Hands-on Gear Review

Scarpa Booster Review

Scarpa Booster
By: Chris McNamara and Chris Summit  ⋅  May 4, 2011
Price:  $139 List
Pros:  Well made, long lasting, toe hooking rubber, easy on off Velcro, average yet tried-and-true type shoe.
Cons:  Oddly shaped toe box (at least for my foot shape).
Manufacturer:   Scarpa

Our Verdict

The Scarpa Booster is a close competitor to the La Sportiva Solution and performs nearly as well at $20 less. We like the Solution better because it has a more precise fit and is more precise in general. But if the Booster fits your own foot perfectly, it is a great shoe for bouldering and sport climbing. It can be used for longer climbs but you would then have to fit it bigger, which degrades much of its performance. Compared to the Anasazi Arrowhead, the Five Ten Arrowhead was much better at micro edging and the Booster was better for steep bouldering problems.

Our Analysis and Test Results



This is a very well made, crafted and designed shoe with attention to detail. For example, the Velcro on the front of the shoe has a rubber coating for better toe-hooking. The rubber on the top of the toe is more flexible than the Solution and felt more sensitive. This shoe edges especially well on the outside edge (great for back-stepping). These shoes edge well on the inside edge. While no shoe that is this aggressive is comfortable in the toe box, we did find the upper part about as comfortable as it gets. Two panels of leather overlap the top of the foot and are quite cozy.

We like the mellow color scheme of this shoe; way less loud than the Solution or Arrowhead.


The toe of this shoe is not as precise as that on the competitors. We didn't feel the same level of precision on micro edges or micro pockets as with the Anasazi Arrowhead, VCS, Solution or Miura VS. The outside of the shoe edges incredible well, but the toe did not feel quite as precise.

The upper part of the shoe feels a little bulky, not as streamlined as other high-performance shoes. This is particularly pronounced if you get the shoe a little bigger (something we don't recommend). If you want to get the most out of these or any aggressive downturned-toe shoe, you have to size them tight. Expect a painful break-in period of 5-10 sessions before these feel okay.

Best Application

These shoes are made for vertical to overhanging sport climbs or boulder problems. They are not ideal for slabs or vertical climbs. They are especially suited for intermediate to advanced level climbers.


For $20 less than its close competitor, the La Sportiva Solution, this could be a better shoe if it fits your particular foot shape. For the same price as its close relative the Scarpa Instinct, after a lot of testing we feel that the Booster is a bit more precise for edging than the Instinct and they are similar in every other way. So out of those three similar shoes we reviewed, it comes down to this: if the shoe fits your particular foot shape and you like the color/design, then the Booster could be the best value.

Chris McNamara and Chris Summit

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