One of the members of our weekly Thursday Ladies’ Night climbing gang, Audra, has stayed faithful to the same pair of basic climbing shoes throughout the duration of her climbing career. We’re not talking like she’s bought the same pair of shoes over and over again, Audra has owned and used the same pair of shoes for the last 6 years, resoling them at least two times. (She also refuses to use chalk, but that’s another story). Watching her on-sight 5.10 lead, yet seeing her feet slip and slide, despite her delicate placement, precision, and balance drove us to finally convince her to try a new pair of shoes. Audra was adamant against an aggressive or really tight shoe, but agreed she could benefit from a higher-performing shoe. We recommended she try the Scarpa Force X Women’s. Here’s her review:
Fit: These shoes are sturdy and comfortable. And I am a big proponent of comfort as you can see by how hard a time I had giving up my old climbing shoes! The tongue and back of shoe are nicely padded and the heel is snug without cutting into my Achilles tendon. And a great fit means I am confident when on my toes or heel-hooking.
Form: In addition to being comfy, these shoes are sturdy. Two velcro straps add to the snug fit and allow for easy on and off. Because of this, these shoes are perfect for extended wear; whether it’s a long day of climbing, or on a multi-pitch route. The colors pop with fun without being too girly.
Function: I tested these both in the gym and outside and in both cool and warmer temperatures and found that they perform well. Both in the gym and outside these shoes do well on small edges, in cracks (although I try to avoid jamming in cracks!), while heel-hooking and smearing. I found they perform best on slabs and vertical routes. While these shoes performed well on slightly overhanging routes, they did not do well on steep overhanging routes. This is to be expected. These shoes are not made with an aggressive toe and are better suited to slabs or vertical walls. One downside (or upside, depending on the climate in which you live) is that I found the rubber to be more effective when climbing in warmer temps than in cooler temps.
Finances: They are fairly affordable. Pricing in at $135, these shoes are reasonably priced for a quality shoe that will last for several seasons.
Crush Status: I enjoy these shoes and would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking to add a new pair to their climbing shoe arsenal. They are affordable, well-made, perform well, and are comfy. A great shoe for both beginners and more experienced climbers.