Scarpa Boostic Review


1. of, relating to, or constituting the degree of grammatical comparison that denotes an extreme or unsurpassed level or extent

2. a: surpassing all others: supreme

b: of very high quality: excellent

I’m going to try my best to not talk in grandiose superlatives as I describe the Scarpa Boostics. As you’ll see, this is no small task.

There are few things you can buy that will actually improve your climbing. A lighter harness or a well-ventilated helmet are nice, but will probably offer more of a confidence boost than any physical performance gain. Retiring that heavy 10.5 mm rope and tying into a skinny 9.5 might help to a small degree, and maybe the ease of clipping some super cool, hyper technical quickdraws will aid in a hard new onsight. But the truth is that good climbing shoes are the one thing that can make a real improvement in your climbing.

Don’t believe me? Watch what happens to a beginner who gets their first pair of “real” shoes, ditching the stretched out, two sizes to big, way too comfortable, old beaters they were rocking with socks. It’s almost magical when they get a high performance, downturned shoe with fresh rubber and suddenly their footwork becomes deliberate and intentional.

The Scarpa Boostics are the kind of shoe that can do that to your climbing.

I’m typically skeptical of the claims made by companies regarding their gear, and the initial hype surrounding the Boostic made it sound like the Holy Grail of climbing shoes. In fact, legendary shoe designer Heinz Mariacher described it as his best design yet. Here’s what I found.

The Boostics are a slightly down-turned shoe with a moderately stiff sole, comfortable leather and two Velcro straps that pull the shoe snug with your foot. The shape of the shoe made it great for sport climbing and technical trad climbing.

Almost immediately I found greater confidence with these shoes on climbs in Rifle that involved small edges and pulling with your toe, using and trusting footholds that I was hesitating with in the past. In Joshua Tree National Park, I used them to great effect on technical trad climbs that involved dime edges and jamming the toe in small cracks. In Zion, I loved using the Boostics on steep sport climbs and being able to toe hook around arêtes and to edge on small, sandy holds.

The Boostics took very little “break-in” time. After a few routes where they felt slightly stiff and awkward they were ready to go. Very quickly they had that comfortable, confident feel in large part to the excellent use of leather in the shoe, which is a mix of suede and Lorica, a synthetic leather that stretches but doesn’t stretch out and returns to its original shape after you take your foot out. The mix of the two materials allowed the shoe to conform to your foot after breaking in in some areas while returning to shape in other areas. Based on my experience, the grandmaster shoe designer Mariacher may have hit the nail on the head with this creative combination.

Negatives? Of course, there have to be some negatives but it’s hard to find very many. First, it’s not a crack shoe. I wore these on a two-pitch climb in Joshua Tree called Figures On A Landscape which is 95% face climbing, but the last twenty feet are a hand crack, and it hurt pretty bad to jam them in there. Second, they come with a hefty price tag. At $170 a pair, you need to be ready to fork over plenty of hard-earned coin.

I would recommend these shoes without reservation, and have jokingly told friends they would climb a few letter grades harder with these shoes. And while that might be a stretch, for me, the Boostics have become my go-to shoe for hard redpoints, and are now my favorite shoe in my sport climbing quiver.

For more information, or to purchase, visit the Scarpa website.

Disclaimer: Wait! Do you really need to buy more new stuff? If so, this product is worth a look. In the spirit of full disclosure, this product was provided to for the purpose of reviewing. Don’t worry, though, our integrity can’t be bought!

Mike Schneiter is the owner of Glenwood Climbing Guides.

6 Responses to Scarpa Boostic Review

  1. Sounds like a sweet shoe! Any sizing beta? Any comparisons size-wise for your feet to say Scarpa Vapor,La Sportiva Katana Lace or Miuras?

    Alex January 29, 2013 at 9:47 am
  2. Hi Alex, I’m afraid I’m not a ton of help when it comes to comparing sizing in the Boostic with other shoes but maybe some others can also offer up experiences. I wear a 44 in the Boostic and I think that has ended up being spot on although I could probably go a 1/2 size smaller, maybe. Big maybe and I don’t like painfully tight shoes so I think 44 has been good. My street shoe is pretty consistently size 11, particularly with Brooks running shoes. I’m not much more help than that unfortunately as I don’t know my size in the shoes you mentioned.

    Mike February 7, 2013 at 8:46 am
    • Also, I have a hard time offering up size help because I’ve worn a lot of Evolv and Five Ten shoes. I’ve never been super comfortable with my sizing with the Evolvs and they seem to vary from one model to the next for me a lot. In the Pontas, I ended up at about a 11. My FiveTen Jet 7s were a pretty good fit for me and they ended up a size 11 I believe. That’s about all I can offer.

      Mike February 7, 2013 at 8:49 am
  3. These shoes are so comfortable. I wear 42 street and 41.5 in the boostics.

    josh February 21, 2013 at 9:01 am
  4. These shoes are rad and my favorite sport shoe right now. They certainly climb better than I do. However, I spent the winter training without them and I’ve closed the gap as the spring season kicks off.

    They fit like a glove and the toe locks onto just about everything. They are pretty stiff but I still find there is decent smearing ability. I agree with Mike, these will elevate your redpoint grade, no question.

    Lynn April 2, 2013 at 6:46 am
  5. Just put the Boostics to the test on two of my favorite Indy Pass pitches, Cryo and Victims. If I had a third thumb I would now give them 3 thumbs up!

    Lynn May 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm
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