The first time a climber pushes off the ground and ascends into the vertical can be a life-changing experience. Instincts fire, movements refine, and the climber experiences a feeling that’s both unsettling and completely natural. It’s addicting. This feeling has drawn thousands to climbing in recent years and helped build the critical mass needed to support countless state-of-the-art gyms around the country. With this explosion of growth SCARPA recognized that it needed a shoe that would appeal to the masses of new climbers exploring the gym and the rock for the first time. So SCARPA’s legendary rock-shoe designer Heinz Mariacher went to work. The result is the new SCARPA Origin, an $89 (USD) rock shoe that’s edgy and supportive in all the right places, while offering an approachable and super comfy fit.
The New SCARPA Origin. ($89 USD)
For some people, putting on a rock shoe can be similar to putting on a ski boot – it can take some effort. But, knowing how to first properly size, and – then – how to properly put on a rock shoe, can make all the difference.
There’s a correct way to put on rock shoes, you say? Indeed there is, and it’ll help you get the longest life out of your shoes. In this short video, SCARPA’s Climbing Line Product Manager Heinz Mariacher demonstrates how to properly fit and put on a rock shoe.
“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 … Continue reading...
As winter transitions to spring here in the Colorado front range, and thoughts turn more and more to the rock, we were excited here at SCARPA to find out this week that one of the more unique rock shoes in our collection, the Instinct S, received an Editor’s Choice from Urban Climber Magazine. The award is outlined in its 2011 spring gear guide, which just hit the streets. Continue reading...
I still vividly remember the day I bought my first pair of climbing shoes. The first thing that hit me was the leathery smell that wafted out as I opened the crisp box lid and saw the shoes packed carefully in white tissue paper like some sort of perfect Japanese melons. The light disappeared into the blackness of the new rubber soles, and the laces begged for immediate bondage.
Will Gadd in Canada, 1984 - nice hexes!
But, as much as I loved the physical stuff in the box, what was most exciting to my 15-year-old mind was the very idea of what the shoes promised: Climbing! Adventure!
Breaking in new climbing shoes is a ritual, and I’d read that the best way to break in new shoes was to get them wet and then wear them around (this is actually horrible advice, but on par with the other advice I was getting as a teenager). I started with taking a shower while wearing the shoes. My mom is still annoyed about the black marks the soles left on the shower stall walls; she just couldn’t understand how they got there. (You can friction off of even wet tile if you try hard enough.)
After getting them good and wet, I wore them around the house for another hour. I’d like to say that I then went climbing in them, but it was February in Canada and climbing gyms hadn’t been invented yet. I waited until a day that was barely above freezing and then traversed back and forth on the wall of the local Texaco until the manager busted me in the same hard-ass way he busted skateboarders. Even though the shoes were ridiculously tight, I still ran.
And was back later that day. Continue reading...