A flat, comfortable trad-climbing solution with all the power and performance of a high-end sport-climbing shoe.
At some point, I suspect I will run out of good things to say about Scarpa climbing shoes, but that day hasn’t arrived yet. Over the past few months, I’ve put the new Scarpa Maestro to the test, and have determined that the Maestro is, as its name suggests, a polymath of rock types, grades, styles, and angles.
The Maestro is a flat-ish all-around shoe that’s probably best suited for trad climbing applications, but could really be used as a “quiver of one” shoe that will perform at a high level in other genres of climbing as well.
This lace-up has a straight and slightly downturned shape with a medium-to-low angled toe box. For all-day edging, the Maestro competes head-to-head with another favorite of mine, the La Sportiva “Air Tommys” (aka TC Pros). Indeed, the Maestro comes in a Mid version that boasts a bit of ankle protection—which I didn’t test—but this fact seems to suggest that Scarpa had the TC Pros in mind when releasing this competitor. The two shoes’ high performances are quite similar, actually, though I would describe the Maestro as a slightly softer, slightly narrower, and perhaps even slightly more comfortable version of the TC Pros.
Where to Buy
Where it Excels
The Maestro is really built for all-day edging. With the right sizing, the Maestro can be worn all day without being removed. I brought these shoes on a recent trad-climbing trip to Wales, where I climbed one- to three-pitch limestone sea cliff routes. I really couldn’t have selected a more appropriate shoe for this trip, which involved lots of scrambling around, rapping down, and climbing vertical face routes all day long.
As someone who primarily sport climbs, the Maestro felt familiar, like a modern, high-end sport climbing shoe, only it was comfortable enough to wear all day—even while belaying. I never had to take it off and felt perfectly comfortable with my footwork on routes up to 5.11/5.12.
Where it Comes Up Short
The Maestro isn’t the best crack-climbing shoe, so I wouldn’t recommend it for destinations with a high concentration of crack climbing, places like Yosemite or Indian Creek. This shoe would be more at home in the Gunks, Eldo, City of Rocks, Black Canyon, etc.
The toe box is simply a bit too narrow to make it a true crack-climbing shoe. When climbing cracks, I’m looking for shoes that give my toes room to be stretched flat. With the Maestro, although my big toe had ample room, the narrow/truncated toe box scrunched the rest of my toes a bit too much, making crack climbing even more painful than usual.
I have a medium-sized foot width, so if you have really narrow feet, this shoe could potentially work well for crack climbing. I would love to see Scarpa (or whomever) come up with a true high-performance crack slipper. The Maestro is definitely on the right track here, but the narrow toe box limits it to primarily face routes.
I wear 42 or 42.5 in other Scarpa sport-climbing shoes such as the Drago/Furia, etc. I sized up to a 43 in the Maestro, which is my street shoe size. With a little break-in period, this was a perfect size for me and I probably wouldn’t want to go much bigger than this.
The quality and performance of Scarpa’s line of climbing shoes continue to impress me and be my go-to footwear. The Maestro is a great addition to Scarpa’s line and is a wonderful shoe for vertical routes where edging and comfort are needed.