The Scarpa Spin is a new addition to their Alpine line of trail runners, finding its place right in-between the minimalist Atom and the higher profile Neutron. They call it the “Goldilocks of [the] Alpine Running collection, for those who want both support and simplicity on rugged trail and craggy ridgelines.” I love their description, because it is nothing but the truth.
Built with a Vibram Fixion outsole with Megagrip, the lugs are just as deep as the Neutron, gripping even mud and snowy trail. Their welded PU upper provides support when the trail has your feet rotating laterally, and other features include a high density rockplate, all synthetic upper, 4mm drop with EVA-CM midsole for a nice blend of cushion and agile precision, and a shoelace stash pocket.
The comfort isn’t the soft plushy type, it’s more the type of comfort you receive from the security and protection, in addition to the overall efficiency of the shoe. The Scarpa Spin weighs in at 7.5oz per shoe (for size 38) which is right there with the Atom.
I am fortunate to own all three, and have been drilling my Neutron’s into the ground this past year, using them even as approach shoes for climbing or general hiking if I’m carrying a heavy pack. I’ve grown to really love Scarpa’s line of Alpine Runners and the Spin is definitely my new favorite shoe. I noticed I wasn’t using the Atoms as much, I think because they are so minimal and I am not racing right now. So the Spin is the perfect medium. I think what I love most about them is how lightweight they are and I’m not losing out on traction performance with all those lugs.
Being a climber as well as a runner, I’m often scrambling up rocks for the fun of it and I truly believe that Scarpa keeps that in mind, being a company that traditionally produces climbing related products. I even wore them while scaling 5th class slab and 3rd class ramps to get to the base of a sport climb in the Boulder Flatirons.
Sizing is consistent and the quality is top-notch. Durability wise, I’m glad to see the Spins with a welded PU upper which not only provides support but also increases the durability of the uppers as well. The Atom and Neutron both have larger surface areas of mesh, which leave them more prone to wear, but they’ve held up regardless.
From simple dirt road, rocky mountain trail, fresh spring snow, to thick muddy washouts, I’ve tried to put the Scarpa Spins through everything. My feet got soaked when I went through the snow, but they didn’t retain water, dried quickly and my toes never got cold. I ran noticeably slower through the snow, of course, but I wasn’t slipping around. And I even attached full-on gaiters to them because the snow was 2 feet deep at first!
What I love about the Spins:
- Killer tread that I have full confidence in when it comes to traction
- Breathable and Quick-drying
- More durability than the Atom and Neutron
- Embedded rockplate
Areas for improvement:
- Streamlined and nontraditional look may deter consumers
- They are relatively narrower than the Atom and Neutron, particularly midfoot, so if you have wide feet, you might not like them
Aesthetically I actually love the colors and the design. I read a review where it stated the design wasn’t traditional enough and it turns consumers away. I can see that, but I’ve received nothing but compliments about the Spin, and the performance definitely warrants the Spin the title of a true mountain shoe. I admit that I like shoes that, at first glance, look less clunky and “rugged.” But that’s my fashion nonsense speaking.
Like the Atom and Neutron, the Spin runners have a high tab at the back to support the Achilles tendon. Just keep in mind that if you’re someone who happens to wear really short socks, then this area will likely rub against your skin. And since the Spins are designed specifically the trail, they absolutely do not translate to street running, but I think that’s a no-brainer.
I have the confidence to say that these shoes work well for short (1-3 miles) to mid-length runs (4-8 miles). I am not an ultra-runner, and am still working myself back from injury, so I have no idea how comfort will play out in the distance realm.
Overall, I highly recommend this shoe, particularly if you’re a fan of anything rugged and rocky.
Sara Aranda is a professional gear tester for Outdoor Prolink and BivyTales.com. Sara is a climber, trail runner, traveller and writer. She currently lives, plays and works in Yosemite with her husband.