Scarpa Helix Review: The Climbing Shoe That Scales New Heights
You can only have one thing on your mind when you are climbing, and that better be your next move, or else you might take a whipper. For steep climbs, you will want a stable climbing shoe, which is perhaps why you are looking for a Scarpa Helix review.
Hopefully, you know a little bit about what you are looking for in your next climbing shoe. Maybe you are hoping to send some 5.14s soon, or maybe you just signed up for your first membership at a local climbing gym.
Either way, you can be excited for more climbing in your future as it is an excellent all-around workhorse. All in all, the Scarpa Helix is a great starter pair of climbing shoes to make life-long friends as well.
Our Scarpa Helix Review: All About This Stellar Shoe
The Scarpa Helix is an excellent entry-level or all-day climbing shoe made with precision and care. The Helix is a flat shoe, allowing for all-day comfort. However, this sacrifices a bit of grip and strength if you want to be on overhangs or downturns.
The Scarpa Helix is made of leather and is fitted with laces and a padded tongue, making it ridiculously comfortable. The leather does stretch a bit as you break the shoes in, so keep that in mind when thinking about sizing for this shoe. The construction of the shoe has provided lasting durability to its users for years.
Speaking to the durability, the Vibram sole is a smidge thicker than some similar climbing shoes, furthering the durability of the shoe. However, the trade-off is slightly less sensitive shoes. This means you will not feel the most minute ledges and bumps with your feet.
This further emphasizes how it can be a great shoe for beginners who are not climbing very difficult routes. Of course, it can also be a solid shoe for a guide who wants to be comfortable all day and is climbing below their usual level
The Dolomites in northern Italy are known for exceptional footwear manufacturing. Somehow, these mountain towns are the center for high-quality shoes, and Scarpa fits right into this. They began by producing durable shoes for farmers in 1938, and have since branched into climbing, mountaineering, skiing, and other outdoor shoe needs.
Scarpa has long been at the front of both the technology and business forces. They were the first to export their shoes to the U.S., and also the first to come out with a Gore-Tex boot. In turn, they created the first plastic telemark skiing boot.
This all goes to show their dedication to advancing the technology and accessibility of their high-quality footwear. There is no doubt that we admire this company and their products. We will reflect that in this Scarpa Helix review.
Scarpa Helix Specs
The Scarpa Helix comes in half sizes from 39 to 47 and whole sizes from 48 to 50. The size 40 weighs in at 7.6 ounces, which is medium weight for a climbing shoe. It is constructed of leather and suede, creating both an attractive and snug fit.
This shoe is slightly asymmetric, which means it does not focus all of your weight on the tip of your toes. This creates a less aggressive, more comfortable shoe that keeps your weight spread out a bit. We mentioned earlier as well that the flat profile lends this shoe well to long days at the crag.
The sticky rubber is 3.5mm Vibram XS Edge, a leader in the outdoor and climbing industry. When combined with the rest of the features, the Scarpa Helix is truly the shoe if you are just getting off the ground with rock climbing. Let’s boil down some of the positives and negatives in this Scarpa Helix review.
- A budget-friendly climbing shoe
- Quality leather and suede mean comfort, durability
- No residual stink
- Leather stretches as you break it in, changing the fit
- May lack enough grip on faux rock at gyms
- Not aggressive enough for advanced moves or climbs
At the Crag with the Scarpa Helix
No good Scarpa Helix review would be complete without a multitude of reading, research, and testing. So, we have gathered the best reviews on the internet, as well as consulted with rock climbers, to get an all-encompassing view of the Scarpa Helix.
From looking at in the field tests to digging deep into how Scarpa operates, we are confident in saying this shoe is solid.
We have condensed many reviews to bring the succinct list of pros and cons together. In addition, we have delved into the differences and features of this product to see if it truly does what it claims. So, we hope you will have confidence in our Scarpa Helix review because we certainly do.
Other Great Climbing Shoes to Consider:
There are many spectacular climbing shoes on the market today. Figuring out which one is the best for you can be difficult. It all depends on the type of rock you climb, how long your days are, and, of course, on your budget.
The Scarpa Helix is an all-around comfortable shoe, perfect for introducing yourself to the sport without getting too aggressive. Of course, if you need something for your all weekend fun climbs, this shoe can be great for that, too. But, you might be looking for something else. So, consider the following alternatives.
La Sportiva Skwama
LA SPORTIVA Skwama Rock Climbing Shoe, Black/Yellow
- TECHNICAL FOR TOP PERFORMANCE…
- ADVANCED EDGING – Designed to…
- STICKY TOE BOX – The Skwama…
- COMFORTABLE DESIGN – Vibram…
- TIPS FOR BUYING – Rock…
The spectacular climbing shoes is a more aggressive shoe made for overhangs, toe hooks, and crack climbing. Not for all-day wear, this shoe will take you higher on more intense climbs than the Scarpa Helix. With its intense heel cup and more aggressive downturn, this shoe is more sensitive, flexible, and precise than most.
For technical climbing, the Skwama is your pick. In the words of La Sportiva, the Skwama “fits like a skin, protects like a scale.” Of course, this high-quality shoe comes at a higher price, which is an important thing to consider.
- S-heel construction provides advanced grip on rock faces, slabs, and overhangs
- Sticky toe box provides 360-degree grip for more fluid climbing
- Leather and suede upper provide comfort in an aggressive shoe
- Hook and loop closure allows quick and easy on and off
- More expensive than many climbing shoes
- Runs large, may need to size down a full or half size
Where to Buy:
Black Diamond Momentum
Black Diamond Momentum Lace Climbing Shoe – Men’s Midnight…
- Upper Material: synthetic
- Closure: lace
- Midsole: medium flex
- Rubber: NeoFriction (4.3mm)
- Last: flat
The Black Diamond Momentum is giving the Scarpa Helix a run for its money in the beginner climbing shoe department. Made of synthetic materials instead of leather, it comes in a little less expensive. However, it is still a spectacular shoe with all of its features.
The flat profile and incredibly breathable upper provide all-day comfort. This is a favorite for gym climbers, as the sticky rubber is great on fake rock, unlike the Scarpa Helix. So, let’s look at all of the pros and cons of this shoe.
- Knit material is more breathable than leather shoes and needs less time to break-in
- Great for beginning climbers or those looking for a flat, comfortable shoe
Tenaya Masai Unisex Rock Climbing Shoe
- ASCENT & PROGRESSION – Founded…
- TENAYA MASAI – The most…
- DIME-EDGING MASTER – The Masai…
- TECHNICAL SPECS – Uppers:…
- TIPS FOR SIZING – Climbing…
The Tenaya Masai is a supportive shoe for the climber in search of the smallest holds. The Masai is designed for those who want to be able to stand and grip on the smallest of ledges. It is best used for vertical and overhanging routes and boulder problems.
- The full lace-up system allows for the smallest adjustments for the perfect fit
- Concentrated toe box provides extreme precision on micro edges
- Not for the beginning climber
Where to Buy:
Scarpa Helix Review: Technology Meets Practicality
We hope this Scarpa Helix review has shed some light on the advantages of this shoe for you. It is a great shoe if you want to enjoy the sport without having aching feet at the end of the day. Now, it might not be for those wanting to make a first ascent, but very few people have the opportunity to do that.
Have you worn the Scarpa Helix to the crag or the gym? If so, what were your favorite features, or what did you find it lacking? We would love you to share your beta on this shoe with our readers.
Featured image by: Amazon
Jonathan O’Ryan is what you might call a seasonal digital nomad. When he is not thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or finetuning his custom UL camping gear in the middle of nowhere, he comfortably sits at his home desk – yes, he still has a physical address, we don’t know for how long though – sharing his insights on all things outdoors with Wilderness Today’s audience. We know life is an adventure, Jon, but we’d still like to have that urgent work email answered by noon.