Having recently had an excruciatingly painful half marathon experience running in my trusty Salomon Speedcross 3’s I decided, much to my other halfs chaigrin, that a new pair of heavy trail shoes was in order. My Speedcross’s have done me proud at the Meon Valley Plod during the winter but I’m guessing that they’re really a half size too small as during the summer months my feet get hotter and as a result swell up more. They’re also very narrow, unlike my feet, so not the best recipe, but you just can’t argue with the levels of grip they provide.
What I needed was something similar to my Hoka Rapa Nui’s fit and comfort wise but with a stink load more grip and able to cope with the muddiest of trails. I had originally thought of some different Hoka’s, like ATR’s or Mafate Speed Trails but they’re more light trail by the looks of the grip, they didn’t look close to the Speedcross in terms of sole. So my list of requirements looked something like this
- Wide toe box
- Chunky grip
- Lowish drop
- Durable and hard wearing
- Good cushioning
Not too much for ask for really, or at least so I thought. Having a look around there were a few offerings available including Innov8 Mudclaws, these looked ideal but for the lack of cushioning. I’m not the smallest of runners and I do like a bit of cushioning. This is when I found the Scott Kinabalu Sportrac’s. They seemed to fit the bill nicely, all of the boxes apparently ticked so a purchase was made. Seeing as my other half reads this page from time to time I’ll just state that the cost was reasonable!
As you can see from the picture they’re a nice looking shoe but that’s just my personal opinion and as they’re going on my feet that’s all that matters. I like the detailing and lettering on them, I also like the fact that I don’t often see others wearing them, though that could be for a good reason, they may be crap! The toe box is wide enough for me, much wider that the Speedcross and is tough and well reinforced.
Flipping the shoe over to examine the grip you can see why I bought these, check out those lugs! My rubbish picture really doesn’t do them justice. These things are on a par with the Speedcross, monster truck tyres is what sprang to mind when I first unboxed them. These should allow me to plough through pretty much any trail with the sure footed confidence of an overweight mountain goat!
This picture, again not brilliant, shows off the reinforced toe box nicely, as well as the comfortable upper. It’s a breathable mesh upper, with a nicely padded tongue, weirdly nice feeling laces, they feel really thin, yet strong and textured, so unlikely to come undone. There’s also a little elastic lace lock to tuck them into, handy. Whilst wearing them round the house, as you do, they felt ridiculously comfortable and well fitting around the heel. Other things to mention, like the Hoka’s I love these have a rocker type sole, which help if you’re a bit of a heel striker. The drop is slightly higher than my usual Hoka’s at 8mm but that’s not a big issue, they feel very comfortable and are neutral.
So far I’ve taken them out on most surfaces you’d care to think of, from grass playing fields, to the hills and climbs of QE country park and the South Downs Way, on to tarmac roads and hard packed paths and they’ve coped admirably with everything I’ve encountered so far. I was surprised at how they felt on the tarmac sections, with the big lugs I’d expected them to feel a bit squirmy but they didn’t. I’ve yet to try them on wet Tarmac, that could be more troublesome, but given how they felt in the clay mud at QE I reckon they’ll be fine. These really do feel like I could go anywhere in them. Longest run I’ve done in them so far has been about 6 reasonably hilly miles for just over an hours duration, multi surface but no thick mud, well it is summer after all.
So initial thoughts are that these are a really capable, comfortable and grippy trail shoe. Time will tell, once I get to splash through muddy puddles I’ll really be able to review these properly, but first impressions are that these will cope with absolutely anything I can chuck at them. Currently these are my go to shoes for trail running. I’m really looking forward to racking up a few more miles, putting these through their paces when the weather turns and updating this review when more data has been collected.
I’ve not done a product review before so slightly out of my comfort zone here, hopefully this is of help to someone. I’m certainly not an expert, I’m a middle pack runner at best, so take this as a review from a normal punter!