By Josh Jardine
Sticking to the particle theme of Scarpa’s Alpine Running series, the Spin is named for a property in chemistry and solid-state physics, which influences the ordering of electrons and nuclei in atoms and molecules. Fittingly it is the apex product in the series.
Built for speed, the Spin is a light, protective, low profile off-road shoe which offers a great ride and good performance across a range of terrains. The thermo-welded upper features no stitching, making for clean lines and minimum failure points externally or hot spots internally, whilst the rear of the shoe is reinforced to give extra heel protection on loose descents. The advanced, lightweight upper sits aloft an equally contemporary sole unit, featuring a primary medium density EVA midsole bonded to a high density EVA insert sandwiched between the upper and a super grippy Vibram Megagrip outsole.
Once on the foot the shoe continues to impress. The 4mm drop makes this a low profile shoe by European standards and will help it appeal to the British user, more familiar with the likes of Inov8 and Salomon footwear. Whilst the sock-fit tongue and speed-laced upper allows for a secure highly adjustable fit. One word of caution: the sizing is little smaller than some other shoes in the Scarpa range and you my need to up size. That said, the shoe does give a little after a couple of outings.
Out on the hill we really liked the Spin. It offers a good balance of performance, whether you're shredding the trail, path or open fellside. Some reviews have stated the Spin is a little too stiff and unresponsive, and whilst it is certainly does provide a much more solid platform than other minimalist off-road running shoes, we actually felt the Spin offered a rare balance of rigidity and sensitivity. This makes for a protective shoe which retains a light, minimalist construction.
The outsole is phenomenally good on rock or loose scree and the lugs are sufficient on all but the softest ground. The rigidity does mean extended contouring of open hillsides can be a little uncomfortable, however the same solid midsole helps protect the base of the foot from protruding rocks on speedy descents. Although for those looking to regularly tear down Kentmere Pike or the like, the lugs of the Spin simply aren’t up to this kind of steep, muddy ground and you’d be better off sticking to a more traditional fell shoe.
The Scarpa Spin is ideal for those looking for a lightweight, versatile off-road shoe, equally at home on the open fell, trail or canal towpath. The protective elements of the midsole and upper also make this a good training shoe for more serious fell runners or those coming back from a foot injury.