Editors' Choice 2019: Scarpa Instinct SR Review

Our top climbing gear picks of 2019
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The Scarpa Instinct SR climbing shoe.

The Scarpa Instinct SR climbing shoe.


The shoes in the Instinct line—especially the “orange slippers,” the original Instinct S—have for a decade been my redpoint weapons for vert and overhanging terrain, both bouldering and sport. I have a high-volume foot and climb short, highstepping and driving my toe onto holds to extend my reach; with their mild downturn and hyper-precise edging (odd for a slipper, but it’s true—I’ve climbed 5.13 slabs in them), the Instinct S suited my style. The new SR keeps the same Bi-Tension active rand that funnels power into your big toe but steps things up big time in the heel and toe departments, adding a built-up, lower-volume heel and extending the toe-hooking patch over the forefoot—think of the SR as a “slipper-plus” jessery machine. As such, your former size may be hard to get on, but I’d go with it and size small for max precison—embrace the break-in pain. The 3.5mm XS Grip 2 sole was plenty sensitive, and as for overall performance—well, this new version of an old friend climbed better than ever on everything I threw at it, from sandstone thin face, to gym steeps, to slippery Eldo boulders.

$175, scarpa.com

See more of our top climbing gear picks in the Gear Guide 2019: Editors' Choice Awards, and listen to our latest podcast for an interview with Black Diamond's climbing category director Kolin Powick.