Scarpa is a family-owned Italian company and as such has a special place in our hearts. Especially in Brian’s – our review editor. But throughout the Sole Labz website we insist on the principles of remaining objective and impartial. That’s why we send the shoes out to be tested by our featured testers before we make any conclusions – below, you’ll see a detailed analysis and ratings of a shoe that’s been one of the flagships among approach shoes for years – the Scarpa Crux.
We don’t usually make any comments about a pair before we get to the detailed reviews and ratings, but…
The Crux is different.
First thoughts on the Scarpa Crux
Light, flexible, high-end sole
When we first ordered about a dozen pair of these approach shoes to be reviewed and rated by our featured testers, the first impression was how light (only 28 ounces) and flexible these are (even for an approach shoe), yet still rigid enough at the front toe end to be even used for edging. This is the first approach shoe we came by over the years to have that kind of flexibility.
Usually, one of these (flexibility or rigidity) is “sacrificed” for the other.
So, what allows the Crux to have this kind of versatility?
It’s all about the sole.
The base of the shoe is built using Vibram “vertical ascent” rubber and the design is exclusive for Scarpa – it’s the kind of rubber that’s “mellow” and reacts to dynamic force by flexing and adjusting, but remains grippy and stiff on. ascends, descends and climbs. It’s by far the best material for the sole of an approach shoes that we know of. In other words, this sole is just as “grippy” as any of the climbing rubber soles, yet rigid and supportive as a hiking shoe sole. It might sound like a Top Shop commercial but it’s dry facts – it’s all about how the material of the sole reacts to dynamic energy.
The “aggressive” deep lugs across most of the sole surface provides good traction, while the large flattened rubber surface at the top allows for better smearing and edging properties on rocky terrains. The big lugs also mean a lot when it comes to shedding dirt and mud (climbers will understand how any dirt between the lugs interferes with a good grip and how important it is to be able to easily shed it off).
The pattern of the lugs is three-dimensional which greatly improves the grip and especially the braking properties of the shoe.
This kind of high-end sole is usually included in approach shoes that cost 3-4 times as much as the Crux, which makes this shoes the best value for money out there.
the upper – nubuck suede, mesh, woven Kevlar and a rubberized toe-box
The upper is a combo of nubuck leather (suede-like) and a mesh (around the collar and on the tongue). The meshy surfaces provide good overall breathability, which makes the crux a good choice for a variety of temperatures.
On the other hand the suede (which usually stretches) feels much sturdier and doesn’t stretch near as much because of the all-round stitching, 4 strips of woven Kevlar and the sturdy rubberized toe-box we have seen much less stretching than we would’ve expect from nubuck suede leather.
the lacing of the crux extends to the tip of the toe
Adjustability of the Crux is one of it’s main fortes – one that separates it from it’s closest competitors. The featured behind it is pretty simple – it’s the fact that the lacing stretches all the way down to the tip of the shoe.
Why is this important?
Similar to Keen, the toe-box of the Scarpa is on the wider side and the fact that you can lace your foot up tightly makes the world of a difference if you have narrow feet, it allows you to comfortably lock your foot inside the shoe before a climb.
Edging and smearing of the scarpa crux
For the less experienced hikers and climbers let us explain the terms first and their importance.
Edging is simply a term used for using the small areas on the ball of the foot to get a good grip on a small feature. Smearing is a term for getting enough climbing friction when there are no features by just placing as much rubber as you can between you and the surface.
- If you take a look at the detailed picture of the sole above, you’ll notice that the the sole is reinforced on the edge and the firm area follows through to the flat toe area. This makes the Crux very firm at the forefoot and gives it great edging properties.
- The big flat rubbery tip of the sole makes the Scarpa one of THE best approach shoes when it comes to smearing.
Simply put – good edging and smearing properties greatly reduce the stress your feet suffer both on inclines and declines.
On the other hand, the deep hell and the extra cushion makes the Crux a good every-day shoe, which is rare in approach shoes.
Next in the review of the Scarpa Crux:
- a product fact sheet, company’s specs and our first thoughts
- the good things real life users had to share about the product (PROs)
- things the users complained about with this model (CONs)
The fact sheet of the Scarpa CRUX
Here’s how Scarpa described it’s product:
- Textile and leather
- Rubber sole
- Built for approach hiking, smearing, and scrambling
- Kevlar forefoot webbing
- Heel pull for easy-on
- Vibram sticky outsole
It is pretty much your general hiking shoe product specification, except for the whole Kevlar part. That’s certainly something we don’t see that often in a hiking shoe.
We see it as one of the main reasons the Scarpa Crux got the rating of 96 / 100 from our featured testers, which is exceptional.
Positive experiences from customer reviews of the Scarpa Crux
- I really like the way they handled the lacing system! It’s so versatile that it can be properly adjusted to fit any kind of terrain
- These are the most comfortable hiking shoes my feet had the pleasure of wearing. The toe cap feels very solid, and it offers supreme protection
- Finally, a pair of shoes that fit true to size! The overall quality of the shoes you purchase online means nothing if the sizes are off the whack, which happened to me way too frequently! They’re also very lightweight, which comes off as a surprise considering how much protection they give me
- They were super comfortable the first time I put them on! No breaking in required here. I went for a 5-mile hike right off the bat and had absolutely no blisters or sore feet to show for it. Amazing pair of shoes!
- The soles are quite grippy, and that grip only enhances when I get them all wet. They were soaked completely on one occasion, but the grip was more than optimal. It’s a really big deal for me since I tend to prefer terrains that are, well more inhospitable than your usual hiking trail, so to say
- I love these soles! They were built with edging in mind, and they clean themselves. We were ankles deep in mud on our last hike, and they came out of whole that slush clean as a whistle! A sincere recommendation from one very happy customer
- The overall build feels very solid and durable, but the thing that surprised me the most was how quickly they get completely dry after you end up to your knees in water
- After reading literally hundreds of different men hiking shoes reviews I decided to go with these, and I never regretted that decision. They’re everything customers told they would be, and more. I guess online reviews can be completely true once in a while
- These were bought as an alternative to my very heavy and impractical hiking boots, and they’ve performed beautifully! They simply offer so much more breathability than my boots, and I can wear them all day long without my feet getting all sweaty and slippery
- I basically consider these to be futuristic running shoes of sorts. They’re very light and flexible, yet they give me so much protection. Just a couple of days ago I hiked over some pretty sharp rocks, and they way they handled the whole situation is what ultimately made me write this review
- I’m writing this review almost a year after I bought these, and they are, without a doubt the best men hiking shoes I came across so far! They still look almost brand new, and I gave them a fair share of beating, let me tell you. We’ve been through rocks, tree roots, gravel, dirt, asphalt, you name it! They somehow amaze me even more every time I take them on a hike with me. Look no further if you’re searching for a perfect hiking sidekick!
- The feet support is what differentiates these from the bunch of other hiking shoes I’ve owned. My feet are pretty much shattered after a lot of accidents and two surgeries, and these made longer hikes possible again for me
More comments from the latest update:
- Latest reviews coming soon…
Some things the users didn’t like about the Scarpa Crux
- I’ve had them for two years now, and the laces don’t hold like they used to. This was a common problem among my hiking footwear, and I guess that nylon against nylon is bound to start loosening at some point. This would be my only “complaint” about these shoes so far
- I really wished they made these in GTX version. They’re great as they are, but water resistance would mean they have it all
- I had to replace my CRUX, not really true to size…with my wide feet I had to go a full size bigger…
- These sticky soles tend to be somewhat tacky and noisy when I’m walking over some surfaces indoors, but they’re not made for indoors anyway
Conclusion of the review and our rating of the Crux
If you have unusually wide feet, this is not the shoe for you since it’s pretty narrow and you can’t really find that sweet spot that’s just right in size so that your shoes are nice and snug. You would have to go from 0.5 to 1 size larger this would make the shoes to long – in short, you’ll get yourself what we call a blusterer. For wide feet, the Merrel Moab is a much better choice.
But, if your feet are normal (95% of people) we dare to say that the Crux is the best hiking shoe for men, especially for easier trails. No shoe in the market comes close here.
Overall Quality Rating of the Scarpa Crux is 4.8 / 5 – with one point deducted in the categories of “Durability” and “True to size”.
In few words – one the three best hiking shoes for men on the market today – the other two being the Moab (currently same rating as the Crux) and the X-Ultra (rating of 4.7).