Scarpa Drago

The Scarpa Drago is the Ferrari LaFerrari of climbing shoes—it’s sleek and sexy, and it radiates performance. It’s a supershoe.

The Scarpa Drago is the Ferrari LaFerrari of climbing shoes—it’s sleek and sexy, and it radiates performance. It’s a supershoe.

The Drago combines Scarpa’s best climbing-shoe features into one. It has the active rand and lack of a midsole of the Furia for precision and sensitivity, and the slipper upper and heel cup of the Instinct VS for a skintight fit and locked-in. But the Drago has a life of its own when it comes to volume and suppleness—it fits like a rubber sock.

When I first saw the Drago, my toes ached at the thought of cramming into it. Yet when I put the shoes on, they were comfortable out of the box, with no break-in period.

Altogether, the Drago defies standard climbing-shoe dichotomies. It’s a performance model that’s comfortable. It’s aggressively downturned, yet supple enough to smear on the smallest of smidges. It’s super soft, yet can toe on tiny edges as well as, if not better than, stiff edging-specific shoes. It was designed as a specialized sport, bouldering and competition shoe, yet makes an excellent all-arounder; just don’t try to crack climb in them.

I’ve used the Drago on the steep, polished sport climbs of Rifle, Colorado, on techy slabs of conglomerate sandstone, and for bouldering in the gym. Given its versatility, the Drago is both my onsight and redpoint shoe, and the choice when I can only take a single pair of climbing shoes.

With well over 100 pitches on the shoes now, I find their soft upper rubber is showing minor wear, while the sticky Vibram XS Grip2 sole rubber is holding up fine, and the microsuede upper has yet to enter the crusty-feeling stage of a used climbing shoe. But like Italian supercars, performance comes with a price. The Drago is one of the first climbing shoes on the market to hit $200.

 

This article originally appeared in Rock and Ice issue 241 (April 2017).

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