grit stone slabs and boulders.
The shoe was really good at smearing, as I could place lots of rubber onto the rock. However, I did find that the performance suffered a little on sharp edges, the Vapour Lace, at times, felt a bit floppy. On most rock types this isn’t a problem, but if I went slate climbing I would definitely choose a different shoe.
It is a personal preference, but I prefer a stiffer shoe when bouldering. They aren’t quite aggressive enough for very overhanging routes; especially ones that require toe hooking. I also find having to keep lacing up the shoe between boulders problem a bit irritating.
For me, the Scarpa Vapour Lace is my shoe of choice for sports climbing and multi pitches. I’m looking forward to putting it through its paces on some big Chamonix granite climbs this summer.
I don’t think it’s a ‘do everything’ shoe, but honestly there aren’t many out there that are true all rounder’s. The Vapour lace does well to tick most of the climbing boxes. There is no sign of the rubber getting worn through which is great considering how much I’ve been using it.
I’ll continue to test the Scarpa Vapour Lace and let you know how it gets on this summer.