Beginner – Intermediate
Today, the vast majority of new climbers will experience their first vertical adventure at the gym; smearing on slabs, slapping at volumes, and dangling from 45° overhangs.
Scarpa knows this, which is why the release of the Veloce in 2020 marked a new milestone for the Italian shoemakers. The model opened up a new category in their shoe line; Scapra’s first shoe specifically designed for indoor climbing.
The Veloce, meaning rapid in Italian, was created with beginner climbers in mind. Because of this, it has the key characteristics you would look for in a beginner shoe; they are ridiculously comfortable and have the all-round ability to perform on everything from the gentlest of slabs to the slightly more vertical-inclined walls.
Yet, at the same time, the Veloce has plenty of qualities that you would expect to see on the feet of more advanced shoes. They have a fairly moderate downturn and a split sole, which is paired with a super-soft construction that makes the shoe extremely sensitive and flexible.
While these features are rarely found on the feet of beginners, they are exactly the reason why the Veloce is the perfect tool for new climbers who are taking their first steps into the world of gym climbing.
Their extreme sensitivity allows you to feel every feature and divot underfoot, providing you with essential feedback on how to use your feet on the wall. Their flexible construction offers the versatility to tackle a range of gym terrain, and the absence of any toe-curling pain will allow you to happily climb for hours on end.
But the Veloce is much more than just a great beginner shoe. Their affordable price tag makes them a great pair of training shoes for intermediate and advanced climbers who want to spare their toes the trauma of being crammed into a pair of serious sending shoes on every trip to the gym.
Seasoned gym rats will also appreciate that the Veloce is extremely lightweight, and has a mesh tongue, which makes them exceptionally breathable too.
Despite being made out of unlined microfiber, which also makes them vegan friendly, Scarpa has done a remarkably good job at ensuring the Veloce doesn’t have the signature stink of synthetic shoes, even after the sweatiest of gym sessions.
All in all, the Veloce is an affordable shoe, jam-packed with clever tech that allows you to climb hard, and comfortably, indoors.
Their amazing sensitivity
Extremely breathable and lightweight
We Don’t Like
Not great for heel hooking
The velcro strap is crazy long
The rounded toe box isn’t ideal for small pockets
SCARPA VELOCE reVIEW
50 Days of Climbing
Over the last 20 years, I have had dozens of climbing shoes that fit my feet well but I never believed that a shoe that forces your foot into that powerful crimped position can actually be, what most normal people would consider, comfortable.
Or at least, that’s what I used to think.
After putting the Veloce through its paces, my opinion has changed. These are, without a doubt, some of the most pleasant climbing shoes I have ever slipped into. Their soft and non-restrictive construction are about as close to wearing a rubber sock as you can get.
As with many of Scarpa’s climbing shoes, there’s a lot of clever things going on here, which I will attempt to explain throughout this review.
When it comes to their exceptional comfort though, I would put it down to a few key characteristics. The ‘FKJ’ last (and the FKJW for the women’s version) was specially-built for the Veloce, allowing for a wider toe box area that doesn’t cram your toes into a pointed tip. There is also no Achilles-crushing tension in the back of the shoe either, thanks to the PAF heel that distributes the force throughout the heel.
Their ‘wave’ velcro close is also a simple, yet brilliant, addition. Its minimalist design reduces excess layers of construction, which contributes to the shoes’ breathable and lightweight properties. This design also offers easy on, easys off access, which is ideal for the gym, yet still allows you to finely tune the fit of the shoe.
The biggest gripe I have with this closure is that, unless you have ridiculously wide feet, the velcro strap is an inch longer than it needs to be. This means it hangs over the side of the shoe, and does stick the the gym mat every now and then.
Okay, so the Veloce is comfortable and light, we get it. But how do they perform?
Well, if you reflect on some of the beginner shoes that have reigned supreme over the last few years; the Evolv Defy, La Sportiva’s Tarantulace, or the Scarpa Helix, they aren’t exactly what you would consider high-performance shoes.
Compared to these benchmarks, the Veloce blows them out of the water in terms of performance. At least when it comes to modern indoor climbing anyway.
In fact, the Veloce shares some of the features found on Scarpa’s serious sending shoes like the Drago or Furia Air including; a barely-there midsole, a large toe patch and a secure, yet comfortable, tension system. The Veloce also uses not one, but two, of Scarpa’s super-sticky rubber compounds to help keep you glued to the wall. In a nutshell, these features make the Veloce more than capable of sending a tricky gym boulder problem or two.
After 50 days of climbing in these shoes, there’s an almost endless list of good things I can say about Veloce. As with every shoe though, there will always be some give and take. The rounded toe box, which makes them so comfortable, has its troubles when it comes to smaller pockets. Its super soft construction obviously doesn’t perform as well on those micro-edges as a stiffer shoe would either. I also wouldn’t recommend taking these outside, or that super soft will disappear like a heart-breaking magic trick.
Nevertheless, the Veloce is a brilliant gym shoe that has redefined how we think about beginner climbing shoes.
The Heel & Toe
Scarpa created a completely new last shape for the Veloce, with a noticeable amount of extra space added to the toe box. This creates a square profile to the forefoot, allowing your smaller toes to sit comfortably within the shoe.
This clever design, dubbed as a ‘relaxed performance fit’, reduces that common cramming sensation of your toes being forced into a focal power point whilst, at the same time, decreasing the pressure of your knuckles against the upper of the shoe.
There’s no doubt this new shape plays a large role in the overall comfort of the shoe but it doesn’t completely forsake the performance either. Beginner climbers will find it more than suitable as they start to find their feet on the wall.
More advanced climbers will probably notice that this blunt edge isn’t ideal for lasering in on smaller holds and exercising precision footwork. Also, because the shoe doesn’t have that aggressive, asymmetrical point over the big toe, they don’t offer the same concentration of power as you would get from a more downturned and pointed shoe.
Unlike many beginner climbing shoes, the Veloce also has a generously-sized toe rand that extends halfway up the inside edge of the shoe. Toe rands have become an essential feature for modern gym shoes, so this makes for a great addition. Similar to the toe rand found on the Drago, Chimera, Booster and Fuira models, it is made of Scarpa softest rubber compound, M50, providing bucket loads of friction. It is definitely softer than the toe patch on the aforementioned shoes though, which does mean it is not ideal for sticking those super aggressive toe hooks.
It’s common practise for climbing shoes to use a slingshot rand, a rubber band that is wrapped tightly around the back of the heel to keep the shoe securely on your foot.
Instead of a slingshot, Scarpa has opted to use two of their own clever creations to create a tensioned, yet comfortable heel. It does this with the use of, what they call ’DTS’, which is also paired with their ‘PAF’ heel.
The DTS is that light gray rubber you can see on the bottom and sides of Veloce. It’s glued under the toes, and wraps up the side of the shoe and pulled back to create its moderate downturned profile. This gray rubber stops just before the heel, and is secured in place with the ‘PAF’, that black rubber that wraps around the sides and bottom of your heel. Scarpa has three different types of PAF heels they use on a range of their shoes, each offering varying levels of tension, which is represented by the number of holes on the side of the heel. The Veloce has two holes, making it a moderately tensioned heel.
I know that all sounds like technical voodoo nonsense, but this design ultimately creates elasticated tension throughout the shoe, minus the sharp pressure of a slingshot rand cutting into the back of your foot.
That said, because this design offers superior comfort, the Veloce’s heel hooking ability has taken a bit of a back seat.
From my testing, the Veloce heel lacks the rigidity you want when cranking down hard on a heel hook. The PAF heel on this shoe is really soft and doesn’t have that beefy construction I want for when pulling hard on a heel. Also, because the shoe doesn’t use a slingshot rand, and instead has that slightly more relaxed DTS, your heel can pretty easily pop out of the shoe if you are pulling down hard on a heel hook.
I’m not the only one who feels this way either. I’ve spoken with a number of climbers that use the Veloce and they agree that the shoe lacks the ability to stick a solid heel hook too.
Stiff climbing shoes are traditionally the ones that excel at edging. Their rigid profile provides the support you need to apply force to those micro edges to properly yourself up the wall.
Like the hugely-popular Drago, the Veloce makes the most of a minimal 1mm midsole just under the toe area. You probably won’t notice it, but this small midsole provides support when edging, without impacting the overall sensitivity and flexibility of the shoe.
However, because the Veloce doesn’t use the PCB tension band of the Drago, it doesn’t offer the same rigidity whilst edging, so working on smaller holds is slightly more strenuous on your toes and calf muscles.
While beginners standing on larger holds won’t notice any issues, because the Veloce has a soft construction and doesn’t have a pointed toe box, it does struggle when it comes to inspiring confidence on the smaller edges.
What the Veloce lacks in edging, it really makes up for in its smearing ability. Smearing is an essential technique for working those slab problems and friction-dependent moves that are so prevalent on many indoor bouldering problems.
The split sole and sticky rubber are two important features that make the Veloce a smearing machine.
Besides the DTS rubber, there is no structural support in the middle of the shoe, which makes the forefoot extremely flexible. It’s so flexible in fact, that you can easily fold the shoe in half with no effort whatsoever. Although this is partly the reason why the Veloce struggles on small edges, it makes the shoe amazing at friction moves. It gives you the freedom to put your foot at whatever angle you require, with no opposition from the shoe.
Scapa’s S-72 rubber also has a large role to play here, the compound is really sticky and is great for sticking to indoor walls. The forefoot outsole also has three circular cutouts, which are cool, although they aren’t just to make the shoe look badass. These holes make outsole rubber in the forefoot less rigid, and more flexible, helping the sole to adapt to the shape surface you are standing on.
Like I mentioned earlier, the rounded toe box does struggle with smaller pockets, so the Veloce probably won’t be your go-to for the gnarly roof projects in your life.
That said, because the Veloce is a moderately downturned shoe, it is more than capable of tackling a few vertically inclined lines. Again, its soft construction plays a big part in the shoe’s ability to work well on the overhangs, curling around and conforming to those larger jugs and pockets.
Scarpa Veloce Sizing
When it comes to sizing the Veloce, my advice would be that you shouldn’t be afraid to go a couple of sizes smaller. Scarpa shoes are usually smaller anyway, but it’s important to remember that soft climbing shoes rely on a tight fit in order to work their magic. I can’t stress this enough.
Think about it. If your toes aren’t curled into a powerful position and pressed against the end of the toe box, there simply won’t be any tension in a soft shoe. This will inevitably make the shoe feel sloppy and will have a big impact on your ability to execute any sort of precise footwork.
It’s also worth remembering that the Veloce is built to adapt to the shape of your foot. Unlike many beginner shoes, it uses large, soft, microfibre panels which will stretch and conform to the shape of your foot. Because of that extra space in the toe box, plus he soft M-50 rubber on the toe rand, there isn’t going to be uncomfortable toe cramming against hard rubber or stiff leather uppers. Simply put, with the Veloce you can get a snug fit with less pain.
I wear an EU size 44 street shoes, and opted for the EU 42 in the Veloce. I definitely could have gone another EU size down, which would have given me better heel tension, although I am happy with the balance between comfort and performance with the EU42.
As this is a microfiber shoe, you won’t see any sloppy stretching as you do with leather shoes, so size to fit.
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Prices compared at 12/02/2021