scarpa ribelle run
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Scarpa Surprises With ‘Ribelle Run’ Record-Setting Trail Shoe: Review

Scarpa may not be at the top of the list for many when it comes to trail/mountain running shoes, but with the release of the Ribelle Run, it absolutely should be.

I’ve always been a huge Scarpa fan. For over a decade, they’ve made some of the best mountaineering, skiing, climbing, and hiking shoes. But in terms of tried-and-true trail running shoes, the brand just hasn’t had the same popularity.

Fellow European brands like Salomon and La Sportiva have largely taken the limelight. But that’s all about to change.

Scarpa Invests in Trail Running

Back in the spring of 2019, the tide started to turn for Scarpa trail running products when it introduced the Spin Ultra. Well-received among shoe reviewers, the Spin Ultra is a well-protected, high-mileage, and stable trail runner.

There’s no doubt the Spin Ultra moved the needle for Scarpa closer to competitors Salomon and La Sportiva.

In a further effort to catch up to its European counterparts, Scarpa brought on six-time mountain running world champion Marco De Gasperi in the spring of 2020 as brand manager for the trail running category.

His flagship project became the Scarpa Ribelle Run. With this shoe, De Gasperi would go on to set the Sentiero Roma FKT in 7 hours 53 minutes and 41 seconds.

Scarpa Ribelle Run Trail Shoe Review

Scarpa Ribelle Run: Specs

  • Weight: 10.6 oz. (men) / 9.2 oz. (women’s)
  • Drop: 4 mm
  • Stack Height: 20.5mm toe / 24.5mm heel
  • Price: $139

If looks could kill, the Ribelle Run would be the Grim Reaper. It’s an incredibly sharp-looking shoe. Running aside, I can imagine these in mountain towns and on the feet of mountain guides everywhere.

De Gasperi’s influence on Scarpa’s trail running shows. The Ribelle Run is a very different feeling shoe from all other Scarpa trail runners. The words soft and nimble come to mind — words I would never have used to describe a Scarpa running shoe in the past.

I tend to favor performance-oriented trail shoes over stable and protective, so the Ribelle Run is right up my alley.

marco de gasperi run - scarpa ribelle run
(Photo/Scarpa)

Performance & Feel

Scarpa pins the Ribelle Run as an “ideal choice for short to medium distance training and racing in rugged, rocky terrain.” I wouldn’t classify it as a lightweight racing shoe — at 10.6 ounces, it’s just too heavy for that in my opinion.

However, you can push them pretty damn hard for a shoe of that weight, and they’ll respond.

scarpa ribelle run shoes
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Their sweet spot isn’t just limited to rugged, rocky terrain, either. I found them quite enjoyable on everything from soft fire roads to the rock-hard technical dirt trails of Santa Barbara, California.

Underfoot, the EVA midsole is on the softer end of the cushioning spectrum for a Scarpa trail running shoe. A modest 20.5mm/24.5mm stack height keeps you close to the ground for better sensitivity. Ideal for the type of precision needed to navigate through technical terrain.

scarpa ribelle run shoes - outsole
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Scarpa engineers opted for an in-house branded outsole called Presa TRN-01 over the ever-popular Vibram. I must say, the grip is quite impressive over rock.

I found the Presa rubber much softer than Vibram, allowing for better adhesion and adaptability over rocky terrain. They tended to skid through steep, loose sand and kitty-litter-type terrain, but that’s expected from most shoes with 4mm lugs.

scarpa ribelle run shoes - gusseted ankle collar
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Construction & Fit

The upper is minimal and made with flexible mesh PU film and tough ripstop all connected via a speedlace system. An elastic gusseted ankle collar, which feels like neoprene wetsuit material, is integrated with the tongue, making it nearly impossible for trail debris to get in.

A thick black band of TPU rand that’s inspired by climbing shoes wraps around the back of the shoe to further lock down the heel during toe off.

In terms of fit, Scarpa shoes have always offered a more generous width than La Sportiva and Salomon, and the Ribelle Run is no exception. Those who struggle to find medium-wide trail shoes, look no further.

Historically, I’ve gotten away with a EURO 42 in Scarpa trail shoes; however, in the Ribelle Run, a 41.5 more than did the trick. In fact, I wonder if a 41 may even work. So, if you’re between sizes, I’d opt for the smaller size.

scarpa's ribelle run shoes
(Photo/Cory Smith)

Scarpa Ribelle Run Review: Conclusion

The Ribelle Run is Scarpa’s best trail/mountain running shoe to date. Priced at $139, it’s also one of the best-valued shoes.

If the Ribelle Run is any indication of things to come from Scarpa’s trail running category with De Gasperi at the helm, there’s no doubt you’ll be seeing a lot more Scarpa on the feet of ultra, trail, and mountain runners.

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Cory Smith
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Cory Smith is a Santa Barbara, California-based athlete, online running coach, and freelance journalist specializing in running- and climbing-related content and gear reviews. He draws from over 25 years as an elite runner and rock climber for ideas, inspiration, and expertise. Check out his portfolio here.