When you’re living life on the edge, whether it’s jamming in a straight-in crack or pitching a horizontal flange, the shoes on your feet are as important as any climbing equipment you use.
From smearing on a sloping slab to edging on a small hold, the quality of your climbing shoes is paramount, and can make the – often minimal – difference between success or failure.
Rock shoes are as fundamental to a climber as the rope upon which his life can often depend.
In the early days of the sport, routes were often climbed in heavy mountain boots, and for years even had nailed soles to provide the critical traction needed.
Growing Climbing Culture
Pioneers of the modern climbing shoe were Frenchmen Pierre Allain and Emil Bordenau in the 1930s. Today, companies like Scarpa, La Sportiva and Red Chili have taken their original concept to dizzy new heights.
The heavy, cumbersome boots of old have been replaced by the lightest, most flexible shoes imaginable, featuring soles which will grip on the smoothest surfaces and edges – from long, multi-pitch routes to indoor practice walls.
Scarpa were one of the first companies to realise the growing interest in mountaineering and climbing.
The specialist features they began to introduce into their innovative rock shoes soon attracted a new generation of climbers, who chose Scarpa for their early feats of adventure.
Leaders in Their Field
Today, Scarpa are leaders in the world of outdoor footwear, with a range of highly-technical mountaineering boots including the renowned Phantom 8000 – designed for the Himalayas – approach shoes like the Vortex GTX, Enigma GTX and Scarpa Crux, and specialist climbing shoes like the Vantage, Force and Helix.
The company, nearly 75 years in the making in northern Italy, combine traditional values with the very latest in modern technology, in a family-run business which has deservedly forged its reputation across the globe.
From the breakthrough Rally boot designed for skiers in the 1970s, through the early high-altitude Grinta – which later evolved into the still-popular Vega – to the 2012 Activ Fit series which has set new standards for hiking and trekking boots, Scarpa have for decades been cementing their position at the forefront of the outdoor footwear industry.
And with a pioneering research and development team always looking for the next technological breakthrough, there is no doubt they will continue to blaze a trail for adventurers of the future.
Nicki Williams works for outdoor retailers Gear-Zone, your on-line store for climbing equipment and extreme sports gear
Picture source: Compfight