Scarpa Rapid – A Versatile Approach Shoe For Frontcountry Cragging
As climbing continues to evolve into a more frontcountry activity, many modern climbing crags are now sporting shorter approaches with buffed and well-maintained trail systems. With these changes, climbers have realized there's less need for heavy traditional approach shoes that excel on more rugged trails. Scarpa has also noticed this trend which explains their recent release of the Rapid approach shoe.
This combination of comfort, low weight, and traction makes the Rapid one of the most versatile approach shoes on the market today.
Unlike traditional approach shoes, the Rapid borrows heavily from the technology and construction methods found on modern trail running shoes. The result is a shoe with a significantly lighter and softer upper that delivers an out-of-the-box form-fitting fit. While this softness is desirable from a comfort standpoint, a completely unstructured upper would not be very durable or supportive. Recognizing this, Scarpa has added welded overlays at strategic locations for increased durability and structure while preserving the Rapid's nimble feel.
For the midsole, Scarpa once again borrows from the trail running world by using a plush and impact-absorbing dual-density EVA foam. And for protection and stability from rocks, roots and uneven surfaces, Scarpa adds a TPU arch insert (for torsion control) and a push-through protection plate at the forefoot. A secondary benefit of this forefoot plate is that it also improves edging when executing easy fifth-class moves.
This brings us to the outsole. Traditional approach shoes often feature a smooth, sticky-rubber outsole that excels on rocky slabs and more technical moves but is usually less secure in loose soil and muddy conditions. The Rapid, however, has a Vibram Megagrip outsole that features a high-friction rubber, aggressive lugs and a small edging platform. This outsole delivers exceptional performance on established trails while still providing security and control during easy climbing moves.
This combination of comfort, low weight, and traction makes the Rapid one of the most versatile approach shoes on the market today. Not only do they excel on the terrain encountered when visiting typical front-country crags, but they're also sufficiently light and nimble to serve double-duty as everyday trail running shoes. If you're frontcountry cragging (and who today isn't?), get a pair – you won't be disappointed.