Gear Review: Used Scarpa X Climbing Shoes

I did it, I did it, I did it!


I am so stoked to receive my first piece of climbing gear to review for this blog from my brother who didn’t want them anymore.


They are Scarpa Force X’s. Or maybe they are La Sportiva Katana (laces)…?


Erm, no. Wait. No. They are assuredly Scarpa Force X’s.


(But hey, La Sportiva, if you are reading this, I would test the Katana (laces) if you had some lying around… PM me!).


climbing shoes.png
Uh, uh, uh. Which one is the Scarpa Force X?!?


Anywho, I am honored that Scarpa thought so highly of my editorial prowess to give me a pair of shoes distributes in the U.S. so my brother could buy them at a second hand gear shop in New Paltz, NY. I am more honored that he decided to give up climbing a few months later and leave them in the closet for me to swipe. Honored, I say!


Now now, let us not bury the lede:


The Scarpa Force Xs are the highest rated climbing shoes ever on this blog.

You seem surprised? Let me enlighten you.


To be diligent and lend a critical eye to this review, I will focus on five carefully selected criteria: Price, comfort, durability, performance, and price.


Price: Free!

Can’t beat that. Next.


Score: 5/5


Comfort: Super!

They are a size or two too large. After an initial break in period (for my feet, not the shoes), I can wear these for hours at a time without discomfort.


The heel is padded, and I may have a low-volume heel (read, small heel), and uh, they are too big, so when heel hooking they sometimes feel on the verge of slipping off.


BUT, they feel quite comfortable when they are shimmying away from my heel!


I wear these for hours straight at the gym, in the shower, and to bed — they are great in all domains.


Score: 5/5


Durability: They still work!

I’ve used them for over a year. And STILL NO HOLES.


Maybe I’m not climbing hard enough, you say? Well screw you!


This is my review and I say these are darn tough. My little bombers of climbing shoes… they once survived a nuclear bomb test, I’ll have you know.


Okay that’s not true.


Heel of Scarpa Force X


The rubber is starting to detach around the heel, meanwhile the sole is noticeably worn, especially at the seems.


All in all, for 1 year + a few months + 0-3 years of wear (indeterminate length of time via the pre-prior owner) they seem to be holding up well.


Score: 4/5


Performance: Good enough!

In the year that I’ve been climbing, these have me sending V6s and low 5.11s (indoors) and 5.10 outside.


They have enough grip for overhangy routes and toe hooks, though I do not always trust the heel. They smear well, but seriously lack edging ability at this stage (which is an impediment at higher grades). As a counter-point: That velcro! Still velcro-y.


These also perform admirably while belaying, keeping me right where I’m standing. Top notch.


Score: 3/5


scarpa-force-new
Apparently new pairs have an edge. Photo from bergfreunde.no


Price: Still free!

Can’t beat that. Next.


Score: 5/5


My Scarpa Force Xs


Total Score: 22/25

There you have it folks, my used pair of Scarpa Force Xs are officially our highest rated climbing shoes (ever) on this blog.


(Backed by objective, hard science.)


Like I said, I am stoked about my first piece of gear!




For the Sake of Self-Interest and Re: The Return to Europe

Europe, Round 3, began as a non-start. 

 

I arrived at Logan on Saturday night nervous about the next leg of my trip. Terminal E is laid out in a long corridor, and I began distractedly searching for Primera Air to check in. I walked down the length of the counters, back and forth. No signs. Nothing.

 

This seemed normal because when I flew with Primera in September, they had set up a temporary desk for check in. I watched the process in action and figured this might be the case again.

 

Impatience got the best of me and I decided to confirm (or discredit) my hunch. I approached a Virgin Air attendant and inquired, “I know this isn’t any of your (bloody*) concern, but where do I find Primera Air?”

 

He said, “They don’t operate here anymore.”

 

I says to the guy, I says, “Oh, you mean I’m in the wrong terminal?” My thoughts immediately concentrated on the logistics of a transfer and the remaining time until boarding.

 

“No,” he emphasized the word, “they are no longer in business. Didn’t you read the news?”

 

“Ummm.”

 

“You can talk to British Airways or Norwegian, they are offering discount tickets…” He failed to mention that Virgin was offering a similar deal.

 

Turns out, Primera Air had declared bankruptcy on October 2 (two weeks before my departure). Apparently, they decided it was unimportant to alert paid passengers that their tickets were now good for kindling.

 

Thus my attempt to leave the country crashed with a thud.

 

Inside Boulder Bar, Prague.
Inside Boulder Bar, Prague. Climbing is fun. So I went during a layover.

 

This scene was fitting for how I was feeling: The trip isn’t as easily navigable; I am ambivalent.

 

My main jam for the next few months is to focus on climbing.

 

Continuing the theme of 2017 and 2018, I’m pursuing activities that have long been of interest (but which remained neglected). Specifically, farming and traveling.

 

I believe you need to pursue interesting — the notions that you get truly excited by — because this teaches you about yourself.

 

Yet, there has been an associated compunction with these endeavors, that self-interest is a thin distance from selfishness.

 

I am grappling with two concepts that focus one’s energy in opposing directions:

 

1) To understand myself better while 2) broadening my concern for others.

 

One lens is angled inward, while the other enlarges your circle of care. My hunch is that expanding this circle from misguided principles leads to disdain and burnout. Or, you need to know yourself in order to truly care for and help others.

 

In advance of boarding the plane (eventually, on Sunday night), I kept deliberating:

 

What does a life focused around pursuit of self-interest and connection to community look like for me? 

 

That is now the central question of this trip.

 

*Because British