ProView – SCARPA Gecko Approach Shoes

Julie Schoenfeld is a founder at Outsoul, working to connect outdoor guides with new clients.  Julie is a former professional climbing instructor and has worked as the Director of Digital Development of Rock and Ice Magazine. In her free time, Julie can be found crimping up her latest project, backpacking and mountain biking through the mossy forests of the Pacific Northwest, skiing backcountry powder, or paddling her local waterways. Photos by Paul Lindstrom, Instagram: @2thesummit. 
 

The SCARPA Gecko is the rare all-around approach shoe that walks comfortably over many miles, while maintaining good sensitivity and traction on rock. Italian leather uppers, to-the-toe lacing, and thoughtfully lugged Vibram soles create an ideal shoe for everything from casual cragging to long alpine routes. The whole package is light enough to carry along on the back of a harness or hydration pack so you can walk off any route in comfort.

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I’ve worn my Geckos on loose, steep approaches while bouldering in Leavenworth and on longer hikes to an exposed cliff near Seattle. I’m looking forward to taking them on outings in alpine terrain once the snow melts. If you’re looking for a single approach shoe with the versatility to get you to and from all your projects this summer, the Gecko is a good bet.

Julie Scarpa-2

Fit

The women’s Gecko runs about a half-size big. I usually wear a US women’s size 8.5 and found the Gecko was a comfortable fit in size 8. They’re an average width, with a lot of adjustability thanks to the to-the-toe lacing. I liked wearing the Geckos a bit loose on the trail, then cinched them down to hug my foot when traveling over more technical rock.

Functionality

Most approach shoes are a compromise in either walking comfort or climbing sensitivity, but the Gecko strikes an impressive balance.  My feet were comfortable over many miles of trail but I still felt confident moving on exposed fifth-class terrain and scrambling up boulders. The super sticky Vibram soles are a genius mash-up of a smooth, precise forefoot climbing zone with an effective, grippy lug pattern.

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Materials and Durability

The break-in period for the Gecko is virtually non-existent, thanks to a supple-yet-durable Italian leather upper. A dual-density EVA midsole and Vibram rubber outsole complete the package. The rubber toe rand wraps over the midsole, further improving the climbing capabilities of these shoes. Thus far I haven’t noticed any unusual signs of wear, all materials and construction feel high-quality and durable.

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Looks

My crag style was definitely kicked up a notch by the bright blue leather and watermelon-colored details on the Gecko. I really appreciate this cheerful departure from the standard shades of brown.

Pros

  • Comfortable out of the box
  • Good for a variety of terrain
  • Impressive climbability
  • Lightweight without sacrificing durability

Cons

  • Leather uppers are not the most breathable – for super hot days check out the SCARPA Gecko Lite, which is built on the same chassis but with added breathability.

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