Jacob Cook gives us a run down on what he makes of Scarpa’s latest technical climbing shoe, designed by the legendary Heinz Mariacher.
|Best Uses||Steep trad and sport routes.|
|Pros||Smear well, snug and precise heal, excellent speed lacing system.|
|Cons||Not great on tiny edges, particularly on the outside of the foot.|
The Chimeras offer unrivalled levels of precision in a soft sensitive shoe, good for getting the absolutely maximum power out of your feet on steep boulders and sport routes, both indoors and out.
I have worn the Vapour V’s for pretty much all my climbing for years now, so was sceptical about whether the Chimeras would offer me anything significantly different. The first thing I noticed when I put them on is that they felt really tight, I ended up sending them back and getting a half a size bigger than I wear Vapour V’s (43.5 instead of 43). Once I had the correct size they fit me like a glove, the speed lacing system works really well at reducing any dead space inside the shoe. The softness of the shoe means they require very little breaking in and climb well almost straight out of the box.
Whilst they look super aggressive, the softness also means they flatten out once your feet are inside them; I was pleasantly surprised to find they smeared reasonably well. Compared to the Vapour V’s I found they gave me an extra bit of power when standing or “toeing in” on small footholds on steep ground. The compromise for this is, they performed slightly worse at standing on tiny edges on more vertical terrain, especially when edging with the outside of the foot. The heel is very snug and precise, so much so that it gave me renewed hope that I might one day be able to do Brad Pit at Stanage… Unlikely!
I got them thinking they’d be a shoe I’d mostly use for bouldering, but I would definitely use them for steep or smeary hard trad and sport routes. I would even consider throwing them in the haulbag on my next El Cap free route, for those pitches where I really have to get the absolute most out of marginal smeary footholds.