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Scarpa Gecko - Women's Review

A solid yet expensive cragging shoe with great climbing ability and average support
Scarpa Gecko
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Price:  $175 List | $168.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Climbs well, durable
Cons:  Not supportive, expensive
Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Lauren DeLaunay ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 19, 2020
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 7
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 6
  • Support - 20% 6
  • Weight & Packability - 20% 5

Our Verdict

The Scarpa Gecko caught our attention right off the bat for its fresh look… and high price tag. Despite earning one of the highest overall scores in this review, the Gecko failed to win an award from our editors due to its inability to excel in any one category. We do believe it makes a great all-around approach shoe for the average climber, though; it has above-average climbing ability, decent comfort and support, and durable design. The Gecko missed the mark for our favorite shoe, though we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to friends looking for a no-fluff, comfortable shoe to wear day in and day out.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Scarpa Gecko scored well across the board, and may have been in the running for our Editors' Choice had we not gotten our hands on the La Sportiva TX2. We think this shoe is a little less versatile, but it makes for a great cragging shoe nonetheless.

Performance Comparison


The Gecko is a solid all-arounder.
The Gecko is a solid all-arounder.

Climbing Ability


To test out each shoe's climbing ability, we took them to the boulders and the big walls to see what they could handle. From the patina edges of Bishop to the granite slabs of Yosemite, the Gecko could hold its own and was above-average in this category.

Great edging in Bishop with the Gecko.
Great edging in Bishop with the Gecko.

With a nice smooth climbing zone and solid sole, we trusted the Gecko's edging and smearing abilities. We felt it had one of the best climbing abilities of any shoe we tested, barely out-performed by the Editors' Choice Award winner.

The Gecko has a broader and taller profile than some of its competitors, and because of this, it wouldn't be our first choice for a crack climbing shoe.

Hiking Comfort


Because we gave "support" its own scoring metric, this category looks to materials, midsole stiffness, and lacing. The Gecko was just about average in this category, and it likely won't be our first pick for super long hikes.

The Gecko sports a leather upper that is soft and breathable on the inside with a comfy tongue. The leather did not prevent as much airflow as some of the mesh shoes we tested, however. With a fairly stiff midsole, we enjoyed hanging out in town in these shoes as much as we liked bringing them to our favorite climbing areas.

Out for a walk in Yosemite with the Gecko.
Out for a walk in Yosemite with the Gecko.

The lacing system of this shoe is one of our favorites. Because the laces reach down toward the toes so far, the Gecko is highly adjustable. It can be laced up tight for technical approaches or worn loose for casual jaunts to the crag or in town.

Support


The main area where the Gecko fell behind in the running for an award was in hiking support. The flat bottom of this shoe made for less comfortable long-distance hiking, and when compared side-by-side with its competitors, we could only give the Gecko an average score in this metric.

The Gecko's less than ideal arch support limits its usage significantly. While we didn't mind using this shoe for easy approaches to the sport cliff, we would hesitate to use this in the alpine or for long, strenuous approaches.

Talus slogging in Yosemite with the Gecko.
Talus slogging in Yosemite with the Gecko.

This model performs above average on uneven terrain and snow due to its stiff sole, but its lack of arch support makes it difficult for us to recommend this as an alpine climbing approach shoe.

Weight and Packability


As climbers on multi-pitch terrain, the ability to clip your approach shoes to your harness is a huge part of what makes for a good product. And while weight will usually come at the cost of comfort and support, we generally prefer our outdoor gear to be as light as is reasonable. The Gecko falls in the middle of the range of models we tested, but when compared to its more comfortable contenders, we have a hard time justifying this measurement.

The weight of the Gecko may be due in part to the leather upper. This shoe is about three ounces heavier than our Editors' Choice Award. The Gecko isn't nearly as heavy as the ultra-supportive products we tested, but it may be just a little too heavy for use as a multi-pitch shoe.

The Gecko has great sticky rubber!
The Gecko has great sticky rubber!

Value


One of the main reasons we'd hesitate to recommend the Gecko is because of the cost. This is the most expensive shoe in our review, and we do not believe that the price is justified. For a shoe with superior support without sacrificing climbing ability, our award winners are more of a bargain.

Conclusion


If you can find the Scarpa Gecko on sale, our testers think it makes for a great cragging shoe. With above-average climbing ability and durability, we enjoyed using this shoe daily. For a more supportive shoe at a more digestible price, look elsewhere.

The Gecko has an excellent climbing edge.
The Gecko has an excellent climbing edge.

Lauren DeLaunay