Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Scarpa Spin Ultra Review. 6 Comparisons

Article by Jeff Valliere

Scarpa Spin Ultra ($149)


Jeff V:  The Scarpa Spin Ultra was released in 2019 and is one of Scarpa’s more maximal shoes, built for long distances over rough terrain, offering very good protection, cushion, comfort, traction. It has a roomy toe box for those with wider feet, or those with a preference for some extra wiggle room.


Jeff V:  Protection, cushion, comfort, traction, fit, durability.


Jeff V: Weight, not very responsive


Estimated weight: men's 10.9 oz / 309g (US9)

  Samples: men’s 323g /11.4oz US Mens 10

Midsole Stack Height: 24/18, 8mm drop

Available now $149

Tester Profile

Jeff Valliere runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

First Impressions and Fit

Jeff V:  My first impressions out of the box were that the Spin Ultra has a uniquely Scarpa look to them.  It is evident right away that the build quality is superb and there is a high level of protection and durability.  Comfort out of the box is very good, with no break in needed.  Fit is true to size, very secure overall from the heel, to the midfoot and through the toe box.  

The toe box, while not wide, gives ample wiggle room for splay, swelling and general all day comfort, without sacrificing security. 


Jeff V:  The Micro Nubuck and mesh upper offers excellent support and protection with an array of criss crossing overlays for support around the midfoot, forming a sort of cage for superb security.  All around security and stability is excellent no matter how difficult the terrain is underfoot.

While not an airy shoe by any means, breathability is good.

The toe bumper is especially beefy and essentially impenetrable, adding to the overall rugged protective nature of the shoe.

The heel counter/collar is substantial, well held, well protected and comfortably cushioned.


Jeff V:  The dual density EVA foam does a great job offering ample, if a bit firm cushioning and overall excellent protection underfoot.  It is stable, predictable and is overall good for cruising along for long miles over rough terrain, or any terrain really, but is not particularly lively or responsive, with a bit of a flat feel.  If you are out spending full days on rocky terrain in the mountains, the Spin Ultra is a great choice.


Jeff V:  The Vibram MegaGrip outsole is grippy and sticky, with effective, well shaped and well spaced 5mm lugs that provide excellent grip on all terrain I have tested on, from steep off trail, loose dirt, rock slab either wet or dry.  

While I have not had an opportunity to run in snow or mud, I suspect that traction will be good given the lug design/depth/arrangement.  The rubber composition is somewhat dense, but effective for the purpose of the shoe and very durable.


Jeff V:  The ride here is predictable, well protected and firm, but appropriately effective for longer distances on rough terrain.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Jeff V:  As the Spin Ultra is 2 years old, I’ll be honest and say that it is feeling a bit dated given the current options out there now including the Scarpa Spin Infinity RTR Review.  While not all THAT heavy given the solid protection and long distance performance on rough terrain that they provide, they feel a bit more dense and heavy than the scale indicates.  For comparison, the Spin Infinity offers everything the Spin Ultra does plus more cushion stack, and weighs a few grams more, but feels lighter, more responsive, more agile and is overall much more fun and appealing to run in.  

That said, the Spin Ultra is a great shoe , one I wore on an 18 mile mountain run with nearly 6,000 feet of climbing and some above treeline rock hopping and scrambling and they performed very well for this purpose.  I would not hesitate to recommend the Spin Ultra for anyone looking for a solid, predictable, well protected, comfortable, durable, long distance shoe to get them through an entire day or more in the mountains. I would lean toward the Spin Infinity at the same pricing of $149 which I think should be considered the modern, more updated version of the Ultra with a more lively and energetic feel.

Jeff V’s Score: 8.5/10

Ride: 7 - a bit of a flat and uninspiring ride

Fit: 9

Value: 8.5

Style: 9

Traction: 9.5

Rock Protection: 10


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Scarpa Spin Infinity (RTR Review)  

Jeff V:  The Spin Infinity is essentially the same weight, but feels more responsive, runs lighter despite being the same weight, is more energetic and more fun to run, with all the great attributes of the Ultra.  It has 2mm more heel stack and 4mm more forefoot stack  and If I had to pick/recommend, I would go with the Infinity, though the Ultra does have a bit more wiggle room in the toe box.

Nice Pegasus Trail 3 (RTR Review)    

Jeff V:  The Nike has much softer cushioning and a more relaxed feel to them with also a more relaxed upper, which could be an advantage on less technical, longer runs, though is not nearly as secure as the Spin Ultra.  The Spin Ultra has superior mountain performance, with better protection, traction, security with the firmness of the midsole an asset in mountainous terrain.

Salomon Ultraglide (RTR Review)  

Jeff V:  The Salomon is lighter, more responsive, has a slightly more generous fit, yet is still secure and performs better going faster over long distances, but protection and overall durability are not up to par with the Spin Ultra, so if longer days on more rocky, rugged terrain, and/or you want more durability and longevity, then go with the Spin Ultra, but for faster running on more moderate terrain, then the Salomon.

Saucony Xodus 11 (RTR Review)  

Jeff V:  Very similar in usage scenarios and similar attributes of fit, security, traction, durability, protection, but I would say the Xodus 11 is more responsive and overall is more fun to run in, not to mention the Xodus is surprisingly adept on the road.

Brooks Cascadia 16 (RTR Review)  

Jeff V:  Again, a lot of overlap here, with comparable use scenarios, protection, traction, security, though the Brooks is a little lighter, runs a lot lighter, is more responsive, energetic and fun to run , with a more roomy toe box.

Salomon Sense Ride 4 (RTR Review)  

Jeff V:  The SR4 has a better fitting, more roomy upper (but still snugs down very effectively for more technical running, or to accommodate a wide range of foot widths/volume), but perhaps with not quite as bombproof protection underfoot and from the upper as the Scarpa.  The Spin Ultra also has slightly better all around traction with deeper lugs and a bit more sticky rubber.

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'.

2021 RTR Team Road Running Awards Survey: Multiple Categories, Best Overall, Brand of the Year, Surprises, Apparel, Tech, and Accessories 

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Jeff Valliere said...


Unknown said...

Great review, great shoe ! I also run the Salomon Sense Ride (although v3) and the Salomon Ultra Glide, I completely agree with the comparison. I want to add another shoe the Spin Ultra reminds me of, the La Sportiva Akasha. I see the Scarpa as the little brother, 20gr. lighter in my size US10 (Akasha US 10.5), better grip (especially in wet), with the Akasha a tad "softer". Used the Scarpa recently in Chamonix in ugly weather, lots of rocks, rain, mud...perfect ! But as Jeff said, this is a shoe for the mountains...Ingo, Germany

Jeff Valliere said...

Thanks for reading Ingo!

Derrill Rodgers said...

Jeff, I'm surprised you didn't like the Spin Ultra more, it reminds me of the Salomon XA Elevate which you really liked. I agree the Ultra is very firm, but with great lock down and excellent grip and durability so far (about 70 miles in my pair). I prefer it to the Cascadia 16, though haven't done any runs longer than 90 minutes in the Spin Ultra. I think it's a great mid distance mountain running shoe, especially if scrambling is involved. Thanks for churning out great reviews.

Jeff Valliere said...

Hey Derrill, thanks for reading. Yeah, I do like the Ultra and can't really find anything really wrong with them, but just much prefer the Infinity, which in my mind, occupies the same niche, performs better than the Ultra and is just more fun to run in.

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