Scott T2 Kinabalu Review

If Master speedster Meghan Arbogast and Sage Canaday are wearing Scott shoes, I asked myself why I hadn’t tried any on recently.

Surely they have choices in companies they wear and support and it’d be worth my while to at least try them, right? Let’s see how it goes!

With full disclosure, these shoes were provided to me by Scott with zero expectation of a positive review, much less a review at all.

First Impressions

P1070211Holy crap, these are bright shoes. Blue and orange and yellow with polka dots and all sorts of colors popped out of the box, but hey, they match my Ultimate Direction SJ Essential pack perfectly!

I was initially disappointed at how stiff and rigid they felt, until I realized that was just the hard-paper stuffing inside the shoe. D’oh!  They felt light, but not Green Silence light, and the rigidity–even with the stuffing removed–was a bit more than I’m used to.   In short, I wasn’t blown away by them as I held them in my living room.

First Run

I only ran in these for 2 short runs (one 7 miles, one 3 miles) before racing in them at Lake Sonoma 50 miler.  One immediate thing I liked is the little extra loop Scott sewed into the (non gusseted) tongue in which to tuck your shoe lace loops. Very simple and very cool.

On these taper runs, the shoes gave me no immediate issues at all. No weird rubbing, no archP1070212 anomalies, no hotspots, and no “damn these are too stiff and heavy” quirks that I’ve occasionally felt with other shoes.  They also felt light and cushiony, two factors I knew I’d appreciate 6 hours into a race. After just a short time in them warming up, I was already impressed.

Fit

I wear a 12 (narrow if you’ve got it) in nearly all shoe brands (NB, Brooks, Montrail, Asics) and this fit me a tiny, tiny bit snug during my first few runs. Nothing to be alarmed about, but I was a bit concerned with wearing them for a 50 and having my feet swell. After wearing them, P1070208I’d still stick with a 12, but if you’re on the fence, size up.  They also fit nice and snug around my forefoot with more of a racing flat style fit than a trainer. If you’ve got wide feet, I’d recommend trying them on before purchasing, but if you’re neutral or narrow, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Feel

This isn’t a minimalist shoe at all, but is a far cry from an over-developed stability trainer. Scott describes it as a lightweight trail machine and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. At just over 11.5 oz for a size 12, the shoe disappeared on my foot, and that’s exactly how I want it.  I’d compare the feel to somewhere between a Montrail Rogue Fly (for the upper feel and fit) and a Brooks Green Silence (for the cushioning.)  Those are both two of my favorite shoes, so you probably know where this is going…

In terms of cushioning, Scott used Aerofoam to provide ample bounce, while not bogging it down with extra weight and doodads, and my legs appreciated it.  With all the ups and downs at Lake Sonoma, my legs never tired from impact.

I hadn’t even looked at the drop of the shoe until I started writing this review, and it shocked P1070207me.  I don’t know the last time I wore an 11mm drop shoe, and frankly, if I’d known before hand I probably would have let it cloud my perception of the shoes and my running.

When I’m in a shoe store, I generally pick up a shoe and flex it around in my hands. Can I roll it up? How much can I twist it? This has been a large part of my “trying on” decisions in the past, and this shoe wouldn’t have passed muster–even after removing the stuffing. However, once it’s on and running, there’s little rigidity to it. It’s supple and nimble and plenty flexible.

Tread

This isn’t a road shoe or even a hybrid shoe.  Here is the roadie equivalent.  This sucker is meant for the trails, be they dirt, rocks, or river.

The T2 Kinabalu has got a solid rock plate on the forefoot and nicely separated lugs on the bottom that span from heel to toe to get you moving up the hills while controlling the downs. P1070210I’ve had zero issues with any terrain type.

At the first water crossing I remember thinking Oh hell, I haven’t dunked these yet…do these suckers drain? as I went plunging through the calf-height stream. They sloshed for a minute then dried out completely via some holes at the front and the rear. Whew!

Final Thoughts

This is my new semi-light trail racer that I’ll choose before others in my closet.  It’s light, grippy, nimble, and drainy, without having any hotspots or weird issues.  Not having tried any other Scott products, I wasn’t sure what to expect quality-wise, but I’m impressed. No issues whatsoever.

I’d highly recommend this shoe for trail races or quick trail runs from 30k-50M for runners who like a light and tight shoe without too much fuss. Final note: This is the shoe Sage Canaday was wearing at his record breaking Lake Sonoma performance.

 

 

 

 

 

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