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Hands-on Gear Review
Scarpa Techno X - Women's Review
Cons: Runs small, fits very narrow
Weight (Per Pair, size 39): 1 lb (size 39.5)
Fit: Low Asymmetry
Scarpa has redesigned many of its climbing shoes, and based on trying just this one, we think the company has done an excellent job. The Techno X is a stiff shoe with a flat shape designed for trad climbing and all-day multi-pitch routes. This shoe feels quality and durable and has subtle features, such as laces that diagonal across the toe so that they don't get shredded in cracks, that make them excellent for this purpose. Compared to the classic and popular La Sportiva Mythos, the Techno X is far more precise and technical, but still comfortable to wear for long periods of time. We give this shoe out Top Pick Award for crack climbing and all-day routes.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The legendary shoe designer Heinz Mariacher, who used to design shoes for La Sportiva, has now joined forces with Scarpa and has created several new shoes, including the Techno X. This Italian made shoe exhibits the quality expected from a product coming from the home of excellent footwear, whether fashion or sports. It is a flatter shaped shoe ideal for crack climbing and all-day wear.
This shoe encases the foot smoothly and comfortably with almost no dead space or air pockets. The flat shape and solid toe are comfortable for all-day wear, and theses shoes don't need to be taken off immediately after finishing a pitch like many aggressive shoes.
Our main complaint in terms of comfort is that these shoes our exceptionally narrow. For many women who struggle with shoes always feeling to wide and loose, this may actually be a plus. Our main tester felt like her foot was folding on the inside of this shoe, and that was not a pleasant sensation. If you have exceptionally narrow feet, then try these. If not, you may prefer a different model.
This shoe also runs exceptionally small. As long as you size it right the first go around, you won't have a problem, but be aware that you may need to upsize from your usual size in other brands. La Sportiva as a brand has extremely consistent sizing, and we were able to purchase the same size in all of our test models and get a comfortable fit. We ordered that same size in theses Scarpa shoes and were shocked to realize that they were almost too small. Either try these on before purchasing or order your street shoe size.
This shoe does not have the incredible sensitive feel that you get with something like the Five Ten Anasazi LV - Women's, where you can feel every features underneath you. However, you can still find small edges and features with these shoes. The sole is made from 4 mm of Vibram XS Edge, and it is plenty sticky for smearing and pasting to the wall, yet this rubber is a little harder and more durable than some other the other compounds we have tested.
The La Sportiva Mythos - Women's is the closest competitor to the Techno X in this review. Both have a flat shape with no downturn and are designed to be comfortable for long routes and crack climbing. But edging is where the Techno X blows the Mythos out of the water. Where the Mythos get soft and eventually feel sloppy, the Techno X is stiff, precise, and can edge on anything. It has a Flexan midsole to add rigidity, letting you stand comfortably on small stuff. It is also designed with a bi-tension rand, which securely holds the heel but pushes the toes forward without cramming them. This allows you to powerfully push with your toes onto small features.
As we mentioned above, the lack of downturn is what makes this shoe excellent at crack climbing. The flat shape slides into cracks without causing a painful bunching in the toe. The rigid midsole allows it to remain stiff as the foot twists into the crack to gain purchase. We think that the combination of a flat shape and stiff edging performance makes these perfect for cracks and long alpine routes. Of all 12 shoes that we tested, this is the one that we would want to take on an all-day or backcountry mission.
With no downturn, these aren't your pocket pulling shoes. They do fine on vertical pockets, especially since the toe is well shaped, but these shoes aren't the most ideal on overhanging terrain. For steep pockets, we suggest the La Sportiva Solution - Women's, which is the most aggressively downturned shoe in this review. The Solution wins our Top Pick award for the best shoe for sport climbing and bouldering.
Ease of Use
The standard laces on the Techno X are not as quick to do up as Velcro shoes, but also not as quick as the speed lace systems on the Miura or the La Sportiva Tarantulace - Women's. However, they do allow for custom tightening for the full length of the foot, so you will likely to be able to find the best fit for your feet.
One thoughtful detail on these shoes is that the laces subtly diagonal across the top of the foot so that at the toe the laces are off center. This small adjustment in positioning means that the laces are far less likely to get torn and scraped up in cracks. For many cracks the laces just miss the shred zone alongside the edge of the crack. This is especially notable for a shoe that is aimed at trad and alpine climbing. The Mythos, by comparison, has an overly complicated lacing system that sometimes shreds in cracks, and then is a nightmare to replace when those tear. The Techno X avoids this problem to begin with, but wouldn't be a pain to relace either.
The flat shape and stiff midsole make these shoes a crack climber's dream. Better than most of the other shoes we tested for foot-jamming, these shoes can handle routes that take all-day and last for many pitches. While they do well in cracks, they also edge and smear well so that you can use these shoes on anything that comes your way on a long route. The Techno X's specialty is cracks and alpine climbs, but the flat shape and comfortable fit lets them cross over to other styles of climbing as well. Though the lack of downturn prevents them from being an ideal sport climbing or bouldering shoe, they can handle some days on steeper terrain gracefully.
At $155, this shoe is about the same price as our Editors' Choice winner, the La Sportiva Miura - Women's. This is a pretty average price to pay for a quality shoe. While we think the Miura crosses over to sport climbing and slightly steeper technical climbing better than the Techno X, this model from Scarpa can be used for many types of climbs, and isn't limiting with its specialty. We think that this shoe presents an excellent value for the price. With durable rubber on the sole and Italian craftsmanship on the upper, these shoes are bound to last you a while.
We have had multiple female traddies report that they absolutely love this shoe. Unlike the soft and sloppy Mythos, the Techno X is a technical crack climbing shoe that can be worn all day, but that can handle difficult terrain. Many men and women love the unisex La Sportiva TC Pro for long routes, but the Techno X is a low volume shoe specifically for women that competes even with that classic. We happily give a Top Pick award for long routes and crack climbing to the Techno X, and would choose this shoe above the rest for long days, whether that means many pithces in Red Rocks or a long High Sierra route.
— McKenzie Long
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