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Scarpa Maestro Mid Eco Review

A trad-specific shoe with plenty of support for monster days on the wall
Scarpa Maestro Mid Eco
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $189 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Supportive, comfortable, burly construction
Cons:  Expensive, poor sensitivity, blunt toe box, Achilles pain for some
Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 16, 2020
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#21 of 29
  • Edging - 20% 9
  • Cracks - 20% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Steep Terrain - 20% 5
  • Sensitivity - 20% 6

Our Verdict

Nothing can spoil the fun of a long multi-pitch adventure more than foot pain. The Scarpa Maestro Mid Eco is designed to prevent the pain and preserve the fun. Its ultra-stiff sole provides ample support while the thick leather upper supplies plenty of padding and ankle protection. Most of our testers found it to be a supremely comfortable and effective shoe for trad and crack climbing. A small percentage, however, experienced sharp Achilles pain that made these shoes unwearable. Fortunately, everyone was able to identify any Achilles issues from the moment they tried them on. Considering the substantial cost of these well-built shoes, we advise you to either try them on in-person or order them from a retailer with a generous return policy. If they fit well, we think you'll be pleased with their performance.

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$185.00 at Backcountry
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Pros Supportive, comfortable, burly constructionVersatile, stiff, durable, comfortableExtremely precise toe, extra heel sensitivity, comfortable for an aggressive shoeComfortable design, respectable edging, low-profile toe, excellent priceAffordable, flat midsole is comfortable all day, well-balanced performance across many areas
Cons Expensive, poor sensitivity, blunt toe box, Achilles pain for someExpensive, limited sensitivityPricey, tall toe box, too narrow for some feetMediocre precision, subpar on the steeps, somewhat insensitiveInsensitive, imprecise fit, ineffective design for steep terrain
Bottom Line A trad-specific shoe with plenty of support for monster days on the wallThis stiff shoe is an all-day crack climbing workhorse that also performs well on edges and slabsAn ultra-high-end shoe that could put you on the podium of your climbing competitionDecent overall climbing performance at an affordable price make these a sold choiceAn entry-level shoe ideal for beginners that comes at an awesomely low price
Rating Categories Scarpa Maestro Mid Eco La Sportiva Katana... La Sportiva Solutio... La Sportiva Finale La Sportiva Tarantu...
Edging (20%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Cracks (20%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Steep Terrain (20%)
5.0
8.0
10.0
6.0
5.0
Sensitivity (20%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Scarpa Maestro Mid Eco La Sportiva Katana... La Sportiva Solutio... La Sportiva Finale La Sportiva Tarantu...
Style Lace Lace Velcro Lace Lace
Upper Eco leather Leather/Lorica Leather / microfiber Leather / microfiber Leather/Synthetic
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Lining Microfiber Pacific (forefoot and back) Pacific, lycra Unlined None
Rubber Type Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Edge Vibram XS Grip2 Vibram XS Edge FriXion RS
Rubber Thickness (millimeters) 4 mm 4 mm 4 mm 5 mm 5 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Eco in the name of the Scarpa Maestro Mid refers to the ecological friendliness of its leather upper, which is "produced with significantly reduced water use and by renewable energy," according to Scarpa's website. While we applaud this choice, we believe it falls well short of similar efforts made by La Sportiva. According to their website, their Mythos Eco features similarly ecological-minded leather and 95% of the other components come from recycled materials.

Performance Comparison


The Maestro Mid's rand extends slightly up over the toe for added...
The Maestro Mid's rand extends slightly up over the toe for added grip and protection.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Edging


The midsole of the Maestro Mid is reinforced with 1.0-1.4 mm of Relion plastic that creates a sturdy platform to support your foot while you tap dance on tiny edges. Our testers were thoroughly impressed with the edging ability of its 4 mm Vibram XS Edge rubber. The primary drawback to this substantial construction is a loss of sensitivity. If your project demands a prolonged effort on micro edges, however, these shoes can supply the support to counter foot fatigue and the grip to ensure you'll soon be clipping the chains.

The Relion midsole adds stiffness to the sole that makes them very...
The Relion midsole adds stiffness to the sole that makes them very resistant to bending.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Crack Climbing


Climbing cracks is often painful. The Maestro Mid is designed to dull that pain. The leather upper rises high enough to shield your ankle bones and avoid bloody scrapes in wider cracks. Its wide, neutral sole allows your foot to lay flat to increase comfort during sustained foot jams. When it comes to narrower cracks, however, this shoe is poorly suited. The toe profile is much taller than other high-top trad shoes, which severely harms its ability to sneak inside thin cracks. We consider this flaw to be the Maestro's greatest weakness.

The stiffness of this shoe greatly enhances the comfort of your feet...
The stiffness of this shoe greatly enhances the comfort of your feet during foot jams.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Steep Terrain


These shoes are borderline abysmal for pocket climbing. The toe box is not only tall, but it's also broad. This makes it tricky to get them inside all but the largest of pockets. The stiff, flat sole also makes it harder to curl your foot and pull with your toes on steeper terrain. There aren't any high-top shoes that are particularly well-suited for overhanging climbing, but the Maestro is among the worst for this purpose.

The Maestro has poor sensitivity in the heel which is one of many...
The Maestro has poor sensitivity in the heel which is one of many reasons why they're a poor choice for bouldering.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Sensitivity


To achieve this shoe's considerable edging performance, some sensitivity had to be sacrificed. Although the plastic reinforced midsole and 4.0 mm rubber supply ample support, they reduce your ability to feel any crystals or dimples on the rock. The shoe is more supple below the arch and at the heel, but sensitivity in these zones is far less important for feeling most rock climbing footholds.

Like a lot of stiff, trad-oriented shoes, the Maestro's primary...
Like a lot of stiff, trad-oriented shoes, the Maestro's primary deficiency is mediocre sensitivity.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Comfort


We think that most people will find the Maestro supremely comfortable. A small contingent, however, may find them absolutely unbearable. For the majority, the comfort will come from a combination of the flat, supportive sole, and the padded leather upper that together provide plenty of foot protection. The wideness of the midsole and toe box also ensures that your foot and toes lay flat and delightfully unconstrained.

In our tests, however, we encountered several people who found the shape of the heel especially uncomfortable. In comparison to other high-top trad shoes, this heel rises higher and with a stronger forward lean. This contributed to sharp Achilles pain for some people. If you've never had issues with climbing shoes and Achilles pain, you should be okay, but if you've had any issues in the past, we suggest you steer clear of these kicks.

If you're forced to stand on small holds for a long time, you'll...
If you're forced to stand on small holds for a long time, you'll quickly see past the high-cost of the super supportive Maestro Mid Eco.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Value


The quality construction of these shoes comes with a corresponding price tag. However, they do seem pretty durable, so when it comes to price-per-pitch, they present a pretty good deal. We've also seen them on sale on occasion. If you can find them for a decent discount, they're sure to provide an awesome value.

Conclusion


Many manufacturers are now bringing their own high-top, trad-oriented shoes to the market. The Maestro Mid Eco is one of the stiffer, burlier options. We're big fans of their durability and edging prowess, and if found on sale, they could be a great deal. However, a limited number of testers complained of acute Achilles pain, so consider the shape of your Achilles before making a purchase.

Jack Cramer