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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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Scarpa Arpia - Women's Review
Credit: Scarpa
Price:  $160 List
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Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 21, 2019
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Sensitivity - 25% 8.0
  • Edging - 15% 6.0
  • Cracks - 15% 4.0
  • Pockets - 15% 7.0
  • Ease of Use - 5% 9.0

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.
Great for smearing
Soft midsole
Loose heel lacks precision
Velcro strap is short which limits adjustability

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison

scarpa arpia for women - the camp 4 circuit is a great place to test climbing shoes - there...
The Camp 4 circuit is a great place to test climbing shoes - there may not be slicker footholds on planet earth...
Credit: Eric Bissell


Aggressive climbing shoes are certainly an acquired taste. The Scarpa Arpia provides 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 into 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!

scarpa arpia for women - the arpia provides a snug fit in midsole and heel. this makes for a...
The Arpia provides a snug fit in midsole and heel. This makes for a comfortable, yet still high-performance fit - great for the gym!
Credit: Jane Jackson


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.

scarpa arpia for women - heel hooking in the arpia.
Heel hooking in the Arpia.
Credit: Eric Bissell


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.

scarpa arpia for women - can you spot the edge in this picture?!
Can you spot the edge in this picture?!
Credit: Eric Bissell

Crack Climbing

These shoes are not necessarily designed with crack climbing in mind, but since they are mid-level climbing shoes, 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.

scarpa arpia for women - here, the softness of the arpia is shown as they smear into a small...
Here, the softness of the Arpia is shown as they smear into a small foothold.
Credit: Eric Bissell


With a slightly asymmetrical toe box and a slight downturn, the Scarpa Arpia makes 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.

scarpa arpia for women - one velcro strap secures the arpia. sidenote: the strap was a tad...
One Velcro strap secures the Arpia. Sidenote: the strap was a tad short to accommodate our wide footed tester.
Credit: Jane Jackson


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.

scarpa arpia for women - these shoes are a great all-arounder for an introductory climber -...
These shoes are a great all-arounder for an introductory climber - from the gym to the great outdoors.
Credit: Jane Jackson


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