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Scarpa Piki Review

The Piki is a high-quality kids shoe with both decent performance and good comfort
Scarpa Piki
Photo: Scarpa
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Price:  $55 List | $54.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Durable, comfortable, high quality construction
Cons:  Not great on small holds, runs quite large
Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Adam Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 4, 2020
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • Edging - 20% 5
  • Cracks - 20% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Pockets - 20% 6
  • Sensitivity - 20% 5

Our Verdict

The Scarpa Piki is a great option for an all-around pair of kid's shoes. It has a large full coverage hook and loop enclosure, helping to get a good secure fit. A Neoprene lining offers great padding around the foot, and when combined with the low tension rand that wraps around the heel, the shoe ends up having a forgiving comfortable feel that will stretch and give for growing feet. When it comes to performance, they shine in cracks due to having good padding and good rubber coverage. However, they lack an edge on the toes, they lack support in the midsole, and they have a rounded toe box.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $54.95 at Backcountry$54.95 at Backcountry
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Pros Durable, comfortable, high quality constructionAdjustable heel strap, breathability, single pull adjustment, very comfortableVery comfortable, easy to put on and take off, sensitive yet durableGood price, comfortable, easy on/offSoft microfiber upper, EVA heel cushion, affordable, lightweight
Cons Not great on small holds, runs quite largeFabric is less abrasion resistant than synthetic or real leather, metal D-rings can cause pressure points and abrasion to strapsHard to size correctly, too soft for smaller edges and pockets, rounded toe boxSingle lace tension strap can wear out quickly, adjustable heel sacrifices heel hooking rubberThin toe rand, poor at edging
Bottom Line The Piki is a high-quality kids shoe with both decent performance and good comfortOne of the best available, all-around comfortable shoes, that performs well for most applications including cracks, slab, and faceA colorful and comfortable shoe that is easy to put on and performs well, especially while climbing slabs and cracksA good basic shoe that does just about everything well, but doesn’t excel in any one thing in particularA comfortable shoe, great for beginners and casual climbers alike, with good performance at a great price
Rating Categories Scarpa Piki Evolv Venga Five Ten Kirigami La Sportiva Stickit Butora Brava
Edging (20%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Cracks (20%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Pockets (20%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Sensitivity (20%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Scarpa Piki Evolv Venga Five Ten Kirigami La Sportiva Stickit Butora Brava
Style Velcro slipper Velcro slipper Velcro slipper Velcro slipper Velcro slipper
Upper Synthetic Polyester Mesh Synthetic Leather Synthetic
Width Options None None None None None
Lining Unlined Agion Antimicrobial Textile sock liner Unlined Unlined
Rubber Type Vision TRAX SAS Stealth Phantom Frixion RS Butyl Butora F5
Rubber Thickness 4 mm 4.2 mm 3 mm 3 mm 4 mm

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.

Performance Comparison


After reaching the chains on a long crack and face pitch, her feet...
After reaching the chains on a long crack and face pitch, her feet were feeling great.

Edging


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.

Edging is not the Piki's strong suit, but with a snug fit, they're...
Edging is not the Piki's strong suit, but with a snug fit, they're not bad.

Crack Climbing


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.

A tester getting into a thin crack with good results.
A tester getting into a thin crack with good results.

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.

Wide or thin, the piki does a good job protecting the foot and...
Wide or thin, the piki does a good job protecting the foot and giving good purchase on the rock.

Pockets


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.

Sensitivity


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.

On slabs, they work just fine, just lack a good feeling of the rock...
On slabs, they work just fine, just lack a good feeling of the rock underfoot.

Comfort


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.

The Piki does a good job in cracks and slabs but the steeper and...
The Piki does a good job in cracks and slabs but the steeper and techier the footwork becomes, the performance of the shoe drops off.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Topping out the last Jtree pitch of the day.
Topping out the last Jtree pitch of the day.

Adam Paashaus