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Scarpa Arpia - Women's Review

This intermediate shoe has a soft midsole and sensitive feel - an impressive combination of comfort and performance.
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Price:  $160 List | $129.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, great for smearing, soft midsole
Cons:  Loose heel lacks precision, Velcro strap is short which limits adjustability
Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 21, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Sensitivity - 25% 8
  • Edging - 15% 6
  • Cracks - 15% 4
  • Pockets - 15% 7
  • Ease of Use - 5% 9

Our Verdict

The Arpia is Scarpa's attempt to provide a shoe for the intermediate climber — someone who wants a bit more from their shoe than the very basic, flat introductory climbing shoe offers but doesn't want to commit to a fully downturned, aggressively shaped talon used by more advanced climbers. It worked for us! We found these shoes to be some of the more comfortable models from Scarpa, with a soft midsole, limited rubber on the top of the shoe, and soft feel from their leather uppers. The Arpia is a great gym shoe but also performs well outdoors on boulders and sport climbs. Not an ideal slab or crack shoe, the Arpia can hang tough on pocketed limestone and granite boulders.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, great for smearing, soft midsoleSensitive, great for edging, supportive, comfortable, versatileComfortable, high performance, sticky rubber, easy to put on, good in cracks, versatileComfortable, extremely sensitive, great for smearing and steep climbing, easy to get on and offGood for steep climbing, break in well, conforms to foot shape, comfortable, aggressive shape
Cons Loose heel lacks precision, Velcro strap is short which limits adjustabilityExpensiveStretch out quickly, costly, lack supportExpensive, No-Edge technology could be an acquired tasteExpensive, lacks versatility
Bottom Line This intermediate shoe has a soft midsole and sensitive feel - an impressive combination of comfort and performance.The Kataki wins our Editors' Choice Award for their combination of comfort, sensitivity, and edging prowess.The Skwama are impressive in many realms, combining comfort with a high performance fit.If you let them, they may revolutionize your footwork; they'll take some getting used to, but are top notch for steep climbing.The Solution gets our Top Pick for steep climbing and bouldering for their aggressive shape, precision, and comfortable design.
Rating Categories Scarpa Arpia - Women's La Sportiva Kataki - Women's La Sportiva Skwama - Women's La Sportiva Futura - Women's Solution
Comfort (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Sensitivity (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
Edging (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Cracks (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
7
Pockets (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Ease Of Use (5%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Total Scores (%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Specs Scarpa Arpia -... La Sportiva Kataki... La Sportiva Skwama... La Sportiva Futura... Solution
Style Velcro Lace Velcro Velcro Velcro
Weight (Per Pair, size 37) .86 lb 1.08 lb 1.00 lb .91 lb 1.06 lb
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Fit Medium-Low Asymmetry Asymmetrical Asymmetrical High Asymmetry Asymmetrical
Upper Microsuede Suede leather microfiber Leather/Microfiber Leather/ Synthetic Leather/Lorica
Lining Unlined Pacific Unlined Unlined HF (heel and toe box only)
Sole Rubber Vibram XS Grip2 Vibram XS Grip2 Vibram XS Grip2 Vibram XSGrip2 Vibram XS Grip2

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison



The Camp 4 circuit is a great place to test climbing shoes - there may not be slicker footholds on planet earth...
The Camp 4 circuit is a great place to test climbing shoes - there may not be slicker footholds on planet earth...

Comfort


Aggressive climbing shoes are certainly an acquired taste. The Scarpa Arpia provide almost all the benefits of an aggressively shaped model, without any of the pain and suffering. These shoes are soft and malleable slippers with a single Velcro strap to secure them in place. At first, we had to work to slip our feet into these puppies, but after only one day of climbing in them, the Arpia broke in to be one of the most comfortable shoes we've tested. What we loved about these shoes is that they still provide a high level of performance, precision, and technical ability without compromising comfort. Typically, it seems like one can either have one or the other — comfort or performance — but the Arpia proves us wrong!

The Arpia provides a snug fit in midsole and heel. This makes for a comfortable  yet still high-performance fit - great for the gym!
The Arpia provides a snug fit in midsole and heel. This makes for a comfortable, yet still high-performance fit - great for the gym!

Sensitivity


Constructed with Vibram XS Grip rubber, the Arpia is a sticky precision tool. From slippery plastic chips in the gym to tiny granite smears, these shoes are sensitive right out of the box. Their form-fitting shape and slipper-style design make them feel like an extension of your foot, plus some. We also found them to be a decent heel hooking shoe — with Scarpa's V-Tension system securing the heel in place. The softness of the shoe, however, did cause some slippage of the heel cup in aggressive heel hooking situations.

Heel hooking in the Arpia.
Heel hooking in the Arpia.

Edging


Though they rocked it in the sensitivity department, the softness of the Arpia made them fall short in this metric. We generally prefer a stiffer shoe for serious edging, especially on long routes. Spend an entire day edging and smearing in a soft slipper-like the Arpia and your feet will definitely be letting you know about it. That said, for bouldering and shorter single-pitch climbing, the Arpia's will work in a pinch.

Can you spot the edge in this picture?!
Can you spot the edge in this picture?!

Crack Climbing


These shoes are not necessarily designed with crack climbing in mind, but since they are a mid-level climbing shoe, they will certainly work for low-key crack climbing days. We would not recommend jamming in the Arpia for days on end, however. Their lack of extra rubber in the toe box makes for painful foot jams. Without this reinforcement, shoes can wear out easily and cause pain in wider cracks. Their softness and flexibility make them a decent shoe for finger cracks, but the Arpia's are still not our go-to for crack climbing.

Here  the softness of the Arpia is shown as they smear into a small foothold.
Here, the softness of the Arpia is shown as they smear into a small foothold.

Pockets


With a slightly asymmetrical toe box and a slight downturn, the Scarpa Arpia make a great shoe for gently overhanging pocket climbing. Since they are soft and flexible, they are maybe not the best for aggressively overhanging climbing, but on the moderately steep stuff, the Arpia does great. The sticky and precise toe box makes them easy to place in small pockets and on small limestone smears.

Ease of Use


With a single strap that secures with Velcro, the Arpia is very easy to get on and off. This strap is in charge of adjusting the fit of the shoe, while a stretchy sleeve underneath secures the foot in place. The sleeve was stretchy enough to get the shoes on easily at first and stretched out a bit once the shoes were broken in.

One Velcro strap secures the Arpia. Sidenote: the strap was a tad short to accommodate our wide footed tester.
One Velcro strap secures the Arpia. Sidenote: the strap was a tad short to accommodate our wide footed tester.

Value


The Arpia is marketed as a shoe for newer climbers looking for an introduction into a more aggressively shaped shoe. This means that it is neither a high-performance shoe nor an introductory shoe. Its price reflects its placement, as it lands in the middle of the pack. These shoes are definitely an investment; they are marketed toward folks who have already committed to climbing as a hobby and want to push their abilities.

These shoes are a great all-arounder for an introductory climber - from the gym to the great outdoors.
These shoes are a great all-arounder for an introductory climber - from the gym to the great outdoors.

Conclusion


The Scarpa Arpia is a comfortable Velcro slipper with a slight downturn and a soft midsole. We liked these shoes for bouldering and gym climbing, where we kept our shoes on for a few hours during a session. Their easy-to-use Velcro strap and quick break-in period made the Arpias some of the more comfortable shoes we've tested, but they still managed to maintain a high level of performance due to their sticky soles and slightly aggressive shape.


Jane Jackson