Scarpa - New For Spring 2016
Latest in our look at the new gear for early 2016 at the recent OutDoor trade show in Germany is Scarpa, the classic Italian outdoor footwear specialist and there was a fair bit to look at too, with new approach shoes, a European-designed trail running range and revamped Phantom mountaineering boots.
Zodiac Gets Tweaked
The Zodiac approach shoe is a current model, but it's been overhauled for next spring. The original idea behind the shoe was that it has the stiffness of a B3, crampon-compatible mountain boot underfoot, but with all the ankle mobility and dexterity you'd expect from a shoe.
It uses Scarpa's Sock Fit technology for comfort and heel fit in particular and is a handy partner for via ferratas and scrambles. For 2016 the concept stays the same as does the suede outer, but the shoe's been restyled with different stitch-lines on the upper and it's also stiffer and lighter than before, plus it has a new Vibram sole unit.
Finally, in addition to the shoe, there's a new Zodiac Mid - same chassis, higher ankle - that looks the beans and should keep your ankles scuff free, but adds to the price at £199.99 compared to the shoe at £144.99. The shoes come in men's and women's versions, the Mid (main pic) for men only.
Phantom Boots Revised
Also heavily re-done for next spring is the super-technical Phantom mountaineering series with its integral gaiter and multilayered upper. Again the boots have been lightened up, made warmer, have a full carbon sole stiffener underfoot and feature a fully waterproof and very expensive zip.
That zip is the most obvious visual change, rather than sitting centrally, it curls round the side of the ankle, though Scarpa says it actually means the zip sits straight.
As with the existing Phantoms there's a Phantom 8,000 aimed at full-on Himalayan mountaineering, the 6000 which caters for slightly lower Andean-type terrain - 'mid-height peaks of the greater ranges' says Scarpa - and finally the Phantom Tech which replaces the current Guide model and is an all-round winter mountaineering lightweight that's at home anywhere from Scotland in winter to the Alps.
Prices will be £525 for the Tech, £600 for the 6000 and £750 for the 8000.
Alpine Running Range
Scarpa's done trail running before, but the previous Spark was developed with the North American market in mind, though we really liked it anyway. The new generation of shoe was developed in Europe and has been tagged as an 'alpine running range'.
There are three levels of shoe in the collection. The Proton, which is aimed at relative novices, the Neutron for more regular runners and the Atom, which is the lightest and most serious shoe in the collection. The heel to toe drop changes through the range from a very conventional 10mm for the entry-level Proton, 6mm for the intermediate Neutron and a 'near to zero' 4mm for the Atom.
Like we said, we liked the Spark, so it'll be interesting to see how the new shoes compare.
New Gecko Approach Shoe
Finally there's a classy-looking new approach shoe called the Gecko complete with a leather upper, rock boot-style forefoot lacing toe protection and a sticky rubber sole with a smooth climbing zone area under the big toe.
You could probably climb in it, but we suspect it'll be a lifestyle sort of shoe for a fair few buyers. In both men's and women's versions, as are the running shoes.
All the above new models are due out in early 2016. Current Scarpa range at www.scarpa.co.uk