Uniting Canada's Largest Climbing Community

Scarpa Mescalito – A Technical Shoe For Serious Approaches

  • Scarpa Mescalito

    Scarpa Mescalito

With climbing evolving into a frontcounty sport and many climbers never leaving the comfort of their local climbing gym, approach shoes have followed suit by becoming lighter, more fashion-driven and optimized for post climbing drinks at the local bar. While these new frontcountry approach shoes are ideal for urban adventures, they are woefully inadequate when climbing requires travelling more than a few minutes from the parking lot.
Thankfully, Scarpa’s new Mescalito approach shoes address this emerging product-performance gap by offering the support and control that’s necessary when venturing into more remote climbing destinations. And unlike similarly robust approach shoes, the Mescalitos are surprisingly light and agile – tangible benefits on longer and more technical approaches.
  • Scarpa Mescalito

Scarpa Mescalito 3/4 View (click for larger image)

To understand how Scarpa achieves these conflicting qualities, we have to first look at how the Mescalito is constructed.
Starting with the upper, Scarpa specs 1.8 mm suede that offers solid abrasion resistance and support while still easily conforming to the shape of your foot. While synthetic uppers can provide similar performance, they have a hard time delivering the balanced combination of fit, durability and weight that high-quality leather uppers provide.
Moving to the lacing, Scarpa again chooses performance over style by employing simple lace eyelets and extending the lacing to the toe. While the latter feature is not particularly unique, it does offer climbers the ability to snug the entire length of the shoe for more control on technical scrambles and easy climbing. The simple eyelets are also similarly mundane. Still, they have a proven durability record and allow for easy in-the-field lace replacements – qualities that many approach shoes with more modern lacing systems can’t claim.
Their low weight was welcome on shorter, less demanding trails, and yet they had the necessary support and control for bushwhacking with a 35kg pack.
  • Scarpa Mescalito

Scarpa Mescalito Front View (click for larger image)

Looking at the rand, Scarpa has chosen a traditional rubber toecap that extends asymmetrically (further on the medial side) towards the back of the shoe and then transitions into a lighter abrasion-resistant polyurethane overlay. The combination provides protection from shoe-eating scree, offers grip when jamming in cracks and minimizes weight – all wins in my book.
And now we come to the midsole. Here Scarpa employs a dual-density compression moulded EVA midsole. This construction results in durable cushioning while eschewing excess weight. Encased in this midsole is a TPU insert that provides excellent torsional resistance and stability when hiking with heavier loads over rough terrain.
  • Scarpa Mescalito

Scarpa Mescalito Back View (click for larger image)

As for the bottom of the shoe, it’s hard to find fault with the Mescalito’s Vibram Dynamis LBT outsole. The sole utilizes Vibram’s Litebase technology and Megagrip rubber compound. Scarpa chose the Lightbase soles because they are up to 30-percent lighter than comparable soles without comprising lug shape, durability or performance. The Megagrip rubber compound further improves the outsole’s traction in wet or dry conditions. 
  • Scarpa Mescalito

Scarpa Mescalito Outsole (click for larger image)

I’ve been using the Mescalitos since this spring in places like Smith Rock as well as at my local climbing areas in Southern Ontario. They’ve been on my feet for short sport-climbing approaches as well as longer treks with knee-crushing bolting loads. The Mescalitos excelled in every situation. Their low weight was welcome on shorter, less demanding trails, and yet they had the necessary support and control for bushwhacking with a 35kg pack. It’s this level of versatility that most impressed me – that and the Mescalito’s durability. These shoes (including the outsoles) have held up surprisingly well. Scarpa has really nailed it with these shoes. If you are a climber that ventures into the backcountry or you’re just looking for a versatile and durable approach shoe, check out the Mescalitos – you won’t be disappointed.
You can find out more about the Scarpa Mescalito and other great Scarpa products at https://www.scarpa.com/

Join the discussion of this and other climbing related stories at https://ontarioclimbing.com/forum/
Stacks Image 133191
Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 35 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid-80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.