Hands-on Gear Review

Scarpa Gecko Review

Price:  $180 List | $119.86 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Narrow fit, quick adjusting laces, soft durable uppers
Cons:  Expensive, doesn't edge well
Bottom line:  If your feet are on the narrow side, this a comfy, supportive approach shoe.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight per pair (size 9.5):  27.6oz
Upper Material:  Italian Suede
Lining Material:  Recycled polyester
Manufacturer:   Scarpa

Our Verdict

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.


RELATED REVIEW: The 10 Best Climbing Approach Shoes for Men


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Matt Bento

Last Updated:
Saturday
November 25, 2017

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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 speed lacing system allows for adjustment all the way down to the toe  much like a climbing shoe.
The speed lacing system allows for adjustment all the way down to the toe, much like a climbing shoe.

Performance Analysis



Climbing Ability


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.

The Gecko doesn't edge as well as stiffer shoes like the La Sportiva TX4.
The Gecko doesn't edge as well as stiffer shoes like the La Sportiva TX4.

Edging


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.

Smearing


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.


Crack Climbing


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.

Hiking Comfort


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.

Diamonds (instead of dots) try to balance traction in the dirt with smearing abilities.
Diamonds (instead of dots) try to balance traction in the dirt with smearing abilities.

Support


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.

The Gecko is as much at home slabs as it is in cracks.
The Gecko is as much at home slabs as it is in cracks.

Best Applications


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.

Value


At $180, these shoes are 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

Conclusion


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

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 25, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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