scarpa instinct vs review

Scarpa Instinct VS Review

The Scarpa Instinct is a really good expert climbing shoe and will definitely get you great performance results on your climbing adventure. And even if you are a less experienced climber looking to begin leveling up your skills, these are still really great climbing shoes. In this Scarpa Instinct VS Review we will tell you how they will definitely break your bank, but in return will let you go on a couple of different kinds of climbs and begin leveling up your climbing skills.

One particular shoe can’t give you everything you need, but trying out a specific climbing shoe and then getting in depth information about the shoe can definitely give you more precise experience on what things your shoe is great at doing, and some of the ways where your shoe is lacking in different performance areas. 

In Depth Guide of the Scarpa Instinct VS Review VS Climbing Shoe

Scarpa Instinct VS Review

Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe Score

Sensitivity – 7 out of 10

Pockets – 8 out of 10

Cracks – 6 out of 10

Comfort – 8 out of 10

Edging – 8 out of 10

How Well Does the Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe Actually Perform?

Great for Edging

The Instinct Is awesome for edging because of the rigid design. The rand does a really great job of pulling the back of the shoe towards the front, thereby pulling your toes forward and directing as much stability and power towards your big toe. 

You want as much power and stability focused there so that when you need to get a hold on really small toe holds that are usually tough to get your foot onto. 

This unique pull is the reason why you don’t have to have a super tight fit and be unduly uncomfortable. The pulling effect is what you can count on to keep the shoes stiffness instead of totally relying on getting your shoe extremely tight. 

Not the Best for Cracks

For wide cracks, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Instinct. In wide cracks it will give you a good bit of support and you can go from crack to crack pretty well. 

However, for any cracks less than a hand width, you will have a little bit of tougher time. The high profile of the shoe, meaning there is more shoe material and thickness, reduces its effectiveness when trying to fit it into smaller cracks. You won’t be able to get too much of your shoe into the crack and therefore won’t get good support for the shoe. 

Your best bet is going to be to get a shoe that has a lower profile which you can bring along with you to your climb. This way, if you find that your climb ends up including a lot of thin cracks, you can change out the shoe. 

Also, for unusually shaped cracks or corners without cracks, you will want a less stiff shoe.

Pockets Not Much a Problem

Typically, if your climbing shoe is a good shoe for edging, it is probably going to be a good shoe to use on climbs that have a lot of pockets.

The stiffness provides a ton of support, meaning that when you try to get support in the pockets on your climb, you will find that the shoe will provide a good portion of that support along with your own foot muscles. 

The only problem with pocket climbing in the Instinct is that since it is a pretty wide fit, you’re going to have a little bit of trouble fitting the shoe into smaller pockets. But even when you can only get a little bit of the shoe into the pocket, you’re still going to have a good bit of support because of the design.

Even though it’s a little tough to fit into pockets because of the higher profile toe box and the increased width, the design of the shoe still aids in getting a good hold on pockets. The tip of the shoe has a longer, talon like shape which gives good support unlike other climbing shoes without this unique feature. 

Not Very Sensitive

Unfortunately, even with a good amount of breaking in, this shoe just isn’t that sensitive. Especially when you first start climbing with the Instinct, it definitely won’t serve as a shoe that you can feel the rock face well with, and though it becomes slightly more sensitive, it’s not anywhere near enough to be considered an actually sensitive shoe. 

The stiffness of the shoe does cause this lack of sensitivity, and though you will not be uncomfortable in this shoe because of the way it’s designed, its sensitivity will still be pretty low. 

Is the Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe Comfortable?

Good for Narrow and Wide Feet 

Since the shoe has a wider fit, both narrow and wide footed people will be able to find comfort in this shoe. Most climbing shoes are designed to be pretty narrow so that it can augment the fit and therefore the support. But since the support of the Instinct comes from its rand that pulls the toes towards the front of the shoe, a super tight shoe that usually creates most of the discomfort won’t be the problem in these shoes. 

Great Heel Cup

Also, a lot of the comfort or lack there of often comes from the fit of the heel on your foot. If it doesn’t fit well, the climbing shoe is more likely to be more uncomfortable. 

But with the Instinct, the heel cup fits like a glove. This is because of the elastic on the shoe stretches to fit your shape but is also tight enough to create that great seal. 

Not the Best for Multi-Pitch Climbs

It’s definitely a comfortable shoe, but the comfort level does decrease over time. The rigidness of the shoe adds to the discomfort over time, but you should still be able to be fairly comfortable on shorter climbs, and also if you rest and take off your shoe in between climbs if you plan to do a couple attempts in a row. 

Does the Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe Have Good Fit?

Made for Wide Feet, Meaning Better Adjustability 

Although the shoe is wider than most and its toe box is as well, meaning that adjustability for fit across a wider variety of climbers feet is going to be better, people with narrower feet and those with lower profiles still may have a little trouble. 

Since most climbing shoes are made to have a tight fit, their design is typically geared towards a narrow profile and low profile toe box, it’s tough for wide footed, high profile footed climbers to get great fit. The Instinct solves both of these problems which end up making the shoe that much more comfortable. 

Size Down

If you combine these shoes wide design with the advice that is usually given when attempting to get a good fit, this shoe just may have the most ability to give you the best fit. 

Typically you will want to size your climbing shoe a half size or a full size down. If you do this, then the higher profile toe box and the increased width will serve you even better. 

No Real Leather

Leather is usually the feature that allows the climbing shoe to begin to conform to your foot over a short period of time. The leather will expand slowly, then contract to fit your particular foot’s shape. 

The Instinct only has synthetic microsuede leather in its build and therefore doesn’t really conform to your foot. You’ll have to be a good bit more picky when choosing your sizing initially, because whatever fit you start out with will be the size it will stay over the duration of all of your climbs. 

Does the Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe Have Good Value?

Comfort Plus Performance 

The instinct is definitely a higher end shoe with really performance, so this somewhat justifies the higher price. Its unique design that allows for great support with an extreme initial tightness is a pretty valuable feature for those seeking higher comfort but who also don’t want to sacrifice performance. 

Also, it’s actually a little bit cheaper than other similar high performing climbing shoes, so this really adds to its value for money aspect. 

Get the Fit Right

If your fit isn’t very good, however, meaning if the shoe is too tight, over a long period of time the shoe may begin to wear down in the big toe area. This decreases the value for money slightly, especially when you are thinking about durability. But if you spend a good bit of time attempting to size the shoe correctly, you shouldn’t have much of a problem. 

Pros and Cons of the Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe


  • Fits wide feet
  • Great heel
  • Rigid


  • Can’t fit thin cracks
  • Not Sensitive 

How does the Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe Compare?

Instinct VS Vapor V

The Instinct ends up being a much better climbing shoe for pocket climbing. It has a better downturn which gives a good deal more support while it is in the pocket, and it also has a better length and shape for pocket climbing at the toe. You want a good, talon like design for pocket climbing, and the Scarpa Vapor V doesn’t have that like the Instinct. 

However, the Vapor is a little bit more comfortable than the Instinct and you’ll be able to climb a little longer without taking breaks when you are climbing. 

Instinct VS Drago 

If you are looking for a climbing shoe that has great sensitivity, meaning that you will be able to feel hard to find ledges and hard to hold onto surfaces very well, then the Scarpa Drago is a good bet. 

It’s a lot more sensitive than the Instinct, but you’ll want to watch out, as increased sensitivity also makes the shoe tough to climb for long on harsher surfaces. 

For edging, the Instinct is much better. With the Drago’s high sensitivity compared to the Instinct’s high support, the Instinct takes the cake when you are looking for a shoe that will improve your edging ability.

Instinct VS Veloce

For cracks and comfort, the Instinct and the Scarpa Veloce both rank very similarly. You’ll have pretty high comfort with both these shoes, but not too much performance ability with crack climbing. 

Where these shoes differ are pocket climbing and sensitivity. For pocket climbs, you’ll definitely want the Instinct over the Volace, as the talon like toe will be able to help you, whereas the Volace doesn’t have this. 

As for sensitivity, the Voice beats out the Instinct by a good margin. You’re going to be a good bit more adept at feeling and finding tough ledges. 

Instinct VS Chimera

The Scarpa Chimera is one of the most expensive climbing shoes out there. You would be hard pressed to find a higher priced piece of gear. However, this high price tag contributes to its great performance. It beats out the Instinct in the edging department because of its awesome and expensive design. 

The Instinct isn’t going to be that much more comfortable than the Chimera, but it does rank a little bit higher in that area. Unless you’re a very experienced climber, you probably won’t feel much difference, but a more experienced climber will most likely be able to tell the difference. 

What’s the Verdict on Scarpa Instinct VS Climbing Shoe?

Great Edging, Ok at Pockets, Super Comfortable

With its unique design creating a stiffness that doesn’t diminish comfort, the Instinct is great at edging and will give a great climb if you are having trouble making your way through difficult terrain. 

Pockets won’t be your best friend, but with its longer, supportive toe, you’ll still be able to get support where other shoes might be giving you trouble in this area. 

The shoe won’t comfort too well to your foot due to its lack of real leather, but if you spend enough time sizing your shoe correctly, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you.