August 1, 2021

Scarpa Drago Review: A Bouldering Masterpiece

3 min read

The Scarpa Drago is my favorite climbing bouldering shoe. It’s an incredible shoe designed for elite level bouldering.

The Drago is famed for its sensitivity and feel. Sporting the proven Vibram XS Grip 2 rubber, the soles are soft and very sticky. The rand is noticeably flexible and easily conforms to the shape of your foot. This shoe has one of the highest amounts of prehensile ability of any shoe on the market. I’m sure all of you are well familiar with the feeling of pushing down from your toes onto a hold.  The thing about a shoe like this is that you can not only push and you actually pull! We all know our legs are stronger than our arms, yet most of the times when you pop for a big move, the upwards power may come from your legs but your arms are usually the ones pulling your body INTO the wall. The Drago is soft enough that your toes will actually curl into the hold and give you the prehensile strength to really pull and push at the same time. This will take off a lot of weight on your arms and you’ll be flush against the wall more often than not instead of popping away from it.  It can be quite the revelation if you’ve only climbed on stiff climbing shoes before.

The Drago is a highly aggressively down turned slipper. It also has an especially high degree of asymmetry. The curvature in both dimensions perfectly angles your foot in a position to maximize power to your big toe.

While the performance of the Drago was outstanding, what was very surprising was how comfortable this bouldering machine felt. There’s been plenty of high performance bouldering shoes but usually performance and pain comes hand in hand. The flexibility of the shoe allows it to conform to your feet.  It’s a great choice for wide feet but will fit most foot shapes very well.

The heel on the Drago is inherited from the Scarpa Instinct. It’s a relatively wide heel that’s sensitive on the surface but it supported by a hard spine underneath. The thin wide parts gives you plenty of feel and feedback to make sure that heel has made adequate contact and is locked in. When you slap a heel on, it may or may not stick, but you would know if it’s solid or not.  There’s rarely any guessing involved and that of course allows you to readjust if it doesn’t feel secure. The underlying reinforced spine does the heavy lifting and is more than capable of handling the most powerful heel hooks. There’s certain heels that are just soft (Black Diamond Shadow) and some that are just stiff (LA Sportiva Solution or Skwama) but Scarpa has managed to integrate both of them beautifully here.

The Drago is pretty extreme in everything it does, and unfortunately that’s true about it’s price tag as well. Retailing at $200 USD, it is a premium shoe with a premium price tag. With that being said, you are still getting your money’s worth with the Drago. If you have the money, it’s the best bouldering shoe you can buy right now.

Scarpa Drago

89% Score

PROS

  • Very sensitive, excellent feel and prehensile strength
  • Surprisingly comfortable
  • Excellent on volumes

CONS

  • Thin rubber will wear out fast
  • Minimal support

Review Breakdown

  • Edging 0%
  • Smearing 0%
  • Precision 0%
  • Hooking 0%
  • Comfort 0%
  • Durability 0%
  • Cost 0%

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