Updated Vapor V
The redesigned Vapor V boasts a full synthetic microsuede upper, a tighter heel cup, updated mesh tongue, and new straps. See the new shoe in the first photo, followed by the model we tested on the right.
Here is a summary of the updates in more detail.
- New Upper — The upper is now fully comprised of synthetic microsuede, which won't stretch out like leather.
- Tighter Heel Cup — The heel cup is now tighter for a more precision fit.
- New Tongue Design — The updated tongue is air mesh with the intention of providing extra cushioning and breathability.
- Updated Straps — The straps on the new shoe are a molded 3D design, intended for easier adjustment.
We're excited to test out the new version, and we link to it above. However, until we hit the rock with the new shoe, the following review pertains to our escapades with the older model of the Vapor V.
Hands-On Review of the Vapor V
The new Vapor V features more rubber on the toe box for toe hooking and crack protection.
Compared to edging machines like the Butora Acro and the Scarpa Instinct VS, the Vapor V feels deficient in the edging metric. Or testers had to press hard in this stiff shoe to feel the edges and trust that they wouldn't pop off. After logging some mileage we became more used to edging in these shoes, but they still didn't offer the same security we felt on dime edges while climbing in more sensitive shoes like the Tenaya Tarifa or the La Sportiva Genius.
These shoes are stiff and supportive, but our testers found it difficult to feel small edges while climbing in them.
For crack climbing, the shoes you choose make the difference between whipping and clipping the chains, especially when the faces outside the cracks are smooth and devoid of holds, like on desert sandstone or difficult granite cracks. Our lead tester spent a spring at Indian Creek where the Vapor V was his go-to shoe for thin cracks. These shoes can wiggle into finger cracks like no other, taking the weight off your arms enough to move between finger locks or shove a cam in. The dual velcro straps didn't cause us any pain in cracks hand sized and wider, but constant foot torquing can damage the buckles. When sized correctly, these shoes can keep you charging up granite splitters for days in relative comfort. Our Favorite shoe for crack climbing is the lace-up La Sportiva Kataki.
The Vapor V is a great shoe for thin crack climbs, but the buckles caused some discomfort in wider hand cracks.
Wide and comfortable, the Vapor V is not our top choice for weaseling into tiny limestone pockets. A pointier shoe like the Tenaya Tarifa fits into pockets better, and a more sensitive shoe like the La Sportiva Skwama lets you know you've got good purchase. After many pitches, they soften up and can be mashed into pockets easier, but they still don't hold up to the competition.
Our tester powering his way up steep pockets at Wild Iris.
Out of the box, these shoes feel clunky. They are relatively stiff and supportive, especially compared to the softer FiveTen Quantum, and this makes it harder to feel micro edges and divots on a slab. After a break in period, they become more sensitive, and they're great for longer outings where you'll be happy to have some respite for your tired feet and calves, but for single pitch techy face climbing, a more sensitive shoe will make you feel more secure and less likely to overgrip.
When tiptoeing across slabby terrain, our testers prefer a more sensitive shoe like the La Sportiva Genius or the Five Ten Quantum.
The Vapor V score well in the comfort metric and were a favorite for all day climbing among our wider footed testers. The tongue has some padding to keep your dogs comfy in wider hand cracks, but not so much that they instantly turn into a sweaty, disgusting mess. The heel fits snugly without being too tight against the Achilles, and if you do need to give your feet a break at belays, the dual Velcro straps allow for quick and easy on and off. Without the distraction of pain, you can pull and jam your hardest. No excuses!
The well-crafted heel stays in place without causing heel pain or needing to be sized painfully tight.
With its slight downturn, the Vapor V is ready to handle steep faces and caves. They are supportive for long, off-vertical pitches, but take some breaking in before they feel sensitive. A secret weapon against thin cracks, we recommend these shoes for slicing and dicing up multi-pitch crack climbs, or marathon gym sessions when sensitivity is less important than foot placement and close attention to technique.
If the shoe fits, you'll be wearing it pitch after pitch, increasing its value every day. At $175, the Vapor V is a versatile shoe that climbs most styles after a break in period and resoles well (at least once in our experience).
Good foot work is key on steep climbs. Here our tester is psyched that these shoes fit into the steep pockets.
The Vapor V is another quality take on the two dual Velcro climbing shoe, improving upon the features on classics like the Five Ten Anasazi VCS and the and La Sportiva Katana. If you're having trouble on the thin finger cracks, these shoes might be the extra something you need to make it to the chains.