Scarpa Instinct VS Review

SCARPA Instinct VS Stats

Heel & Toe
Scarpa Instincts
You really can't beat the performance of the heel - Physics Hyperbole V9 in Squamish

What makes the Scarpa Instinct so good?

The Scarpa Instinct has been one of my favorite shoes for years now. This shoe is good for just about everything I get on. The comfort and performance make it a solid choice as an all-around bouldering or sport climbing shoe.

Edging Performance

The Vibram XS Edge rubber provides plenty of support while leaving enough sensitivity to let you feel what your stepping on. If your feet are coming off of an edge during an overhang with these shoes it’s not the shoes, it’s your core.

As the shoe breaks in more, the shoe will inherently become a bit softer. This adds to the comfort and overall fit. The edge has not suffered much as the shoe has aged. Obviously once the toe is blown out the performance will drop significantly. In that case, it might be time for a resole.

Smearing Performance

It’s really hard to have a shoe that is good at both edging and smearing. Sometimes a softer shoe feels like it is good at both, but it’s more likely the shoe is smearing aggressively on an edge. If smearing is something your more into then check out the VSR variation of the Instinct. This is the royal blue variation. It supports Vibram XS Grip rubber and it slightly softer with more grip.

It’s also worth noting that the female version of the Instinct (teal blue) also has the XS Grip Rubber so that might be a good option for all the ladies or small-footed men in the audience.

Comfort (Post Break-in)

At some point, I will write a detailed protocol on how to size your climbing shoes (hopefully I remember to put a link here but if not just search about on the site). Downsizing is often seen as a way to increase performance. In my experience, this can be a double-edged sword. If your shoes aren’t comfortable, your climbing will suffer. If your shoes are too loose you will lose precision.

With the Scarpa Instincts when I first put them on they feel extremely tight. Very uncomfortable to climb for the first 2-3 sessions. After that, they stretch out significantly and become one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever put on. They seem to run right on to street shoe size, but your mileage may vary. If you need help sizing them shoot me an email or DM me on Instagram.

Heel and Toe

If you’re trying to climb hard, hooks will become a very important part of your technique. For anything with a tough heel hook or hard mantel, I’m grabbing the Instincts. The heel cup is the perfect size for my foot (and like every other person I’ve talked too). Some would even say its Bomber!

The toe hooking capabilities of this shoe is also pretty amazing. I’ve personally sent multiple toe hook intensive double-digit boulders in these bad boys. That being said there are some other shoes out there that edge these out.


Probably better to watch the video for this one (displayed at the top of the post). Definitely a few wear points and weak spots on the Scarpas. 

Some notable points would be the top of the toe box and the closure strap. It will take a while to wear through these points and depending on your style of climbing you might be able to get a single resole out of these. More than one resole is probably unlikely.

So What Are the Scarpa Instincts Good For?

If you like to try hard and do more falling than sending, these might be for you. Bouldering, Lead Climbing, Gym Comps, they do it all. You really can’t go wrong picking up a pair of these shoes, even if they don’t become your primary shoe.

I really hope everyone liked this review. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Hearing from you guys makes all the time it takes to write these posts worth it!

If you want to buy this shoe consider ordering it through the following link. I will receive a small commission of the sale which helps me get my hands on more gear to make more reviews. 

Bryan’s Bomber Beta Shoe Fund aka Amazon Link for SCARPA Instincts

Leave a Reply