Scarpa BoosticThe Scarpa Boostic is a serious contender for my most favorite rock-climbing shoe. Comfortable yet high-performing, the Boostic is an edging titan on everything from low-angle rock to extreme overhangs. After more than a year’s worth of constant climbing in the Scarpa Boostics, during which I happily went through two pairs and climbed routes up to 5.14a, it’s hard not to gush over this shoe, the latest creation from climbing’s best-known cobbler, Heinz Mariacher. Based on my own impressions, and those I’ve been hearing from other ebullient Boostic-wearing climbers at the crags, the Boostic is destined to be a legend. In fact I can’t wait to get my feet into a third pair.

Edging   The coalescence of its exact shape and stiffness are the meat and potatoes of what make the Boostic outstanding. The toe box is pointier than, say, the Scarpa Mago, which makes it easier to place the big toe very precisely on tiny, finicky footholds. The outer edge tapers off dramatically, which allowed me to take advantage of the rest of my four toes when outside edging. You feel like all five toes are always working together in beautiful harmony, no doubt aided by the semi-stiff midsole that adds more than enough support without any perceived loss in sensitivity.

Smearing/Hooking   A tensioned rand, which Scarpa calls V-tension Active Randing, helps the shoe’s rubber to spread and adapt to various foot positions and footholds, but then snap back into place once the foot is unweighted. This retains the shoe’s shape throughout its life, and I found it helpful for getting maximum rubber onto dishes and smears.

I made prodigious use of the rubber on top of the forefoot while toe hooking. On one long-term climbing project, I hooked my left foot in a hole and the toe rubber caught on the lip, copping me a better rest than I could get in other shoes that lacked this feature.

The Boostics’ lower-volume heel fit me perfectly, and I had no problems heel-hooking.

Velcro Closure/Elastic   Another stand-out feature is the elastic watersock-like material at the shoe’s opening. Sliding into Boostics, my foot felt as if it was instantly subsumed by a suction-cup of leather and rubber that wasn’t just on my foot; it became my foot. Strap down two opposing Velcro straps and the sensation intensifies. Also, when strapping the Velcro down, “floating” pieces of leather are pulled over the top of your foot to create a comfortable buffer.