Update (5/2/2018): The Scarpa Force X is being replaced by the Scarpa Force V - an updated model of the same shoe.
Written by Alex Mougenot
My climbing shoe arsenal consists of 3 categories: x1 comfy gym shoe, x1 all-rounder, and x2 pairs for tough faces, cracks, and steep sport/bouldering.
The Scarpa Force X's has been a bit of an attention-hog, and is not only my gym shoe but my all-rounder too, and it does a bloody good job. It's my go-to, jack-of-all-trades shoe of choice. I've used it on everything, gym climbing, outdoor bouldering, steep sport climbing, scary slabs, multi-pitch trad, and easy scramble approaches. If weight only allows me to pack one pair of shoes that'll do the job for a varied climbing trip, the Force X is what I'll pick up. It really is a well-performing all-rounder.
Comfort vs. Performance
The first thing I noticed in the Force X was its comfort. I noted that whilst I could still climb close to my limit and trust small edges, I could walk around the crag or gym without balling up and crying in excruciating agony for my poor, dying little piggies. The shoe's flat sole, suede leather upper, and extra padding at the heel makes sure of that.
As is true most of the time, this extra comfort does come at a performance cost. Stepping on credit card-width micro edges in the Blueys are dicey, for sure, but all in all Scarpa have done an excellent job at mitigating this comfort-performance trade-off. They've done this by using their VTension System Technology. This holds tension right along the forefoot, which helps with a bit more sensitivity and support when trusting those "barely there" footers that we all love (hate). I have also noted that the XS Edge Vibram rubber used on the sole helps sensitivity as well.
I find that the extra padding on the heel also protects in heel-hooks, and I'm a lot more comfortable cranking off of them. On the other hand, for my foot, the heel doesn't fit as tight as a higher-performing shoe such as the Furia, and doesn't bight so well on small and precise heel-hooks.
I'm a fan of the velcro straps for gym and general all-rounder use, for quick adjustments. They are also fairly durable; I've only had one strap break after a year of solid use, when I've had them pop much more often with other brands in the past.
Whilst this shoe may not get your over the edge in sending your cutting-edge project, my experiences are that it will excel at doing anything and everything up until that. Its high comfort, high walk-in-ability , and yet good performance is what makes this shoe a solid addition to your arsenal.