“The concept is as easy as nailing a piece of rubber to a barn door,” says Heinz Mariacher, SCARPA’s storied shoe designing prophet, or – more formally – climbing line manager.
But don’t let his casual theorizing about what he calls ‘Active Randing’ fool you. There’s more going on than Mariacher would lead you to believe. After all, the guy’s had a one-track focus on climbing shoes for well over three decades.
So what is Active Randing? And what difference does it make in SCARPA’s rock shoes?
Said (somewhat) simply, Mariacher’s concept of Active Randing employs rubber rands that wrap around the shoe in different configurations (for different types of climbing), designed to support climbers’ feet in the movements critical to climbing at top levels. These active rands are tensioned in ways that engage and disengage to support the foot, storing and re-releasing energy. They dynamically adapt to the foot while it loads and unloads body weight, effectively storing and releasing power—similar to the way a barn door slams shut with a rubber tether.
Visually, you can see it SCARPA’s rock shoes. If you look at, say, a Vapor V or an Instinct, the shoes have structure that makes them look like there’s a foot in them when there isn’t. Active rands give the shoe that structure. They also do a lot more that you can’t see, but you can feel …