Scarpa StixThe Scarpa Stix is a high-end, high-performance slipper for steep sport climbing and bouldering. It’s got an asymmetrical last and a precision fit for toe power. It’s got great arch support/suction, and only a little dead space in the heel of my medium-wide volume foot. However, it’s not the best heel hooker.

Scarpa has continued to impress me with their ability to churn out high performance climbing shoes that fit really well, and walk that delicate line between sensitivity and support, performance and comfort. The Stix, the latest offering from Scarpa, builds upon that tradition once again. The Stix is similar to the Instinct S. In fact, it seems as if the Scarpa Boostic and the Instinc S had a baby it would be the Stix. Improvements include better sensitivity and a higher arch. This has become one of my favorite slippers for outdoor sport climbing and indoor gym climbing. However, I wouldn’t recommend the Stix as a bouldering slipper, unfortunately, due to the fact that heel hooking is tough in this shoe.

Scarpa’s X-Rand tensioning system employs two crisscrossing swaths of tensioned rubber to pull the shoe up into the arch of your foot, while directing power down through the large toe. You feel it working on edges of even the most improbably size.

As a smearing shoe, I wish the Stix were a little softer. You really have to press your foot hard into the rock to get the most out of it.

A narrow, pointy, precision toe box finds pockets without a problem. Though billed as having a lower volume heel, the Stix left me with  a couple of very small pockets of dead space. That combined with the fact that it’s a slipper made heel hooking less reliable than I would like.

The Stix normally retails for $149, making it a great value and a great option might if you’re looking to pick up a secondary slipper for indoor training sessions in the gym.