The Scarpa Vapor V is an average performer in all metrics, making it a decent all-around shoe.
Heel hooking in the Vapor V on another tough warm up in Siurana, Spain.
Initially, the Vapor V was painful for our wide-footed lead tester. A precaution to those considering buying them, or any Scarpa model - these shoes tend to run small, so going up a half size or full size is not a bad idea. We tested the Vapor V in our normal shoe size and found them to be very, very tight. The synthetic upper, which is a new addition to the updated Vapor, doesn't provide much wiggle room, so don't bank on these puppies stretching out at all. We had a similar issue with the Scarpa Furia, which seemed to be sized even smaller than the Vapors.
The padded, mesh tongue on the Vapor V made them a breathable and, over time, comfortable shoe.
All that aside, the Vapor V is well padded, yet still breathable, making them great for long days and warm weather. The mesh tongue and side vents kept our feet from getting swampy and sweaty in warm weather.
Sensitivity is not the Vapor V's strong suit. Initially, it was unnerving to stand on small edges and smears since we had a hard time feeling the rock beneath our toes; as they broke in, the Vapors began to feel better. For footwork-intensive climbing like slabs or technical faces, we would recommend something with a bit more sensitivity. The La Sportiva Skwama or the La Sportiva Miura Lace are good options for this style.
The Vapor V's soles didn't provide the best sensitivity, which was surprising since the Vapors have the same XS Grip2 rubber that almost every other top shoe has.
We struggled initially with the Vapor V on edges and small footholds. The shoes felt a bit clunky in the toe box, making it hard to be precise when placing the toe on small holds. It was arduous for the Vapor V to compete with shoes like the La Sportiva Kataki, which can make footholds out of nothing with its incredible edging prowess.
It took some getting used to for us to trust the Scarpa Vapor V on tiny edges such as this.
The Vapors also felt pretty soft underfoot, and this lack of rigidity contributed to the challenges we faced when edging. Shoes like the Kataki or the Miura Lace are a bit stiffer underfoot, which can add stability when standing on small edges.
The softness that was an issue (when it came to edging) ended up being an advantage in the realm of crack climbing; when jamming thin finger cracks, these shoes impressed us. The Vapor V has rubber on the top of the toe, which is nice when torquing the toes in small cracks. The softness of the shoe also helps them fit into tight cracks with ease. When it comes to wider cracks - hand size and larger - the double Velcro strap on the Vapor runs the risk of wearing out from repetitive jamming. The buckles also pressed into our feet on hand cracks, causing pain. We choose the TC Pro for crack climbing, hands down.
Their aggressive shape does not make for the best crack climbing shoe, though the Vapors are soft enough to work in a pinch.
The Vapor V is undoubtedly designed for steep sport climbing. While they function well in other facets of climbing, sport climbing is where they excel, as the slight downturned shape is conducive to steep, pocketed climbing. Though the bulkiness of the toe box was initially an issue when it came to climbing pockets, we got used to the shape over time and were able to toe into pockets just fine. That said, on the steeps, they were no match for the La Sportiva Futura or the La Sportiva Solution.
We found it hard to fit the large toe box of the Vapor V into small pockets.
Ease of Use
With two Velcro straps and a widely adjustable tongue, the Vapor V is easy to get on and off. The adjustability of the tongue was important at first, as the shoes were a tight fit, and the Velcro straps made it straightforward to slip the heels off at belays or in between goes. The Vapor V is somewhat easier to slip on and off than the La Sportiva Miura VS since they only have two Velcro straps (instead of the Miura's three).
The Vapor V is at home on steep sport climbs, if sized small. If sized larger, we'd recommend them for longer free routes, where lack of stiffness and versatility are key. They fit well in finger-sized splitters but are not the weapon of choice for the wide stuff. For sport climbing, bouldering, and gym climbing, the Vapors are a great choice.
The Scarpa Vapor V is best used as a sport climbing, bouldering, or gym climbing shoe.
If the Vapor V fits your foot comfortably, they could be a great investment. Fairly versatile and well-made, we'd say they're worth $175. That said, make sure they fit, since the sizing can be a bit tricky.
Overall, the Scarpa Vapor V is a quality choice for a Velcro, slightly downturned climbing shoe. For gym climbing, steep climbing, or finger cracks, it might be your new best friend. On slabs and technical faces, you may want to look elsewhere for a more sensitive shoe.