The first time I climbed in the SCARPA Booster S, I fell in love. I was working on a route that had a redpoint crux up high that involved popping my right hand to a small, slopey edge from another small, slopey edge (where my hands were matched, so my left hand stayed there). Hanging on to both edges with arms bent, I had to step up my right foot onto this tiny protruding edge, and then step the other one awkwardly high onto a smeary, nasty, non-confidence-inspiring slopey dish. From there, I had to rock up over the dish until I hit a high enough lock-off point to give me the reach, and then accurately stab my left hand for a decent pocket.
Before the arrival of the Booster S, about 50 percent of the times I tried this move, my left foot would blow off the slopey hold at the apex of the rock over…it just seemed so finicky and hard for me to feel and weight it properly and exactly. I’d think I was all set, and then – BAM – I’d overweight my foot just enough to get ejected from the smeary foothold right before I could attempt to reach the pocket or just as I let go to try.
Enter the Booster S. This sensitive and powerful shoe transformed this move from a low-percentage move to a highly doable move for me, ultimately leading to a send. Because of the sensitive precision of the Booster S I could feel exactly how much weight to put into the left foot – as much as I could without overweighting it, allowing me to gain the height to reach the pocket. With the concern of foot-popping gone, I was much more confident in attempting this move; I never fell off of it again from my foot unexpectedly blowing off the hold. And I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever climbed in a climbing shoe before that I can definitively say allowed me to do a move with so much more ease than I could without it.
The difference for me now between this shoe and other shoes when I’m climbing reminds me of the difference I felt so many years ago when I transitioned from my very first pair of board-lasted climbing shoes to more modern, soft climbing shoes. After climbing in my new shoes for a few weeks, when I went back to try to wear my first pair of climbing shoes on a warm-up climb, I discovered that my new sense of feel through my feet had rendered the stiffer shoes pretty much useless for me. Climbing in them made me feel like I was trying to climb in wooden clogs or goofy clown shoes.
Ditto for the Booster S. They are so sensitive that I can rely on and trust the feedback from my feet completely, in a way that I don’t recall feeling ever before, allowing for more precise pressure, placement and adjustment of positioning than any shoe I’ve ever climbed in, period. Plus, they can still edge decently on smaller holds and less-steep terrain for those routes that offer a blend of both styles, a combination of steep-thuggy and tech-vert. Right now, I feel like I probably won’t ever want to climb in any other shoe for the rest of my climbing days – but the wizard behind SCARPA shoe designs may change my opinion yet again whenever the next installment comes out!