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Topic Date User
Review - Scarpa Techno X shoes 22-Dec-2016 At 10:34:07 AM technogeekery

Not all that much info out there on these shoes - so thought I'd share my experience

It has taken me a long time to realise that it really isn't the shoes holding me back, more my own lack of technique / skill / testicular fortitude - you name it. But I still have this little voice in the back of my head that says if only I had XYZ rock shoes, I could climb harder. So I've been through a lot of shoes over the years, mostly quite inappropriate / over the top / expensive, and none have been perfect. I started with the 5.10 Spires - actually very decent all day trad shoes, perfect for my level & type of climbing, but eventually stretched to the point of unusability. I moved on to La Sportiva Solutions - fantastic shoes, but total overkill for a modest grade trad climber, very uncomfortable / tight, and soon relegated to my "projecting" shoes and then forgotten, as I don't really project...

I tried a pair of Mythos - unlikely looking shoes, but very comfortable and surprisingly capable - they were my all-round shoes for years, but being unlined they would quickly stretch and get sloppy, and despite their funky lacing system, I couldn't lace them tight enough on my narrow feet for them to remain stable. The Anasazi velcro was next - excellent performance shoe, but never quite fit me right & didn't stretch or conform to my feet. They are still my gym shoes and are fine when I can take them off between climbs - but I like to do long adventurous trad climbing, and want a pair of shoes that I can wear all day that still perform well.

All the reviews were pointing me to the TC Pro, and I spent a lot of time imagining how I would be able to climb big Yosemite walls effortlessly just like Tommy, if only I had a pair. But there only seems to be one importer in Aus, not in my city, and $270 for a pair of shoes that (given my experience) just might not help me climb grade 21 granite, or even fit my feet - put me off. See, I CAN learn from experience...

But my obsessive web-trawling paid off, when I read about Scarpa's revised Techno X shoe. It ticked a lot of boxes for me - flat lasted, stiff, designed for all day trad, much more technical ability than the Mythos but still all-day comfortable, narrow footbed, quality design and manufacture, fantastic edger, good at cracks, "does it all well at a high level" - damn, I might just send them out to do the climbs on their own.

Steve at Rock Hardware had them in stock at $199, gave me some good advice re sizing, and provided excellent service in delivering my order and sending me a replacement before I'd even returned the first lot that were too small. The sizing runs small, probably a full size smaller than most shoes - and I still went up a bit as I want a comfortable fit and these will not stretch much. As a guide, I wear 45 street shoes (eg Five Tennies), 44 Mythos, and ended up with 46 for the Scarpas! And it is not as if they are a loose fit - they have a vacuum-seal on my narrow heels, no slop at all in the foot, and plenty of adjustability with the laces.

I think they are very pretty, and set off my legs to best effect.

So - fit and comfort is very good - I've worn them for a 2-hour gym session with no need to take them off at all - I think they will be good for a half-day before having to take them off. I've also tried them outdoors on granite and sandstone, and am very pleased with the performance. Initially they are disconcertingly stiff, and you get very little feedback from the toe area due to the thick/stiff edges, making them a little hard to trust. But climbing on granite I soon found that they are incredibly competent edging shoes, railing onto tiny edges and bumps, and I'm growing to trust that they can perform better than any shoe I've used on thin edges. Smearing is on a par with the Anasazi (if not the Mythos) and while I haven;t done any cracks in them, I can see they will be fantastic on hands & larger cracks, but the slightly bulbous toe may not be ideal for really thin cracks.

So far so happy - they do exactly what they say on the tin, and I'm really happy with the fit and comfort as well. Lets see how they work out over the next 6 months, but I think I'm onto a winner.

PS: if you have little feet, Climbing Anchors have a couple of pairs on run-out sale size 38-39 for $99 which is an absolute steal. But no swaps or refunds, so bear in mind they run very small in sizing.


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