10 Best Scarpa Running Shoes Reviewed
The trail runners from Scarpa our some of the toughest and most enduring shoes available to runners today. The protection they provide can help the adventurous conquer even the most rugged of mountain trails and have them on their feet for work the next day. Runnerclick has done in depth research on the best of what Scarpa has to offer and has presented it here in this list, along with helpful information and tips on how to select the best Scarpa shoe for you.
- Scarpa Atom
- Lightweight and minimalistic
- Scarpa Spark
- Excellent traction
- Scarpa Proton GTX
- Comfortable and sup
10 Best Scarpa Running Shoes
1. Scarpa Atom
The Vibram outsole of this shoe is a rugged rubber that has even been tested to face extreme outdoor elements. Vibram rubber soles are touted as being one of the best rubber soles in the world, so you know that the traction for this shoe is going to be superior. It’s important to note that this shoe’s minimalist design makes it ideal for flatter and softer trails.
This shoe will best serve someone who enjoys running on only a moderate trails. Due to this shoe’s emphasis on weightlessness, sharp rocks and other types of debris are likely to aggravate the foot and deteriorate this shoe quickly.
This shoe is more flexible than other Scarpa shoes, and this has to do with the fact that the shoe’s upper is unrestrictive and breathable. The shoe’s heel collar is padded well and the forefoot is fairly wide, which makes the fit accommodating and malleable.
This shoe is moderately priced when compared to other Scarpa products that the brand offers.
- The EVA molded foam in the midsole of this shoe contributes to comfort.
- The lightweight design of this shoe makes it perfect for runners who are looking for a quicker ride.
- The mesh upper is breathable.
- For some reviewers, the Atom’s upper design leaves the pinky toes in harm’s way.
- Could be more protective on extremely rugged surfaces
- Not a great shoe for running on asphalt or concrete
2. Scarpa Spark
The sole of this shoe has been designed with multi-dimensional helix lugs throughout it. This design allows for the sole of this shoe to provide deep and superior traction, especially on a muddy or wet trail.
In additional to the helix lugs on the sole, this shoe’s also been designed with a Speedlite sole. This design feature diminishes foot fatigue and provides more shock absorbency.
Both the midsole and the forefoot of this shoe is made with an EVA compression foam, meaning that the shoe forms to your foot the more often you wear it.
This shoe is a good value in terms of quality of materials and price. It is similarly priced to many of the other shoes that have been compiled onto this list.
- This shoe offers great support while on trickier trails, and is far more supportive than a minimalist trail shoe.
- The helix lugs on the sole provide superior traction, making this shoe perfect for anyone who is going to be running on particularly tricky terrain.
- These shoes can also be worn to the gym or on asphalt.
- The quality of the upper of this shoe could be better. Some consumers claim that the upper began to deteriorate only after a few months of use.
- The lacing loops are prone to tearing and could also be made of a better quality.
3. Scarpa Proton GTX
This shoe’s outsole is made of Vibram's Megagrip technology. The sole’s rubber to become sticky when terrain is slick or wet.
In addition to the Vibram outsole, this shoe also comes with a full-length rock plate and a rubber toe bumper. Both of these features keep your feet extremely insulated and protected.
The forefoot of this shoe is a medium width and will allow for a roomy feeling in the front of the foot.
This shoe is more affordable than some of the other shoes that we’ve seen on this list thus far.
- Comfortable for a trail shoe
- Consumers are happy about the support that these shoes provide.
- Midfoot has a lot of volume to it, which can make the foot feel as if the shoe is loose.
- The laces that come with this shoe could be of a better quality.
- The lugs on this shoe could be deeper to provide greater agility and traction.
4. Scarpa Mystic
The outsole of this shoe has been built with the same Vibram rubber that we’ve seen in most of the other Scarpa running shoes thus far, but with a vertical element that’s been built into the toe to provide the shoe with a greater ability to climb.
The toe of this shoe also features a rubber toe rand, which is able to protect the foot from rocks and other types of debris.
This shoe is designed with an internal half-bootie, which provides a secure fit for the shoe. It also comes with added Achilles cushion.
Due to this shoe’s diversity, you’re truly getting a great value for this type of shoe.
- Your toes will have plenty of room in this shoe.
- The soles of this shoe are plenty flexible and will not make your foot feel stiff.
- These shoes will insulate your foot and perform well in colder conditions.
- This shoe is too narrow for some consumers.
- Some consumers believe that this shoe could be more breathable.
- The grip of this shoe could be more pronounced on its sole.
5. Scarpa Tempo
Similar to the Scarpa Spark running shoe, the Tempo is designed with a Speedlite sole which provides maximum shock absorbency as well as enhanced grip on particularly wet or muddy terrain.
The Tempo comes with an ESS strike plate in the forefoot that will prevent rocks and other types of debris from injuring your foot.
This shoe boasts a minimal 6mm heel-to-toe drop, and offers a multi-density EVA foam in its midsole. Both of these features combine to provide a fit that is adaptive and malleable.
This shoe is priced at a good value because it’s been on the market for a while, yet will maintain its reputation as being a reliable Scarpa product.
- Consumers are impressed with the stability and tread that this shoe can provide.
- Good arch support
- May begin to show signs of deterioration after only a moderately short period of time.
- Some consumers claim that the upper of this shoe is more durable than its sole.
6. Scarpa Neutron
Similar to many other shoes on this list, the Scarpa Neutron features a Vibram rubber outsole which offers great grip on both trails and the mud.
The welded synthetic ribs on either side of this shoe offers lateral support and protection for the foot. The leather and mesh upper combination is also breathable and dries quickly when wet.
This shoe features an arch-wrap construction around its midsole, which allows the foot to feel maximally secure.
This shoe is slightly more expensive than others that we’ve seen on this list, but the quality of this shoe makes the price worthwhile for most.
- Offers great protection from the elements due to the synthetic ribs of the shoe as well as the leather and mesh upper
- Traction is quite dependable, especially in the rain.
- This shoe provides adequate cushion for the foot, so it is both supportive and ruggedized.
- The laces that come with this shoe are thin and difficult to handle. For the price that you’re paying, some consumers believe that these shoes should come with sturdier laces.
- This shoe only offers four lace crossing on the upper. Most shoes offer five.
- May be best suited for extremely rugged trails, instead of mild trails.
7. Scarpa Spin
The Scarpa Spin is made with the Megagrip from Vibram, ensuring reliable traction while on the trail. The minimalist design also means the wearer can use their own natural toe spread to grip the road, the wearer and shoe working together to find the surest footing on the trail.
The Spin has a flexible rock plate, guaranteeing not only protection from the rocks on the path but also that the protection will move with you.
The Scarpa brand is famous for its fit, being some of the best fitting shoes were have ever heard feedback for. Although getting the best fit usually means having measurement help in store, the Scarpa system means you will likely not have to do any sizing up or down like you may have to with some brands.
The Spin is priced similarly to other Scarpa shoes. Spin can be considered a little pricey, but you receive a very high quality minimalist trail running shoe for your investment; it’s well worth the price.
- Fits true
- Protective and flexible rock plate
- Great for long distances
- Megagrip for traction
- Small heel drop
- Lugs aren't suited for road wear or running
8. Scarpa Proton Alpine
This shoe features an EVA foam midsole and a 10mm heel-to-toe drop. These two features combined allows the foot to feel both comfortable and more importantly supported while going over difficult terrain.
This shoe is made with a synthetic leather lining, which offers your foot ample protection from the elements. The heel cage design on this shoe reinforces the protective elements of the Scarpa Proton Alpine.
The overlays on this particular running shoe are made of TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane. This means that the overlays work with your foot, providing elasticity and structure. The reinforced heel also adds to the overall fit fit.
The value of this shoe is about average when compared to other Scarpa shoes.
- Offer your foot great support
- The size charts that are associated with this shoe are accurate, meaning that you will not have to worry about ordering the wrong size.
- The durability and overall quality of these shoes are good.
- The water resistance of this shoe could be better, especially when exposed to water for a long period of time
- After an extended period of time, some consumers complained of blisters developing on their feet.
- For some, this shoe could offer more features that would truly make it stand out in relation to its competitors.
9. Scarpa Tru Trail
The sole of this shoe has been designed with HDR rubber. HDR stands for High Dynamic Rubber, and can offer you more grip for when you’re traveling on mid, gravel, or even slippery rocks.
The midsole of this shoe is designed with injected EVA foam to protect your feet through shock absorbency. The midsole of this shoe also contains an EVA protective plate in its forefoot. Additionally, a forefoot strike plate made of Hi-Tensilew fabric built into the shoe provides added stability. This allows for protection while still being flexible.
The upper of this shoe features an air mesh design, which provides breathability and lightness. In conjunction with this mesh, it’s also been designed with a webbed ribcage with synthetic leather reinforcements. This allows for a stable, secure and cool fit.
This shoe is a great offer you a great value in comparison with some of the other shoes that we’ve seen on this list.
- People seem to be pleased with the minimalist and aesthetic value of this shoe.
- A truly lightweight ride
- Extremely stable, even while on particularly rugged terrain
- May be difficult to fit an orthotic into this particular Scarpa shoe
- You may have to be careful about the size that you order because some consumers claim that this shoe runs a tad smaller than is advertised.
- Some consumers found that this shoe may not be an appropriate shoe for longer, mountainous runs.
10. Scarpa Ignite
Similar to the Scarpa Tru Trail, this shoe is designed with a HDR rubber in its sole, but with a twist. It’s also been designed to include Scarpa’s Speed Trail sole, which will allow you to move faster through the terrain.
This shoe has been designed with an EXO Skeleton, which extends across the upper of the shoe without weighing down the shoe. Additionally, this shoe has been built with a synthetic nubuck fabric. This fabric has been specifically placed in areas that are most likely to deteriorate over time from normal wear and tear.
This shoe comes with a stretchable lining in its interior, making it comfortable fit to your specific foot without feeling cramped.
This shoe is less of a bargain than the other shoes on this list; however, it is still affordable for most budgets.
- Adequate protection and can be used on a variety of terrain types
- Possibility for greater speed than some of the other ones on this list
- Aggressive treads on its sole make for great traction on the trails
- Definitely not a shoe that should be used for longer runs. Instead, many consumers and running professionals alike suggest using these shoes for shorter and faster runs.
- For some consumers, the ride of this shoe may be a bit too stiff.
- Some consumers believe that if the uppers were more secure, the shoe would fit better.
The Criteria Used to Find the 10 Best Scarpa Running Shoes
The 10 best Scarpa running shoes on this particular list were not simply chosen based on our personal favorites or chosen at random. There is a specific set of metrics that were used when compiling this list. The metrics that were chosen for this list were based on scientific research as it pertains to trail running shoes in particular, including traction, protection that the shoe can offer, the fit of the shoe as well as value.
Each of the key factors in creating our list of the 10 best Scarpa running shoes is explained below.
Traction or Grip
For any type of trail running shoe, one of the most important factors that you should be considering when purchasing a shoe is the shoe’s traction or grip. One of the most important elements of determining the type of traction that you need while running is to consider the type of terrain on which you will be running on. The shoes on our list keep traction and grip in mind, while also keeping in mind that this shoe will be used off-road. The trail shoes on this list feature flatter outsole with varying space and size between their lugs. These factors allow for a stickier grip, similar to the type of grip that you would find on a shoe that’s been designed specifically for climbing. However, adding more traction to the bottom of the shoe is also going to result in more weight which is another important aspect to consider when you’re shopping for a trail shoe.
In addition to adequate traction, another important factor that is unique when it comes to purchasing a trail shoe involves how much protection the shoe offers. In fact, a shoe’s traction can be considered an aspect of its protective features, because the grip of a shoe can often save you from falling while you’re on a run. One key protective feature many trail shoe is a rock plate located on somewhere in the sole. A toe bumper and rugged overlays are also important protective features as well. These protective features are another reason why we chose to include the shoes that we’ve chosen on the 10 best Scarpa running shoes list. A rock plate in the sole is often going to be thin and inconspicuous, yet still be able to prevent any rocks or other types of debris from penetrating the sole of the shoe. The toe guard is likely to provide similar protection for the fronts of your feet. A toe guard can often make the difference between simply tripping over a troublesome rock and completely breaking your toes. Lastly, while the rock and toe plates provide protection to the bottoms and front of the feet, the durable overlays provide protection for the top portion of the foot. Overlays are important when you’re looking to protect the outside and instep of the foot, which is why many of the Scarpa shoes on our list have made the cut.
Lastly, a trail shoe with a solid fit is going to provide your foot with a greater sense of stability. If your foot feels unstable or the fit is too loose, there is a greater chance that you’ll end up rolling an ankle or other potential injuries. While on a trail run, a major factor that can influence your stability is the possibility of uneven surfaces. Rocks, roots, and other types of natural obstacles make for an unstable path, so it is essential to have a proper fitting shoe. Some of the features on a shoe that contribute to the fit include denser midsoles, heel wraps, and a more supportive upper. Though these features are seen in road shoes, they are especially important in trail shoes. All of these factors combine to provide a more secure fit for the foot. While on a trail, a proper fit for your shoe is going to allow for a faster response time and reduce the possibility of injury. For these reasons, this is another reason why the shoes we choose made it onto our 10 best Scarpa running shoe list.
Other Important Factors to Consider
In addition to considering the various factors of traction, protection and fit when compiling our list of the 10 best Scarpa running shoes, there are a few other factors that you should be thinking about when you’re looking to purchase a shoe that reads the Scarpa brand name. These factors include comfort and trail type.
While your primary concern when purchasing a Scarpa shoe may not necessarily be comforting, comfort is certainly an important factor that should be considered. Specifically, some important factors to consider include breathability and the shoe’s capacity to be water resistant. Even if it’s not raining outside, trail runs can get muddy if the conditions are unfavorable even a day or two before your run. This is why breathability and the shoe’s ability to resist water are important factors to consider. The shoes are designed with GTX, or Gore-Tex fabric may be appropriate for people who need more waterproofing, depending on the environment and weather condition they are running in. GTX can be best defined as a synthetic and waterproof material that is both protective yet breathable. Purchasing a Scarpa shoe that is made from with at least some Gore-Tex material may make the difference between your foot staying dry and your foot becoming drenched in a muddy mess.
Another thing to think about when considering one of the 10 best Scarpa running shoes on this list involves taking some time to think about the type of trails you’ll be running on. For example, it’s possible that a Scarpa minimalist shoe will work just fine on a trail, as long as you know that the trails on which you plan on running will largely consist of woodchips or stone that’s been crushed up for easier movement. If this is the case for your particular trail needs, then the Scarpa Atom, the Scarpa Spark, the Scarpa Tru Trail or the Scarpa Tempo may be one of the shoes that are perfect for you. If you think you’re going to be performing on a trail that has a bit more of a diverse topography, a minimalist Scarpa shoe may not do the trick. Instead, you may want to look at some of the shoes on our list that can offer hybrid elements for the road as well as for the trail. If this is the case, then perhaps a speedier Scarpa shoe such as the Ignite may be appropriate for your foot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is the Gore-Tex fabric technology truly as good as people claim?
A. Gore-Tex fabric has become increasingly popular in recent years and is used in many high-quality athletic clothes and shoes. This being the case, you would think that this type of fabric would be great for a trail running shoe, but it turns out that not everyone is convinced. In fact, some running professionals believe that Gore-Tex is a terrible fabric to use on a trail shoe, mainly due to the fact that the water resistance nature sacrifices breathability in warmer climates. If you know that you’re going to be spending a lot of your time running in a location that is cold throughout the year, then a Gore-Tex trail running shoe should not be a problem. The shoe will still be rather breathable. On the other hand, if you know that you’re going to be spending your time running in a location that has a warmer climate, some running professionals believe that the fabric will make the shoe much less breathable. In this way, you’re sacrificing breathability for Gore-Tex’s water resistant elements, which may or may not be completely desirable.
Q. Do Scarpa trail running shoes fit true to size?
A. Scarpa uses a unique type of sizing called Mondo sizing, which can lead to some confusion when trying to figure out your size. Mondo sizing is essentially just the length of your foot in centimeters. For this reason, it might be a good idea to reference a conversion chart for shoe sizes prior to purchasing a Scarpa shoe if you’re not quite sure which size you need. Once you know what your size translates to in terms of Mondo sizing, another consideration that you need to make is to think about how the shoe generally feels while on the foot in one specific size. Generally speaking, people say that these shoes can seem a bit tight if you purchase them in the exact size that your foot is. This being the case, it is generally agreed upon that you should consider purchasing your Scarpa shoes in half size larger than what you’re typically used to wearing.
Q. What makes the Vibram rubber outsole superior?
A. Since the mid-1930s, Vibram has been making soles for mountaineering boots. Prior to Vibram coming onto the scene, mountaineering boots were made with shabby rubber materials that were prone to slipping off of the sole of the shoe, causing injury to the people who were wearing the boots. This opened an opportunity where Vibram was able to fill a niche. Today, the Vibram sole brand offers soles that are not only superior when it comes to durability, but also superior in providing mountaineers and trail runners with shoes that are safer, resistant to abrasions, and more functional. It’s important to understand that even though Vibram began only as a company that was dedicated to providing ruggedized soles for boots, today they have adapted and provide soles for shoes that exist within a variety of different niches. These categories include sporting shoes, mountain shoes, and even fashion shoes. For example, Prada is one great example of how Vibram been able to expand its client reach over the years. The Vibram brand’s commitment to excellence and safety is what has allowed them to diversify and flourish within the athletic and non-athletic community alike.
Q. Is it vital to purchase trail running shoes for trail running?
A. It’s not absolutely necessary to purchase trail running shoes when you’re running on trail terrain; however, the three biggest advantages that trail running shoes can offer your ride were already detailed in our 10 best Scarpa running shoes guide. Trail running shoes offer traction, protection and a fit that will stabilize your feet in a way that road running shoes simply cannot. While a road running shoe might be appropriate for a trail that is light in terms of ruggedness, a road running shoe will not protect your foot the way a trail shoe does on a highly technical trail. That being said, there are certainly runners out there who prefer to use road shoes on rugged trails for one reason or another. As with most running shoes, at the end of the day, the type of shoe that you’re wearing and the advantages that it can offer your foot in comparison with another type of shoe really comes down to the preferences which you’re seeking.
Q. What is the best type of Scarpa shoe for a runner who is newer to trails?
A. Many shoes from Scarpa follow the current trail running trends and are designed with a minimalist style in mind. A minimalist shoe alters its wearer’s gait to one less acclimated to the shape of standard footwear and to a gate that is more natural to the shape of a foot. This can make minimalist shoes difficult to situate yourself to, so most running veterans recommend that newer runners avoid the more minimally designed shoes. You can get your gait and running technique analyzed professionally in specialty shoe stores to help you understand your shoe buying needs. It is advisable that a novice runner who is interested in a Scarpa shoe should seek out the more supportive and more padded options from this brand and avoid their more minimalist designs. Additionally, you should make sure, especially if you are new to trail running in particular, to choose a Scarpa shoe with an adequate protection from rocks and debris. Most runners who aren’t experienced with trail running are less sure of their footing, and there are several Scarpa styles that have protective plates to help protect their wearers.
Q. Where were these shoes made?
A. All of the Scarpa shoes are made in China. This means that if you’re someone who is passionate about domestic production, this particular brand of shoes may not be for you. On the other hand, the reliability and confidence that the Scarpa brand can provide your foot are unmatched. The quality of a Scarpa running shoe may be one reason to consider overlooking the location in which they’re produced.
Here are some sources we used when putting this together:
- Be Weary of Gore-Tex Running Shoes (Knoxville News Sentinel), Trail Running Website, Mar 05, 2005 ,
- Scarpa Spark Trail Running Shoe, Hiking Website, ,
- Scarpa Proton, Running Shoe Informational Site, Jan 09, 2016 ,
- Do I Really Need a Trail Shoe? , Informational Running Website, Jan 01, 1970 ,
- So What's So Awesome About Vibram Soles?, Boot Product Information Website, Jan 01, 1970 ,
- Trail Shoe Review: Scarpa Atom, Shoe Review Page, Dec 05, 2016 ,
- Choosing a Trail Running Shoe That's Right for You, Informational Running Shoe Website, Jan 01, 1970 ,
- What Run Oregon is Wearing: Scarpa Proton Alpine Running Shoe, Informational Running Blog , Jan 01, 1970 ,