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Scarpa Gecko Review

If your feet are on the narrow side, this a comfy, supportive approach shoe
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Price:  $169 List | $168.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Narrow fit, quick adjusting laces, soft durable uppers
Cons:  Expensive, doesn't edge well
Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 25, 2017
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#10 of 13
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 7
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 7
  • Support - 20% 5
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 3

Our Verdict

The Scarpa Gecko is a good, versatile approach shoe. If your foot is on the narrow side, it hikes and climbs well. 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. 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.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.

Performance Comparison

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.

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.
The Gecko doesn't edge as well as stiffer shoes.


These shoes are medium stiff, and they 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.

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. 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.


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 27.6 oz, the Scarpa Gecko 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 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.


These shoes are some of the most expensive in this season's line-up, probably something to do with the soft but durable Italian leather upper.


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