Scarpa Mescalito Review
Cons: Expensive, not great for edging
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Our Analysis and Test Results
As with climbing footwear, the most comfortable shoe can't be the highest performing. What the Mescalito offers in comfort, support, and durability, it steals slightly from its climbing performance. That being said, it still offers a solid climbing platform, especially in cracks or those venturing up big walls standing in aiders.
The comfort forward design of the Mescalito makes it less adept at edging than other shoes we tested. The outsole has less of a 'climbing zone' and outside edge than other shoes we tested. With its emphasis on approaching the mountains, the shoe is decidedly less sensitive for precision big toe placement than other shoes in the review. The lacing system extends almost to the toes offering a snugger fit when you need increased performance.
While the Mescaolito uses the same high-quality Vibram rubber that accounts for about half of the outsoles we tested, the sparser lug pattern on this shoe meant less overall rubber contact with the rock, and therefore slightly less friction when smearing.
The durable leather upper, supportive midsole, and a generous amount of rubber on the toe rand make this one of the most enjoyable shoes to slam into a crack and crank on. With all the support and protection, you don't have to be delicate when jamming your foot. Due to it's higher volume toe box, it doesn't fit into thin cracks as well as thinner shoes we tested.
The first outing was a two and a half hour hike while shouldering a 30-pound pack and 3,000 feet of elevation change. At no point did discomfort, hotspots, or blisters form. The leather upper molded nicely to the foot in one outing. The dual-density EVA midsole is the cushiest ride of all the shoes tested.
The Mescalito is built for the mountains. It's build is more similar to a hiking shoe than a climbing shoe. The stiff midsole provides support on the uneven, off-trail travel that climbers regularly find themselves in. The torsional rigidity provides additional support to the ankles, and the toe rand is built to protect toes from shifting talus and unintentional stubs. The outsole is the most hiking and traction oriented for confidence in wet, muddy, and slick terrain.
Weight And Packability
For similar protection to a burly hiking shoe or even boot, the Mescalito is comparatively light and nimble. But for clipping to your harness to lug up your favorite multi-pitch, you could shave up to an additional pound with a lighter weight option.
Top of the line hand-crafted Italian footwear isn't known for its bargain prices, right? The Mescalito is one of the most expensive shoes we tested. We don't find the price to be unreasonable given the quality of the handcraftsmanship and Scarpa's reputation for durable approach shoes –- which we're confident the Mescalito delivers on. But the price tag might make less sense for those prioritizing climbing ability and budgets.
If keeping your feet comfortable is your primary concern, the Scarpa Mescalito may be in a league of its own. If your approach is from Buttermilk road to the Grandpa Peabody, then this shoe is overkill. For those humping big loads to far off objectives, or those with a sizable commute to their favorite crag who aren't willing to sacrifice comfort, there are few contenders to this shoe.
— Sean Haverstock