Scarpa Piki Review
Cons: Not great on small holds, runs quite large
Our Analysis and Test Results
Scarpa has long been one of the world's top manufacturers of climbing and mountaineering footwear. To no surprise, the quality construction of this shoe is evident, but how is the performance? Well, it's a bit of give-and-take with the Piki. In some performance metrics, it excels, while in others, it suffers.
Ready for the not-so-glowing part of the review to begin? Well, here it is. The soft "no-midsole" construction is so soft and flexible that it makes the climber have to work extra hard to stand on their toes. The tip of the toe is widely rounded and the toe rubber never comes to a nice edge. Instead, it wraps up over the tips of the toes, almost acting as extra rand. While this will help durability, it certainly makes edging on small holds more difficult.
Back to the positives, the Piki is one of our top picks for climbing cracks. The neoprene pads the foot in hand cracks, and the rubber rands give good grippy coverage to make the shoes feel secure in most cracks. Thin cracks pose more of a challenge for the Piki, but overall, even there, it performs admirably.
Despite the soft, flexible "no-midsole" construction, the forefoot has a good deal of stiffness underfoot laterally. Meaning, the crack won't deform the base of the sole easily, which protects the foot and makes them more comfortable in potentially painful foot jams.
Like with edging, the pocket performance of this shoe is lackluster. If you'd like to climb steep pockets, a more pointy, downturned shoe would do a much better job. The same characteristics that keep it from edging well, also inhibit the performance here. The lack of a midsole requires more work on the climbers' part, and the rounded tip doesn't fit into small pockets well at all.
Underfoot, the Piki is on the stiffer end of the spectrum, meaning, less sensation for feeling subtleties in the holds underfoot. Overall this shoe, with its wide base under the forefoot, climbs slabs well, but feeling the nuances of the rock is more tricky.
Overall, the Piki shines in the comfort metric. We already mentioned the neoprene lining that does a great job of padding the foot, and the large hook and loop closure holds most feet in securely. A wide forefoot lets kids feet spread out more than many climbing shoes, and the flat lasted, slightly asymmetric shape fits most feet well.
However, there is one area that we had some issues. the inner neoprene socklike liner comes up a little high on the back of the foot causing some pressure on the Achilles, which is exasperated by the heel rand, which even under "low tension" does pull slightly on the back of the ankle. Most people won't have an issue with this, however some will and there are no adjustments to loosen.
With its very reasonable price tag, we think the Piki holds great value. If you're looking for a good crack shoe or for a casual climber who wants a long-lasting, well-made shoe, then this shoe is a bargain.
We love certain aspects of these shoes like the superb quality in the design and stitching, their awesome durability, comfort, ease of use, and crack climbing protection. However one caveat, they really lack good performance in the edging and pockets department due to the soft nature of the platform and the rounded toes. All in all, we love the shoes but see the weaknesses it holds for kids who end up pushing their limits on steep terrain.
— Adam Paashaus
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