A very fast, grippy shoe that works best in technical or wet conditions. Under foot protection is sacrificed for weight and flexibility but it is a fair trade considering how good this shoe is otherwise.
The Scarpa Spin RS is a great offering from the Italian mountain footwear brand that should appeal well to the masses. Its 8mm drop works well for a lot of people and it is fairly lightweight at 9.3 ounces (Men’s size 42). Scarpa has stuck with the precise fit which does tend to run small. The shape of the shoe works well and is not too cramped in any one spot, it just runs at least half a size small. This is actually fairly common with shoes that have the inner booty upper construction. The tongue stays put nicely and the lace garage is always a nice touch. With the lacing system integrated into the TPU exoskeleton we found a very secure, snug fit that wraps the whole foot. It is easy to lace up and stays tied—two things that are sometimes overlooked but play a huge part in how the shoe fits and feels. The heel has just enough padding that it isn’t noticeable, but it secures the heel well and prevents any slipping.
Scarpa categorizes this shoe as an ultra distance shoe, which if you are an efficient runner or used to running in sub 10 ounce shoes, then you could probably get away with a 50k or so. The cushioning is adequate and (with the right sizing) it is a very comfortable shoe. However the midsole is thin and so is the rubber outsole, which is great for running fast and saving weight but does leave a bit to be desired after a few hours. That being said, if it is going to be wet or it is a technical course, the lack of cushion may be worth the tradeoff for sure footing.
The excellent grip is really the selling point for this shoe. Yes, it is comfortable and fairly protective, but lots of shoes are. It is hard to find a shoe, at this weight, that offers this kind of grip and cushion and protection. The LITEBASE Vibram Megagrip outsole with the rectangular, wide spaced lugs is one of the best we’ve tested. The Spin RS is also very fast, in large part due to the excellent grip. The thin outsole coupled with a thin midsole makes for a fast and flexible shoe.
The Scarpa Spin RS is comfortable for how lightweight it is. The upper has a very snug fit which is very secure but runs at least a half size small. The tongue is built in with a sock like wrap through the entire upper. The overlays lock in really nicely which adds to the snug upper. The upper is breathable with a very light and breathable mesh. It moves really well without any pinch points or wrinkling. The midsole is well cushioned but it still very light and supportive. With its 8mm drop it can work well for a lot of people and still be very fast. Overall it is a comfortable shoe once properly sized. It definitely can go upwards of marathon or longer.
The Scarpa Spin RS is a very fast shoe. The 8mm drop pushed our testers forward and the firm and responsive midsole is excellent. With an aggressive outsole, and sticky Vibram megagrip rubber compound it grips and rips in all conditions. It works especially well in wet and sloppy conditions. The midsole is flexible and has a nice roll to it that makes it get up to speed. It would compare directly to the Inov-8 X-talon that is one of the fastest and grippiest shoes, but the Spin RS is much more comfortable.
Security of fit
Our testers velt very secure in this shoe. It laces up nice and tight and the booty like inside is very snug and held our feet well. With its snug construction there is almost no slipping in the shoe. The ankle is cut fairly low which can cause some rolling of the ankles but otherwise there are no issues. Because of the inner booty the shoe does tend to run small. This seems to be a problem in all shoes that have a similar construction. The midsole is very secure with its exoskeleton that wraps the entire midsole and heel.
Having the Vibram Megagrip rubber compound and deep squared lugs, the Spin RS is guaranteed to grip. It can shred on pretty much any surface, but works particularly well in the wet. Even with its relatively high 8mm drop we still felt really connected to the ground thanks to the low profile midsole. With the thin midsole and “LIGHTBASE” thin rubber outsole, we had excellent ground feel which is necessary to be able to cut around turns and obstacles. There was enough cushion to keep us confident and comfortable on steep descents.
This shoe likes to go fast. When not going fast it can feel unresponsive and flat. This is not an uncommon issue with shoes that are very fast. This shoe has enough cushion and comfort to be an everyday trainer but it needs to be pushed either by terrain or speed for it be at its best.
The Spin RS is pretty average in terms of protection overall. It has a strong toe bumper and excellent lateral support and protection, which lots of shoes do not have. But, without a rock plate or a thicker midsole, we could feel rocks poking through. Fortunately, it is agile enough to simply avoid the obstacles instead of rolling over them.
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HOW WE TESTED
Out testing spans the course of several months. Our testers spend a few weeks running at least 50 miles (typically much more) in each shoe. They live all over the country so each shoe can be put through our testing protocol in a variety of terrains and conditions. Each tester is encouraged—to the best of their ability—to test the shoes in as many different terrain environments as possible: in the mountains, on dirt roads, buffed single track, technical terrain, etc. In addition to varying terrain, our testers have to test each shoe at different efforts including a long run, easy running and fast running. As mentioned above we test for six different criteria: comfort, speed, security of fit, agility, responsiveness and protection.