By Greg Chapman
Over the last few years Scarpa have done little wrong in the rock shoe market, consistently going toe-to-toe with all the major players. Swept along by the momentum created by their signature Instinct series, many of the recent additions have quickly found a strong following, particularly at the technical end of the category.
The latest high-end offering to roll off the Scarpa rock shoe conveyor belt is the Furia Air, a funky new shoe which builds on the popularity of recent S-Line (Soft Line) models: the Drago and Furia S. Next-level design combined with cutting edge components mean that this shoe is perhaps THE lightest fully featured rock shoe ever made. Superficially this may just seem a case of minimalist construction, but probe a little deeper and you'll soon find that the incredibly light design is merely a fortunate consequence of the intricate design process. This aims to create a super soft, sensitive and manoeuvrable shoe, yet one which can still support precise front-on and inside edging on longer, more sustained routes or boulder problems.
A highly stretchy, two-ply microfibre upper combines with a new Dual Tension randing system (DTS) and a larger (surface area), yet thinner, 3D midsole, to provide the fundamental structure for this elegantly constructed shoe. Beyond this, the popular SRT toe construction is brought in from the Furia S, along with the M50 toe-upper rubber and gusseted Z-strap closure.
The DTS randing is probably the single biggest difference from that of previous models. In contrast to the Drago and Furia S, which use a single tension strip running from the rear of the heel to just behind the ball of the foot, this complex new tech starts at the very tip of the toe, encompassing the whole underside of the toe box - between bootie and outsole - before contouring the arch and forking to wrap around each side of the shoe. Here the straps converge at the rear of the heel to complete a tension system and a slingshot heel in one. This rear portion of this system, known as PAF (Power Absorbing Fit), is designed to further secure the fit, while allowing for more adaptability when tensioning the shoe during construction. This refinement makes the Furia Air a little less aggressive on the achilles than technical models without this technology. The DTS, incorporating the PAF heel, is the bedrock of the shoe's entire structure; allowing for impressive levels of support and hold, in spite of the seemingly minimalist construction. Expect to see more of this construction method in forthcoming models.
Finally, this is the first vegan compatible rock shoe produced by the brand. The elements which previously fell short in this regard were the adhesives and leather footbeds used. These have been updated to entirely synthetic versions, making the Furia Air now fully vegan friendly. As with the DTS construction, expect to see this rolled out in future additions to the rock shoe range.
The Furia Air is a great option for those who love soft shoes, require high levels of feel and sensitivity, but are still looking for some support, particularly under the big toe and inside edge. Unless you only climb indoors, I would not advise this as a primary (only) shoe, but definitely something to have in your arsenal - a quality option for specific projects and style appropriate climbs. Due to the soft construction, for a comparable fit, this shoe can be downsized by one full size over other Scarpa rock shoes: for example if you're a 42 in the Instinct VS, you'll be a 41 in the Furia Air.