In its Spring trail-running footwear guide, Runner’s World Magazine named SCARPA’s Spark trail runner as ‘Best Debut’ in new trail shoes for 2012. The annual April issue that features the season’s best trail shoes came out this week.
“The shoe offers impressive protection from sharp trail obstacles, thanks to a plate under the forefoot and wide overlays at the base of the upper,” Runner’s World wrote. “With all that, the shoe weighs just 9.7 ounces … Bottom Line: A lightweight trainer ideal for steep, shale-covered trails.”
SCARPA, well-known for its dominance in hiking, backpacking, skiing, mountaineering and rock climbing footwear, first developed a more comprehensive line of trail runner’s starting four years ago. Each year it has grown the collection, and for 2012 it introduced four new models – including the men’s and women’s Spark – driven by its ‘Mountain Minimal’ philosophy. SCARPA Mountain Minimal strives to build very lightweight trail shoes, but footwear that still retains a sufficient level of midsole cushioning and sole traction for true mountain running in rugged terrain.
“At SCARPA, we build the highest-performance mountain footwear, whether that’s for the trail, rock, snow or ice, and we’ve invested a lot in the last four years in making sure our trail-running program competes right up there at the same level as our ski boots and hiking footwear,” said Mark Mathews, Director of Summer Product Development for SCARPA North America. “So we’re obviously gratified to see North America’s most widely read running magazine recognize the work we’ve put into developing the Spark.”
Mathews said the ‘Mountain Minimal’ theme for SCARPA’s new line was designed to reflect the company’s perspective on the minimalism trend.
“There’s no doubt that minimal is here to stay, and it’s led to a lot of innovations in lightweight footwear,” he said. “However, with our mountain heritage at SCARPA, we were very careful not to go too far with the minimal philosophy. All of our shoes have to perform on rugged trails, and that means providing the appropriate levels of support, protection and traction, even if it’s in a lightweight package like the Spark. We feel like we struck the right balance with this shoe.”
The SCARPA Spark features a new midsole and outside package that is lower to the ground, and features a 6mm drop from heel to forefoot. That combination allows runners to have superior feel and lighter weight for running on the forefoot or mid-foot, yet still allows sufficient cushioning for runners if they employ a heel strike during a long-distance mountain run. Along with its low-profile midsole, the Spark employs reduced foam thickness in the tongue and ankle collar, as well as a lightweight high-tensile fabric forefoot strike plate. Construction is synthetic leather and polyester mesh for quick drying. Adhering to SCARPA’s Planet Friendly guidelines, construction is 30 to 40 percent recycled-content materials, and the midsoles add EcoPure® for quick breakdown under landfill conditions. They retail for $115.