Article by Sam Winebaum
Scarpa Golden Gate ATR ($139, 139 euro)
Scarpa re emerged strong in 2021 with their fast and light Spin 2.0 and long hauler Spin Infinity which took to a 2nd place at UTMB.
In 2022 more is coming with a new Golden Gate series of trail runners. We covered the two models at the Big Gear Show back in August (RTR Video Preview). We will see a flexible carbon plated Golden Gate Kima RT (RTR Review soon) and the Golden Gate ATR reviewed here. Why Golden Gate? It is a call out to the design of the main deck of the bridge, a series of triangular elements.
The ATR’s extensive upper underlays share a similar design, and purpose of light structure and support.
The ATR is intended for mixed terrain: trails, dirt, and even pavement. It has a stout 4mm lugged proprietary rubber outsole derived from Scarpa’s famous climbing shoes.
The geometry is a rigid rocker contrasting with the more flexible Spin Infinity at about the same weight and the soon to come Kima with its flexible carbon plate. There is considerable full stack height at 32mm heel / 28mm forefoot. Weight is a decent 10.64 oz / 301g US9 sample but not the lightest, rubber coverage/ 4mm lug depth contributing.
To make it “roll” Scarpa went with a big rear rocker as well as front rocker and a dual density midsole whose front and main midsole yellow slightly denser but softer (than the gray) foam is said to provide an elastic impulse under load. We’ll see.. I have often struggled (older Hoka) with rigid rockers on trail uphills as they require strong knee lift which I lack
The upper is a ripstop mono mesh with at midfoot a combination stretch tongue wrapping the foot which also incorporates an integral elastic gusset of light mesh.
Clearly intended as a competitor to Hoka’s Challenger ATR, Speedgoat, and Mafate EVO and Speed in the big cushion rock and roll along category I was curious to see how this fairly priced (139 Euro, US price TBD) new entry performed.
Effective front rigid profile rocker on climbs and flats: Sam
Deeply cushioned protective midsole: Sam
Stable for such a big stack height Sam
Secure foothold for such a light upper: Sam
Highly breathable, low moisture absorbing upper: Sam
All terrain grip: Sam
Solid value: Sam
Not the softest ride. Midsole foam could be softened some : Sam
Rear medial flare and very firm rubber there. Don’t kick your other heel. Ouch! : Sam
Wish it was closer to 10 oz / 283g : Sam
About ½ size small due to toe box taper and toe bumper overlay Sam
For “door to trail” outsole lugs might be toned down (weight and ride) Sam
Weight: men’s 10.64 oz / 301g (US9/EU42)
Samples: 10.64 oz / 301g (US9/EU42), men’s 10.86 oz / 308g US
Full Stack Height: men’s 32 mm heel / 28 mm forefoot
Available now in Europe. 139 euro, US price $139 release date to be announced.
First Impressions, Fit, and Upper
Massive in underfoot appearance with discreetly in my black uppercolorway an elaborate skeletal array of overlays and underlays upper sitting above and around the inner yellow light bootie construction. The ATR projects a serious, max cushion, all business vibe.
The Golden Gate naming refers to the “armature” of overlays and underlays reminding of the supporting structure under the road deck of the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.
The pliable overlays and underlays are bonded to an equally pliable single layer thin ripstop highly ventilated mesh with very fine holes.
Below the mesh, running from the heel through the midfoot is a single bootie type tongue and rear of the shoe lining. Beyond being attached down low at the midsole it is only attached at one point just behind the final lace up hole.
The bootie has some a bit of stretch with lower panels of airy more stretchable mesh at the lower front part of the midfoot. Upfront there is no continuation of the bootie, just the single layer mesh.
The bootie extends above the heel mesh and heel counter for some debris control.
The heel counter itself is moderately firm but not rigid except vertically at the far rear.
The heel counter is well padded with bumpers that even extend under the laces towards the front. The lace up, its security, and comfort is outstanding.
The toe bumper is quite extensive running over the top of the toes and quite far back and is pliable. This is for sure not a rigid toe bumper.
The ATR should prove extremely breathable and drainable. It absorbs very little moisture if at all as I found out during my runs in wetter snow.
I was sent a half size up from my normal US8.5 and I am happy Scarpa did so as it provides a bit more over the toes length and room for the bumper with every other part of the upper remaining secure. The toe box width is moderately narrow but the pliable single layer thin mesh and overlays allows for some extra room up front without compromising hold as the mesh is not stretchable
The ATR has a rigid rocker type construction. I measure full stack height including an (overly) dense Ortholite type insole at 32mm heel, 28mm forefoot.
This means the shoe relies on the dual rockers front and back for propulsion in combination with the design of the dual density midsole. Both rockers are clearly felt standing and walking and particularly so the rear rocker.
The midsole foam is a dual density expanded EVA. It is densely protective and quite firm with the firmness sensed coming more as much the outsole as the midsole, and particularly at the heel. Additionally the dense firm sockliner might be softened to give the shoe a touch more landing softness. While called out as all terrain the road ride is quite firm, reminding somewhat of the road Saucony Endorphin Shift or Canyon TR.
The dual density make up has a softer yellow central portion “framed” by the gray somewhat firmer foam. The front midsole design with the gray surrounding the yellow allows the foot to sink down into the center of the front of the midsole and then through the firmer lateral side walls release energy “elastically” on toe off and through the rocker.
A lot promised but the design delivers. I felt a very directed stable toe off with somewhat of a sense of long flex even though the profile is rigid. Neat!
Unlike the rigid rocker in older Hoka requiring pronounced knee lift for me here one senses a smoother longer and more decisive roll and toe off with less knee lift required. As such they also climb very well
At the heel, the pronounced rocker geometry has very firm medial rubber. The rear midsole is also flared out. Landings are extremely stable and quite firm on that side due to the rubber. I have a right tibia somewhat twisted out from a childhood ski injury. Once, when tired, I kicked my right heel into my left a few times and boy did it hurt.
The outsole compound is Scapa’s Super Gum rubber which Scarpa claims has superior abrasion resistance to 100 % Butyl rubber (as in the VJ outsoles) with equivalent slip resistance in lab tests to both Butyl and Normal Rubber and with superior slip resistance noted in field tests. My running to date has been on very hard almost icy snow where the grip has been rock solid, on soft snow, and pavement so as of yet I have not been able verify the wet terrain grip claims and will update the review as soon as I do so.
The outsole design features 4mm lugs with mid foot flat surfaces of outsole rubber medially and EVA laterally for stability.
The medial white gray rubber is firmer than any of the black front or back. In combination with the rear rocker there is an unmistakable sense of secure rear grip and stability on landings. Almost too much so as this firm rubber makes the rear quite firm.
As an all terrain shoe with marketing towards “door to trail” the outsole (lug depth and firmness) clearly leans the shoe more towards trail than road based on my testing and I think could be softened and toned down especially that medial rubber.
This is a very, very stable shoe due to its outsole without resorting to much firmer medial foams or plastic elements as some trail shoes do
Sam: The ATR has for sure more trail ride than a pavement road ride although dirt road running should be excellent. The firm rubber outsole and the midsole which is not overly firm combine for ride that is on the firmer side. The ATR is very stable, densely and deeply cushioned with plenty of rock protection from the midsole and the outsole.
This is not a bouncy soft ride as some of the new Hoka such as the Speedgoat 5 have or as found in the NB Fresh Foam More Trail sitting closer to PWRRUN from Saucony.
The most notable ride feature is the excellent front rocker which allows this rigid shoe to flow along on the flats and uphills better for me than most rigid rocker shoes. I would also highlight that it does not run as many 4mm drop shoes do given the medial outsole rubber which keeps heel strikes from sinking even with the pronounced rear rocker, the landing at the rear being notable for its tremendous “planted” grip and sense of security.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Sam: Scarpa does a lot very well in the ATR. The upper is superb in its hold and security if a bit narrow up front . The midsole, while dense and quite firm, is highly protective and deeply cushioned. The front I-Rebound rocker geometry is among the best in a rigid rocker shoe I have tested with an uncanny sense that the shoe is actually flexible. The outsole has a tenacious grip on all surfaces I have tested so far, mostly snow. All of these attributes have it more pure trail runner than a door to trail type shoe for me. The value at $139 euro is good for what should prove to be a versatile and long lasting shoe.
Where could it be improved, especially if the focus is all terrain and door to trail? A somewhat softer and bouncier midsole and especially so if the stout firm outsole rubber is kept unchanged or maybe as a door to trail shoe the 4mm lugs are reduced in height a bit and made with larger contact surfaces. While the rocker is fantastic up front, I deduct some for the rest of the Ride on firmer surfaces. Finally I would like to see it drop some weight to get closer to 10 oz than the 10.64 oz it is now.
Sam’s Score 9.08/10
Ride:8.7(30%) Fit:9.2(30%) Value:9(10%) Style:8.7(5%) Traction: 9.5(15%) Rock Prot: 9.5 (10%)
Scarpa Spin Infinity (RTR Review)
Sam: One of my favorite trail shoes of 2021, the Infinity is somewhat higher in stack at 35mm heel (measured), 31mm forefoot with the same 4mm drop and weighing 0.2 oz / 6g more. Its cushion outsole combination is more forgiving and plush while its outsole is closer to what one might expect for a door to trail shoe with broader contact lugs but in a less dense pattern. Unlike the ATR it has some flex so does not rely on rocker. While Infinity’s upper is fine I give the nod to the less structured, more comfortable and breathable and equally secure ATR’s upper. Overall I prefer the Infinity despite its weight near 11 oz / 312g
Brooks Caldera 6 (RTR Review soon)
Sam: The upcoming Caldera 6 is more deeply and forgivingly cushioned with a more energetic ride. It is more fun to run on road and a bit less agile on trail than the ATR. Caldera’s rocker is more pronounced and way upfront and not quite as flexible feeling behind as the ATR’s is. Its upper hold, security and comfort is comparable with a slightly more accommodating toe box in the Caldera. The Scarpa has a half ounce weight advantage but on a slightly lower stack and narrower platform. For long easy runs on any surface the Caldera gets the nod.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 (RTR Review)
Sam: About 1 ounce /26g lighter than the ATR with 1mm more stack height the new Speedgoat has a softer foam than before and is softer than the Scarpa’s. In a change from prior, the Speedgoat 5 now has both a rocker and some flex. Its MegaGrip outsole design is more forgiving than ATR’s at the heel. While fine, I give the nod to the ATR’s more breathable and more secure (especially at the heel) upper. The ATR feels faster on smoother terrain but is not as forgiving on firmer terrain.
Hoka Challenger ATR 6 (RTR Review)
Sam: It has been several versions since I ran the Challenger so I refer you to our review. It is about an ounce lighter than the Scarpa on a lower platform. It’s outsole is more door to trail suitable than the Scarpa ATR’s with wide broad pads whereas the Scarpa clearly has sharper more aggressive traction, more suitable for any trail conditions. I wonder what the Hoka type outsole would do for the Scarpa? I bet a more door to trail suitable ride.
Saucony Canyon TR (RTR Review)
Sam: The Canyon was slotted for door to trail and leans more that way than ATR but.. Lags way behind on trail with a less stable higher platform and not as substantial grip. At 11 oz it is about a half ounce heavier. A toss up in terms of uppers. Both are really fine. For actual trail of all types clearly ATR for road slight lean towards Canyon.
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.
Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’
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