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Scarpa Spin Ultra - Women's Review

A stable and protective trail runner designed to tackle long distances over technical terrain.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $149 List | $148.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Stable, protective, wider fit, technical terrain
Cons:  Expensive, doesn't bode well on slippery surfaces
Manufacturer:   Scarpa
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 2, 2019
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 18
  • Foot protection - 20% 8
  • Sensitivity - 20% 6
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Stability - 15% 10
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 7

Our Verdict

The Scarpa Spin Ultra was released in Spring of 2019, and we love it for its excellent protection, comfort, and fantastic stability. It features a wider fit with ample cushioning underfoot to protect from unforeseen trail hazards. After running over 60 miles in mountainous terrain, we can confirm that this shoe is built for just that; it performs well on roads, dirt-packed trails, rocky scrambles, and steep slopes. Unfortunately, it has a hard time biting into super slippery mud and snow but offers remarkable stability over loose trails. In fact, this Top Pick is our favorite for unstable terrain. While it's a little pricey, it has shown a decent level of durability; it's built for tackling long distances but also does well on training runs. Take a gander at one of our favorite trail shoes that have recently hit the market!


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $148.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$149.95 at Amazon$120.00 at REI$129.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$119.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
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Pros Stable, protective, wider fit, technical terrainSuperb traction, amazing durability, wide-toe box, zero-drop design, great sensitivity, highly protective outsole and upperComfortable, versatile fit, great responsiveness, fantastic value, durableExcellent traction, great balance of foot protection and sensitivity, specific fit, durable outsoleGreat price, flexible, comfortable, responsive, one-pull lacing system
Cons Expensive, doesn't bode well on slippery surfacesLaces come undone easily, lacks a women’s specific fit, upper takes time to break-inDoesn't shed mud well, some midsole compaction over timeHigher heel is less stable, lugs wear down on pavementNo aggressive outsole, lug durability is questionable
Bottom Line A stable and protective trail runner designed to tackle long distances over technical terrain.This Editors' Choice winner crushes every metric with its innovative and super durable design.A superior performer that offers exceptional value on all types of terrain.An aggressive trail shoe that is built for the steepest and most technical trails out there.A well fitted and comfortable shoe that is best for non-technical surfaces.
Rating Categories Scarpa Spin Ultra - Women's Inov-8 TerraUltra G260 Peregrine ISO Speedcross 5 Sense Ride 2
Foot Protection (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Sensitivity (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Traction (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
6
Stability (15%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Comfort And Fit (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Weight (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
9
Specs Scarpa Spin Ultra... Inov-8 TerraUltra... Peregrine ISO Speedcross 5 Sense Ride 2
Measured Weight 9.7 oz 8.75 oz 9.8 oz 10.7 oz 8.6 oz
Ideal Terrain All terrain All terrain All terrain Soft surfaces, technical terrain Non-technical trails, cross-over terrain
Width Options Regular Regular Regular and Wide Regular and Wide Regular
Heel-to-Toe Drop 6 mm 0 mm 4 mm 10 mm 8 mm
Stack Height from toe to heel (mm) n/a 9/9 18.5/22.5 10/20 27/19
Upper Mesh, micro nubuck, TPU toe cap Kevlar Mesh IsoFit Nylon mesh, sythetic overlays 3D Mesh
Midsole 2D EVA-CM EXTERFLOW PWRFOAM Injected EVA Vibe
Outsole Vibram Megagrip Graphene Grip PWRTRAC Contragrip ContraGrip
Rock Plate? Yes Yes None Yes None, profeel film
Sizes Available 40 - 46 4 - 15 5 - 12 5 - 12 7 - 10

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Scarpa Spin Ultra trail runner stands out for its fabulous stability and performance, earning a Top Pick for its impeccable performance over rocky and unpredictable terrain. Its wide fit accommodates all types of feet, while its ample cushioning provides sufficient protection for the long run.

Performance Comparison


A look at one of the most stable trail shoes we've tested  the Scarpa Spin Ultra. A new top pick and an all-around awesome trail shoe!
A look at one of the most stable trail shoes we've tested, the Scarpa Spin Ultra. A new top pick and an all-around awesome trail shoe!

Foot Protection


This shoe offers excellent foot protection in the form of super-responsive cushioning, a hard toe cap, and a TPU insert that acts just like a rock plate.


The underfoot cushioning is harder and quite responsive, similar to the Inov-8 TerraUltra G260 our Editors' Choice winner. This, in conjunction with the rock place, offers great protection from sharp roots or rocks that might directly impact the sole of the shoe. The integrated TPU plate does a great job of dispersing this impact, which adds to the protection of the shoe.

A look at the cushioning element in the forefoot that helps to protect the foot  in addition to an awesome rock plate.
A look at the cushioning element in the forefoot that helps to protect the foot, in addition to an awesome rock plate.

The burly toe cap also does a great job at protecting feet from unsuspected stubs on the trail. The mesh has two layers that keep out small clay and sand particles while running in the desert. Around the Achilles is a harder overlay that provides additional support and protection to keep the shoe from deforming. Overall, we are impressed by the protection of this shoe all the way around.

The toe cap is pretty bomber and protective.
The toe cap is pretty bomber and protective.

Sensitivity


In general, the Spin Ultra allows you to feel most of the trail but is not the most sensitive shoe out there.


When trail running in the alpine environment, we are happy to report our feet felt fresh, even after 18 miles of running on super-tenuous and technical terrain. When running over rocks, we could undoubtedly detect undulations, but we couldn't feel everything underfoot.

Here we test sensitivity over a super rocky trail. We compare this the to the Nike Terra Kiger 5  a much more sensitive shoe. A trade-off for great stability and protection sometimes comes in the form of a lack of sensitivity.
Here we test sensitivity over a super rocky trail. We compare this the to the Nike Terra Kiger 5, a much more sensitive shoe. A trade-off for great stability and protection sometimes comes in the form of a lack of sensitivity.

This lack of sensitivity, in fact, makes it an excellent option for alpine running over super long distances. Our feet didn't receive the brunt of the impact, but we could still feel the trail enough to change our positioning, which increased the stability of our body on the trail. Overall, sensitivity is what it should be for a shoe that is built for ultra-distances. If you like more protection and less sensitivity, this is a wonderful option!

Traction


The Spin Ultra utilizes a Vibram rubber outsole with roughly 40'ish lugs that are well-spaced apart. This shoe performed best in dry conditions with trail surfaces littered with loose rocks, dirt, or fine debris (like sand or clay). The lugs aren't super deep, but the pattern offers a nice level of stability. This shoe does not perform well over super sticky and soft surfaces like heavy mud.


Designed for the alpine environment, it truly does perform best here. We tested this shoe while running up several trails, but one of the most varied provided us with the best comparison. When running up to 12,000 feet on the Bridge of Heaven trail in Ouray, CO, we encountered huge snow patches that required some serious snow travel, traversing over loose rock, and treading over packed dirt. In all conditions, this shoe did well.

While this shoe does slip a little on snow  it still kept us upright to keep running. It does really great on drier trails with any slope steepness.
While this shoe does slip a little on snow, it still kept us upright to keep running. It does really great on drier trails with any slope steepness.

However, there was a little slippage on the steep snow slopes. While it can certainly get you through these conditions, a shoe with deeper lugs like the Salomon Speedcross 5, our Top Pick for Sloppy Surfaces would perform better in these conditions. That said, over the over rock-laden surfaces, it stuck wonderfully.

A look at the bomber outsole that is constructed of a Vibram rubber compound. The lugs are well spaced and do an okay job of shedding mud.
A look at the bomber outsole that is constructed of a Vibram rubber compound. The lugs are well spaced and do an okay job of shedding mud.

On steep trails, it does a great job of avoiding slippage, both on the way up and down. The wider lugs provide an exceptional level of surface area while the sticky rubber does a great job hugging every particle of dirt for enhanced friction, and thus, traction. Overall, this shoe performs well on most surfaces.


However, while testing over a trail on a super muddy day, we learned that this shoe, when laden with mud, becomes quite slippery and doesn't do the best shedding mud well, like most of the shoes in this review. As a result, it's not recommended if you're going to find yourself running through mud fields with a clay-based (super sticky) composition.


This shoe is truly built for the surfaces you'll encounter when you travel to and get above treeline. It's perfect for the rock scrambler which finds themselves on technical rock trails or those packed with hard dirt. They perform okay for super steep surfaces but should be avoided if you know you'll be tackling soft surfaces all day long.

Stability


Wowzers! The stability is just grand, and it earns top marks in this category as a Top Pick for Stability.


The combination of bomber foot protection with a little bit of sensitivity adds to the stability of this shoe. The toe box is surprisingly wide, while the rise of the shoe feels quite low. When running over super rocky terrain with fixed and loose rock, the shoe seemed to remain laterally intact, without falling to one side of another. The sole is fairly stiff, with the cushioning absorbing and distributing the shock of impact well. You'll feel close to the ground, while the shoe keeps you upright and safe on the trail. We've awarded this shoe with a Top Pick, as it offers some of the best stability you can imagine.

A look at the stability system that connects to the fit of the shoe that provides great lateral stability on uneven and unstable terrain.
A look at the stability system that connects to the fit of the shoe that provides great lateral stability on uneven and unstable terrain.

Comfort & Fit


This shoe offers a good level of comfort for simple wear around town and while crushing it on the trail. The fit is wide around the ball of the foot with a well-encapsulated heel cup that keeps your shoe on, even when hiking up or sprinting down. The toe box is also wide, which allows for wiggle room and comfort for the long haul. It doesn't squish the foot, and size is true to fit. It has a neutral fit with a 6mm heel-toe drop, offering to cushion in the heel for the long haul.


The midsole is constructed with 2D EVA-CM foam that is harder than the softer foams used in the super comfortable Altra Lone Peak 4.0. This foam is much harder and feels like it bounces back quite efficiently, but isn't as springy. The cushioning underfoot is ample, with your foot molding into the midsole after just a few runs. Overall, the comfort of this shoe is impressive.

The material lining the shoe is soft and a little bit plush  adding to its comfort elements.
The material lining the shoe is soft and a little bit plush, adding to its comfort elements.

In terms of fit, it is considered a neutral shoe with a forefoot profile. The toe box allows some level of toe splay, while the widest part of your foot fits nicely against the sides. The outer mesh is pretty flexible here too, so if your foot is wider, it will push into the sides, and allow some give. There is a bit of support around the arch, and the shoe pinches in here, offering a more narrow fit, which prevents foot slippage. The heel cup is bomber and keeps your foot in place, with the more rigid construction around the back.

The Achilles is padded and well supported with a little rigidity which adds to its enhanced stability.
The Achilles is padded and well supported with a little rigidity which adds to its enhanced stability.

The tongue detaches from the interior of the shoe, allowing you to adjust it easily. The material itself isn't the softest out there, but it's fairly comfortable. The collar is well padded, while it comes down just far enough to give enough room for your ankle bones.

A look at the interior architecture. The lacing system connects to the harness  which is breathable and does an amazing job at drying quickly after getting wet. We tested this while traipsing through snowfields and small creeks.
A look at the interior architecture. The lacing system connects to the harness, which is breathable and does an amazing job at drying quickly after getting wet. We tested this while traipsing through snowfields and small creeks.

The lacing system features 'wing-like' structures that do a great job of completely wrapping the foot without making it too tight. Some of our narrow footed testers mentioned that it was a little roomy and wasn't narrow enough for them, so if you prefer a tight-fitting shoe, we'd recommend trying on before you buy.

Weight


Like most trail runners, this lightweight shoe weighs in around 9.7 oz for a size nine. It's not the lightest out there, but it sure isn't heavy either. It is not waterproof but does wick away water from the upper, making it absorbent for wet weather.

The weight of one size nine shoe (oz).
The weight of one size nine shoe (oz).


Best Applications


This lightweight trail runner is an awesome option for any type of terrain that might require a little extra stability. It performs well on most surfaces, except for super sloppy or soft surfaces and is burly enough to take you on ultra-distance adventures. It's also a great option as a simple training shoe.

Jo enjoys this shoe for everything that trail running has to offer. Steep surfaces  zoomy single track  loose or fixed rock  snowfields  and more. Trust it to perform wherever your mind wanders.
Jo enjoys this shoe for everything that trail running has to offer. Steep surfaces, zoomy single track, loose or fixed rock, snowfields, and more. Trust it to perform wherever your mind wanders.

Value


Most high-quality trail runners fall into a narrow price range of $120 - $150; this one is at the higher end, costing $149 retail. After 60 miles of adventures, we noticed minor cushioning compaction and a little scraping from sharp rocks around the exterior. The lugs are a pretty burly, but after this mileage, on mostly rocky surfaces, they have worn down a smidge. If stability is your number one priority, this is worth the price.

Conclusion


We are excited about the Scarpa Spin Ultra trail running shoe. Designed for running in the mountains, it offers fabulous stability when treading over super technical and rocky terrain. It's not the best for soft and sloppy surfaces, but our testers are thrilled with its responsive ride and overall comfort. The price is high, but if you need an ultra-stable trail runner that can perform over short or long distances, this is one to consider.

Quick to dry  super stable  comfortable  and versatile. This trail running shoe is downright awesome and a favorite of our testing team.
Quick to dry, super stable, comfortable, and versatile. This trail running shoe is downright awesome and a favorite of our testing team.


Amber King