Who should buy the Scarpa Instinct S

The Instinct S revels in its ability to send steep sport-type climbs. Purchase it if:

  • Slip-on climbing shoes are what you prefer, especially those that don't become baggy too soon.
  • You need extra heel-hooking grip on your go-to bouldering route.
  • Edges of varying sizes dot the rock you wish to scale.

Scarpa Instinct S buy

Who should not buy it

Trade the Scarpa Instinct S ($199) for the Cobra from La Sportiva ($120) if you want a significantly budget-friendlier pair. Also, you're better off with the Scarpa Instinct VSR if adjustability is a huge deal to you.

Scarpa Instinct S nob

Updates to the Scarpa Instinct S

Compared to its previous build, the Instinct S (2022) has a wider toe patch, which translates to more toeing traction, even on irregularly shaped footholds. This part and the shoe's heel rubber are also now perforated, giving climbers extra adaptability when heel and toe jamming.

Scarpa Instinct S updates

Incredible surface traction

Reviewers, including a gear pundit, find the Instinct S exceptionally grippy. They back that observation with the following remarks:

  • "The M50 rubber on the side panels is super sticky."
  • "Brilliant for things like toe hooking."
  • "Sticks to everything."

Scarpa Instinct S stick

Scarpa Instinct S equals cranked-up sensitivity

An expert says that the Instinct S is "a massive step up in terms of both performance and sensitivity." According to the same reviewer, the shoe's responsiveness makes the shoe at home on gritstone and sandstone. A vlogger, on the other hand, is just happy about the shoe's high sensitivity, hailing the shoe as "fun to climb in."

Scarpa Instinct S sense

A giver on the comfort front

"They get progressively more comfortable and supple," says a blogger. Also, a non-professional reviewer reassures with this comment: "it is tight yet comfortable."

Scarpa Instinct S comf

Quite an expensive Scarpa climbing shoe

The 199-dollar asking price of the Instinct S may be a bit too much for a lot of people. In comparison, the average price of moderate climbing shoes is only $148. For rock shoes that don't break the bank, check out our budget-friendly bunch.

 Scarpa Instinct S expensa

Locked-in heel in every pair

A critic says that Scarpa has done "a truly amazing job" of creating an amazing heel. He says that the heel doesn't pull away on daring heel maneuvers. "They fit like a glove, even on heel hooks," says another.

Scarpa Instinct S heel

Very confidence-inspiring on the edges

A professional vlogger is convinced that the Scarpa Instinct S has a powerful toe zone for edge-type features, saying it's "great for those small edges or pebbles."

Scarpa Instinct S edge

The eye-catching Scarpa Instinct S

With comments like "it looks unbelievably cool" and "the best-looking shoes I've ever owned," it's safe to say that the Scarpa Instinct S has the aesthetics to match its incredible climbing performance.

Those with a low instep beware

Like most slip-ons, the Instinct S can only do so much when it comes to giving the midfoot a snug hug, given that it lacks straps or laces to dial in its fit.

Facts / Specs

Weight: Men 8.5oz
Base model: Scarpa Instinct
Construction: Lace-to-toe
Closure: Slip-on
Fit: Performance fit
Downturn: Moderate
Environment: Indoor, Outdoor

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Teddy Dondanville
Teddy Dondanville

Teddy is a professionally trained Apprentice Rock Guide with the American Mountain Guides Association and a Wilderness First Responder with the National Outdoor Leadership School. Besides guiding outdoor rock climbing, Teddy also has years of experience in route setting and coaching climbing indoors. Through his guiding, route setting, and coaching, Teddy has experimented with climbing shoes for over a decade.