The Scarpa Furia S is the Italian shoemaker’s newest bouldering showpiece, and is it a beauty. Scarpa returns with some proven details but also debuts some innovative elements, including a new lacing system and a new narrow heel, all wrapped up in fresh aggressive colors.
Being one of the most anticipated models to be released for 2018, I was super excited to get my hands on them. Scarpa has really hit homeruns on all their flagship products in the recent years, and the Furia S looks to be no exception.
In a lot of ways, Scarpa is really leading the way for climbing shoes to become closer and closer to barefoot climbing. There is an obvious emphasis for soft and flexible materials, and the philosophy of maximizing sensitivity and feel. Scarpa continues to push for these traits, and seemingly each year they are able to push boundaries to new extremes. And the Furia S is this new extreme. It likely is the most sensitive climbing shoe ever made. The Drago was previously the state of the art climbing shoe, and the Furia S shares plenty of similarities with it, including the severe asymmetry, highly aggressive downturn, and 3.5mm XS Grip2. The original Furia was the first where Scarpa incorporated perforated holes in the rubber and they added to that for the Drago. For this iteration, Scarpa has added more and even larger perforated holes. They are present on the inside and outside rand, in the midfoot upper and this time even in the side of the heel! These add further flexibility and sensitivity and even breathability and comfort as a byproduct. These puppies will hurt if you are not used to soft rubber shoes and they do feel more sensitive than the already hypersensitive Dragos. These would be very suitable for a climber who’s not carrying a whole lot of weight or have very strong feet.
The double velcro straps have been replaced with what Scarpa calls, “Wave Closure System”. It’s a design where the single strap goes diagonally across the foot twice, starting at the inside forefoot, wrapping around and up the midfoot. In principal, the design is similar to that of many high-end bouldering shoes such as the La Spotiva Solution, Futura, or Tenaya Iati, but this is new for Scarpa. The strap on the Furia S is also much thicker, so there shouldn’t be any fear of poor longevity. One of the things that I missed about my original Furia’s when I started using the Scarpa Drago’s was the double strap. Now, I certainly didn’t miss having to fiddle with the inconvenience of one extra strap, but it did provide some extra lateral support in the forefoot. The Wave Closer System looks to be the best of both worlds: convenience without sacrificing support, all the while distributing pressure evenly. It works reasonably well in practice. The shoe is very easy to take on and off, so you won’t be bothered when having to take them off in between attempts. The Wave Closer System does also let you achieve a tighter fit if that suits you, for me I didn’t tighten it up too much as I preferred to have some extra mobility instead of a locked down foot. This kind of custom fit is usually reserved for lace ups but with the WCS, Scarpa was able to achieve this without giving up convenience.
I am not sure if I am sold on the Furia S heel. I really loved the Drago / Instinct heels but Scarpa did something different here. Most Scarpa shoes incorporate wide heels, but they’ve gone with a narrow blue heel strip this time around. It looks pretty rad, but I missed the lack of surface area and soft padding around the stick spine. I ended up switching into my Dragos whenever a tough heel hook was needed. It’s not terrible, but I had high expectations for this shoe and I did feel disappointed that they took out my beloved Instinct heel.
The toe patch is identical to that of its predecessors. The original Scarpa Furia toe has persevered through three generations. And it’s no wonder, it’s a formidable toe with great precision and the optimal amount of thickness. Scarpa didn’t mess around with any funky designs on this toe patch. Don’t get me wrong, I love cool toe designs as much as anyone else, but don’t expect those fancy lines or patterns to really translate in any sort of functional performance. The bump is fantastic though, it concentrates the weight onto a relatively small but thick rounded area. This allows for confidence aspiring toe hooks even on dynamic moves on steep terrain.
The climbing performance of the Scarpa Furia S is phenomenal. The rand is extremely soft and thin, leading to easy explosive and dynamic movements. The feedback and feel from the wall is simply unparalleled. With that being said, get prepared to feel everything, including painfully sharp holds. For an experienced climber though, the ability to feel and adjust accordingly is an enormous asset and is so core to the discipline of bouldering. The shoe features a highly aggressive profile and a severely asymmetric last. Combined with plenty of solid heel tension, the Furia S beautifully transfers power from your entire foot into the big toe.
With an MSRP of $195 USD, the Furia S costs just a tad less than big brother Drago. The performance between both are very similar, so the determining factor would be heel preference for me. The Furia S is a bouldering shoe with exceptional performance that boasts some of the highest sensitivity and feedback in the market.