They’re bright…you can’t really miss them and there is little chance that you will ever loose them. The Scott kinabalu was launched at the end of May 2019 with the promise of being a complete redesign over its previous incarnations. And, yes, this is the case. It really is a whole new shoe taking the best of the technology that Scott offers and placing it into a design that in some ways harks back to the days of 20 odd years ago when shoes where made to be ran in. Fast feeling, responsive and light weight.
So let’s start with what Scott say:
The Outsole – Hybrid Traction. “This outsole is optimized for fast efficient running on man-made trails. Combining chevron cleats for straight-line power transfer with conical cleats that provide multi directional traction to support high speed cornering.”
The Midsole – Kinetic Foam. “Our new KINETIC FOAM returns 14% more energy than standard EVA foam. It results in a plush but stable and more dynamic ride.”
The Upper – Internal Fit System. “The all new Internal Fit System uses a special microfiber construction to lock your foot in place for performance runs at high speed.”
So how do they stack up?
As soon as you pick them up you realise that these are lightweight. At around 255 grams a pair (size 8ish) it feels like there is nothing to them. Yet there is so much going on in this shoe that I felt ‘It has to be tried to be belived as it really is the sum of its parts’.
OK, I am a fan of the Supertrac RC and am onto my third pair, so this should be fairly straight forward.
So out of the box and onto my foot. Not as comfortable! Just not the same fit, at all. Gone is that wrap around upper, it almost felt like wearing a pair of sandals. Odd yes.
Yet the shoe was secure, it was on. The outer layer of the upper almost looked baggy, yet not so on the feel. Definitely different, but not wrong, just unexpected.
Under foot you can tell the midsole is firm. The chevron shaped studs could not be felt at all. So all in all we are off to a good start.
Half a dozen test runs in and things are going well. Yes, the midsole is firm. It is also responsive, ‘pingy’ is a good way of describing things. You certainly do not feel that you are losing any of that all important push to a soft yielding midsole. On loose ground the midsole is low profile enough to be stable, at no time does this shoe feel ‘tippy’. Additionally, pointy rocks and stones could not reallybe felt, just enough ground feel was present. The feel is definitely a firmer ride than the Supertrac RC and if you prefer a more forgiving midsole then you may be better looking elsewhere.
The outsole, although described as best for the more man-made trail, is perhaps better than given credit for. Man-Made mountain tracks, yes I understand were Scott would be coming from. Yet this is the UK. We have less of those on our hillsides. So onto the genral trail of the Peak District we shall go. The studs coped well on prety much all terrain. Light mud, tick. Grass and loose surfaces are also dealt with comfortably.
Yes, compared to the Supertracs these will not cope as well on muudy ground, yet they were never designed for this. On wet rock, again not quite as good the Supertrac’s, which again are exceptional in that type of environment.
Overall, for what the shoe is designed for traction is good – especially if you want to put the ‘pedal to metal’. Speed came easily, a change of pace felt easy and controlled at all times with no hic cup from the shoes.
If you are after a faster feeling shoe for summer trails and man-made paths, including ‘slabs’ then these are worth checking out. Faster training runs and the Kinabalu RC 2.0 comes into it’s own. Trail Marathons should be fine, giving time to adjust to the shoe, there is enough here to cope. If it is going to be muddy, then stick to the Supertrac.
Best For: Pacey runs, or longer runs where you want to run light. A responsive shoe for drier trails and mountain tracks, especially those that are manicured.
Avoid if you are looking for super soft cushioning or something to handle oodles of mud.