Scarpa Instinct SR
An incredible shoe with almost no issues, an affordable price tag, and a respectable record of brilliance from a family of shoes beloved by climbers the world over.
- Performance: 90% 90%
- Sensitivity: 90% 90%
- Comfort: 90% 90%
- Value For Money 80% 80%
- Total Score 88% 88%
Affordable for a performance shoe
We Don’t Like
Elastic stretches over time
Built For: Indoor, Bouldering, Sport Climbing
Summary: The Instinct SR is an incredible shoe with almost no issues, an affordable price tag, and a respectable record of brilliance from a family of shoes loved by climbers the world over.
Scarpa Instinct SR Review
How do you update, and hopefully improve, one of the best all-rounder class climbing shoes on the market?
That was the challenge facing Scarpa when they brought out the Instinct SR, the new slipper variant of the Instinct family of shoes.
With a previous slipper version going out of production, a hugely popular velcro (with 3 or 4 different sub-variants) and a lace-up already on the market, they had to come up with something special, and I think they did.
Scarpa say it’s designed with indoor bouldering in mind, and I can see why. It’s no fuss yet impressive, easy to use and technically powerful simultaneously – the perfect shoe for someone who wants to get the most out of their sessions.
I have ended up using it as a ‘do-everything’ shoe, from running about on easy trad single-pitch, to medium-hard sport pitches where I know I’ll be there for a while and need a comfortable shoe, to technical and difficult bouldering indoors. It holds up well to almost every challenge, and is robust and long-lasting to boot.
1) Toe Box
Like all Instinct shoes, the toe is simple, no-nonsense stuff that does a great job every time.
You can transmit power how and when you want without a second thought or any lack of confidence. The moulding and shape on the toe is sophisticated, making the shoe equally at home on slabs and overhangs.
It can push hard off slopey plates or tiny nubbins, and is consistently uncomplicated, something I really value in an indoor shoe given how much time I’m going to spend trucking out mileage on circuit boards or routes.
The rubber wraps well onto the top part of the foot, and like all other Instinct S… shoes it is great for toe-hooking, with plenty of easy contact.
Like all slip on climbing shoes, the heel on the SR can slip, and much of the decision-making around comfort vs performance will come down to how much potential heel slip you can deal with for your chosen level of use. If you’re entering competitions in these, you’re going to need to make sure they’re small enough that they hook on really well, at which point the heel will be a fantastic tool.
If you think you’re going to be plugging away for hours in them, a more comfortable half size bigger might be better, and that will mean that the heel slips around a little especially as they age. They bag out a little bit as they get softer too, so watch out for that.
The heel itself is fine, although perhaps fractionally over engineered, with strange bumps and dots that don’t appear to serve any clear purpose. Nonetheless the heel works fine on a variety of indoor and outdoor moves, and sticks when and where it needs to.
Scarpa have used XS Grip 2, as they do on almost all their performance shoes, but have also combined it with M50 rubber for the heel and toe hook panels. Because the shoe is built on such quality pedigree, it wears down consistently and slowly, making these a pair of shoes that can do miles and miles and miles before they start to wear down – a really important factor in their high score.
Despite that, they can mix it with even more high-end performance shoes, offering great sensitivity and power transmission particularly indoors. I’ve used them everywhere for everything for almost a year, and the rubber shows no signs of letting me down just yet.
4) Comfort and Fit
I have more or less covered this in the section above about the heel, but it’s worth noting how comfortable these shoes are if sized just fractionally above the recommended point. You may lose a couple of percentage points worth of performance, but you’ll be able to wear these for a 4 hour indoor session (not that I’m recommending that!) or an outdoor epic.
If you do size down to keep that fit and performance ratcheted up, they’ll work incredibly well as a performance shoe on volumes, textures and screw ons.
I wear the same size as my street shoe, which gives good comfort but isn’t as aggressive as it could be, and the recommended downsize from street is between .5 and 1.5 sizes.
An incredible shoe with almost no issues, an affordable price tag, and a respectable record of brilliance from a family of shoes beloved by climbers the world over. Scarpa have become my go-to shoes over the last year or more, with a number of different models jumping out as the best of their category, and this is no exception. I use them in every session I have at the wall, and frequently outside as well.
Furthermore, they are just a good-looking pair of shoes. Scarpa really upped the level for the Instinct reboot, and you can see the classy Italian design as soon as you look at them.