A great shoe for edging, flexible for that odd smear and comfortable enough for those all day multi pitch routes as well as precise for your steep sport projects.
We’ve reviewed plenty of Scarpa climbing shoes on the website and I have to declare that I use Scarpa shoes a lot. I’ve tried all their mid range shoes and my favourites are the Vapour V. I have climbed plenty of routes from my harder sports projects to bouldering and trad in them. I have a smaller pair and my size 8 for work and comfort.
I never quite got on with the lace up XSGE versions however. I could never quite put my finger on it but the lace ups never quite worked for me. The new Scarpa Maestro however, a different kettle of fish. Out of the box they have a slight Sportiva Miura look about them, they are different though: stiffer and slightly narrower and much more comfortable (IMHO).
They have a slight downturn, which offers good toe precision without crushing your toes. So, you can put them on and walk (for descents) in reasonable comfort. I’ve been using a size UK7 and my trainer size is UK8. If I wanted more comfort I could get away with a UK7.5 (which if I was climbing more multi pitch in warm weather I would-for big walling I might even consider an 8) but I opted for a more precision fit for sport climbing as well as trad and this has been a good decision as they have stretched a little over the month or so that I’ve been using them. They are also a wider fit than my Vapour V’s and that also aids the overall comfort.
The fit can be well adjusted as the laces are nicely set apart giving plenty of space at the padded tongue to cinch up tight when needed and relax when my feet get hot. You can vary the tension across the forefoot quite easily and the laces are a nice length so you won’t have to wrap them around your sole three times! The Eco Leather outer also helps with ventilation and keeps the smell manageable (or non-existent in my case) and the padded microfibre tongue moulds to the forefoot and doesn’t crease when tightened. So a comfortable and varied fit can be had depending upon what type of climbing you’re are planning to do.
The construction of the Scarpa Maestro is really where it is at and Scarpa have really gone to town on this. The upper is constructed with a three panel system with the leather base extended to mould around the big toe whilst the another leather panel wraps around the other toes to help the shoe mould around the toe area with maximum comfort (yep, there’s that word comfort again). There is a full length plastic midsole that offers great support across the whole foot and good stiffness for small edges as well as being flexible enough for the odd smear move.
The Maestro has full rand coverage with a generous amount around the toe for crack climbing and toe hooking and full heel coverage. I’ve always liked the heels on Scarpa shoes, it’s what converted me away from Anasazi’s many years ago. The heel cup has great support without digging into the achilles heel and the heel has two generous heel pulls to help get the shoe on and for attaching to a harness for those long descents where trainers or approach shoes are more appropriate. A nice feature is the microfibre piping around the top of the shoe which again improves the comfort .
The Vibram XS Edge rubber on the sole is standard across the stiffer range of climbing shoes and has stood the test of time. When I’m advising clients about choosing a climbing shoe they often talk about the rubber. I advise to get the fit right and then think about rubber- to be honest it’s all down to durability. The Vibram XS Edge will last longer than the stickier XS Grip that you find on the more performance shoe but at most levels you wouldn’t really feel the difference. So the 4mm rubber on the sole reduces down to 2mm at the heel to help keep the shoe light (260g per shoe on the trusty CGR scales) and give added support at the heel. Most importantly I’ve been using them for 6 weeks now and there’s still plenty of rubber left on the toe area (I’m a heavy shoe user as I’m out climbing 3-4 days a week most weeks during the spring, summer and autumn and the same indoors during the winter).
So, will the Maestro be able to replace my beloved Vapour V? Yes on certain types of climbs on trad and limestone they are outstanding and I’ve happily climber up to F7a and trad E3 in these, most importantly I can happily wear them all day in complete comfort but for Gritstone (which is what I boulder on most of the time) and indoors I still prefer my Vapour V’s. The Scarpa Maestro’s are a fantastic climbing shoe and hopefully will stay in the range for some years to come as I’ll definitely be buying more when these wear through.
SRP: £120 and available direct from Scarpa and selected retailers.