Steeper shoes

When I started rock climbing a few years ago, I remember trying on my first pair of climbing shoes. I didn’t know much about shoes back then – but it seemed obvious at the time that the hooked-toe down-turned variety were probably not what I needed. I was new to the sport, climbing only occasionally & tackling fairly low grades – A solid flat lasted shoe was more suitable & that’s what I purchased.

Fast forward a couple years & I’ve now progressed to climbing steeper & harder routes – and of course as the grades go up, the size of the footholds get smaller… I started to think that maybe it was time to give those aggressive shoes some further consideration.

The idea of having a curved last (shape of the shoe) is to allow more power to be transferred to the toe area, thus allowing more grip & sensitivity on smaller foot-holds. The toe area is often further curved to a hook-like shape, which allows for both pulling & pushing small steep holds when needed. Generally this style of shoe is designed for technical steep (past vertical – overhanging) climbing & bouldering. The fit should be as snug as possible, with little to no dead-spots (areas where the shoe is not filled with your foot).

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The Specs

What I was looking for was a shoe to help me push the grades on my steeper local sport climbs & also serve me well in the climbing/bouldering gym. The Scarpa Boostic stood out, both due to it’s colourful construction, but also from the good things I’d heard about it from other climbers. I tried them on in the store, along with a couple other options – but found the Boostic fitted my foot the best. I also liked that they used a fairly thick rubber on the sole, hinting at good longevity.

Scarpa describe the Boostic as “Our premiere weapon for everything past the vertical”. Designed by the renowned Hans Mariarcher & hand crafted by artisans in Italy, these shoes scream quality. The upper uses a blend of colourful suede leather in the back half (for comfort) and synthetic leather in the toe area, for a consistent fit throughout the shoes lifespan. The closure is via two floating hook & loop (Velcro) straps that  also serve to cinch the shoe in when needed.  To keep everything in shape there is some elastic mesh in the tongue area, which also helps the shoe really hug your foot. Over the big toe is a grippy rubber patch, for toe hooking & there is also plenty of sticky rubber also in the heel for heel-hooking. The sole uses the Vibram XS Edge compound – which is both quite grippy, but also very durable.

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The boost I needed

My first time using the Boostic was on the bouldering wall at my local gym. With plenty of steep problems to choose from, I figured the Boostics would be in their element. I wasn’t wrong. The first thing I recall noticing was that my feet just stuck to the holds. On the same holds that my other shoes would slip off, my feet just wanted to stay put. This newfound grip served two purposes, it allowed me to climb harder & steeper than before, but it also gave me confidence to try harder routes. Like any new footwear, there was a breaking-in period. It took maybe 5 sessions of use before  they had stretched a bit & softened to fit the contours of my feet. Since then, considering these are tight aggressive shoes, the Boostics have remained reasonably comfortable.

Taking the Boostics outdoors I continued to notice increased grip & I was able to use small footholds that I’d previously not have considered viable. A few weeks after getting the shoes some mates had just climbed a steep overhanging route a couple of grades above what I was normally comfortable leading. They asked if I wanted to have a crack & I surprised myself by saying yes. I started to learn that I could trust my feet a lot more than before, which in turned simply helped me climb a bit harder & have more fun doing so. I’ve also started to gain confidence trying routes & problems that require acrobatic toe & heel hooks, and I’m constantly surprised at just how small some of the foot holds I’ve used can be.

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Conclusions

It’s been about 7 months now that I’ve been using the Boostics & they’re still going strong. The sharp edge has worn down, but the grip is still excellent. For sure, I still wear my roomier flat shoes for long multi-pitch routes, where the climbing isn’t so technical. But for everything harder & steeper, the Boostics are definitely my first choice. Good shoes won’t make you a better climber, but they will certainly help you climb closer to your full potential. The Scarpa Boostics are superbly made & high performance shoes, my favourite climbing footwear weapon.

Review: Scarpa Boostic
Fit90%
Comfort85%
Edging92%
Pockets90%
Sensitivity 90%
Durability90%
PROs
  • Great fitting
  • Excellent grip on steep terrain
  • Durable sole & construction, they'll last
CONs
  • Not an ideal all-rounder shoe
  • A bit uncomfortable if worn for long periods
  • Quite pricey
90%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
100%

About The Author

Lachlan Gardiner

Lachlan works as a freelance photographer, writer and videographer. His practice lies somewhere between storytelling and being a total gear nerd. Often found hiking, mountaineering, climbing, cycling, packrafting, or just hunting down the next story - Lachlan will take basically any excuse to get into the outdoors. In between all of the above, he also works in our Paddy Pallin store in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

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