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Hands-on Gear Review
Scarpa Boostic Review
Cons: Expensive, uncomfortable
Bottom line: This uncomfortable shoe really stands out when used for edging and climbing pockets, but you'll definitely want to take it off between burns.
A product of revolutionary shoe designer Heinz Mariacher - a man who wore his EB's so tight he had to slip them on with plastic bags over his feet - the Scarpa Boostic is a marvel of climbing technology and bone crushing agony. With a highly asymmetrical shape and a narrow, tapering fit towards the toe, the Boostic focuses all of the weight of the climber's body through the toe. This makes for an extremely precise climbing platform and some seriously mangled digits at the end of a pitch. The Boostic is an excellent synthesis of down-turn, toe point precision, and rigidity. These combined design features create an edging machine that compensates for its limited sensitivity with the ability to apply tremendous force.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Boostic thrives in the beyond-vertical world of hard sport climbing and bouldering. Much like the La Sportiva Miura VS, it is a function specific climbing shoe that will enable serious grade pushing, at the expense of comfort and wearability. The very tapered toe box of the Boostic provides little extra room for the arching of your toes and the sole and upper are both extremely stiff. These design features make it difficult to get the shoe on and can make the Boostic very painful to wear. The Velcro closures make a snug fit even tighter and provide a locked in feel that provides a sense of security and confidence moving on thin features. The rubber at the top of toe the makes hooking a piece of cake. The heel is very stiff and can make heel hooks feel a little blind, and the V-Tensioned Randing is so stiff it can be hard to smear in them.
With pinpoint precision and active support for your entire foot, the Boostic will do a lot of work for you in the edging department. The Boostic excelled on sharp edges and nubbins where the narrow toe found good purchase. The V-Tensioned Active Randing supports and augments your toe power but can make it hard to get maximum rubber over sloping holds. The outside edge of the toe aggressively slopes away, offering less surface area and forcing the climber to use a toe in a stance which can push him away from the rock. These features take a little time to get used to and can make the familiarizing period of the Boostic a little trying.
The Boostic is not a crack climbing shoe. The rubber toe patch offers a little protection for the top of your toes, but overall the shape of the shoe isn't conducive to jamming or standing in cracks.
The Boostic was made for pockets on rock of all angles. The toe point of the Boostic is among the most precise we've tested and will hook into even the smallest pockets with ease. With an adequately aggressive downturn and sticky XS Edge rubber, the Boostic will hold your foot in when the climb gets steep. The V-Tensioned Randing will take a lot of the pressure off your mid-foot and keep you feeling secure even when pockets are shallow. Once they are worn in, their performance on pockets actually improved as they were slightly more supple, allowing the rubber to apply more uniformly to the rock.
The Boostic is stiff and has an almost elastic rebound off the rock. While this provides excellent support and edging power, it diminishes the sensitivity of the shoe. The XS rubber used both by La Sportiva and Scarpa feels almost glassy on the Boostic and doesn't mold itself onto features in the rock. The lack of sensitivity is largely mitigated by the amount of power the Boostic allows you to apply to the rock, but the shoe still feels a little blind on blank rock.
The Boostic is not easy to get on and isn't comfortable out of the box or after a decent wear-in period. This Boostic belongs in the category of shoes that you wear and take off immediately after sending your project. It will up your grade as long as you don't let the discomfort diminish your psyche.
Take the Boostic out sending. It performs best on steep sport and bouldering routes, excels at pockets and edges, and toes and heel hooks respectably well. The Boostic is not a quiver of one, so don't depend on it for a variety of climbing.
This is an expensive, high-end shoe that will not be useful on a variety of rock climbs. It will let you push your grade to the limit but has limits of its own. Buy it as an excellent addition to your rock arsenal.
Scarpa has crafted a great shoe in the Boostic. The sky is the limit as long as you use it within its terrain limitations. It is worth the price and the pain.
— Thomas Greene
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