Scarpa SPIN Shoe Review

I have used Scarpa shoes and boots in the past and have always been impressed with the mountain pedigree the brand has. So, I was very welcome to receive the SPIN and the SPIN ULTRA for testing. 

The SPIN, in the words of Scarpa say, ‘… with more cushion and protection than the Atom, but a lighter, lower-profile design than the Neutron, the new Spin is the Goldilocks of our Alpine Running collection, for those who want both support and simplicity on rugged trails and craggy ridge lines.

I will discuss and write about the SPIN ULTRA at a later date.

The SPIN is noticeably light (252g for EU42) and flexible. From the first look one can immediately see that this is a race or fast training shoe designed for a mountain environment. For sure, it’s a trail shoe, but I would extend that to be a mountain/ alpine shoe. It has ‘skyrunning’ written all over it and certainly from initial outings it immediately felt like VK’s and SkyRace (sub 42km) terrain would sit perfectly in the SPIN list of ‘go to’ uses.

The upper is mesh and therefore very breathable, structure and support of the upper comes from welded PU overlay. One of the plus sides of this, as in other shoes using this method, there are no seams that can cause irritation or rubbing inside the shoe.

 The lacing is substantial with 5 sets of eyelets and the additional 6th eyelet should you wish to lace-lock. With a comfortable and padded auto fit tongue which extends slightly higher than other shoes I have tested, this is perfect for stopping any discomfort where the top of one’s foot joins the lower leg. There is a ‘lace-garage’ which is so obviously great, I have never understood why all run shoes do not use this method, or at least something similar.

 The heel is padded and plush and really holds the foot with comfort and security. Very noticeable when running or hiking uphill is the hold the shoe gives; it is very reassuring.

It has a ‘sock-like’ fit (SOCK-FITLW by Scarpa) which is just perfect as it provides a wonderful, secure and comfy hold of the foot.

The toe box is well shaped, allows for toe splay but the SPIN is more of a ‘precision’ shoe designed for technical trail and as such it has a narrower fit but not very narrow. Certainly, if you need or require a wide toe box, the SPIN is unlikely to be for you, but you should try it… It has a toe bumper which provides some protection from contact with rocks or debris.

With a 4mm drop one needs to be a more efficient runner. It’s a shoe with cushioning (24mm/20mm) but not excessively so, hence I see that is a shorter/ mid-distance shoe. The midsole is EVA and I would say is on the firmer side, but after several runs one can feel it soften without compromising the shoe. It has a rock-plate, and this works really well offering great protection via a H-EVA Plate.

 The outsole is Vibram which is known throughout the world. MegaGrip is extremely popular and although aggressive, it is not extremely aggressive. It can handle mud but not really sloppy stuff. Then again, very little shoes can do well at everything. If running in lots of mud, there would be better outsoles than this. But the MegaGrip is perfect for the SPIN intentions – mountains, ridges, trails, rocks in wet or dry conditions. The lugs are 4mm and quite spaced out. Grip is very good on a wide variety of surfaces, but it works best on rock, ridges, loose gravel and soft ground. You will see the the SPIN has cut outs in the sole and here you can clearly see the rock-plate. The cut aways help reduce weight and increase the flexibility of the shoe. This is noticeable, especially in the propulsive phase.

The SPIN comes with two foot beds. One minimalist and the other providing more cushioning and structure. This is a great idea! I personally used the more structured foot bed which secured the rear of my foot more. Switching between the foot bed really changes the feel of the shoe, so, if you prefer something more minimal. You will prefer the thinner of the two.

 Sizing is true to size, I use an EU44 and these fitted as expected.

IN USE

 The SPIN has great comfort and the sock-like fit is just perfect. The lacing system is superb at holding the foot and it is easy to adjust should you need. For example, I have a high instep, so I like to loosen my laces but not at the compromise of a secure foot hold. The addition of the the 6th eyelet allows for different lacing options; I didn’t need to lock lace as the foothold form the SPIN is so good. The lace garage is perfect for getting laces out of the way. One of the revelations is the heel area. It’s plush, extremely comfortable and is arguably the best hold I have had from any shoe. Climbing there is no movement or slipping. 

The upper is very breathable and my feet were comfy in either wet conditions or hot conditions. Drainage is good. The welded overlay is adequate and provides good stability. Toe bumper could be better, but it is a minor complaint.

On technical trail, foot roll is minimal, but the SPIN does have a wasp like (figure of 8) shape and so depending on your foot shape, you could have some roll? I had no roll at all. I got no issues with the SPIN rubbing my ankles, a problem I have had with other shoes on technical terrain, this is a real plus!

Cushioning is on the harder side and lacks life and bounce but that is compensated for with great flex, especially in the propulsive phase. Also, you have two foot bed options and the more padded/ supported option was a real boost for me. They are very comfortable shoes. 

The MegaGrip outsole works really well on a whole mix of terrain, wet or dry. But it works best on soft-ground, rocks and technical trail. Protection is very good but occasionally, you may find a stone getting in one of the gaps in the cutaways of the sole. It will not stay there, but if it is sharper, you may just feel it through the rock-plate.

CONCLUSION 

I have been using Scarpa for many years, the Charmoz a personal favourite. But I have never used a run shoe from the brand. The SPIN has been a revelation and certainly for runs up to 4-hours on technical/ mountainous routes, it’s a shoe I will use time and time again. The overall package is excellent combing lightweight, responsiveness, feel for the ground, cushioning, great comfort and excellent grip in most scenarios. It’s a shoe for faster training or racing in the mountains.  

Highlights come from excellent lacing, the sock-like fit, the shoes weight and the heel box.

There is little not to like in the SPIN. It is more of a precision shoe, but the fit is not as narrow as others, so, you would need to try them on to find out if they would work for you.

The only negative, for me, is the cushioning is a little hard and lacks a little life. It is a minor point and actually does not impair how the shoe performs, however, for some, it may influence how enjoyable the SPIN is to wear. 

Specs: 

  • 4mm drop
  • 252g for EU42
  • Upper Mesh w/ welded PU overlay
  • Insole H-EVA Plate
  • Midsole EVA-CM
  • Outsole Vibram Fixion/ MegaGrip
  • Cushioning 24mm/20mm
  • Sock like fit
  • Lace storage
  • Medium cushioning and protection
  • Choice of insoles

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Yading Skyrunning Festival 2018

The “2018 Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series” kicks-off this weekend in China with the Yading Skyrunning Festival – VK, SKY and ULTRA.

It is going to be a weekend of high altitude action as the Yading races personify the simple ethos of running Between earth and sky – Skyrunning! The Yading Skyrunning Festval takes in numerous 6000m peaks through three races – VK, SKY  and the Yading Kora ULTRA.

The Yading Skyrun will start at 0700 on April 30th and will cover a distance of 29km. Staring in the centre of Yading’s Shangri-La, the race will start with a gradual downhill. After 3.5km, the race will hit the lowest point in the race – 2860m! From here, the only way is up – passing a small village, the race route hugs a single-track. The summit at 4700m is covered with Buddhist prayer flags and what follows is a fast descent all the way back to Chonggu Temple. Last year, Nepalese sensation Bhim Gurung produced an incredible downhill run to come from behind and take victory.

The Yading VK starts on Sunday April 29th. Covering a distance of 7km (unusally long for the VK format) the race will have an elevation gain of 1072m but starts at 3992m and concludes at over 5000m. It is the highest VK on the circuit and arguably one of the most stunning! Alpine forests, prayer flags, a glacier lake and a high pass at 5000m concludes a lung and leg busting race. It’s a race that all must try once, the scenery, landscape and views are mind-blowing.

The Yading Kora Ultra also takes place on the same day as the SKY race and takes in the Kora pilgrimage route over 46km – the finishing section is the same route as the SKY race.

This area of Yading is blessed with immense natural beauty, including the three sacred peaks (Mount Chenrezig, Jampayang, and Chenadorje) which loom over the National Park at an altitude of over 6,000m. From the 5th Dalai Lama through Joseph Rock this area has been a source of spiritual inspiration. With over 2,300m of elevation gain over the length of the course, and the finish line sitting at just over 4,000m, the race challenges beginners and elites alike.

Athletes to look out for over the weekend taking part in one or multiple events are as follows:

Francois d’Haene

Andy Wacker

Cody Lind

Oscar Casal Mir

Marc Casal Mir

Pere Rullan

Eduard Hernandez Teixidor

Robert Krupicka

Finlay Wild

and more….

 

For the ladies:

Ida Nillson

Mira Rai

Sheila Aviles

Ruth Croft

Hillary Gerrardi

Holly Page

Nuria Dominguez

and more…

 

Skyrunning UK – True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra – The Movie 2015

©iancorless.com_LSU2015-2-31

I was told 2-years ago that Skyrunning in the UK was not possible.

You don’t have the mountains…

You don’t have the technical terrain…

Ridges – pah!

Climbing – pah!

You have nothing over a 1000m… 

and so on and so on.

The V3K launched our series and in doing so we showed UK runners that Wales, the 3000’s and in particular Crib Goch can test even the hardiest competitor.

The Mourne Skyline MTR had Skyrunner World Series champion Stevie Kremer come over and what did she say?

‘That is the hardest race I have ever done!’

In 2015 we stepped it up a notch with the mind blowing Salomon Glen Coe Skyline and Emelie Forsberg, Skyrunning World and European Champion for the Ultra distance half way through the race said,

‘This is the best course I have ever run for this distance!’

And then just last weekend, the first edition of the True Mountain Lakes Sky Ultra took place under horrendous conditions. Torrential rain, gale force winds and and I am pleased to say we have it all on film.

Enjoy!

Skyrunning in the UK? 

of course we can! With bells on….

Film by Steve Ashworth – MovieiT

Images from the race to purchase HERE