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Scarpa Origin Review (2024): Top Pick For Beginners?

Scarpa Origin review
The Scarpa Origin is a top entry-level pick for budding climbers with its thick rubber outsole and comfy medium-volume fit.

Bottom Line

9.1Expert Score
A very good, comfortable climbing shoe with a sturdy outsole for beginners and beyond.
The Scarpa Origin is a humble shoe that won’t turn many eyes at the crag. However, the Origin is much more comfortable compared to the bevy of aggressive climbing shoes marketed to bouldering and sport climbers. Indeed, the Origins are built on a flat profile instead of one with a downturn. As a result, it’s a truly neutral shoe that allows your foot to flex more naturally while climbing.

Besides the neutral fit, the padded suede upper makes these shoes easy to wear between climbs and prevents a long break-in period. The velcro straps allow you to decide between a relaxed and snug fit. This is great for giving your feet a break on more moderate climbs. Overall, the shoe feels great in cold and hot weather, and the PAF heel system ensures a secure fit at all times.

Also, Scarpa’s Vision compound is convenient for beginner climbers who are still refining their footwork. The toes (and the shoe in general) will last much longer because of the harder compound.

At $115 (retail price), the Scarpa Origin climbing shoes are some of the most affordable on the market. It makes them an excellent first pair of climbing shoes for beginners or a comfy and versatile option for more advanced climbers.
Comfort
9.5
Performance
8
Durability
9.5
Value for Money
9.5
PROS
  • Attractive price
  • Relaxed feel
  • Durable rubber
  • Quality construction
CONS
  • Moderate performance
  • Less sticky rubber

Introduction

If you are looking for beginner shoes that will wear well as you improve your footwork, the Origin is a good first pair of climbing shoes. Chances are you won’t need the performance or precision offered by shoes with a sharp downturn yet, and letting your feet breathe will allow you to work on the basics of body position and technique.

Scarpa Origin at the crag

Even though the Scarpa Vision rubber isn’t the stickiest on the market, it still offers plenty of grip and will help you learn how to place your toe on smaller holds.

The Origin is not exclusively a beginner shoe. More experienced climbers have plenty of reasons to consider picking up a pair. Especially if you climb lots of moderate routes (while guiding or with friends and family), it makes sense to have a comfortable shoe that you can slip on without worrying about pain on the wall later on. Because of their remarkable durability, these also make good scrambling and gym shoes.

Scarpa Origin: Men’s vs Women’s

Scarpa Origin men's vs women's version

Like many other rock climbing shoes, the Origin comes in two flavors: the men’s and the women’s version (formerly known as Scarpa Origin LV for “Low Volume”). Really, the shoe that works the best for you will depend more on the size and shape of your foot than on your gender. The women’s model is simply a narrower version of the original, built with the same midsole and toe box.

Men with thin feet will actually be better off with the women’s, and women with wider feet should opt for the men’s. Apart from the fit, the only difference between the men’s and women’s versions is the color scheme, with men’s featuring iron gray and women a slightly more eye-catching turquoise.

a close look at the scarpa origin

In terms of sizing, go for your street shoe size or half a size down. Like most shoes of the Italian brand, the Scarpa Origins don’t require aggressive downsizing for a precise fit without dead space.

How Does the Scarpa Origin Perform?

Even though it is not a “performance climbing shoe,” the Origin holds up pretty well in different aspects. Here’s how it performs on the wall:

Scarpa Origin rock shoes

Edging

Because the midsole and rand are relatively flexible, edging is not this shoe’s strongest suit. Other stiffer shoes will allow greater purchase on micro edges where the shoe’s structure helps you stick to the hold. That said, these shoes still edge decently well, better than any slipper will. Unless you find yourself climbing granite slab often, you will probably be ok with their performance here.

Origin Scarpa shoes

Smearing

The Scarpa Origin climbing shoe is in the middle of the pack for smearing on featureless rock. Because it is relatively flat and flexible, it is easy to push the front part of the shoe into the wall and get plenty of surface contact.

The Vision sole is not as sticky as the Vibram compound (a sacrifice that makes it more durable), and the feel is not entirely as secure as other shoes with a tackier sole. If you find yourself climbing on high-friction granite slab often, you probably won’t notice the difference. However, the average smearing performance level will be noticeable if you are climbing on sandstone or limestone slab.

Hooking

The Origin delivers surprisingly solid performance for toe and heel hooks. Despite the neutral midsole, Scarpa’s PAF heel system does a good job of conforming to the shape of your foot and staying in place when pulling hard on the heel. Toe hooks in the Origin means that you will be placing the leather upper on the rock instead of the sole. Despite this, it still feels secure.

Scarpa Origin heel rubber for hooking

Jamming

For crack climbers, the ideal climbing shoe is something that is both comfortable and provides ample friction on the top of the foot for times when heel-toe cams and foot jams come into play. Even though the Origin is a supremely comfortable pair of shoes, it’s not the best choice for those who will be jamming often. The toe rand ends right above where your toenails would be inside the shoe. Even though the leather upper has great durability, it’s better to have a shoe with a rand that wraps around the top of the foot.

Scarpa Origin outdoor climbing shoes

Who And What Are These Shoes For?

The Scarpa Origin climbing shoes are apt for those who have just started climbing and want a shoe they can learn in. New climbers will appreciate the price, comfort fit, quality material, and ergonomic velcro closure straps. Some advanced climbers might also enjoy the Origins as a gym shoe or something comfortable for all-day moderate climbs.

They are not optimal for hard bouldering or sport climbing as they don’t deliver the technical performance that many other climbing shoes do. Still, they offer a better value than most climbing shoes and are a top pick for beginners.

Facts

Origin climbing slippers for beginners with padded tongue

Technical Specs

Weight7.6 oz/215 g
FitComfort
DownturnNeutral
ShapeLow asymmetry
VolumeMedium
StiffnessBalanced
Sole thickness5 mm
ClosureVelcro
ResoleableYes
VeganNo

Use

ActivitiesIndoor, Outdoor, Bouldering, Sport
Experience levelBeginner, Intermediate

Technologies

OutsoleVision
MidsoleNylon
UpperPressure Absorbing Fit (PAF), Suede leather (1.8 mm)
LastFFX
LiningUnlined

Technical Specs

Where to Buy It?

We buy most of our stuff from REI.com. Their service is excellent, and it’s a co-op, so they treat their employees well and answer to their members, not shareholders.

Note: we receive a commission when you buy through us. This keeps our team of writers/climbers going!

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