I recently had the opportunity to try out the new SCARPA Spark trail running shoes. SCARPA is a 70 year old Italian shoe company, best known for its rock climbing and hiking shoes. The SCARPA Spark is the lightest of SCARPA’s trail running shoes and was recently recognized by Runner’s World as the Best Debut in the Trail Running category. Here’s a link to their video review of the SCARPA Spark.
The Spark is lightweight at 9.7 oz. and has a roomy toe box. The sole is relatively thin and flexible for a trail running shoe and has triangular-shaped lugs for multi-directional traction. It has a 6 mm heel-to-toe drop, producing what SCARPA calls a “Mountain Minimal” profile for mid-foot or fore-foot runners, but has enough cushioning in the heel for some heel striking.
I’ve run in SCARPA Sparks on the road, on gravel, and on dirt. The shoes were very comfortable and traction was excellent on all surfaces. They aren’t as thin as the New Balance Minimus Trail shoes, which allow you to feel every rock, root, and pebble you step on.
The shoes are available for men and women and retail for about $115. They should compete well against lightweight, low-profile trail running shoes shoes like the Brooks PureGrit and the Asics Gel Fuji Racer.
Disclosure: I received a pair of SCARPA Spark shoes for evaluation.