On occasion, we get a chance to review something new from a new brand partner and today is no exception as we got our hands on the Scarpa Spin RS. Scarpa is a brand probably more noted for mountaineering and even skiing instead of trail running, but given their lineage in the mountains, it makes a lot of sense that they would venture into the Alpine running space. Their lineup isn’t massive, and most of the shoes are reminiscent of something from Salewa, Salomon, or even an Adidas Terrex model. The Spin RS is intriguing because it brings a lighter weight, aggressively lugged runner into a relatively unknown market domestically. There’s good and bad to this, but it’s clear people should know that the success Scarpa has had overseas is warranted and the shoes they make are solid.
The upper on the Scapra Spin RS is a mix of synthetic leather and polyester mesh. This means you get a little bit of protection from the faux leather overlays while still maintaining a level of breathability in that mesh. The interior is all polyester.
The midsole material on the Spin RS has a fancy name, 2D EVA-CM, but it’s EVA which is simple enough. The issue here is that this model should be the more cushioned and it’s just not coming across.
As I mentioned prior the outsole is heavily lugged and pretty much 100% Vibram giving you a mix of stickiness, traction, and control. You obviously sacrifice some weight as a full rubber outsole adds up, but it’s plenty worth it. It protects nicely as well.
Style & Aesthetics
The Scarpa RS comes in only one color for men and women, but the non-RS does have additional. Visually it has very similar lines to a Salomon or Salewa shoe. In fact most people will have to double take to notice this Scarpa name and this is a good thing because the profile is familiar. The color combinations are a little flashier and our test model of the blue and orange we thought was a lot of fun. It does tend to have an aggressive stance visually, even running a little narrower, and looks like something you’d see on a professional runner out of Mount Blanc or another European high mountain event. It also sports a lot of the same features as a Salomon shoe including the lacing system.
First off, it is clear that there is a European lineage to these and by that I mean they run a bit more narrow. It is something you find in other alpine running crossovers and it is clearly something that differentiates the American and European markets. So if you have a wider foot, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere as these are going to feel a little snug all over the place. That being said they do hold your feet really well and there is a nice level of stability to the shoe. It has a booty like fit which really envelops the foot. There are no internal pinch points due to the seamless design. On foot, first impressions were pretty solid, but I have felt this before… it feels like a little snugger Speedcross.
I do think there is a bit of stiffness issue especially in the mid and his is primarily due to that Vibram sole. There just isn’t a lot of give here and while there is some rocker built-in to the shoe, most of that responsiveness and flex is going to come from your own legs and your turnover and that stiffness will turn into speed. These are a performance shoe and that is very clear from the get-go. There is a bit of cushion to them, but these things are about really going fast and are designed for runners with stronger legs. In run, all of my thoughts were validated from the initial out-of-the-box experience.
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When you hit the trails, if your legs are feeling good, then you can prance around at high speeds and you stick really well and have a really solid level of control. In terms of terrain, they can take on quite a lot given that outsole design. My least favorite surface was actually hard pack because they could occasionally feel a little slippery given there isn’t much for the lugs to cling to. This is a very normal thing with heavily lugged shoes. I just don’t know that I would make these a primary shoe given my foot narrowness falls right in the middle of the regular category and I would love a little more room especially at distance. The RS is supposed to be more cushioned for distance and I am still not feeling like I’ve got enough.
Scarpa will feel new to our American running market unless you’re in that skiing or mountaineering space, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make amazing shoes. You just haven’t heard of them yet and they do look and feel very similar to other shoes you have probably tried before. If you have a regular width foot or even run a little narrow, the Scarpa RS will definitely feel more comfortable than for those with wider feet who will get bit of a pinch in multiple spots. Aesthetically, they were a really solid for us as we like a bit of color, but that is a personal preference. Our real note would be not to dismiss them because you don’t know the name. There are insane professional runners in Europe running in these, so we are glad to see them hitting it a bit harder here in the US.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 10.0oz (size 9)
- Drop: 8mm heel/toe
- Type: Neutral Trail (Alpine)
- MSRP: $135.00
- Available: Now