By MPF RNR Athlete Iain Ridgway
After training on the roads all winter aiming for Boston Marathon I was suddenly called up for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad for the World Trail Running Championships in Annecy France in a little over 6 weeks time. Training was so focussed on the roads and Boston I did not even own a pair of trail running shoes. Needing to rapidly change my plans I dropped Boston Marathon for the inaugural Breakneck Trail Marathon in the Hudson Valley organised by Red Newt Racing, which boasted a good 12,000 feet of ascent in its 26-28 miles of rugged trails. Ian Golden from Finger Lakes Running Company provided me with a pair of Scott Kinabalu 3.0’s to try just before Breakneck, literally the night before, so I tested them straight out of the box on one of the most rugged trail marathons on the east coast of the USA.
The result was no blisters and a shoe I instantly loved. I ran that race hard, narrowly missing out on victory by 2 seconds and finished with no blisters and no falls. That race contains everything from fast smooth trails, to rock scrambling to super technical trails and the shoes felt great on all. Check out the video below for the last few miles of the race.
They are not super lightweight but are light enough whilst maintaining cushioning and support to provide support on very technical terrain. They come in at around 300g (10.7 oz). The big plus for me with the kinabalu’s is they are super versatile and more than sufficient for almost all trail conditions. I live in south Jersey so can train or race anywhere in the east coast from my local sandy Pine Barrens in South Jersey, to Shenandoah NP down in VA, up to the more technical White Mountains and the infamous rocky trails of Pennsylvania in between, and the Kinabalu is a shoe which is happy on any terrain. The midsole contains cushioning so sections of harder firmer trail feel comfortable and the eRide system makes them almost feel like a road running shoe with the natural rocking motion.
The outer sole contains a rock plate so the damage to the feet is minimized when you hit the rockier more technical terrain and the grip is generally fine for general trail conditions.
I have been using these on local Appalachian Trail sections but also the Shenandoah NP, the Catskills and Shawangunks of NY, the White Mountains of NH, the French Alps and even the rough and rocky Connemara Mountains of Western Ireland and on technical trail runs up to 45-55 miles, and they have been a great shoe for all terrain. I really have torn up my two pairs so I have tested them to destruction and feel confident in saying how great and versatile they are. I cannot think of many trail running shoes, which provide such high performance across many different terrains. This summer I have raced two trail marathons in NY, ran a FKT across the 43 mile 4 state challenge from PA, MD, WV and VA on the Appalachian Trail and raced at the 55 mile Maxi Race in the French Alps which contained over 17,000 feet of ascent and the shoe has been great for all.
I even wore them for this weekend’s trail marathon at the Ellenville Mountain Running Festival, which again was a mixture of terrain from fast carriage roads to technical terrains to rocky scrambling. I still ran in them and they were really on their last legs, the final rocky descent finally confined this pair to shoe heaven…
If I had any negative comments it would be on the grip on wetter, muddier conditions and all out mountain running terrain. During the world trail championships we received heavy rain and one section the course had really turned into a quagmire and I, and most, struggled for grip. But that is really at the extreme end of what you’d expect in a typical trail race and Scott have brought out an answer with the Scott Kinabalu Supertrac.
Upper - Mesh/Synthetic Overlays
Lower - EVA/rubber
Heel - 29mm
Forefoot - 18mm
Heel to forefoot drop - 11mm
Weight - 280g
Self-Cleaning Lug Positioning
Size - US 7-14
The outer mesh can get damaged but this is true for any shoe, especially if you are not willing to sacrifice weight for a heavy-duty shoe. Soft mesh upper and rocky technical terrain does not mix well so damage is pretty much inevitable. However the advantage of a mesh upper is rapid drainage and a breathable shoe. Previously I often wore the Salomon Speedcross for numerous years and would say the upper on the Kinabalu’s outlasted the toe-box of the speed cross.
Sizing wise I found the fit true to size and generally wear US 11.5 in most makes and was the same in the Kinabalu’s.
As a general all-purpose versatile shoe these are great shoes you can throw in your holiday luggage, confident they will get you through any terrain you are likely to meet. I have already about killed my second pair after many hundred’s of miles of technical trails and will no doubt be purchasing a third pair in the coming weeks.