The line between ultra trail running and technical mountain exploration can be blurry. But Scarpa has cleared the confusion with their version of an ultra trail runner. The Scarpa Spin Ultra alpine running shoe keeps ultra trail runners protected and comfortable all day on technical terrain. We tested the shoe over moderate to ultra distances in the mountains on dirt, rocks, roots, steep ascents and gnarly descents. Here is what we think of Scarpa’s expansion from functional mountain gear to trail running.
Not their first alpine running shoe, but Scarpa’s first ultra trail running shoe, the Spin Ultra is intended for ultra distances in the alpine. Ample fit and comfort are paramount. The shoe fits narrow, but hugs the foot in all the right places, and remains true to size. The cushion provides feet with comfort, but also protection, so that runners and explorers can go for long.
In comparison to your regular light yet luggy trail shoe, the Scarpa Spin Ultra feels heavier. However, considering Scarpa’s reputation of durable gear for the mountains since the 1930s, the shoe’s sturdiness can protect alpine athletes in the most rugged conditions. We just wouldn’t recommend wearing it for your ‘A’ 50K distance on runnable terrain. Take the shoe with you on tough hikes, or all day to multi-day adventures in the mountains.
The shoe’s upper features a toe bumper and rigid heel protection. The upper toe box is sturdy mesh but remains fairly breathable. Those with wider feet in the toes may find the shoe too rigid in the upper. The laces are a technical runner’s dream, and feel flexible and durable. The gusseted tongue provides space for the laces to hide for a minimalist look. Minimalists will also enjoy the neutral earthy-green and charcoal colours.
The Vibram Megagrip outsole is comprised of lugs to help runners trust all types of terrain. It’s stiff, yet grippy, and felt trustworthy on dust, dirt, roots, rocks, and boulders of all sizes on varying slopes. Just when you think the scree is going to slide beneath your feet, know that you can trust the Spin’s outsole features. The high-density rock plate allows your feet to take a beating on tough rocks and crags in the trails. Plus, the cushy yet secure fit around the midsole limits feet from moving unnecessarily inside the shoe.
Scarpa has proven its understanding of the trail and mountain running world with the Spin Ultra shoe. However, going long doesn’t always mean stiff and sturdy. The shoe demonstrates what ultra trail and mountain explorers need in order to continue doing what they love. Just don’t expect a Strava CR on your favourite trail wearing this shoe. We recommend it for longer epic adventures.
Still, with over 80 years of experience in the mountains, Scarpa’s Spin Ultra is a shoe you can trust. It will keep your feet feeling protected for high-mileage and big mountain days on unruly terrain.
The fine print
Price (MSRP): $200 CAD
Recommended surfaces: Technical trails, rocky alpine terrain, ridges, summer scrambles
Heel-to-toe drop: 4 mm
Weight: 8.9 oz
Rock plate: Yes