Does the sustainable version of the popular Mescalito technical approach shoe have the same performance as the standard? We delve in.
- Sustainable for approach shoes
- More aggressive lugs would be more secure on wet ground.
We have featured both the standard Mescalito and the Mescalito Mid on this site and found both shoes well-featured for technical approaches and scrambling. They always have a good toe profile and are great to move over rock in. So, when the opportunity to review and feature a new, sustainable version we jumped at the chance. Scarpa has developed a cracking approach shoe which we think sets a new benchmark for technical performance with minimal carbon impact.
The Scarpa Mescalito Planet is a lightweight and breathable shoe designed for technical climbing approaches, scrambling and via ferrata in warm, dry conditions. They are well-featured with all the technical elements you would need to offer good security on rough and steep ground. That said, I’ve been using them most of this summer for all of my longer hikes and the fast hiking I do more of these days. The full lacing and technical toe profile offers a secure fit so keep them looser for a general approach and then cinch the up to climb. Style wise they look similar to the Mescalito but have a more trainer look to them due to the upper.
In terms of weight, the Planet is 365g per shoe so you are saving 25g on the standard but you are gaining a much more breathable shoe with the Perspair upper. The Perspair material is an Italian-made specialist fabric that is breathable and made using a seamless production method made using 45% recycled material. This is then given a PU coating called PUTEK, this is also done in the same factory and the material is sourced and produced in Italy. Lenzi Egisto has a long history of developing technical fabrics for outdoor and military use and it just goes to show that although we tend to think of Japan and South Korea with technical fabric innovation there is ample to choose from much closer to home and thereby reducing your carbon footprint.
In terms of performance, the uppers have proved comfortable and robust for hiking, crossing scree and climbing in. I’ve been using them for most of the summer and they are showing little signs of wear, I am a heavy user as I am out regularly. I have noticed some small nicks to the EVA midsole – but this would be perfectly normal in the terrain I venture out in. The generous toe rand is perfect for scrambling and adds an element of water resistance for that occasional unavoidable large puddle. The toe rand is quite long as the Mescalito range is designed as a technical mountain shoe with the ability to climb cracks so you should consider this.
The heel is supported with rubber, but that is it. I’ve been sporting an niggling Achilles injury for the best part of a year now and I have found the shoes to be well-supportive in the heel area and once I’ve warmed up they have supported me for some quite long days out. At least they haven’t made it worse! The tongue is well padded and meshed so plenty breathable, it extends down to the super comfortable toe area. It has an elasticated gusset to help keep it in position. At the toe area, there is some microfibre protection, it would be better if this was extended as it would have helped keep my feet drier when walking through wet ground, wet heather and grass for instance. But to be honest, it’s a minor gripe. This can all be tightened up with the supple running-style laces, which have stayed tight all day.
The Vibram Lite sole offered excellent friction moving over rock.
The EVA midsole provides enough cushioning for long days and I have even been running short distances in them (when I’m out fast hiking for instance), The EVA is made using 35% recycled materials and I haven’t noticed any drop in performance, they are still super comfortable and soak up all the rough ground I can throw at them. The sole is finished with Vibram LItebase, which has provided excellent friction on dry rock (they have a climbing zone at the toe for when the terrain gets steep) and reasonable friction on rough ground. I think there is scope to increase the cleat/lug depth to offer a little more traction on wet ground and mud, but generally, they have been good. The sole can be re-soled through the Scarpa resole service so if well looked after they should last for a few years. Final touches include Scarpa decals, mesh lining and a generous heel tab for clipping onto a harness.
Footwear is some of the most complicated and energy-intensive outdoor kit we use daily, therefore it is very difficult to make them fully sustainable. They have to be robust and supportive – if they fail it can have serious consequences, so it is a very fine balancing act. The way companies can improve the sustainability of their footwear is to keep manufacturing, supply chains and material sourcing as close to home as possible. I think Scarpa has done a good job with the Mescalito Planet and if you are looking for a robust, technical and well-performing approach shoe that is made as sustainably as is currently possible the Mescalito Planet should fit the bill. Finally, are the Mescalito Planet as good as the standard – I’d say yes they are.
The colour way is one option: Grey/Curry and I can tell you this right now. Next time I’m ordering a curry when out in Bradford, if it comes that colour it’s going straight back to the chef!
The Scarpa Mescalito Planet comes in sizes 41 to 48 (no half sizes in this model) for men and sizes 37 to 42 for women.
The SRP is £165 for men and £175 for women and they can be bought directly from scarpa.co.uk and specialist retailers.
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item.
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