The Scarpa Gecko is a good, versatile approach shoe. If your foot is on the narrow side, it hikes and climbs well, but not quite as well as our Editors' Choice award-winner, the La Sportiva TX4. The Gecko has a medium stiff sole and a great speed lacing system that lets you easily cinch everything down all the way to the toe when the terrain gets technical. Got a heavy pack? Not a problem thanks to the Gecko's supportive dual density EVA midsole.
Scarpa Gecko Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Narrow fit, quick adjusting laces, soft durable uppers
Cons: Expensive, doesn't edge well
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Our Analysis and Test Results
These shoes are a good option for folks whose feet swim around in wider shoes like the Salewa Firetail 3 and the La Sportiva TX4. Tester's felt they climbed better than the Firetail 3 and the Five Ten Access. The Gecko excels as a hiker, keeping our testers sure-footed and supported as they lugged ropes and heavy racks all over Indian Creek and Yosemite.
The Gecko receives middle of the road scores in the all-important climbing metric. Thicker soled and less sensitive than the Evolv Cruzer Psyche, while not as stiff for edging as the Five Ten Guide Tennie, They aren't a favorite for climbing, but sticky Vibram rubber kept us feeling secure on easy scrambles.
These shoes are medium stiff, and the edge well compared to the floppier Five Ten Access, but aren't very sensitive, so standing on small edges feels pretty dicey. The Five Ten Guide Tennie is a better choice if you're going to be busting free moves in your approach kicks.
The special Vibram Reptilia sticky rubber kept our testers from slipping on slabby approaches, but when the slabs start to get into the fifth class zone, we prefer a more sensitive shoe like the Arc'teryx Acrux SL.
These shoes are supportive enough to keep your feet comfy in larger hand cracks and offwidths, but our testers weren't able to get their feet in cracks smaller than a #3 Camalot.
Our testers used these shoes extensively in Indian Creek, where they hiked up steep approaches every morning and back down every afternoon. These hikes involve scrambling over talus blocks, hiking up slabby boulders, and negotiating cactus and other spiky plants. The Scarpa Gecko was more than up to the task, keeping our tester's blister free. The thin mesh tongue does an excellent job venting moisture, so our feet stayed dry, especially when compared with leather shoes such as the Five Ten Guide Tennie and the La Sportiva Boulder X. The seven lacing eyelets that go all the way down to the toe are great for quick on and off as our testers moved around the crag from climb to climb.
The medium stiff sole on these shoes is plenty supportive for hiking shorter distances (three to five miles) with a heavy pack. The flexibility of the forefoot is comfortable but makes your feet work harder in the long run when carrying a heavy load. For approaches deep into the backcountry, you'll want a more supportive shoe like the La Sportiva TX4.
Weight & Packability
Weighing in at 27.6oz, the Scarpa Gecko is the second heaviest shoe in our review and is not our favorite shoe to clip to our harnesses and drag up a long free climb (that would be the Evolv Cruzer Psyche). The extra comfort and support come with the price of more weight and bulk. The Arc'teryx Acrux SL is a better compromise between weight and support if you're looking for a descent shoe.
For the narrow footed scrambler, the Gecko is a good choice for hiking all your rope, rack, shoes, harness, water, and food (whew!) to the cliff for a day of climbing. They're also supportive enough to stand in aiders all day if that's your thing, but we feel like the Guide Tennie or the La Sportiva Boulder X is better for aid climbing since they are stiffer and climb well.
At $160, these shoes are one of the most expensive in this season's line-up, probably something to do with the soft but durable Italian leather upper. For a less expensive option that also climbs better, take a look at our Best Buy Award Winner, the La Sportiva Boulder X
For the narrow footed rock scrambler, the Scarpa Gecko offers a good balance between climbing ability and hiking comfort, and if the shoe fits, it's worth the hefty price tag. If you've got a wider foot, take a look at the La Sportiva TX4, which is just as versatile as the Gecko, but performed better.
— Matt Bento