A high priority for the brand Scarpa is their dedication to sustainability, and I am happy they integrated this ethos into creating the Scarpa Spin Planet ($159) — aptly named for Scarpa’s small step in keeping us spinning around this amazing blue-green rock, and thinking about its health and well-being in the process. Most of the shoe is constructed out of recycled materials.
If Scarpa is a new-ish running shoe brand to you, then let it be known that the mountain-focused footwear company with roots in Italy is making remarkable strides in off-road running. Even though they are widely known for their skiing, mountaineering, and climbing footwear, the growing ensemble of trail running shoes are designed and engineered with the same high altitude-minded craftsmanship.
The specifications of the Scarpa Spin Planet keep the technical and mountain runner in mind, but in my experience this shoe can be for the all-terrain trail runner over 50 kilometers to 50 miles or longer, depending on individual fit. This shoe even took Scarpa athlete Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz to victory in the 2023 Hardrock 100.
It performs exceptionally with moderate cushioning and an overall firm ride for long, rugged days. The shoe can go the distance, but my feet need a much wider toebox for any 50- to 100-mile efforts. The comfort, support, and cushion are there, but my phalanges get aggravated. The Spin Planet is breathable and wide overall, but as noted with a tapered toebox.
The actual weight is 11.5 ounces (325 grams) for a U.S. men’s size 9, with a 4-millimeter drop and a claimed stack height of 28.5 millimeters. Thank you to Scarpa for still being somewhat in touch with the ground.
Scarpa Spin Planet Upper
The Scarpa Spin Planet upper is a highly breathable engineered dual-mesh system with structural and wrapping underlays. It has an overall minimalist yet secure feel. There are key sections of thermally welded polyurethane (PU) for augmented foot protection around the toebox and around the heel cup for lateral stability. They work as functionally designed and have withstood the test of the trail. There is a thicker and more built up TPU at the base of the heel upper, which provides substantial stability and integrity. The upper is 100% constructed out of recycled materials.
A unique selling point of this shoe is the whale fluke-like tongue construction that evenly hugs the ankle with softness and stays securely in place. All socks are welcome, and the fluke tail catches debris without the need for gaiters. It keeps the trail bits out! The mid-step side of the tongue is fully gusseted while the lateral tongue is elastically connected to the base of the midsole for volume adjustments if needed. Scarpa refers to this design as Axial TR Tech — in a sense it keeps our foot axis secure as we sail longitudinally along the trail.
The pull tab loop is asymmetrically appealing, but its function is fair to middling.
Scarpa Spin Planet Midsole
Scarpa kept their midsole engineering on the Scarpa Spin Planet familiar to most trail runners. It is a moderately cushioned high-volume midsole embedded in medium density ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA).
The midsole however, has a much firmer feel out of the box over the first 50 miles than most other EVA foams I have previously experienced. I have run close to 175 miles in this model, and over time it has softened into a more flexible typical EVA midsole ride, but without the feeling that it is breaking down. It felt similar to the dual-density EVA midsole in the Scarpa Spin Infinity — also check out our Scarpa Spin Infinity review — wherein the bottom layer is less dense and softer with shock absorption qualities while the upper foam is firmer for support and stability. Together they provide a great, enduring package by being both flexible and stiff, offering compression resistance.
As I continue to accrue miles, the durability and protection have remained constant. To me this is a sign that the Spin Planet can withstand the test of mileage and long mountain days. The midsole also boasts 45% recycled content, staying true to its sustainability mission.
Scarpa Spin Planet Outsole
The Scarpa Spin Planet’s Presa outsole is uniquely designed and engineered by the company’s research and design team. The components and compounds in the proprietary Presa ATR rubber are maximized for a shoe’s performance indicators and its intended activities — all terrain and all day. A Presa outsole is claimed to strike a balance between control, precision, and comfort.
The Spin Planet Presa outsole is composed of variable stiffness and 4-millimeter multi-directional lugs. There are four main underfoot zones designed for propulsion, braking, grip, and stability — which are distinguished by distinct lug patterns.
The braking zone is predominantly the heel region, while the propulsion zone consists of the lateral and medial lugs on the outsole’s forefoot. The stability and grip run up the center of the outsole, which based on my variable terrain running, seems to work as stated. Of course, multi-directional lugs aren’t new or novel, but I think the midsole and outsole combination of the Spin Planet performs well for those long, mild-weather summer mountain days.
Also, as expected, the outsole is constructed out of 30% recycled materials.
Scarpa Spin Planet Overall Impressions
The photos of the Scarpa Spin Planet in this review show the shoes when they were still new and fresh. My shoes, however, are wearing the dirt and dust of a summer well-trodden and trail blasted. In my opinion they look better this way — worn, exhausted, and exhilarated to have experienced rugged and scenic landscapes along lone stretches of the Pacific Crest Trail near where I live in Oregon. They kept me moving forward and upright on unforgiving and relentless sections of singletrack.
When I am not adventuring, I also wear these shoes on mountain bike trails with banked turns and moguls. Thinking of the shoe as an integrated whole, I think it fantastically keeps pace with hurried and constantly changing downhill terrain. It is a blast. As noted above, this mountain trail running shoe is all-terrain and designed for endurance and durability. I have already logged substantial miles, and I have many more in the imminent future.
Importantly, when choosing a shoe size with a European sizing chart, it may be advisable to choose the larger of the sizes in which the U.S. size overlaps. It has been my experience that European shoes tend to run slightly small.
Additionally, I think it is commendable that all three main parts of the shoe boast recycled materials while having structural integrity. It is a practice many other running shoe companies would be smart to adopt.
As a cyclist I generally reserve the verb “spin” for my two-wheeled road forays, but during this Scarpa Spin Planet testing adventure, I verbed the name, saying I was going for a “trail spin” — and perhaps I was.
Call for Comments
- Have you run in the Scarpa Spin Planet?
- What do you think of its specific features and overall ride?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a shoe brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]
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