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Scarpa Mescalito Review

The Mescalito lands in the top echelon of approach shoes with a focus on supporting your feet on long approaches without suffering much in climbing ability
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scarpa mescalito approach shoes review
Credit: Amazon
Price:  $189 List
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Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Sean Haverstock ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 12, 2020
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 7.0
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Support - 20% 10.0
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 3.0

Our Verdict

The Scarpa Mescalito is a great option for those planning high miles on their feet. The shoe delivers on its intended claims of being a premium approach shoe for long technical hikes into the mountains. If High Sierra peak bagging or similar alpine objectives are on your agenda, the Mesaclito will get you there without complaints from your feet. While it's not the highest performing shoe once you venture vertically, it's a great option for those scrambling up to easy 5th, especially in hand-sized cracks or larger. This shoe is built for climbers planning to log hundreds of miles on their feet, with or without heavy loads, while remaining lighter and more nimble than traditional hiking shoes and boots.
Not great for edging

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison

scarpa mescalito approach shoes review - the leather upper and sensible amount of toe rubber provide a...
The leather upper and sensible amount of toe rubber provide a durable, protective, and comfortable shoe. The laces-to-toes design helps dial in the right fit for the activity.
Credit: Sean Haverstock

Climbing Ability

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.

scarpa mescalito approach shoes review - while a bit clunky in the toebox to excel at technical climbing, the...
While a bit clunky in the toebox to excel at technical climbing, the Mescalito still tiptoed up this v3 boulder problem.
Credit: Sean Haverstock


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.

scarpa mescalito approach shoes review - smearing and liebacking up "the perfect lieback", 5.8.
Smearing and liebacking up "The Perfect Lieback", 5.8.
Credit: Sean Haverstock

Crack Climbing

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.

Hiking Comfort

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.

scarpa mescalito approach shoes review - despite being built for long hauls into the mountains, the mescalito...
Despite being built for long hauls into the mountains, the Mescalito is still a great daily driver to your favorite crag, and one of the most comfortable and supportive shoes we tested.
Credit: Sean Haverstock


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.

scarpa mescalito approach shoes review - the outsole features a smaller "climbing zone" under the toes...
The outsole features a smaller "climbing zone" under the toes coupled with a wider lug pattern for improved hiking performance.
Credit: Sean Haverstock

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

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