Review: Scarpa Instinct SR

Slip on and go.

Introducing Scarpa’s newest shoe to the Instinct line. The Scarpa Instinct SR is a performance shoe designed for the gym, but I did not limit it to indoor climbing. I tested this shoe on routes ranging from steep overhanging tufas to slippery Squamish granite slabs and boulders. Having a shoe that is quick to get on and off that doesn’t cut you on performance means you can try hard all day.

Edging power on limestone

Scarpa Instinct SR Specifications:

  • Last: FV – moderately downturned, moderately asymmetric
  • Rand: Bi-Tension
  • Sole: Vibram® XS Grip 2 (3.5mm)
  • Upper: Microsuede

Shoe Construction:

The super grippy XS Grip 2 rubber on the bottom is carried over the toe, making it great for toe hooks. The heel goes on with a pop and locks your foot in. I should note that because this a slip on shoe, it can be very tight at first and requires a break in period. I did go a half size bigger than other Scarpa shoes I’ve worn in the past.

With its asymmetrical moderately downturned shape, this shoe will fit a wide range of climbers. The upper is built from 5 panels of microsuede. The REB reinforced elastic closure holds your foot firmly in place.

I really like how Scarpa designed this shoe with a seamless four-toe panel, which allows you to have maximum comfort and sensitivity when climbing.

Nic Vissers bouldering in Squamish testing out a pair of the Scarpa Instinct SR shoes. Photo: Andy Jackson


When someone thinks of a performance climbing shoe, they normally think of a shoe with sturdy laces or velcro to hold the shoe on sung. Saying slip-on and performance in the same sentence didn’t happen until recently. To be fair, a 5.10 Moc might not be a performance shoe but that doesn’t stop people from crushing in them.

I used the Scarpa Instinct SR on a wide range of rock types. Wooden holds in the gym, polished granite, steep limestone, the list goes on. After putting a hole in my first pair, I am happy to say I have picked up a second pair.

I could confidently stand on the smallest edges and smear on tiny crystals. The heel felt solid with no signs of slipping out.

My one complaint actually has to do with the logo. The Vibram® logo on the bottom of the shoe is placed under the front of the foot. Several times I found myself blowing feet and it took a little time to figure out why. Once I realized, I took some sandpaper to the logo, and problem solved!

Fit & Feel:

These shoes are made with microsuede and have an elastic closure, which creates a shoe that will fit a large range of climbers. Once you get past the break-in period of about 4-5 sessions, they offer good performance with decent comfort for a climbing shoe.



  • Quick on and off
  • Good performance
  • Well constructed


  • Longer then normal break-in period
  • slippery logo (you can sand it off though)

Overall: A solid shoe that’s easy to take on and off, ideal for bouldering and cragging.

Disclaimer: Black Sheep Adventure Sports was provided with a review sample but it did not influence our opinions in any way.