Scarpa Vapour V 2019 Review

Some good improvements and a more climate change friendly upper makes the 2019 Scarpa Vapour V a great all round climbing shoe.

Now, before I even start this review, I need to confess that I am a huge Vapour V fan. They are my shoe of choice and I use them all the time. I still hark back to the original Vapour V’s which I still pine for as I feel they were the best shoes I’d climbed in since my breakthrough days of Boreal Fire’s. I’ve also used the Vapour lace ups and I’ve tried them in all different sizes. My preferred size being a U.K. 7.5 for the best fit.

Strangely, when Scarpa contacted us to ask if we would review the latest 2019 version (version three) there was no 7.5, the choice was just a size 7 or 8. Although looking at the Scarpa website just now it looks as if half sizes are an option. So I’ve tested a U.K. size 8 for this review. I do use a size 8 for indoor climbing and bouldering circuits so I am used to the fit. The fit of the new version is relatively tight compared to previous models even though the shoe is built on the same FR last. The volume is still low and the asymmetrical shape and slightly down turned toe give that balance of comfort and precision. Maybe it’s the new microfibre upper that is replacing the leather uppers of previous models that helps keeps it’s shape better. Time will tell!

The new 2019 and previous model showing the toe rand and improved velcro fastening.

The microfibre upper replaces the leather of the two previous models and maybe this is the future as manufacturers have to find ways of further reducing carbon footprints and having a sustainable offer to more climate change savvy consumers. I have however, have previous form with microfibre uppers. When I reviewed the Scarpa Chimera I noted that the shoes began to smell (I mercifully do not suffer from smelly feet) after a time. So far I have been pleased with the Scarpa Vapour V 2019 versions and they don’t smell any worse than my V 2.0 model. Maybe this is a compromise I will have to make if I want to remain as sustainable as I can be and there is no doubt that it offers a good ethical option for climbers. There are always boot bananas if they begin to smell. I have worn them in warm weather on a recent trip to Hampi in India and they performed perfectly well and felt breathable, even in 27 degree C temperatures. So all I can say here is the jury is out on whether they will begin to smell.

Dave doing what he shouldn’t be – bouldering in Hampi with his top off!

There is more rand rubber on the new Vapour V’s including around the heel so hooking performance should be improved. There is less toe rubber than the previous model so your toe hooking will need to improve (no bad thing). On the whole though the rubber rand offers good support and plenty of friction for hooking, scraping and crack climbing. It’s a good compromise between comfort and support. Two heel tabs are closer together for the new model and are easily big enough for fingers as well as biners for attaching to your harness.

The new, padded tongue is also a new feature for the new model. This, I feel, is a definite improvement on the previous models. There is more padding and it is more breathable making wearing them much more comfortable over prolonged periods such as multi pitch climbing. Further sacristy of fit is provided using an elasticated strip across the tongue, this would be particularly useful if you have wider feet. The redesigned velcro straps (which is what the V stands for) do make closure a little better. They have a rubberised ridge at the end which locates and fits your thumb for faster and more precision when closing the shoe up. 

Dave with his top, mercifully back on. Showing good toe performance and rubber on winter grit bouldering at Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire.

No change in the sole rubber, it’s still Vibram XS Edge which I have found perfectly acceptable for the climbing I use them for which is bouldering, indoor climbing, trad and sport climbing. The Scarpa Vapour V 2019 are a good improvement on the previous model. I like the improved heel and the velcro closure straps but I’m a little apprehensive about the microfibre upper, but then one of my personal 2019 aims is to shop more sustainably so the Scarpa Vapour V 2019 will definitely help with reducing my reliance on animal products.

The Scarpa V is available in sizes 38 to 49 for men and half sizes to 47. They are also available in sizes 35 to 43 in the women’s specific version. each have there own individual colour scheme.

SRP £130 and available direct from Scarpa UK. 

Disclaimer – CGR reviewers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!


  1. hi, i need to replace my vapours soon. ill have to order from abroad so trying to get some idea of the fit of the new shoes. i wear a size 40 in those and a 40.5 in my more comfy scarpas. in your opinion, if i were to order 2 pairs to try, would you say 40 and 40.5 would be the right way? seems they size up a bit smaller from your review. thanks

    1. Hi Leona,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s difficult for me to comment on this and is the reason why I always suggest people go to a specialist retailer to get climbing shoes fitted correctly. I can’t even begin to count the amount of money I’ve wasted buyng climbing shoes online only to find they don’t fit right!! To help you though my trainer size is usually a size UK8 and I fit my vapours size UK7.5 for crucial sends and UK8 for comfy and training. Have you tried a resole? I’ve recently begun doing this for environmental reasons and found it perfectly good for my climbing – resoles have come on a long way since my first ‘Streaky” resoles in the mid 80’s. Hope that helps,

      1. thanks. i completely understand! im very reluctant to order online but theres no importer into new zealand so ive no choice unless i try to find an older model online. just wanted to know what your experience with the older verses new model for your own feet. our resoling options are pretty basic here. i got my flat shoes done and they have been ok but its just a basic shoe repair place so i cant really take downturned ones in there!

  2. Yep, I can see your problem. I suppose it depends on how hard you are planning to climb in them. My thirty years of climbing experience has taught me to go half a size smaller for hard repoints and sends but as I’ve got older and my feet have changed shape I’m opting for comfort these days. I would say the last is very similar to the older versions and the toe shape is the same and although they came up tight for the test pair they have stretch a little since then. I suppose if you can afford it buy both and see how you get on with them. All the best with your quest and ahpy climbing, Dave

  3. Hi
    Out of curiosity what size street do you wear? Keen on a pair of these and in a U.K. 8 in approach/mountain boots.
    Many Thanks

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