The Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC is different to any other trail shoe I’ve worn before. Named after the mountain in Malaysia, rich in mythology and layers of mystery with an elevation of 4095 metres, the highly technical shoe named in its honour also has layers of complexity, making it a shoe designed for performance.
Upon putting the shoe on, I was surprised how it envelops the whole foot and how well it fits. As someone with a supinating action (lands on the outside of my foot before rolling back in towards the ball of the foot) and lands on my toes with very little secondary heel strike, I immediately notice cushioning (or lack of it) in the forefoot of a shoe. Not these, the Kinabalu Ultra RC is evenly cushioned with a very high 8mm drop, yet it has the lightness of a minimalist shoe. Maybe that’s because of its rocker shape and flat sole that helps spread the impact of every footfall. My high arches are snuggled comfortably against the footbed, and my toes aren’t restricted.
Designed specifically for longer events, including 50 and 100 milers, I have found that I can wear them all day at work before heading out the door for a road or trail run (or both!) and they feel as cosy at the end of the day as they did that morning. The Kinetic Foam cushioning is responsive (returning 14% more energy, apparently) plus the straight-line power transfer means there are no hotspots or areas of my foot that doesn’t feel protected. Talking of protection, the flexible toe guard ensures my toes are safe from the accidental rock kicks that I am very much in the habit of doing when on trails.
What I have really valued is the flexibility this shoe provides. It is at home on the road as it is on trail without any compromise to performance. Ideal for track sessions where you may be warming up on grass and transitioning on the rubber then back onto the road home. I love that I can head out the door, run a few kilometres to the trailhead and then have the confidence and responsiveness of a trail shoe at a fraction of the weight of others (it’s only 230g!)
Other bits I love, that can make or break my relationship with a trail shoe, is that the laces DO NOT come undone and sit snugly over the cushioned tongue – no more sore spots on the top of my foot! The rock-plate is unnoticeable except for the fact that I don’t feel the impact of hard or sharp surfaces underfoot. Plus, when I come back from a dry dusty trail, my socks are not filled with silt, thanks to the “Ultra Mesh”.
I would highly recommend this shoe for those who have a mid to high arch, normal to narrow foot, who like the feel of a road shoe and want cushioning without losing their speed or agility