Friday, July 12, 2013

So good it hurts... Scarpa Instinct VS Review

Scarpa Instinct VS

Scarpa continues to pull out all the stops with their new shoes.  Last year I was introduced to the Scarpa Boostic and was extremely impressed with the fit and versatility of the shoe.  So much so that I decided to do a review on them.  After making the switch to Scarpa from my other standbys of Five Ten and La Sportiva I heard through the grapevine that Scarpa was releasing another slipper fo 2013.  I waited not so patiently for them to be available and quickly ordered a pair pretty much site unseen in the same size as the Boostic 40.5.   Why buy another shoe?  1) I liked the Boostic so much.  2) Increase the longevity of the shoe two shoes last longer than one.  3) I also thought that the Boostic was not super good in cracks the Instinct VS looked more low profile in the toe so it made sense to try it.

First Impression:

Soon they arrived and I did the my tried and true exercise of putting them on and stretching them out.  Which usually entails wearing them around the house for 15 minutes- then off for 15.  My first impression was damn these shoes are tight!  I compared the lengths of my Boostics to the Instinct VS and they were exactly the same as was the width.  The discomfort appeared to be coming from 2 things.  #1 there is a lot more rubber on the top of the Instinct VS so the forefoot does not appear to stretch as easy it also has some additional stitching in the forefoot to reduce stretch. #2 is the orange rand which just forces your toes into more of a precise power position.  After breaking them in I finally got to climb on them in the gym.  These shoes shine on the steeps.  I normally am very bad with toe hooks, bicycles and the like- these are the first shoe that I have ever worn that honestly made up for my poor roof footwork.  These shoes are steep climbing weapons!

Precise down-turned toe slipper with a single strap Velcro closure for additional security for heel hooking.  This shoe essentially blends the sensitivity of a slipper with the exact precision of a lace up.

The Instinct VS uses the Vibram XS Edge just like the Boostic.  My experience with this rubber is that XS Edge is very durable and versatile.  This shoe also has a healthy dose of rubber over the whole forefoot for toe scumming and other trickery.

Closure System
This shoe for all intensive purposes is a slipper but with a single Velcro strap- which is a really nice especially for heel security.  Like all precision slippers it is difficult to get on but easy to get off.

The Heel
The heel in this shoe has rubber all the way around.  And is a very powerful heel hooker.  Even though I stated in the Boostic review that it was the best hooker I have ever had.  Well the Instinct VS is even better! More rubber and more precision what else could you ask for.

Rand System
This shoe uses the Bi Tension System.  You may also notice that the forefoot and heel are actually separate pieces of rubber which allows them to independently articulate.  This gives the shoe a better all around range from precise toe pointing to smears.

This shoe is good at many things.  It really excels at steep bouldering and indoor climbing.  I have also used it on long alpine climbs and was impressed with its crack climbing capabilities though it is painful.

  1. Awesome roof climbing shoe
  2. Pretty good at edging but nowhere as good as the Boostic
  3. Heel is really really good.  Though I thought the Boostic was best this is probably better and it has more rubber than the Boostic.
  4. Slabs yes it can climb them but ohh man do your toes hurt.  Boostic is way better here.
  5. Cracks especially hands to fingers this shoe in my opinion is great in those sizes and it is not as painful as the Boostic.  If you went a size or half size up on these they would be really good crack shoes.
Good in the steeps
Pretty good in cracks
Great heel

Uber painful break in period

Final Thoughts:
This is an excellent shoe.  But it is truly a niche shoe.  If you are looking for a training shoe, something for very steep routes or bouldering or a pretty good crack slipper it is hard to beat.  If you are looking for a technical edging shoe, the Boostic will blow it away; the Boostic is an edging machine!  Simply put- I have been using the Instinct VS for gym climbing, working routes or problems and the Boostic has been my proverbial "ace in the whole" AKA my go to send shoe.


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