Scarpa R5T Review

Dave takes the new Scarpa R5T’s for a stroll about town – it’s not all climbing you know!



  • Super cool looking
  • Well made with high quality materials
  • Robust enough for the crag, gym and pub.


  • Don’t try to approach your mountain route in them – you’ll end up in tears!

Except it is really 🙂 I’ve been a fan of the lifestyle range of shoes from Scarpa for quite a few years. As an Italian company they should know a thing or two about style and the new J5T is one of the best shoes Scarpa have come up with from their lifestyle range. The range is extensive and the popular Mojito and Margarita (they are quite similar to the Margarita Sude shoes) ranges are in there. I have owned a pair of Aspen GTX boots for a number of years. They are my winter shoe of choice for general wear and look great in jeans and even chinos.

The new Scarpa R5T are very much a casual shoe in design and take their inspiration from the iconic adidas Samba or the New Balance 574. I would say they are a fusion of the two styles but much better and made with high quality materials. They have a retro 80’s vibe to them and wouldn’t look too out of place on the shelves of any sports or retro retailer. Scarpa say they are based on their legendary Cinque Terre shoes and if you look closely you can see there is a connection with the fully laced toe profile and the diagonal flashings at the side. The R5T however is a completely modern remake that although doffs a respectful nod to it’s predecessor proudly displays its modern credentials (in a retro way).

The Scarpa R5T are perfect for the climbing gym and socialising after.

That’s not to say that they couldn’t be used as an approach shoe, I haven’t used them for that as they are far too good. They are my choice of shoe for all casual wear and heading down to the climbing wall. It’s not that they aren’t robust enough for a hike out to the crag, it’s just that they look too good to ruin in the mud. They can be adjusted for comfort with the climbing shoe lacing but I have found that as long as the toe area is comfortable then I just tighten up the top half and that is fine. I can quite happily walk all day in them as well as for working (when I’m writing, not instructing).

The upper is made from high quality, water resistant, suede. They are not waterproof and there is no GTX version in the range. They did begin to leak when worn in heavy rain and you can buy suede treatments that will maintain the water resistance. They were fine for showery days, but again I wouldn’t want to wear them all day in a downpour as it would begin to ruin the suede. The upper is finished with some great styling in soft and supple white leather. There is a side flashing on the outer side with a Scarpa logo cut out and the inner side is a plain stripe. The heel is also reinforced with the same leather with a stitched Scarpa 1938 decal. It all adds to the classy style that would be great to wear down the pub but that displays your climber credentials in an understated way. No need to wear that crusty fleece and your alpine boots!

Robust enough for that impromptu bouldering session after work.

The inner is also partially lined with the soft and supple white leather as is the tongue. There is also a nice leather insole that provides cushioning for those longer days when you’re on your feet a lot. The Scapa R5T are definitely suitable for all day wear – in fact they are so comfy that you will want to. They are perfect for the sort of trip that combines maybe some work, a bit of culture as well as a climbing session at the wall or some local boulders.

The sole unit is Speed Lite so not Vibram, although the chunky cleats (which wouldn’t look out of place on a fell running shoe) will easily offer traction on steep slopes and could easily cope with an approach to a sport crag. The dual density, microporous, midsole is similar to the midsole on the Crux and Oxygen models and offers solid cushioning without making the R5T look like a full on hiking shoe.

On the whole Scarpa have made a great job of producing a stylish yet function lifestyle shoe that will appeal to climbers who spend a lot of their time in an urban environment. They wouldn’t look out of lace at work, at the climbing gym or in the pub. They are robust enough for that impromptu trip to the boulders. If you want something a little more technical then the new Margerita GTX Nubuck will trick a lot of boxes or the Aspen is still in the and is a great winter shoe/boot. Everyone I’ve shown them swears they’ll be getting a pair! They even came with a pair of white laces, just in case you relly want to show off.

The  Scarpa R5T comes in four colour combinations Titanium (Grey), Java (which I have been testing and is a sort of mauve, burgundy, brownish colour), Blue and Crimson. They are unisex and come in sizes EUR 37 to EUR 47 and no half sizes.

SRP £135

Available directly from Scarpa UK and other outlets.

Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for over 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA both in the UK and Internationally: working as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!

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