As winter transitions to spring here in the Colorado front range, and thoughts turn more and more to the rock, we were excited here at SCARPA to find out this week that one of the more unique rock shoes in our collection, the Instinct S, received an Editor’s Choice from Urban Climber Magazine. The award is outlined in its 2011 spring gear guide, which just hit the streets.
Urban Climber this year put out what it calls an ‘easily digestible’ gear guide – that is, not a lot of in-depth explanation dedicated to each piece of gear in the gear guide – more the basic facts on the gear the editorial team thought the best and most notable for 2011. So, beyond the award and a few key pieces of info (price, basic specs, and that it’s good for steep bouldering, sport climbing and plastic), there wasn’t a lot of explanation about what the construction is that makes the Instinct S unique. Which is cool – we’ll take the accolades, short explanation or long!
But, by way of calling out what does make this shoe so unique – and one of the things we suspect made the editors over at UC like it – the upper on the Instinct S is made primarily of Lorica (there’s no leather at all). Lorica is a synthetic material that has good stretch, but won’t stretch out over time. That means it conforms to an individual foot, but remains snug and performance-oriented, since it won’t stretch out like leather over time.
Now that’s not to say leather is bad – it’s good, and we use it in a lot of our shoes, because stretch means a shoe can conform to your foot. But in a slipper, where there’s no mechanical system like laces or velcro to adjust for stretch, Lorica makes a lot of sense. SCARPA Climbing Line Manager Heinz Mariacher thought that Lorica, combined with the elastic over the forefoot, would be great recipe for a performance-oriented slipper.
Apparently Mariacher knows a thing or two about climbing shoe design …
The resulting rock shoe, which uses a 3 mm Vibram XS grip rubber sole, is the most sensitive shoe in the SCARPA climbing line. And that’s something that certainly resonates in the bouldering/sport world.