Scarpa Maestro Mid Eco Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Supportive, comfortable, burly construction
Cons: Expensive, poor sensitivity, blunt toe box, Achilles pain for some
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Our Analysis and Test Results
yupThe Eco in the Scarpa Maestro Mid's name refers to the ecological friendliness of its leather upper, which is "produced with significantly reduced water use and by renewable energy." While we applaud this choice, we believe it falls well short of similar efforts made by La Sportiva. Their Mythos Eco, for example, features similarly ecological-minded leather and 95% of the other components come from recycled materials.
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 of 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.
Climbing cracks is often painful. The Maestro Mid is designed to dull that pain. The leather upper rises high enough to shield your ankles 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 profile of the toe 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.
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 trad shoes that are particularly well-suited to pocket climbing, but the Maestro is among the worst for this purpose.
To achieve this shoe's considerable edging performance, some sensitivity had to be sacrificed. Although the plastic reinforced midsole and 4.0 mm of 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.
We think that most people will find the Maestros supremely comfortable. A small contingent, however, may find them absolutely unbearable. For most the comfort comes 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 more forward lean. This contributed to sharp Achilles pain for some people. If you've never had to 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.
The quality construction of these shoes comes with a corresponding price tag. They do seem pretty durable, however, so 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.
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. A limited number of testers, however, complained of acute Achilles pain, so consider the shape of your Achilles before making a purchase.
— Jack Cramer