Running in the Scarpa Spin Infinity ($160) trail running shoe was my first experience using a product from Scarpa, an Italian company known for its mountain-inspired craftsmanship.
Originally founded in the foothills of the Italian Dolomites in 1938, Scarpa understands rugged terrain. They get, see, and feel the mountains and produce quality footwear for skiing, mountaineering, climbing, hiking, trail running, and mountain lifestyles. My interests have been piqued beyond the trails to their other sporting products and their four pillars for being a community-minded business: people, planet, principles, and product.
The Spin Infinity is a trail running shoe made with long days in the mountains in mind. I refer to this shoe as my race “relief pitcher shoe,” even though it is a good starter as well. Although the Spin Infinity is a lot more shoe than I am accustomed to, the firm cushioning provided predictability, versatility, and stability.
The shoe has a substantial stack height — 35 millimeters at the heel and 31 millimeters at the forefoot — with its 4-millimeter drop conducive for an efficient stride and forefoot rocker. The stack height adds some moderate bulk and weight to the shoe, and it has an actual weight of 10.7 ounces (303 grams) for a men’s size 9.
But all this bulk fulfills the aim of keeping a runner on his or her feet for hours with adequate protection. The Spin Infinity is an outstanding high-mileage shoe, especially if you have a high-volume foot that doesn’t require a wide toebox. Other runners have felt similarly, but please don’t stop reading here if that doesn’t fit your foot description.
I am a Topo and Altra shoe runner in road, trail, and everyday styles and am used to a wide toebox. I sized up in the Spin Infinity for extra room because of its tapered toebox design. My foot doesn’t quite fill the midfoot region, yet my heel sinks in snugly. The innovative design of the upper construction filled the gaps where perhaps my foot would have struggled otherwise.
Scarpa Spin Infinity Upper
The Scarpa Spin Infinity upper has a pseudo-sock-like feel with a relatively snug fit on top, in the toebox, and in the heel. The simple, symmetrical, and reinforced heel is deep and secure. The upper uses a dual-mesh system with an inner mesh that attaches the midsole to a padded and fully gusseted tongue.
A highlight of the tongue is the lace storage pocket. For me, this results in tying my shoes to an optimal feel, tucking the laces up, and forgetting they even exist since I tie my shoes once and slip them on and off for their running career.
I have a narrow and tall foot, not factoring in my toes, which left moderate room on both the lateral and medial sides of the midfoot. The mesh extends to the toebox, which is breathable and performs well on both cold and warm days but struggles to drain well on wet days.
The Spin Infinity upper has a TPU film for augmented abrasion resistance and foot protection. For eco-friendly consumers, TPU is considered vegan leather. Simply put, it is an artificial leather made of thermoplastic polymer, decent for longevity over rugged terrain and ideal for the environmentally conscious.
The combination of the TPU film with the dual-mesh design provides protection without being overly constructed. The material combination provides a high level of protection from the heel all the way to the significant toe bumper. For someone who loves technical trail, yet finds herself kicking rocks, this protection is highly welcomed.
The symmetrical crossed overlays at the forefoot give an extra hug and security for my foot even though I would love a wider toebox for this long-haul trail runner. I could see how someone with bunions may have an issue with this extra TPU reinforcement.
Scarpa Spin Infinity Midsole
The Scarpa Spin Infinity features an EVA midsole coupled with ample cushioning to dampen impact. EVA midsoles are tried and true in running shoe manufacturing, especially the dual-density construction. The bottom layer is less dense and softer with shock absorption qualities. The upper foam is firmer for support and stability.
Together they provide a great, enduring package by offering both flexibility and stiffness, compression resistance, ultraviolet resistance, and waterproof properties. The etched grooves on the sides of the midsole foam allow for efficient roll, flexibility, and extra shock absorption through the gait cycle.
The Spin Infinity boasts a Foot Stabilizer Control System as well. This black circumferential layer of EVA foam above the bulk of the midsole and in the arch is designed to control torsion and to further enhance stability. Although this is a maximalist and highly cushioned shoe, I think the stability and foot protection balance out that plushness, which I prefer on long trail runs.
Lastly, on top of the midsole sits an OrthoLite insole, adding another layer of foam with resistance to compression.
Scarpa Spin Infinity Outsole
The outsole of the Scarpa Spin Infinity is the much-appreciated Vibram Megagrip. The Megagrip is a soft rubber that performs outstandingly in wet and slick low-country conditions and on slippery dry granitic soils that I run many miles on.
It is fast-action friction and forgiving simultaneously. I don’t mind the tarmac-to-trail transition in this shoe, and it is at home on dirt roads and singletrack alike. The Spin Infinity has 4-millimeter lugs smartly placed around the perimeter of the outsole. This design provides excellent ground support, wider ground contact, and added torsional control.
The middle of the outsole is more conservative with lug placement, but the chevron-like shaped lugs are enough for decent grip while allowing for ground material displacement. There are strategically placed lugs above and below the ball of the foot for extra support. The forefoot outsole has grooved lines in the Vibram for flexibility and efficient striding.
We did find the outsole to lack some security on sloppy, slushy early-season high-country terrain, but not in a dangerous way. More like, we found greater attention to foot placement and center of gravity was needed in these conditions to maintain a lock on the ground. We wonder if perhaps slightly deeper and aggressively oriented lugs would enhance traction in all conditions without sacrificing comfort.
Scarpa Spin Infinity Overall Impressions
In sum, the upper, midsole, and outsole of the Scarpa Spin Infinity make for a lot of shoe with a lot of craftsmanship. The Spin Infinity is ideal for longer and slower runs and ultramarathons. It isn’t a speed shoe, it is a zone two to three type of shoe.
After more than 150 miles all over the Ashland, Oregon, watershed where I live, I can confidently say the Scarpa Spin Infinity is a well-made firmly cushioned shoe with durability and stamina. It surprised me with its dueling stability and ample protection. Although it lacks overall flexibility and has a narrow toebox, I like having the Spin Infinity in my lineup.
It is my relief pitcher trail running shoe for when the stadium goes quiet, “Walk of Life” by Dire Straits comes on, and the crowds go crazy because the closer is coming in for the win. It has the slip-on comfort after a long day when you still need to endure a couple more miles on the trail before heading home after work or is the shoe you slip on at mile 50 in a 100 miler.
The components of this shoe blend well for a nice balanced endurance package. Nothing is outstanding, but that isn’t a requirement for a shoe that is reliable and consistent every time you run in them, whether it’s dirt roads, technical trail, singletrack, or hybrid terrain and whatever the weather.
Call for Comments
- Are you running in the Scarpa Spin Infinity? What do you think of the shoe overall?
- For those of you who run in multiple Scarpa models, how does this shoe compare to others in the brand’s line-up?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]
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