Dave takes the cool looking new lifestyle shoe from Scarpa down the climbing wall and the pub.
Last season I reviewed the Scarpa R5T lifestyle shoes and found them to be a great lifestyle shoe. The only issue I had with them is that were very retro looking and quite a specialised look. I also have and wear a lot during the wet and colder months a pair of Aspen shoes which I find superb as an urban/country boot. I also never got on with the very popular Scarpa Mojito as I found the sole unit a little too chunky for my liking as a general shoe. They also take some inspiration from the Scarpa Oxygen which I reviewed a couple of years back – the Highball’s are way better than the Oxygen though as they look more casual than technical. They are nice and light too at 674g per pair (the official weight is 640g)
Into that breach steps the Scarpa Highball – this takes all the best features of the Mojito and Margarita and combines them into a sleek shoe that looks great in jeans or climbing pants. They are lighter and more flexible than the Margarita and sleeker and more streamlined tha the Mojito. I much prefer these to the R5T shoes I’ve been using, don’t get me wrong the R5T shoes are great but as a 56 year old professional I can’t really carry the style off very well and the Highball shoes feel a little more ‘grown up’. So, I use the Highball’s as my dry day shoes and my Aspen GTX for urban hiking and my winter boots.
The Scarpa Highball shoes were super comfortable straight out of the box. I am a standard size 8 and I tested the size 8 (there are no half sizes in the range) and they fitted fine. They didn’t feel too narrow but with the extended ‘climbing shoe’ lacing you can fit them as precise as you want. The uppers are made using 1.8mm water resistant suede which were fine for the odd splash on showery days but they soon wet through in downpours. But the suede did add to the overall comfort and was nice and breathable on warmer days or indoors. The suede is lined with a stretch textile that looks like canvas whilst the tongue and heel sections have more padding and the whole shoe is finished with contrasting colours and embroidered Scarpa logos. The laces are the usual excellent Scarpa laces that are a little flat so stayed tied up when walking across rough ground (you’d be amazed at the amount of shoes I review that have annoying round laces that keep coming undone and need bedding in!). There is also a heel tab that fits a biner so you can clip them to your harness easily.
The sole unit on the Scarpa Highball’s is a wedge style EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate) which is a plastic material with similar properties to rubber but much tougher and durable. The style will be familiar to adventurers who wear the Margarita or R5T style of shoes or who have worn the Oxygen or Crux for technical approaches. The sole unit is finished with Vibram which has plenty of lugs so will be fine for the odd wet/muddy descent. It also has a reasonable climbing zone at the toe although I found them a little too flexible for extended climbing.
So, in conclusion the Scarpa Highball are a great lifestyle shoe that will display your outdoor credentials loudly. They have been great for both outdoor and urban adventures and are tough enough to take the odd extended hike in the mountains. They are a great looking shoe that will suit all styles and ages and look as good at the crag as they do in the pub. They deserve to remain in the Scarpa range.
The Scarpa Highball come is men’s sizes 40 – 48 and colours Ocean (blue), Shark (dark grey) and Tomato (red). The women’s version comes in sizes 37 – 42 and colours Reef Water (pale blue), Shark and Tomato.
Available direct for Scarpa and various retailers.
Hi Dave. Quick question. It’s usually advised when buying trekking boots to get them in 1 bigger size (+1). I understand that the Scarpas Highball are more for urban use, however, you mentioned that you could also use them for crag wear. In this case, would you recommend to buy them in 1 bigger size as in the case of the trekking boots or to just buy your usual size (as I guess you did)?
Hi Christian, just size them as you would a pair or training shoes. My trainer size is somewhere between a UK8-9. I’ve been using a size 8 with normal thin socks and they have been fine. The leather outer will give a little. A great pair of shoes that I’ve been wearing all Spring. Thanks for your interest, Dave.
If you have trouble getting round laces to stay done up, just change the way you tie the overhand knot before you tie the bow. So, if you normally do “left over right then under” change to “right over left then under” or vice versa. You should find that the bow will then sit horizontally across your shoe, rather than vertically, down along you laces and up your shin. It should stay done up a little longer that way.
Hi Simon, thanks for your input and thoughts. I often tie my lace with a reef knot at first. That way they will stay tight even if they come undone in ‘action’. The lacing on the Highball has improved over time as the lace ‘furrs’ up and more friction can be employed. I will try your method however, as it sounds interesting. Thanks for your comments, Dave.