Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Scott Supertrac RC - A Top Tier, High Performance All Mountain Racer

by Jeff Valliere

Scott Supertrac RC
9.6 oz. (272 grams) US Men's Size 9 or 8 oz. (230 grams) US Women's Size 8
(9 7/8 oz./281 grams for my US size 10)
25mm heel/20mm forefoot
$150 Available Now

It has been some time since I have tested/reviewed a Scott shoe, I think it was the Eride AF Trainer a few years ago, but it did not make much of an impression on me either way.  I was sort of on the fence reviewing this one, but the look of the outsole really appealed to me and it looked like an interesting all mountain shoe overall.  Turns out, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this shoe performed!  It feels light and high quality out of the box, very well built, with buzz saw like sticky lugs, a race profile and blinding neon yellow coloring to confirm that you had better be moving quick in this shoe.

The open mesh upper with seamless overlays provide a minimal, yet secure and adequately protective feel, comfortably holding the foot in place.  I found fit to be true to size and fit my somewhat narrow, low volume foot perfectly.  I tend to over tighten my laces, primarily because I typically run steep, rocky and technical terrain and am looking for maximum control and security, but found that this is a shoe where I can pull the laces just moderately to achieve a great balance between security and comfort.  Though my foot is narrow/low volume, the precision, race style fit accommodates my foot very well, yet I can see this shoe fitting a slightly wider range of feet, than an S-Lab depending on how much you snug the laces.
Scott Supertrac RC
Scott Supertrac RC
The Supertrac RC has a nice wrap around toe bumper, but it is fairly thin and flexible.  It seems to do a good job, but I have not really tested it with any good rock kicks.
Scott Supertrac RC
The heel collar is on the low side, but is well padded and comfortable without being overbuilt.  The heel counter is semi-flexible, yet secure with great heel hold.
Scott Supertrac RC
Scott Supertrac RC
The tongue is on the thin side, but the materials are very sturdy and has a great feel.  Though I have not had any problems with the tongue sliding side to side, I think a gusseted tongue, or a booty like design would be an improvement.  You can also see the sock liner here which has an odd, rubbery coating, presumably to minimize foot slip and slide.  I find myself having to very strategically slide my foot in the shoe, otherwise I crumple up my sock and need to start over.
Scott Supertrac RC
When pulling my foot out, I always get this.
Scott Supertrac RC
Although I respect the idea and the push to innovate, I think just a normal insole performs better overall, as with such a good upper, my foot will not slide, no matter the insole.  I also found the rubber insole to be a bit hot and I am often aware of it while running and felt some hot spots on a 10 mile outing.  I have a feeling that blisters might form on longer runs in hot/humid conditions, but have not been able to confirm that.

Update:  I ran with a normal liner in place of the stock rubbery liner and it was indeed more comfortable, essentially it went unnoticed (vs. my near constant state of awareness with the rubbery liner).  That said, I'll probably just keep the stock liner, as I'll typically only run in this shoe for 2-3 hours tops and in my opinion, generally not long enough for blisters to form (at least in this shoe for me).

The Aerofoam+ is described as an injected midsole material that offers superb flexibility, durability and rebound.  I found all of this to be the case.  The Supertrac RC is quick and responsive and provides a surprising balance of cushion, protection and trail feel.  Cushion is on the firm side, but simultaneously forgiving enough to be suitable for at least several hours of running.
Scott Supertrac RC
This is what drew me in, and for good reason.  When it comes to confidence inspiring grip, the Wet Traction Rubber outsole of the Supertrac RC is as good as it gets on just about any type of surface.  The lugs are deep, aggressive and crazy sticky.  It takes a bit of getting used to, learning to trust that these stick to just about any hillside no matter how steep, loose, sandy, rocky, wet, muddy, you name it.
Scott Supertrac RC Outsole
Scott Supertrac RC Outsole
Scott Supertrac RC Outsole
These shoes climb so well in off trail scruff and have a nice bit of pop at toe off.

Descending is a joy as well, as I can crank through the turns and stop on a dime, no matter what is underfoot.
Unfortunately, such crazy grip performance comes at a price.  With only 32 miles on these shoes, the outsole is showing notable wear.
Scott Supertrac RC Outsole
As much as I love the sticky, I question how long these lugs with last? (I will follow up after more miles).
Scott Supertrac RC Outsole
Scott Supertrac RC Outsole
Scott Supertrac RC Outsole
This Supertrac RC, from the moment I set foot to trail on my first run, was an instant contender for my favorite shoe of the year.  My first run consisted of roughly 4.5 miles and 2,500 feet of gain/descent, which was, aside from a short dirt road and rocky trail approach, mostly off trail.  I was very pressed for time and hammered the entire way, up and down.  This run is rough, with steep ball bearing dirt on hardpack, cacti and yucca infested hillside, steep pine needles and pine cones, talus hopping, sidehilling, rock scrambling, tree climbing and log balancing.  Both up and down, the Supertrac RC stuck like glue, even despite the fact there were a few occasions bombing the descent where I was unsure I would pull it off, this shoe always nailed it to my utter amazement.  The upper held my foot in place securely and never shifted once, I had complete confidence.

This is a race shoe that I'll save for those special days where I am feeling like giving it my all on rough routes as I described above.  It can easily handle 2-3 hour runs, but beyond that, I think it will somewhat depend on the runner and the terrain underfoot.  Without a rock plate, protection is impressive, but miles of sharp rock underfoot will definitely take its toll.  With a seemingly quick wearing outsole, I would not recommend training in this shoe.

Jeff's Score:  9.7/10
-.1 for outsole wear.  I was tempted to take more off, but it performs so darn good, it is hard to knock it too much and almost consider it a fair trade off.
-.5 for non gusseted/non integrated tongue.  Splitting hairs here, but would be an improvement for fit, ease and security.
-.5 for rubbery insole.  I appreciate the effort to innovate, but a "normal" insole would be better.
-.1 for the $150 price tag.  That is getting into lofty territory, especially given the projected longevity of the outsole.

Scott Supertrac RC vs. Salomon S-Lab Sense SG (RTR review here): The Salomon has a slightly better fitting upper, is a bit lighter and outsole durability is better.  The Supertrac however has far superior traction and has better cushion and protection, where I could certainly add on several hours beyond what is reasonable (for me) in the Sense SG.

Scott Supertrac RC vs. Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra (RTR review here): Again, the Salomon has a longer lasting, more durable outsole and better upper.  Traction is comparable in most circumstances outside of snow, mud and super loose junk.  The Salomon has a bit better cushion underfoot.  Both are fast shoes.

Scott Supertrac RC vs. La Sportiva Mutant (RTR reviews here and here):  Both have a secure fit and amazing traction.  The Supertrac RC is lighter and feels more racy and responsive, but the tread is not as durable.  Would pick the Supertrac RC for speed and the Mutant for all around mountain use, favoring for durability.

Scott Supertrac RC vs. Brooks Mazama (RTR review here):  Both are built for speed and made to race.  Supertrac RC has a better fitting and more secure upper and of course better traction, but the Mazama is much snappier, especially on the uphill.  If smoother terrain, then Mazama all the way, Supertrac RC for steeper, looser, rougher.

Scott Supertrac RC vs. Saucony Peregrine 7 (RTR review here):  Both are similarly light and built to go fast in rough terrain.  Supertrac RC has better wet traction, slightly better overall, but the Peregrine 7 will last longer.  Better fit in the Supertrac RC, especially on steep, off camber terrain.

A few more comparisons, Salomon Sense Ride (left)

New Balance 110 (left)

And for a laugh, alongside the Hoka Speedgoat 2 (left), the widest shoe I own.  Despite the narrowness of the RC, it is remarkably stable, with its excellent ground feel and agility.

For Jeff's bio see our Reviewers Bios Page here
Photo Credit: Jeff Valliere
The Supertrac was provided at no cost.The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

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Jeff Valliere said...


Telemarker said...

Nice review, Jeff! Any chance you could do a test run substituting a different insole for the rubbery Scott ones? Maybe with one type on each foot? Would be interesting to see how much difference their surface treatment makes. It might help when shoe is wet, and/or on steep descents...

Jeff Valliere said...

Thanks Dom. Yes, I do plan to take them out with a normal insole, will update soon.

Dan said...

That much outsole wear so soon is pretty unacceptable IMO. Are you able to compare these to the Vazee Summit? It's been my go to 50mi and below race shoe. Really looking forward to the Summit Unknown/1400 version that comes out next year.

The Stoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Stoat said...

^^^ I'd be interested in that comparison as well. I think that the Vazee Summit 2.0 is a great shoe. For me it has just enough squish and protection for longer distances while still giving good ground feel for short / fast / technical conditions. The rubber and tread is a perfect jack of all trades - it runs fine on short sections of road, but is deep enough for some softer conditions.
However... the 10mm drop seems slightly out of character with the rest of the shoe (and the rest of their range) and also, while the toebox is overall wide enough, it is very pointed which gives me problems with my 3rd toe.

If they squared off the toebox a touch and took 6mm off the heel then the shoe would get 10/10 from me. Could the Scott be that shoe?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Dan and The Stoat,
Agree the NB Vazee Summit V2 is a fantastic shoe. I am not so sure it would be as good with 6mm less in the heel though. Liable to be very firm as a result. A more rounded toe box would be great. I was surprised at how well they raced for me in a 25K that was about half very wet grass and mud the rest hard pack wide nordic trails. Also surprised given how narrow the heel landing and arch area underfoot are how stable they are. Jeff did run and review the Summit v1 and may be able to compare.
Here is my Summit v2 review
Sam, Editor

The Stoat said...

Hi Sam - Interestingly I'm not surprised by the stability of the heel on the Vazee Summit. My theory is that when running on trails, a wide flat stiff heel is the last thing you want because if you tread on some unevenness to the side of your heel then the shoe cants over. A narrower heel is less likely to catch on something to the side. At the risk of sounding like a hippy barefoot runner type - your naked heel is narrow and rounded and yet that doesn't feel unstable :) To some extent I guess a heel striker probably has a different perspective to a forefoot runner and I do think that on flat roads then I can see the argument of a wider heel being more stable, but I rarely run on roads so probably shouldn't comment.
As for the drop on the Vazee - we'll have to agree to disagree :) I am a fore - mid foot striker so probably don't need too much protection at the heel and I find on the downhills it gets in the way a bit. I guess what is surprising to me is that there is not much cushioning in the front of the shoe, so for a relatively minimal feel at the front of the shoe the 10mm drop seems out of place.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi the Stoat,
I would agree that a narrow heel is more agile at speed, not something I do much of but did in the Summit v2 as for sure and it is secure and stable. I ran my fastest time on my 3 mile single track test loop in them. With low drop very firm heels, comfort suffers. With soft heels low drop stability suffers. And I do think a wider heel is more stable on the road, for example what a difference between the wide stable heel of adios Boost and the Nike VaporFly's pointy heel The difference in stability really shows up on steeper downhills. As far as stack and drop I don't disagree that a lower drop on this shoe would be valuable maybe in combination with more stack towards the front so the next result is the same weight overall. Of course front flex and agility would need to be close to what is there now, difficult as stack increases. This said I am reminded of something my good friend Bryon Powell of iRunFar , who runs all his ultras in the 10mm drop NB 1400 told me as few or maybe no one runs on their forefoot or even mid foot towards the back side of an ultra! For me at my advanced age and horrible stiff form that would be a marathon and I would not run one with less than 10mm especially if the heel is soft, for example adidas Boston . He says the heel lift is good then and I don't disagree. I have run up to halves with zero issues in Altra but would not go beyond in a race although we are of course all different.
Sam, Editor

Jeff Valliere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Valliere said...

I liked the Vazee Summit v1, but the Supertrac RC suits me much better. It has better foothold, protection, cushion and far superior traction. It does weigh a little more though and it would be terrain dependent whether or not the things I like more about the RC would be an advantage or not. As far as fit goes, the Vazee Summit and RC are similar I would say, but I think the RC might fit a wider range of feet with more leeway in the lacing. Speaking of heel width, I just updated the post with some comparative photos. The RC is SUPER narrow, which worried me at first, but I can rip steep, loose technical downhills with the utmost confidence, as well as sub 5 pace on faster, smoother downhill dirt road. Dom, I ran in the RC with normal insoles and updated above. Definitely more comfortable and I spent less time thinking about the insoles, but ultimately, I'll just keep the stock insoles.

Alex said...

I just bought my 4th pair. Favourite shoes for any type of trail so far. I've ran up to 12 hours without any problem in them. The only issue would be the longevity of the outsole and mybe shoe in general (max 300kms so far for me)

Seet said...

Hey Jeff, how does it compare to the regular S Lab Sense 6?

Jeff Valliere said...

I have only used the S Lab Sense SG 4, but I think similar to the 6? Either way, the Scott has better, more forgiving cushion, protection and traction. The upper on the Salomon is SLIGHTLY better. I feel much more beat up after running in the SG 4 vs. the Scott.

Kurt Perham said...

sizing thoughts? I need to buy them sight unseen. im a 9.5 in Nike and all. I hear I should go up a 1/2 size for these? thanks.

Jeff Valliere said...

Check my text within the section that focuses on the upper. I found them to be true to size, yet fit is race ready precise for technical terrain. If using more casually, or just prefer extra room, I could see sizing up by a half.

Marcel said...

any plans to test the current Scott-Lineup?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Marcel,
Would love to cover Scott but while they sell bikes (and do very well my wife has one of their gravel bikes) and ski gear it looks like they stopped running distribution in the US and sadly . I have reached out to their HQ as we have so many EU readers. Your comments are so on point. Ever thought of reviewing with our team? I assume you are in Europe. We now have the start of relationships with several brands in EU as you may have seen with our German reviews. If there is interest drop me a note via the Blogger Contact Form
Sam, Editor