scarpa instinct s review

The 2022 Scarpa Instinct S: A Game Changer for Climbers

If you’re a climbing enthusiast, you’re likely familiar with the Scarpa Instinct line, and the latest addition to this family, the Instinct S, is turning heads in the climbing community. In this article, we’ll delve into the basics of the new (2022) Scarpa Instinct S climbing shoe, its pros and cons, and why it might be a game-changer for climbers of all levels.

A Brief Introduction

The new Instinct S is the third iteration of Scarpa’s iconic Instinct line, which has been a staple in the climbing world for over a decade. This slipper-style climbing shoe is designed to cater to a wide range of climbing styles, from steep sport routes to bouldering and gym climbing. Let’s break down the key features of this shoe:

Design and Materials

The Instinct S boasts a microfiber upper, which is both lightweight and durable. It features an Alcantara leather toe patch in the footbed, providing extra durability and precision where it’s needed most. The shoe also comes equipped with a 3.5 mm XS Grip 2 half sole for exceptional grip on a variety of surfaces.

Unique Tension System

One of the standout features of the Instinct S is its Combined Tension System (CTS) rand. This system combines two rubbers with different hardness and elasticity properties: Ilga rubber, known for its tension, and M50, Scarpa’s softest compound. This combination results in a shoe that offers both sensitivity and support.

Closure Technology

The Instinct S incorporates Reinforced Elastic Band technology (REB) over the “stretch gauntlet” (tongue) to limit lateral stretch. This feature enhances the shoe’s overall performance and stability, especially during heel hooking and toe-scumming.

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Pros of the Instinct S

Now that we have a general overview of the shoe, let’s dive into the pros that make the Instinct S stand out:

Versatile Performance

The Instinct S is a remarkably versatile climbing shoe. It excels on a wide range of terrains, from vertical faces to overhanging routes. Climbers can confidently tackle everything from technical face climbs to kneebars and longer pitches with these shoes.

Sensitivity and Feedback

One of the key strengths of the Instinct S is its high level of sensitivity. Climbers will appreciate the ample feedback the shoe provides, allowing for precise and confident movements on the rock.

Comfortable Fit

The shoe’s accommodating fit is a boon for climbers with wider feet. It offers a comfortable and intuitive feel, ensuring minimal stretch over time. This comfort is crucial for prolonged climbing sessions.

Agile Performance

The Instinct S shines in agile movements, including heel hooking, heel-toes, and scumming. Climbers can expect the shoe to adapt to various climbing techniques, making it suitable for modern bouldering and gym climbing.

Cons to Consider

While the Instinct S offers impressive performance, there are a few cons to consider:

Fit for Wider Feet

Climbers with narrow feet may find the Instinct S to be too wide, although it’s important to note that it never feels baggy. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Sharpness of Toe

Although the toe of the Instinct S is sharper than its predecessor, it may not be as razor-sharp as some other climbing shoes on the market, such as the Instinct VSR or Lace. Climbers who prioritize micro-edging might prefer other options.

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Initial Clunkiness

Despite its overall front-to-back flexibility, some climbers may find the half-sole area initially clunky for smearing. However, this tends to improve with use as the shoe breaks in.

Our Verdict

In summary, the Scarpa Instinct S occupies a sweet spot in the world of climbing shoes. It caters to slipper enthusiasts who prioritize sensitivity and feedback while still requiring solid support for technical climbs. While not as stiff as the original Instinct S, these shoes shine in various aspects, including grabbing, heel-hooking, toe-scumming, and heel-toes. Climbers with wider feet will particularly appreciate the fit, and thanks to the REB technology, the shoes maintain their shape and minimize stretching over time. For many, the Instinct S represents a significant improvement over its predecessor, making it an excellent choice for all-around climbing performance.

Additional Details

  • Size Reviewed: 41
  • Weight: 17 oz (size 41)
  • Price: $199
  • Brand: Scarpa


In the world of climbing, having the right gear can make all the difference in your performance. The 2022 Scarpa Instinct S is a testament to the brand’s commitment to innovation and excellence. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or just starting out, the Instinct S has the potential to elevate your climbing experience to new heights.

For those looking to access this incredible climbing shoe and take their climbing to the next level, Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the versatility and performance of the Instinct S for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is the Instinct S suitable for beginners? While the Instinct S offers excellent performance, it may be better suited for intermediate to advanced climbers who can fully utilize its features.
  2. How does the Instinct S compare to other shoes in the Instinct line? The Instinct S strikes a balance between sensitivity and support, making it stand out in the Instinct family.
  3. Can the Instinct S handle outdoor climbing as well as indoor climbing? Yes, the Instinct S is designed for both indoor and outdoor climbing, making it a versatile choice for climbers.
  4. Is there a significant difference between the Instinct S and its predecessor, the Instinct SR? Yes, the Instinct S offers improvements in fit, sensitivity, and overall performance compared to the Instinct SR.
  5. What sizes are available for the Instinct S? The Instinct S is available in various sizes to accommodate a wide range of foot shapes and sizes. Be sure to choose the size that fits you best for optimal performance.

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