The Scarpa Gecko caught our attention right off the bat for its fresh look. Despite earning one of the highest overall scores in this review, the Gecko failed to win an award from our editors due to its inability to excel in any one category. We do believe it makes a great all-around approach shoe for the average climber, though; it has above-average climbing ability, decent comfort and support, and durable design. The Gecko missed the mark for our favorite shoe, though we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to friends looking for a no-fluff, comfortable shoe to wear day in and day out.Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 2, 2021 to reflect a redesign of the Gecko.
Scarpa Gecko - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Climbs well, durable
Cons: Not supportive
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Scarpa Gecko - Women's
|Price||$122.93 at REI|
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|Pros||Climbs well, durable||Lightweight, great climbing ability, comfortable||Durable, stiff, great climbing ability||Supportive, comfortable, durable||Comfortable, supportive, inexpensive|
|Cons||Not supportive||Not as durable as some||Lacks cushion, expensive||Heavier, moderate climbing ability||Heavy, poor climbing performance|
|Bottom Line||A solid yet expensive cragging shoe with great climbing ability and average support||This is an all-around awesome shoe with excellent climbing performance and a comfortable, lightweight design||These shoes are confidence-inspiring, durable, and designed for alpine scrambles and other rugged missions||If you're heading into the alpine or big walls, this durable and supportive model is well-suited for your endeavors||An awesome budget option that covers the needs of most climbers, especially equipped for hiking comfort and long-term durability|
|Rating Categories||Scarpa Gecko - Women's||La Sportiva TX2 - W...||La Sportiva TX Guide||La Sportiva TX4 - W...||La Sportiva Boulder X|
|Climbing Ability (35%)|
|Hiking Comfort (25%)|
|Weight & Packability (20%)|
|Specs||Scarpa Gecko - Women's||La Sportiva TX2 - W...||La Sportiva TX Guide||La Sportiva TX4 - W...||La Sportiva Boulder X|
|Weight per Pair (in oz)||23.0 oz||16.8 oz||21.5 oz||21.0 oz||28.6 oz|
|Sole Rubber||Vibram Reptilla SR||Vibram MegaGrip||Vibram Mega-Grip||Vibram MegaGrip||Vibram Idro-Grip V-Smear|
|Upper||Italian Suede||Polyester mesh||Synthetic||Leather||Suede|
|Midsole||Dual-Density EVA||Traverse Lite||dual-density compressed EVA, TPU Torsion Shank||Traverse Injection MIMIlex||2mm polypropylene, 2mm LaSpEVA|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Scarpa updated the Gecko since our test period. The new version is grey and features a PRESA sole, with a mid-density compressed EVA midsole. It also utilizes a SuperGum rubber compound on the outsole, in contrast to the previous model's Vibram Reptilla SR. The price has come down, too. The Gecko we tested is pictured on the left, with the updated Gecko on the right.
The Scarpa Gecko scored well across the board, and may have been in the running for our Editors' Choice had we not gotten our hands on the La Sportiva TX2. We think this shoe is a little less versatile, but it makes for a great cragging shoe nonetheless.
To test out each shoe's climbing ability, we took them to the boulders and the big walls to see what they could handle. From the patina edges of Bishop to the granite slabs of Yosemite, the Gecko could hold its own and was above-average in this category.
With a nice smooth climbing zone and solid sole, we trusted the Gecko's edging and smearing abilities. We felt it had one of the best climbing abilities of any shoe we tested, barely out-performed by the Editors' Choice Award winner.
The Gecko has a broader and taller profile than some of its competitors, and because of this, it wouldn't be our first choice for a crack climbing shoe.
Because we gave "support" its own scoring metric, this category looks to materials, midsole stiffness, and lacing. The Gecko was just about average in this category, and it likely won't be our first pick for super long hikes.
The Gecko sports a leather upper that is soft and breathable on the inside with a comfy tongue. The leather did not prevent as much airflow as some of the mesh shoes we tested, however. With a fairly stiff midsole, we enjoyed hanging out in town in these shoes as much as we liked bringing them to our favorite climbing areas.
The lacing system of this shoe is one of our favorites. Because the laces reach down toward the toes so far, the Gecko is highly adjustable. It can be laced up tight for technical approaches or worn loose for casual jaunts to the crag or in town.
The main area where the Gecko fell behind in the running for an award was in hiking support. The flat bottom of this shoe made for less comfortable long-distance hiking, and when compared side-by-side with its competitors, we could only give the Gecko an average score in this metric.
The Gecko's less than ideal arch support limits its usage significantly. While we didn't mind using this shoe for easy approaches to the sport cliff, we would hesitate to use this in the alpine or for long, strenuous approaches.
This model performs above average on uneven terrain and snow due to its stiff sole, but its lack of arch support makes it difficult for us to recommend this as an alpine climbing approach shoe.
Weight and Packability
As climbers on multi-pitch terrain, the ability to clip your approach shoes to your harness is a huge part of what makes for a good product. And while weight will usually come at the cost of comfort and support, we generally prefer our outdoor gear to be as light as is reasonable. The Gecko falls in the middle of the range of models we tested, but when compared to its more comfortable contenders, we have a hard time justifying this measurement.
The weight of the Gecko may be due in part to the leather upper. This shoe is about three ounces heavier than our Editors' Choice Award. The Gecko isn't nearly as heavy as the ultra-supportive products we tested, but it may be just a little too heavy for use as a multi-pitch shoe.
One of the main reasons we'd hesitate to recommend the Gecko is because of the cost. This is the most expensive shoe in our review, and we do not believe that the price is justified. For a shoe with superior support without sacrificing climbing ability, our award winners are more of a bargain.
If you can find the Scarpa Gecko on sale, our testers think it makes for a great cragging shoe. With above-average climbing ability and durability, we enjoyed using this shoe daily. For a more supportive shoe at a more digestible price, look elsewhere.
— Lauren DeLaunay
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