Scarpa Spark, $115
Weight – M: 9.5 oz; W: 8.2 oz.
Fit: The Spark has a snug heel and midfoot fit and a slightly wider toe box that allows for the inevitable toe-stubbing and foot swelling on rugged mountain routes.
Feel: The Spark is a surprisingly light and agile shoe built for technical mountain trails, one that offers both a good amount of protection and durability without sacrificing the flexibility needed for nimble movements and precise footsteps on craggy trails. One of the keys to the Spark’s agility is its moderate heel-forefoot drop (only 6mm), which helps ensure flat, stable foot placements on unstable terrain.
Ride: The Spark is a departure of sorts, both for Scrapa and for a true mountain running shoe, in that it offers sufficient flexibility and agility while still offering plenty of stability, protection and cushioning. It’s most at home on more technical or very rugged terrain, but it will start to feel like a bit too much shoe on smooth terrain or roads. The low-profile outsole lugs offer good traction on a variety of surfaces and, combined with a flexible nylon protection plate buried in the midfoot, keep sharp objects from painfully poking the bottom of your feet.
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