Scarpa Arpia - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Comfortable, great for smearing, soft midsole
Cons: Loose heel lacks precision, Velcro strap is short which limits adjustability
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Our Analysis and Test Results
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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