Scarpa Spin

The Scarpa Spin is a trail running shoe aimed at nature lovers that specifically need a lightweight, flexible and durable shoe that will boost their performance on short and steep uphill trails. The greatest thing about the Spin is its impeccable stability, which is partly due to the well-thought-out 4mm drop. However, if you’re looking for an entry-level trail shoe that won’t be a part of your rotation, but your only trails shoe, the Scarpa Spin isn’t the right choice for you.

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Backcountry Link
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Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
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Moosejaw Link
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Pros & Cons
  • Vibram Fixion / Megagrip outsole
  • Integrated rock plate does offer some underfoot protection
  • Lightweight, especially for a trail shoe
  • Amazing durability
  • Comfortable
  • Very breathable
  • Flexible for a trail shoe
  • Fantastic stability and ground feel
  • Comes with two different insoles
  • 4mm natural drop enables with smooth heel-to-toe transition and stability
  • Tackles a variety of terrain
  • Excellent grip and traction
  • Cons
    • Lacks cushioning – suitable for shorter trails
    • Pricy
    • Not responsive
    • Toe bumper isn’t as protective as it could be
    • Not much arch support
    • Questionable design
    • Key Features
      The outsole of the Scarpa Spin trail running shoe features the Vibram Fixion/Megagrip Vibram compound rubber that makes the sole especially grippy, almost to the point of tackiness. The widely spaced lugs on the outsole are angled and 4mm in depth, which is great for loose and technical terrain. The Scarpa Spin features cutouts that run down the sagittal plane of the shoe, which make the shoe lightweight and also increase the sole’s flexibility throughout its length. The pattern of the outsole and the lugs positioning imply that this is a shoe made for soft – almost sloppy terrain that the lugs will be able to grip onto and enable you to tackle the trail with ease.
      The midsole of the Scarpa Spin makes use of the CMEVA foam with the H-EVA Plate insole above it, in order to provide some extra cushioning. While the midsole of the Spin is more on the firmer side of the spectrum, it still manages to keep its flexibility during the toe-off phase and doesn’t have much torsional rigidity. The cushioning of the midsole is satisfactory, but the midsole is built in a way that won’t dampen the ground feel and prevent you from feeling the trail. Additionally, the Scarpa Spin has the famous integrated rock plate that protects the foot on some rockier terrains that can be quite uncomfortable without the high-density plate in place.
      The upper of this performance-oriented trail shoe is comprised of engineered mesh combined with PU overlays that offer the foot some structure and upper support. The overlays don’t have any stitches on the inside of the upper, meaning there is no unnecessary pressure to your toes or the sides of your feet. The thermo-welded film of the upper is very breathable and offers a glove-like fit, meaning that you can wear the Spins even without socks on. The ghillie lacing system isn’t traditional and features webbed loops instead of holes that we’re used to seeing on a lot of trainers. These loops have the purpose of customizing the fit of the upper as much as possible, increasing stability and support. There is a hidden lace pocket that enables you to tuck the laces away in order to prevent the grass and branches from undoing them mid-run.
      At 252g or 8.9oz for a half-pair in size 42, this is a very lightweight trail shoe that is bound to spark interest with a lot of runners who are used to expecting a trail shoe to be on the heavier side. This makes the Scarpa Spin a good choice for uphill runs, where you need your shoe to lighten your stride, not slow you down.
      Most runners have grown accustomed to the Scarpa shoes being very breathable and quick to dry. While the Spin is indeed breathable, with an open-mesh upper that provides more than enough ventilation, this model isn’t that good at drying out quickly after getting soaked with water – at least, this is the opinion with some of the runners. Other that have also tested the shoe agree that the Spin absorbs water slightly above average, but they emphasize the fact that this is still less absorption than most shoes. This may or may not be of importance to you, depending on the type of trails you usually run on, but it is definitely something to keep in mind. On top of the mesh is a comfy exoskeleton that doesn’t prevent or limit the airflow provided by the mesh.
      The general opinion is that with the Scarpa Spin, you’d do well if you went half a size up when buying online. For runners with wide feet, the shoe will run a bit narrow, but most runners agree that the fit of the shoe is snug and just right. The toe box of the Scarpa Spin features a curved, anatomical shape that allows your toes to splay and stretch offering a bit of stability that stems from having all of your toes separated and firmly on the ground. All in all, this is a very comfortable shoe that will please most runners, except for the wide-footed ones.
      Not a lot of trail runners rank the style of the shoe as the make-or-break factor when deciding when to purchase or not. That being said, the bold colorways and the modern, non-traditional look may seem unnecessary and too over-the-top for some people. However, this is the Scarpa way, and while this isn’t a shoe that can be passed as a lifestyle shoe, it does have a steady fan base that likes it just the way it is.
      The durability of the Scarpa Spin is more than satisfactory. You can expect to run for up to 150 miles in this shoe before noticing any wear and tear on the sole. This is thanks to the generous use of the Vibram rubber compound that’s known for its resilience and durability. In short, if you go hard, the Spin will follow suit.
      The underfoot protection of the Scarpa Spin is minimal, which makes sense, given that this is the kind of shoe that needs to provide good ground feel in order to ensure a confident ride on loose and rocky terrain. However, given the lack of cushioning the shoe has, it is more suitable for shorter distances than for spending the entire day in this shoe. On the other hand, there aren’t many shoes that can give the speed on the trail as Scarpa Spin can. It’s only a matter of preference. Moving on from the cushioning, the toe bumper on the vamp isn’t as protective as one would expect from a trail shoe; it features light padding and won’t protect your toes from anything heavier or sharper than a pebble. The mesh upper, as breathable as it is, lets the sand in very easily into the shoebox, so be prepared for this type of thing to bother you somewhere along the way. Overall, the Scarpa Spin has put an accent on its sensitivity and ground feel (and everything that entails) instead of the protective properties. This is an entirely intentional move from the brand that will be someone’s cup of tea for sure.
      The stiff midsole is something that’s traditionally linked to responsiveness. However, with the Scarpa Spin, the midsole lacks the kind of flexibility needed to produce spring and actually return the incoming energy, making the sole of the Spin minimally responsive. On the other hand, this type of trail shoe doesn’t need to be responsive – it benefits far more from being grippy and providing sufficient ground feel.
      Scarpa has decided to ship the Spin model with two different insoles – one, which is glued down and very thin, and the second one, that is more cushioned and supportive of the arches. You can easily swap between the two depending on the kind of support you need for a particular trail. However, even with the cushioned, supportive insole, the overall arch support isn’t something to brag about. Hence, this is a shoe that will be most suited to runners with high, medium-high and normal arches. The exoskeleton provides some structure to the mesh upper, but not as much as we’d like, because the lateral support it offers isn’t that great. However, the interior sock-like sleeve supports the foot from underneath the exoskeleton, holding it firmly in place and preventing slippage and too much movement inside the shoebox.
      The Vibram outsole rubber makes this shoe ideal for outdoor running, grass, mountain trails, sand, loose and muddy ground, and rocky terrain and can even sustain some not too technical climbing as well. This is probably the consequence of the Scarpa’s primary focus to produce climbing shoes, so they successfully blended the right materials that can tackle a variety of terrains. However, given the lack of cushion in the midsole, most runners use the Scarpa Spin on days when they don’t intend on spending hours and hours on the trail. Alternatively, you can carry the Spin inside your backpack and put it on when you need to conquer a steep uphill part of the trail.
      The price of the Scarpa Spin doesn’t make purchasing it an easy choice. This is a trail shoe that, while high-quality, has a specific niche of runners that really need this type of shoe, making the price far too high for regular runners who just want to dip their toes into trail running and purchase an all-rounder.
      The Scarpa Spin is bound to provide good traction, grip, and ground feel, given the spaced-out 4mm aggressive lugs that aren’t too deep, but still, offer great performance on various terrain. The lugs will give a better performance on mud, gravel and loose ground trails, and satisfactory performance on smoother surfaces as well.
      You can easily bend and twist the Scarpa Spin with your hands; however, this flexibility doesn’t exactly translate to running in the shoe. The forefoot of the Spin is very flexible either way, while the midfoot becomes more stiff on the ground than in one’s hand. That being said, this is still considered a pretty flexible trail running shoe that will suit most runners’ needs for trail shoe flexibility.
      The narrow and snug fit of the heel cup on this trail running shoe provides a confident stride and will prevent heel slippage or any wobbly movement that could put your stability at risk. The low-drop of the shoe and the tight heel fit make this a perfect shoe for days when you want to emphasize stability and precision. This is one of the best things about the Scarpa Spin: it offers great stability on every type of trail and will provide that much-needed ground feel that will make having a secure stride a breeze. The Spin isn’t prone to twisting or rolling on the side, nor does the tight upper fit allow the foot to slip forward at any given time. This makes the Scarpa Spin one of the best trail running shoes when it comes to stability.
      Speaking of stability, there is much to be said on the 4mm low-drop featured in the Spin’s sole. The low-drop enables the shoe to perform with precision and tackle steep, technical terrain as well. Not only that, but the low-drop encourages a natural stride, while the 4mm difference in heel and forefoot stack height still plays an important role in making the heel-to-toe transition easier than with a minimalist, zero-drop shoe.
      Key Features
      ● Vibram Fixion / Megagrip outsole with 4mm lugs
      ● CMEVA midsole with the H-EVA Plate insole
      ● Mesh upper with comfy exoskeleton and hook lacing loops
      ● Extremely breathable
      ● Comfortable, especially for people with narrow feet
      ● Pricy, given the specific use of the shoe
      ● Very durable sole
      ● Trail shoe
      ● Good forefoot flexibility
      ● Not responsive
      ● The design and colorways don’t suit every taste
      ● Not too protective
      ● Good sensitivity
      ● Great traction
      Bottom Line
      The Scarpa Spin is the kind of shoe that’s good to have in your trail running shoes’ rotation because it does perform beautifully on steep, loose and muddy terrains. However, its lack of cushion prevents it from being a do-it-all trail running shoe, in which case its price would be more than justified. However, given the price point and the use you can get out of this high-quality shoe, you’d have to be a true nature and trail lover that leads the kind of adventurous and active lifestyle that most runners don’t lead. However, if you’re looking for a lightweight, durable, flexible and very stable trail running shoe that will make you faster and more efficient on uphill runs and muddy terrain, we’re certain that you’ll be more than happy with what Scarpa Spin has to offer.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
      See Deal
      Moosejaw Link
      See Deal Link
      See Deal
      By Lizzy Pavlovic
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 26. 2021

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