Alyssa Young lives in Arizona, where she is completing her last semester at Prescott College. She loves climbing and skiing as much as she loves botanizing and gleaning stories about the places she moves through. In winter she heads for higher elevations to ski and nerd out about snow, but her home is in the rolling hills and oak woodlands of Northern California.
Score an additional 10% of the Instinct until the end of October.
The Instinct lace-up is another great climbing shoe by Scarpa. It’s made for steep face climbing and feeling secure on small features, but is also good for bouldering and thin cracks. The Instinct has a moderately aggressive downturn, making it good for technical problems but comfortable enough to wear on long routes. Overall this is a solid shoe that’s a step-up in performance from a flat-lasted all-around.
The Instinct proved to be an edging machine on steep faces and boulders. While not overly aggressive, the shoe features just the right amount of down-turned toe to hone in on tiny features. Using smaller holds is secure; nubbins grab like knobs. The shoe is sensitive, precise, and supportive.
The Instinct performed well on slick granite of the Buttermilks, pockety tuff of the Happy Boulders and Owen’s River Gorge. The shoes felt a little too aggressive for slab climbing and didn’t smear well on low-angle rock, but that’s not what the shoe is designed for. Because of the laced design, these shoes really shine on sport pitches and longer routes as they do take a little extra effort to get on and off, but patient boulderers will benefit from the added security.
The Instinct fits true to street shoe size and I wouldn’t recommend sizing down. If fitted correctly, the shoe is very comfortable relative to how aggressive it is. It’s snug without pinching, provides solid support, and stays put during powerful moves thanks to the lace up design. The shoe breaks in quickly due to the suede uppers but didn’t stretch too much, even after days of sweaty desert climbing.
Overall the shoe is on the wider side, but because of the downturned toe it can fit a medium volume foot as well as a wider one. This shoe has large volume heel pocket and a fairly large toe box. Skinny feet and flat heels need not apply.
The Instinct has a suede upper, Flexan midsole, and Vibram XS Edge sole. The softness of the rubber makes the sole feels thin for 4mm, providing durability without sacrificing sensitivity. The edging rubber at the toe is showing light wear after moderate use, but no worse than any other soft rubber, and they have not yet begun to ball up. I expect them to stay fresh and edgy for a while yet.
If you’re looking for a somewhat aggressive shoe with solid construction, the Instinct is worth it. Relative to other similar shoes on the market, it’s a pretty good deal give how long it is likely to last. The women’s specific Instinct is identical to the men’s with the exception of adjusted sizing.
I was impressed with the Instinct’s performance and look forward to putting it to work on the rock across the West.