By Morgan Cvetkovic-Jones
Comfy, robust and the best underfoot experience I’ve ever had in an approach shoe – the Scarpa Gecko is a superb piece of footwear, impeccably suited to Britain’s mountain conditions and rugged terrain. Having produced a market leading line-up of approach shoes for some time now, the latest iteration of the Gecko is a wonderful amalgamation of everything that has made Scarpa’s previous models so special. Here’s why.
Approach like a Gecko
Coming in as the most sensitive, climbing focussed model of the Scarpa approach shoe collection, the Gecko is at home on the wall. The sticky Presa sole’s dedicated climbing zone, combined with the precise last of the shoe, make climbing in the Gecko intuitive and accurate – especially with the full-length laces completely dialled in. While climbing is the Gecko’s obvious focus, the majority of my time wearing the Gecko has been spent on crag approaches, where the shoe’s shallow lugs were vital for providing that essential solid, secure grip.
So, the Gecko has some sticky grip, but is it comfy? Compared to the older generations of Scarpa approach shoes, the latest models are a clear comfort upgrade. This is thanks, in part, to Scarpa’s clever midsole technology which features a hybrid construction between the front and back of the shoe. With a strobel last under the forefoot (where the rubber rand and upper are attached to materials and then glued to the midsole) keeping the weight down, the thicker, 2.5cm EVA foam towards the rear of the shoe provides supreme comfort on challenging terrain. This isn’t to mention the lush foam padding inside the shoe, with the ankle collar and tongue being particularly well clad in padded plushness, although be aware; this combined with the leather upper can become a sweaty affair in hot weather.
After a summer of adventure, the Gecko is still fresh enough for a trip to the pub. It certainly looks the part after a serious stylistic face lift but considering the months of abuse while route setting and walking in the hills, it’s a pleasant surprise that the Gecko looks in good shape. A gripe I often have with climbing orientated approach shoes is the speed at which their sticky, vertically focussed rubber deteriorates. However, the Gecko has certainly bucked this trend with a full complement of rubber lugs are still present. The upper’s water-resistant suede is certainly robust but, it’s the protective rubber rand over the toes and heal that steal the show, tackling scrapes and skirmishes with consummate ease.
Whether it’s an approach along a treacherous limestone scar, a mountainous hike or working at the local gym, the Gecko’s have become my trusted ambulatory accomplice, nailing the holy trinity of comfort, performance and durability. A definitive improvement on the previous Gecko that underscores, yet again, Scarpa’s class leading credentials.