I started climbing about 8 months ago, largely due to my boyfriend’s obsession with the sport, and I was intrigued to discover what all the fuss was about. Mostly I’ve climbed indoors but I have done some bouldering and traditional climbing outside in the Peak District as well. I climb once a week at the local wall, mainly with friends who are around the same level as me.
For quite a while I climbed in some old climbing shoes that were quite worn out and slightly too big for me. At the time I felt they were pretty good and they served a purpose, much better than my trainers or the hire shoes that other beginners start out in. However, as I gradually got more into climbing, going regularly with friends and my partner, I started to want a pair of my own. After trying a number of different types of shoes I felt that the Scarpa Force X Women’s Shoe was the best shoe for me. The first thing that appealed to me was the colour, but the comfort compared to other shoes was immediately noticeable when putting them on.
Comfort & Fit
Despite what more experienced climbers might tell you, cramming your feet into super tight shoes is not for me. As a beginner I was looking for comfort as well as a shoe that could help to improve my climbing. The Scarpa Force X meets both these requirements very well. The fit of the shoe is excellent and my feet fit snuggly inside. In particular the padded heel and padded mesh tongue ensure comfort whilst the excellent design means that I can perform well on the wall. Not many shoes seem to have padding around the heel, but I really feel it is good for a beginner shoe as it makes it much more comfortable. The other shoe I tried that has this feature is the Boreal Joker. I liked this model too, so I guess the right choice is whichever fits best in the toe. For me the Force was a good fit all round.
This is a great shoe for beginners or climbers who want some comfort so they aren’t crushing their feet into uncomfortable shoes. The Velcro means that I am able take them off and put them on with ease. I find this especially useful when belaying at the wall, and also outdoors when we walked between routes.
As soon as I started wearing the Force X I noticed a massive difference. I felt I had more control, in that I could grip better on slabs and vertical wall climbs – it really built my confidence. I felt I could trust the placement of my feet and this made a big difference to my climbing. Whilst I had been climbing 4+ and 5s I am now climbing 6s and 6+s.
When I first wore the shoes I did find them a little tight, mainly because I wasn’t actually used to wearing a pair of climbing shoes that fit properly. However, I was told that the leather upper would stretch to the shape of my feet and after climbing in them a few times I felt that they had stretched a bit and now provide a great fit. I can now wear them for longer periods, which I found useful when trad climbing which takes longer than the shorter climbs indoors.
Being my first pair of climbing shoes, it's hard to tell how durable these are compared to others, but I’ve worn them quite a bit and they are not really showing much wear and tear. The leather uppers are really well put together and I think the stiffness of the soles will mean the rubber lasts well.
In summary, the Scarpa Force X shoe provides comfort whilst enhancing your technique and they look great too. I would definitely recommend them for a beginner or improver who is climbing regularly and moving up the grades.