Scarpa Instinct S ReviewSeptember 1, 2015
- Lightweight yet durable
- Copious rand and toe rubber
- Great on pockets
- Skin-tight fit required
The Instinct S is the only true all-around slipper we’ve tested. Whether edging and toeing-in on pockets, cruising thin splitters and liebacks at Indian Creek, or wearing large (with or without socks) on long routes, the Instinct S does it all—exceptionally. They’re undoubtedly the best climbing slippers on the market.
This asymmetric, down-turned slipper has been used on everything from 5.14 redpoints and V-teens boulder problems, to podium finishes at indoor competitions and even alpine rock routes. It’s a sensitive, high-performer, especially on terrain that’s vertical and beyond. The Instinct S grabs holds on the steeps like a magnet to steel. Plenty of rubber atop the toe box provides excellent toe hooking, jamming, and scumming. Fit them tight and you’ll also get superior heel hooking—a quality normally reserved for lace-ups or Velcros. A skin-tight fit is necessary to feel every rocky ripple, so don’t expect to wear them for more than a single pitch at first. They hold their shape better than most slippers, but expect them to stretch half a size. Get ‘em a touch bigger and they’re comfy enough for all-day wear. The Instinct S shines brightest on hard boulders, sport routes and gym training.
Out of the box this shoe is an edging machine—another quality not normally found in a slipper. As the shoe breaks in, the semi-stiff midsole softens up and edging performance declines.
As edging power decreases, other qualities like smearing improve. Perfect for slabs and smearing once they’re well broken in.
Made with 3mm rubber and a Lorica upper, the Instinct S is Scarpa’s most sensitive shoe (most shoes in this review have a 4mm or thicker sole). Testers are saving well-used pairs of Instinct S’s for redpoint attempts on steep boulders and sport routes.
The Instinct S is not for jamming in offwidths, but they’re perfect for thin corners, face smearing and big-toe jamming.
The thin, Vibram XS Grip2 outsole favors performance over durability. Expect sensitivity right away, but also an edge that won’t last as long as thicker-soled shoes.
It’s hard to believe these top performers are also the least expensive shoes in the All-Purpose category. At $149.00 these shoes are a steal.