SCARPA vs LA SPORTIVA: Who is the King of Climbing Shoes?

Introduction

When it comes to climbing shoes, two brands stand out in the minds of climbers worldwide: SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA. Both companies have long-standing reputations for producing high-quality, innovative climbing shoes. However, the question remains: who is the king of climbing shoes? In this article, we’ll dive into the histories, technologies, and performance of these two iconic brands and compare them side by side.

History of SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA

SCARPA

Founded in 1938 in Italy, SCARPA has a rich history of producing high-quality footwear for various outdoor pursuits. With a strong focus on innovation and craftsmanship, SCARPA has become a go-to brand for climbers seeking reliable and high-performing climbing shoes.

LA SPORTIVA

Established in 1928, also in Italy, LA SPORTIVA has been a family-run business for almost a century. The company has continually evolved over the years, focusing on producing cutting-edge climbing shoes that cater to the needs of climbers across various disciplines.

Comparing Climbing Shoe Technologies

Rubber Soles

Both SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA use proprietary rubber compounds for their climbing shoe soles. SCARPA utilizes the Vibram XS Edge and XS Grip2, known for their durability and grip. LA SPORTIVA, on the other hand, uses its own Frixion rubber, which is highly regarded for its sensitivity and adaptability to various rock types.

Shoe Construction

LA SPORTIVA is renowned for its No-Edge technology, which allows for greater sensitivity and precision on smaller holds. SCARPA, in contrast, focuses on creating shoes with a perfect balance of stiffness and sensitivity, ensuring climbers can tackle a range of routes and problems with confidence.

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Fastening Systems

Both brands offer a variety of fastening systems, including Velcro, lace-ups, and slip-ons. LA SPORTIVA’s Fast Lacing System is well-regarded for its quick and secure fit, while SCARPA’s Wave Closure System ensures a comfortable and snug fit across the top of the foot.

Downturn and Asymmetry

SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA both produce a range of climbing shoes with varying degrees of downturn and asymmetry to cater to different climbing styles and levels. Generally, more aggressive shoes are better suited for steep and overhanging terrain, while flatter, more symmetric shoes are ideal for all-day comfort on multi-pitch routes.

Performance in Different Climbing Disciplines

Bouldering

In bouldering, both SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA offer aggressive, high-performance shoes that are well-suited for this demanding discipline. SCARPA’s popular models include the Drago and Instinct series, while LA SPORTIVA’s Solution and Futura models are highly sought after by boulderers.

Sport Climbing

When it comes to sport climbing, both brands have an impressive lineup of shoes designed for optimal performance on technical routes. SCARPA’s Boostic and Vapor series provide precision and edging capabilities, while LA SPORTIVA’s Miura and Testarossa models offer exceptional grip and sensitivity.

Traditional Climbing

For traditional climbing, comfort and all-day wearability are crucial factors. SCARPA’s Helix and Techno X models are known for their comfort and durability, making them excellent choices for long multi-pitch routes. Similarly, LA SPORTIVA’s TC Pro and Mythos are popular among trad climbers for their combination of performance and comfort.

Alpine Climbing

In alpine climbing, where conditions can be harsh, and climbing shoes need to perform well in mixed terrain, both SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA offer reliable options. SCARPA’s Charmoz and Ribelle series provide lightweight performance and versatility, while LA SPORTIVA’s Trango and Nepal series are known for their durability and technical prowess in alpine environments.

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Price and Affordability

Both SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA offer a range of climbing shoes at various price points, catering to climbers with different budgets. While some top-performing models can be quite expensive, both brands also offer more affordable options that still provide excellent performance and value for money.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

As outdoor enthusiasts, both SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA have made efforts to reduce their environmental impact. SCARPA has implemented a “Green Manifesto” to promote responsible manufacturing processes and materials, while LA SPORTIVA is committed to using eco-friendly materials and reducing waste in their production processes.

Conclusion

In the battle for the title of the king of climbing shoes, both SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA have proven themselves as leading brands with exceptional products. Ultimately, the choice between these two iconic brands may come down to personal preference, fit, and individual climbing goals. By considering factors such as performance, price, sustainability, and the specific climbing discipline, climbers can make an informed decision on which brand best suits their needs.

FAQs

Q: Are SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA climbing shoes true to size?

A: Both brands tend to have their own sizing system, so it’s essential to try on the shoes or consult size charts before purchasing.

Q: Can I use the same climbing shoes for all climbing disciplines?

A: While some climbing shoes are versatile enough to perform well across various disciplines, it’s generally best to use shoes specifically designed for the type of climbing you plan to do most often.

Q: How often should I replace my climbing shoes?

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A: The lifespan of climbing shoes depends on factors such as frequency of use, climbing style, and shoe care. Regularly inspect your shoes for signs of wear and replace them when necessary to maintain optimal performance.

Q: Can I resole my SCARPA or LA SPORTIVA climbing shoes?

A: Yes, both brands’ climbing shoes can be resoled, which can extend their lifespan and reduce environmental waste.

Q: Are there any significant differences in the fit between SCARPA and LA SPORTIVA shoes?

A: Both brands have their unique fit and design philosophy. It’s essential to try on shoes from each brand to determine which one best fits your foot shape and climbing needs.

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