Similar to brands like La Sportiva, Scarpa is perhaps best known for their technical climbing and mountaineering gear. Incorporated in 1938 in the foothills of the Italian Dolomites, Scarpa (which stands for “Società Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anonima,” or, “Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountain Area”) arose to meet the footwear demands of Italians living and working in alpine regions. Most of its earliest customer base consisted of local farmers and day laborers in need of well-fitting, durable shoes, but when climbing culture spread across Italy in the 1950s and 60s, Scarpa found itself primed to develop performance footwear for intrepid mountaineers. From climbing and alpinism, Scarpa then moved into skiing, trekking, and more recently, trail running. This shift toward mountain sports has carried the brand ever since, and is largely responsible for its international growth (in 2005 Scarpa opened its first North American headquarters in Boulder, CO). Regardless of activity, products bearing the Scarpa name carry a reputation for being smartly designed, well-built, and at home on technical terrain.
While Scarpa’s trail running shoe lineup is still relatively young, the collection of models they’ve managed to bring to production over a short period of time is consistent with the brand’s namesake. Each shoe focuses attention on characteristics like a fine-tuned fit, protection, and durability. When taken together, these attributes make for footwear with a strong preference for rugged alpine terrain. As a general rule, Scarpa models stick to between a 4 mm to 6 mm heel-to-toe drop and have slightly firmer midsoles than shoes designed for less technical environments. In our experience, they also tend to run small and fit on the narrow side, especially toward the toe cap. Like La Sportiva, several of Scarpa’s shoes are made in a GTX (aka, “Gore-Tex”) version. The GTX versions feature a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, which increases water resistance and decreases breathability.
In this breakdown we’ll go over each Scarpa model, describing its features and intended purpose as we go. As always, shoes are organized in descending order from most cushioned to least cushioned. Weights are based on a US Men’s Size 8 and a US Women’s Size 6.5.