Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022

Blister Brand Guide: Running Shoe Lineups

Intro

When considering a new running shoe, there are so many similar-looking shoes on the market being made by so many different companies, it is virtually impossible to (1) know where to begin; (2) quickly figure out which one or two products from a given brand might work well for you; and (3) determine what products from other brands might be the most similar and also worth considering.

So in our new “Blister Brand Guide” series, we provide an overview of the entire product lineup of a brand; highlight how each product stands out from the rest of that brand’s lineup; and help you figure out quickly and easily which shoe might work best for you. 

In our individual product reviews, we go very deep into the details of particular products. With these Brand Guides, the goal is not Depth, but Breadth. Our Brand Guides and full reviews are designed to complement each other — provide a broad overview of entire company lineups, and then also very detailed reviews of individual products. 

See our other running shoe Brand Guides

Scarpa: Brand Background

Similar to brands like La Sportiva, Scarpa is perhaps best known for their technical climbing and mountaineering gear. Incorporated in 1938 in the foothills of the Italian Dolomites, Scarpa (which stands for “Società Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anonima,” or, “Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountain Area”) arose to meet the footwear demands of Italians living and working in alpine regions. Most of its earliest customer base consisted of local farmers and day laborers in need of well-fitting, durable shoes, but when climbing culture spread across Italy in the 1950s and 60s, Scarpa found itself primed to develop performance footwear for intrepid mountaineers. From climbing and alpinism, Scarpa then moved into skiing, trekking, and more recently, trail running. This shift toward mountain sports has carried the brand ever since, and is largely responsible for its international growth (in 2005 Scarpa opened its first North American headquarters in Boulder, CO). Regardless of activity, products bearing the Scarpa name carry a reputation for being smartly designed, well-built, and at home on technical terrain.

While Scarpa’s trail running shoe lineup is still relatively young, the collection of models they’ve managed to bring to production over a short period of time is consistent with the brand’s namesake. Each shoe focuses attention on characteristics like a fine-tuned fit, protection, and durability. When taken together, these attributes make for footwear with a strong preference for rugged alpine terrain. As a general rule, Scarpa models stick to between a 4 mm to 6 mm heel-to-toe drop and have slightly firmer midsoles than shoes designed for less technical environments. In our experience, they also tend to run small and fit on the narrow side, especially toward the toe cap. Like La Sportiva, several of Scarpa’s shoes are made in a GTX (aka, “Gore-Tex”) version. The GTX versions feature a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, which increases water resistance and decreases breathability.

In this breakdown we’ll go over each Scarpa model, describing its features and intended purpose as we go. As always, shoes are organized in descending order from most cushioned to least cushioned. Weights are based on a US Men’s Size 8 and a US Women’s Size 6.5.

TRAIL SHOES

(Most Cushioned to Least Cushioned)

Most Cushion

Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER

Scarpa designed the Spin Infinity with long-distance trail running and ultramarathon racing in mind. It’s the brand’s most cushioned offering, featuring a dual-density EVA midsole that Scarpa arranges into what they call their “Foot Stabilizer Control” system — firmer layers of foam are positioned in specific locations underfoot to increase energy return while softer EVA provides a forgiving base to absorb impact. Up top, the Spin Infinity’s upper takes on a sock-like construction, with PU overlays thermally welded to the shoe’s lightweight mesh for added protection. A small stretch pocket on the tongue acts as a storage space for laces à la Salomon’s “Quicklace System,” though the Spin Infinity uses traditional lacing. Scarpa went with a full-length Vibram Megagrip outsole outfitted with 4 mm lugs, a combination that should have no trouble tackling most technical trails. For folks with wider feet, the Spin Infinity’s aggressively tapered toe box might be a deterrent, but if you prefer a slightly narrower fit, especially through the forefoot, the Spin Infinity could be a good option. For the whole story, check out our full review of the Spin Infinity.

Stack Height

Drop: 4 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $159.00
Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER

The Spin Infinity GTX is the waterproof version of the standard Spin Infinity. It has all the same features as the original model, with the addition of GORE-TEX in the mesh and PU upper. While weatherizing any shoe will add some weight and reduce breathability, it should help keep feet warmer and dryer in wet conditions. If you like the sound of the Spin Infinity but do a lot of running in harsh environments, consider the GTX version.

Stack Height

Drop: 4 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $ 189.00
Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER

The Golden Gate ATR is a new model for 2022. It’s positioned as Scarpa’s all-terrain shoe with both roads and trails in mind, similar to the role the Challenger ATR 6 plays in Hoka’s lineup. Like the Challenger, the Golden Gate ATR is similarly cushioned; its rockered midsole combines two densities of EVA, with higher density foam placed under the forefoot and midfoot to amplify energy return and lower density EVA placed under the heel for cushioning. All told, this raises the Golden Gate ATR to 28 mm of stack height in the heel, making it one of Scarpa’s most cushioned options. Like the Kima, the shoe’s mesh upper assumes a sock-like style and is supplemented by welded PU reinforcements for protection and support. The Golden Gate ATR’s outsole is also lined with 4 mm lugs made from “SuperGum” rubber, but in a less aggressive pattern than on the Kima. For that reason — as well as the high amounts of cushioning provided by the midsole — the Golden Gate ATR should service those looking for a versatile road-to-trail shoe with all the features needed to support longer-distance runs (20 miles and up) on non-technical trails and paths.

Stack Height

Drop: 4 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $149.00
Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER

The Ribelle Run is Scarpa’s option for short to medium-distance training and racing on extremely technical terrain. The shoe borrows heavily from Scarpa’s climbing background, specifically in the protective full-perimeter TPU toe rand and snug fit, which is far more precise / lower-volume than models like the Spin Infinity and Golden Gate Kima RT. The Ribelle Run also features a sock-like ankle collar with a stretch tongue to keep out debris, ripstop material layered onto its mesh upper for foot security, a medium density EVA midsole, synch laces for accessibility, and a full-length PRESA SuperGum rubber outsole with a generous distribution of 4 mm lugs. While not the lightest shoe in Scarpa’s lineup, the feature-laden Ribelle Run’s weight is reasonable considering the amount of protection and traction it provides. If you frequently find yourself scrambling on ridgelines and don’t mind a tight-fitting shoe with a pretty tapered toe box, check out the Ribelle Run.

Stack Height

Drop: 4 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $139.00
Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER

Another member of Scarpa’s “Spin” line of shoes, the Spin Ultra is the slightly pared-down sibling to the Spin Infinity. While the two models share several features, including a full-length Vibram Megagrip outsole outfitted with 4 mm lugs, PU overlays, a dual-density EVA midsole, and a similar fit, the Spin Ultra is nowhere near as cushioned. Consequently, it’s a shoe probably best suited for medium to long runs that are short of ultra distances (30 miles and below). Scarpa did integrate micro-nubuck into the Spin Ultra’s upper and added a prominent TPU toe cap, so the shoe should be on the more protective side. If you’re looking for a competent trail shoe for weekday runs / longer weekend outings on anything from buffed-out singletrack to more challenging terrain, give the Spin Ultra a look. For the whole story, check out our full review of the Spin Ultra.

Stack Height

Drop: 6 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $159.00
Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER

The Spin Ultra GTX is the waterproof version of the standard Spin Ultra. It has all the same features as the original model, with the addition of GORE-TEX in the mesh and PU upper. While weatherizing the shoe will add some weight and make the shoe less breathable, it should help keep feet warmer and dryer in wet conditions. If you like the sound of the Spin Ultra but do a lot of running in harsh environments, consider the GTX version.

Stack Height

Drop: 6 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $189.00
Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER
While Scarpa technically categorizes the Rapid as an approach shoe, a strong case can be made for its use as a legitimate trail running shoe. The Rapid takes the dual-density EVA midsole Scarpa uses in models like the Spin Ultra and adds a TPU arch insert for better control, as well as their proprietary Dynamic Protection System insert in the forefoot to guard against debris. Because the shoe prioritizes performance on off trail terrain like scree fields and ridge lines, Scarpa gives the Rapid a sock-like upper made from stretch fabric and a minimal stretch tongue to provide enough lockdown for climbing / scrambling. They also throw in thermally welded PU film for added protection and grace the Rapid’s outsole with top of the line Vibram MegaGrip rubber. If you’re looking for a snug-fitting shoe perfect for peak-bagging objectives that won’t slow you down on approaches, check out the Rapid.

Stack Height

Drop: 6 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $159.00
Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER
The Scarpa Rapid GTX is the waterproof version of the standard Rapid. It has all the same features as the original model, with the addition of GORE-TEX in the mesh and PU upper. While weatherizing the shoe will add some weight and potentially make the shoe less breathable, it should help keep feet warmer and dryer in wet conditions. If you like the sound of the Rapid but your off trail travel includes snow and/or inclement weather, the Rapid GTX might be a better option.

Stack Height

Drop: 6 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $189.00
Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER

New this year, the Golden Gate Kima RT is Scarpa’s high-end trail racing shoe. Like many models in its category, the Kima is outfitted with a carbon plate, which Scarpa sandwiched between two different densities of their proprietary “Active EVA” midsole compound, together forming what they call “Foot Active Control.” The Kima’s dual-density midsole is intended to cushion foot strike and provide support, while the carbon plate is responsible for increasing energy return through the gait cycle. Up top, Scarpa goes with a sock-like mesh upper featuring welded PU reinforcements for added protection and structure. A Presa SuperGum outsole studded with 4 mm lugs from heel to toe rounds out the shoe, in theory offering above-average grip on technical surfaces. The Kima is built on Scarpa’s technical last, meaning that it will likely provide high amounts of foot hold. Its toe box is also wider than average, so it should still accommodate some wider feet. If you’re looking for a performance-oriented trail shoe for short to medium-length runs, whether on a trail or not, the Golden Gate Kima RT could be a great option.

Stack Height

Drop: 6 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $199.00

Least Cushioned

Blister Brand Guide: Scarpa Trail Running Shoe Lineup, 2022, BLISTER

Now in its second iteration, the Spin 2.0 is still Scarpa’s lightest trail shoe. Updates to the model include a reformulated midsole made partly from Pebax, forefoot inserts for better energy return, an all new synthetic upper with PU overlays, and a new tongue construction designed to improve foot hold by wrapping the midfoot. While the Spin 2.0 isn’t nearly as cushioned as models like the Spin Ultra and Spin Infinity, it does share a full-length Vibram Megagrip outsole and a correspondingly wider fitting midfoot with those models. Its lower stack height will likely give the Spin 2.0 better ground feel than both, so it should also be more precise on technical terrain than the higher-stack options in Scarpa’s line. If you’re on the hunt for a lightweight yet protective shoe for shorter races and/or workouts on rough trails, give the Spin 2.0 a… spin.

Stack Height

Drop: 4 mm

Stated Weight

MSRP: $179.00

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