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Scarpa Mago

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MSRP: $195

Best For: Micro Edges on Steep Routes

The Scarpa Mago originally hit the market in 2007. Despite its popularity, it was discontinued until its resurrection in 2018. The new Mago has bright modern colors and a few technical notes that somehow make the already great, classic shoe even better. 

The Mago is an aggressive, highly specialized shoe. Scarpa’s Toe Power Support (TPS), a thermoformed insert at the forefront of the shoe, gives the toes a super-edging platform excellent on micro-edges or steep routes.

I took these babies to the Cathedral in Saint George. I had a project there that I was previously trying in one of my other favorite shoes, the Scarpa’s Booster S. Once I donned the Mago, however, my footwork noticeably improved. The Mago’s shape helped me keep my feet on where they otherwise cut and they helped me drive harder through my toes in places I’d otherwise fall short. They opened my eyes to footholds I previously would have deemed too small or slick. People say that the climber makes the shoes, but in this case, I think the shoes were making the climber.

My only complaint is that I wish they were more versatile. The TPS makes it difficult to uncurl your toes, which in turn makes climbing on blocks or other smeary surfaces incredibly exhausting for the toes. They’re okay in the gym, so long as you stay off volumes, but I’d rather save the precious rubber for more appropriate projects.

The Mago is constructed with a five panel upper design with a seamless toe panel, which makes it comfy and durable. At $195, it comparable to other high-performance shoes, but the intricate build will make it last longer.

The outsole is 3.5 millimeters of Vibram XS Grip. A new addition to the 2018 Mago is an enlarged toe-patch, which makes toe scumming a dependable technique in these shoes. Another new feature is the heel cup, which is narrower and fits securely. While climbing around Saint George, I tested these shoes on every type of heel hook imaginable and they performed like a dream.

I wore the same size in the Magos as I do in all other Scarpa shoes that I’ve tested. At first, you’ll likely be taking them off at the chains, but they will stretch with use.

Gym Climber vigorously tests all gear it reviews for either 50 days or 50 pitches. This is a time-consuming process and limits the amount of new equipment we can present to our readers. Every year hundreds of new products hit store shelves, and most of these aren’t reviewed due to our stringent selection and review process. To better keep you more up to date on what is new, we present First Look. Gear in First Look has not always been field tested, but is gear we think you’d like to know about as soon as it is available. Some of the gear will be reviewed using our 50 days/50 pitches criteria, in future print and online editions of Gym Climber. We have opted to use affiliate links in our gear reviews. Every time you buy something after clicking on links in our gear articles you’re helping support our magazine.

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