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Scarpa Force X

rated 4.50 of 5 stars
photo: Scarpa Force X climbing shoe

This shoe is the most comfortable shoe that I've tried on and/or used. I got it for an inexpensive price and it fits like a glove without being painful. Sticky and light. I couldn't be happier.

Pros

  • Comfort
  • Padded in heel
  • All around shoe

Cons

  • Not good for technical climbing pockets and edging
  • Not sensitive

I am a beginner climber and had a hard time finding a comfortable shoe. The "experts" at the climbing stores kept telling me that the shoes had to be tight and uncomfortable because your feet had to feel the edges, nooks, and crannies of the climbing wall and needed to be responsive. Trying on shoes and having my toes knuckle under was a good way to dissuade me from continuing in the sport.

Finally, at one of the small outdoor gear stores here locally, the salesman, who was a climber, told me that the concept of tight fitting was old and that for a beginner comfort was paramount. He recommended the Scarpa Force X, telling me that although it wouldn't be as responsive as some more "aggressive" shoes, that as a beginner that it didn't matter because I wouldn't be doing any technical climbing where sensitivity was needed. He also indicated that the shoe would serve me well because I could use it as an intermediate shoe when I advanced in skills.

So I tried it on and was more than just pleasantly surprised. I was impressed. It was comfortable and it was on sale for 50% off. So I took the chance, bought it, and it has been terrific. Comfortable and padded in the heel.  I don't know about technical climbing, but I do know the shoe has performed great and still remains comfortable.

Many of the more skilled climbers that I go out with will take a breather and remove their shoes to get a break from the discomfort. Not me. I just keep on going. Many have asked me what the heck is wrong with me and I tell them that the Force X fits great and my feet don't get tired from the fit. In fact, a couple of my fellow climbers have gone out and purchased them and thanked me for the recommendation.

I know that they aren't sensitive and that the heel padding isn't good for heel locking. But I'm not at that level yet. They aren't as sensitive for feel and you have to be aware of that for the pockets, crags, edging, and cracks.  But I think it improves my skill because I have to concentrate on my technique and they have made me a better climber.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $69.50

Great entry level to intermediate shoe, as well as a wonderful all-day multi-pitch choice for the more experienced climbers. Very comfortable out of the box, ample padding and support, flat last provides all day comfort, Velcro makes entry and exit a snap, perforated tongue breathes well and the movement from the previous lorica upper to suede assures a glove like fit. Vibram xs Edge Rubber edges well, while allowing you to smear on shallow scoops and depressions. A well built product that will provide you will several seasons of comfort. I would recommend this shoe to anyone that values comfort, good performance and quality.

Pros

  • Comfort
  • Stability
  • Reasonable edging capabilities
  • Breathability
  • Quality build and materials
  • Hook and loop closure system allows for easy on and off

Cons

  • Not for steep or overhanging face or bouldering

So I pulled my Force x's out of the box yesterday...literally 30 minutes before heading out to the local crag, shoved my feet in them, cinched them up and climbed!

First impressions are these:  

This is an extremely well built shoe. Totally lined throughout...including the heel cup and around the ankle. A generously padded perforated tongue keeps the top of the foot protected and comfortable, velcro (hook and loop) system (opposing straps) is easy on easy off on those hot days.

I am not a fan of the xs edge rubber, but even on the steep slab that I tested them on yesterday, they seemed to hold quite well on small depressions, nubbins and thin cracks. They smeared quite a bit better than I expected...a happy bonus for sure. They also held an edge quite nicely, again...much better than anticipated.

I got these shoes for all day guiding and long routes...I needed something comfortable but not so big and sloppy that they were useless to climb in. I have found that these shoes do a nice job bridging the gap and are extremely comfortable right out of the box.

I did size these shoes up considerably from my Instincts. The Instincts are a 44.5 and I went up a full size to a 45.5 and am psyched. I probably could have gotten away with a 45, but at close to 50 years old...why? lol. My dogs have suffered enough...(think 80's). Toe rand is good and has nice coverage.

These are not a real technical shoe by any stretch and probably not a great choice for steep overhanging sport or bouldering, and they were a bit painful in the cracks (more like a slipper or even an Anasazi/Galileo). Despite the flat last and stiffer rubber the forefoot was pinched in the fist to hand jamb wide cracks. Still, they do provide good torsional support which allows you to edge for hours without foot fatigue or pain.

So...first impressions are very good. I put 6 pitches under these puppies..starting at 5.8+ and moving up to  to 5.10 and never once reached for the velcro tabs or ibuprofin!! These would be a great beginner to intermediate shoe, but you guys in the higher number range may want to consider this shoe for those moderate all day outings and long routes (I am thinking Winds, etc...).

Ultimately, these are a wonderful intermediate, jack of all trades, climbing shoe made with quality materials and a great deal of thought in the design. If you are in the market for a comfortable, all day shoe for those long trad routes, single pitch moderates or padding around on the slabs, these should be at the top of your list!

Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $80

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Specs

Men's
Price Historic Range: $25.98-$139.00
Reviewers Paid: $69.50-$80.00
Women's
Price Historic Range: $39.98-$139.00
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