Scarpa Proton Review Facts
The Scarpa Proton is a 10mm-drop trail shoe that provides average-to-good quality in all fields but will leave an unremarkable impression none the less. The durability and the quality of the outsole are good, as is the protection, breathability, traction, and price. However, for a shoe that wants to be an all-round all-terrain trail shoe, it lacks some important features and technologies. All in all, we’re looking at a solid contender to win over a beginner’s heart when it comes to trail shoes.
The outsole of the Scarpa Proton makes use of the famous Vibram Genesis sole with Megagrip
rubber compound. Unsurprisingly, this rubber is known to offer high-performance grip on a variety of surfaces, as well as durability. The long-wearing, multi-traction tread outsole feels robust and fit to take on a marathon trail without an issue. The lugs are spaced far apart and aren’t too deep. While this might seem counterintuitive, it actually helps with the mud not sticking between the lugs a lot. A set of lugs is positioned right at the very edge of the outsole, for added stability on rocky surfaces.
Unlike the majority of traditional running shoes in the last couple of years, the midsole of the Scarpa Proton boasts a dual-density compression-molded EVA foam compound that is slightly firmer, precise and durable than its injection-molded sibling. Suitable for a trail running
shoe, the midsole is a bit wider than the foot platform at the outer edge of the foot, offering extra stability and support on different kinds of surfaces. On the lateral area of the forefoot, you’ll find flex grooves that are indicative of the shoe’s nimble nature in that part of the sole. All in all, this is a cushioned, yet firmer sole that will keep your feet protected throughout the ride, and give some bounce to your stride as well.
The materials used for the construction of the upper are synthetic leather and polyester mesh that provides breathability. On the inside, you’ll find an H-EVA Plate that will dampen the impact forces and provide additional cushioning for comfort and protection. The Scarpa Proton features durable, stitched overlays as well as welded TPU midfoot ones that give the entire foot some additional support and stability, especially in the back of this trail running shoe, where the external heel counter dominates the look. The lacing system has had some mixed reactions: while almost all runners appreciate the lace pocket that prevents the laces from being untied when walking on grass fields, the laces themselves have been criticized for being too thin and creating pressure points. The good thing about this is that they are easily replaceable, although this could be regarded as an unnecessary extra step for some runners.
A half pair of the Scarpa Proton men’s size 42 weighs 360g or 12.7oz, meaning this is a heavier
shoe, especially from a running shoe’s standpoint. A lot of runners have commented on the Proton’s clumpy and robust look that doesn’t seem too inviting. However, when talking about trail shoes, the Proton is actually a completely normal weight that you won’t feel on your feet on the trail the way you would on the road. Some extra sturdiness comes in handy when tackling rocky trails. Also, this increase in weight comes with a denser, more durable midsole that takes away from the overall flexibility of the shoe, but provides some much-needed protection. The Scarpa Proton is significantly lighter than a regular hiking boot, but a bit hefty for a performance-oriented trail shoe. Whether this will be the right fit for you depends entirely on your trail goals.
The mesh fabric that dominates almost the whole surface of the upper, save for the heel and the toe bumper, not only provides enough breathability but also makes the shoe dry fairly quickly. One runner has stated that despite being on the trail for ten hours, they finished the race without soreness of blisters in sight, which is a fantastic achievement. The Scarpa Proton comes in standard and GTX (Gore-Tex) versions, with the GTX
providing water-resistance at the cost of the amount of air flow that the standard version has.
As previously mentioned, the only real comfort issue that the Scarpa Proton has are the thin and low-quality shoe laces which result in pressure points on top of the foot, which can get painful after a whole day on the trail. However, this problem has an easy solution, so we wouldn’t pay too much attention to it. It definitely isn’t a deal-breaker. Another issue that’s worth mentioning is the fact that the forefoot flexibility stands in contrast with the heavier and sturdier heel. This could be something bothersome for runners looking for a fast trail running shoe. For those seeking some additional security, this is a welcome trait. Also, the forefoot stitches can also cause minor irritation, depending on the shape and width of your foot. That being said, this is a fairly comfy shoe for a lot of runners, although not one that will send you over the moon with its softness and cushioning
The Scarpa Proton is a modern-looking trail shoe that features reflective heel elements that come more than handy in nature. The rhomboid-shaped TPU overlays offer a color contrast and are a visual continuation of the laces, which adds an interesting twist as well as symmetry to the look. Overall, the Proton isn’t a running shoe to die for; there are many more shoes on the market that are stylized better and have prettier colorways. That being said, if you just need a shoe that makes people go: “Oh, look! A trail running shoe!”, the Proton will do just that.
The combination of the Vibram rubber outsole, the CMEVA midsole, and the synthetic leather and mesh outsole makes for a shoe that can withstand quite a bit before it shows any wear and tear. The Scarpa Proton is a hard wearing shoe and you can expect it to last for at least one season filled with trail running
and rocky roads.
The first thing every trail shoe needs is toe protection and the Proton did not disappoint. The rubber toe bumper is long-wearing and will protect
your toes from small rocks you might hit along the way. Most runners have been more than satisfied with the cushioning and underfoot protection that the Scarpa Proton had to offer. The H-EVA Plate and the CMEVA midsole are a great cushioning pair, offering some serious protection while running. Additionally, the Vibram outsole features a full-length rock plate meant to soften the impact forces, but as a result, you will experience a dampened ground feel. The mesh material is dense enough and the tongue placement is made so that the majority of debris and dust can’t get into the shoe and make the ride uncomfortable and slow you down.
For those looking for a performance shoe with over-the-top responsiveness, the Scarpa proton probably won’t turn out to be what you’re looking for. That’s not to say that the shoe isn’t responsive – the dual-density compression-molded EVA midsole gives a great amount of energy return and a pleasant, lively and springy ride. Combined with the cushioned, removable insole, that also features a slightly stiffer heel, the brand has achieved a good balance of protection and bounce that the majority of runners will find to be quite satisfactory.
The Scarpa Proton is a neutral trail running shoe that doesn’t offer a lot of arch support, which makes it comfortable and supportive for people who don’t need that kind of support. If you have high, medium-high or normal arches, you’ll find the Proton to be supportive enough. One runner who overpronates
has said that even though this is a neutral shoe, it was heavy and sturdy enough to not allow excess overpronation. So, if you’re a mild overpronator, you could enjoy this trail shoe as well. The upper of this trail shoe is entwined in TPU and synthetic leather overlays that cradle your foot and provide lateral support. If you do require some additional arch support, the good news is that the Proton’s insole is removable, so you can easily switch it for a more supportive, custom-made insole of your choice.
As Scarpa has officially stated, the Proton is an ultra-trainer made specifically for the “alpine” type terrain. This stems from the fact that they are durable, sturdy, yet cushioned enough to allow the runner to achieve a high mileage without feeling the strain on the feet. This is a crossover shoe that can be used both for trail running and hiking
, and the Megagrip outsole offers great performance on a variety of terrains. The widely-spaced lugs perform beautifully on even trails and create an agile and smooth stride. However, as with all shoes that try to cater to a broader audience, the Proton can’t deliver the same quality of performance on hard, technical running trails or steep hiking terrain, so consider your needs before you make your purchase.
The price of the Scarpa Proton is in check with what you’re getting in return for your hard-earned cash. Usually, trail shoes that are suitable for every terrain are costly and therefore, not a lot of people can buy them. The Scarpa Proton can be considered to be the cheaper, entry-level version of this kind of trail shoe. It will come with some limitations and minor issues, but if you buy it on a discount, you’re looking at a very fair price that definitely won’t break the bank.
This is the kind of shoe that showcases how even wide and shallow lugs can provide a good grip and perform excellently on diverse surfaces. These type of lugs make the proton especially good for rocky surfaces and harder trails that don’t require “tiptoeing” on the trail but a confident stride. That being said, this isn’t your go-to shoe for muddy trails, roots, and steep descents because the lugs will cause your stride to become slippery and unreliable. The Megagrip sole gives you the feeling of being glued to each dry surface you can think of, and the Vibram
Genesis multi-traction tread provides a good grip on dirt trails, grass, rocky and pebbles surfaces. While the lugs of the Scarpa Proton are good the way they are, the shoe would be even better with slightly denser and deeper lugs of various heights.
The forefoot of this trail running shoe is flexible and agile, thanks to the ergonomic sole flex grooves and the build of the upper. The heel of the shoe is significantly stiffer; so stiff, that some of the runners said that the forefoot and heel felt like they belonged to two different shoes. This isn’t an inherently bad thing, given that the toe-off phase of the gait cycle won’t be compromised and that this type of heel has great stability properties. However, for runners who are accustomed to ultra-flexible soles that bend as your foot moves – getting used to running in the Scarpa Proton will be a process.
The heel cage on the Scarpa Proton is supportive and stabilizing and locks the heel in place so as to prevent slipping and sliding out of the shoe box. The adequate siting of the shoe’s forefoot width provides just enough space for your feet not to get bruised but keeps the foot from moving around inside the shoe box, as well. The overlays provide structure and firmness to the upper, which all contribute to greater stability
of the foot, both when running and when performing lateral movements.
This is a standard-drop shoe, and at 10mm difference between the heel and forefoot stack height, the Scarpa Proton provides you just the right amount of heel cushioning to make your trail run enjoyable. This drop will feel unnatural to minimalist lovers and midfoot strikers, but Scarpa has two other versions in the Alpine lineup that will suit your needs better, if you prefer low-drop shoes: the Neutron
(6mm drop) and Atom (4mm drop).
● Vibram Genesis outsole
● Megagrip multi-traction tread
● Dual-density CMEVA foam midsole
● H-EVA Plate
● Synthetic leather and polyester mesh upper
● Comfort is a point of discussion
● Trail running shoe for “alpine” type terrain
● Neutral pronation
● Stability heel cage
● Flexible forefoot
● Spaced-out, shallow lugs provide great grip on rocky and dirt trails
Proton is a mixed bag of primarily good stuff in it, with some unpleasant surprises in there as well. This trail running shoe is durable, breathable, cushioned, with a firmer and more resilient midsole and external heel cage, and offers good traction for the most part. On the other hand, it comes with laces that create pressure points, the stitching is known to cause irritation to some runners, and the flexibility isn’t that good. Overall, this is a good all-rounder, but other than its affordable price, there’s nothing much that stands out in such a competitive market.