Monday, November 01, 2021

Scott Supertrac RC 2.0 Multi Tester Review: Precision, Fast Technical Trail Running Tools! 7 Comparisons

Article by Jeremy Marie and Jeff Valliere

Scott Supertrac RC 2 ($140)

Introduction

Jeremy: It took around three years for Scott to come up with a successor to the Supertrac RC, a full-bred mountain running shoe offering protection, grip, and precision for the most technical terrain. Jeff V. who tested it back then, found it to be a remarkable shoe, especially for a brand that often is under the radar. 


Despite this long interval, the SuperTrac RC2 does not seem to be a lot different from her older sister.  The main changes are to the outsole, with a slightly rearranged lugs pattern, and the upper which is now based on Schoeller Coldblack and 3XDRY material to ensure breathability, heat regulation and moisture management. 


Pros:

Sturdy, durable upper (Jeremy/Jeff V)

Nice fit with a good foothold and adequate toe box for a performance oriented shoe (Jeremy/Jeff V)

Responsive cushioning, protective without rockplate, suitable for up to around 5h (Jeremy/Jeff V)

Stable ride (Jeremy/Jeff V)

Lacing system works well (Jeremy/Jeff V)

Effective traction on anything loose, muddy, or dry (Jeremy/Jeff V)


Cons:

Ankle collar generates some friction (Jeremy)

Rigid tongue implies some care when lacing to avoid pressure point (Jeremy/Jeff V)

Very slippery on wet rocks and hard clay ground (Jeremy)

Treadwear (Jeff V)

Tough to “slide” into (Jeff V)

Stats

Official Weight: men's (US9) 270g /9.5oz  women's 230g/8.1oz (US8)

Approx. Weight: 9.3 oz / 263g (based on samples)

Samples: men’s  US10.5 EU44.5: 295g / 10.4oz

US9.5: 273g / 9.6oz

Stack Height: 22.5mm(heel) / 17.5mm (forefoot) official - 25mm-20mm measured (including lugs, without sockliner)

$140. Restocking soon online.


Tester Profiles

Jeff Valliere runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 


Jeremy MARIE, French, 40y/o. Running since 2013 and quickly transitioned to trails, focused on ultras since 2015 : TDS, Maxi-Race, “100 miles du Sud”, 90kms du Mt Blanc, GRP 120kms, Some shorter mellow races (Saintelyon 45kms, Ecotrail Paris 45kms…) with always in the mix road and flat running, but not many road races. Recovery/easy runs ~4’45/km - 4’30/km 


First Impressions and Fit

Jeremy: As for the rest of the RC line in Scott’s catalog, the Supertrac RC2 gets the black and yellow color scheme treatment, giving it a distinctive look. The shoe looks really good, not too flashy, being mostly black, with the bright neon yellow touches making it stand out.


In hand, the shoe oozes quality, with a sturdy upper, quality seams, nice padding around the ankle collar, but just the minimum of reflectivity, specifically 2 eyelets.


My only short experience with the first Supertrac RC was trying them at the local store, and putting them back on the shelf as the toe box shape was already uncomfortable without even running in them. 


As a consequence I was a bit tepid when putting the RC2 on foot but the difference is striking: space for the toes! Great!

For a Skyrunning shoe, I find the fit very nice, not too narrow, with a nice and secure midfoot hold. And given that autumn is here in Europe, the conditions are perfect to test the Supertrac RC2.


Jeff V:  As Jeremy mentioned, I reviewed the first SuperTrac RC in September of 2017 and I was very impressed with its secure fit, good protection, reasonable cushion, fast and sporty performance and grabby outsole.  In fact, I like them so much, I still was running in them regularly, on days where I wanted to go fast on steep, technical terrain, right up until the week before I got the SuperTrac RC 2.  


Continuing to run in a pair of shoes 4 years later, especially for me who has so many new shoes to choose from and test is a rarity, but the RC never feels out of date or obsolete, as some shoes do, even at a year old.  I was looking forward to reviewing more Scott shoes after reviewing the RC, but Scott unfortunately pulled out of the US market shortly thereafter for several years, but just earlier this year, they are back in the US!


My first impressions of the RC 2 is that they are very similar to the first RC, with an update to the upper, which given how much I like the RC, that is a good sign.  The midsole and outsole look the same at first glance, but upon closer examination, the outsole lugs have been slightly re-worked.  Forefoot fit for me is slightly tough to gauge because I tested the RC in my normal size 10 and the RC 2 a half size down in a 9.5.  I have a thin, low volume foot and found the RC to have a very precise, secure, race ready fit, with just a little wiggle room in the toes.  


The RC 2 feels as though it fits very similar, but given the half size reduction, has a bit less wiggle room in the toe.  Wearing the old and new side by side, the difference in feel is minimal and I think I would have been equally happy with 9.5 or 10 in this instance, but much of that stems from the nature of this shoe where I am looking for maximum control, security and nimbleness on steep terrain.


Upper


Jeremy: The upper is the part of the shoe that has gotten a big overhaul during the 3 years separating it from the first iteration. It is now built using both Coldblack and 3XDRY tech from Swiss textiles gurus Schoeller. The former ensures protection from heat, which the black color might not indicate, while the latter allows the mesh to quickly dry and evacuate moisture from the inside, as well as be water and dirt repellent on the outside. 

This material is sturdy, and indeed cleans easily and does not attract mud.


One benefit listed by Shoeller is that the 3XDRY tech also develops a natural cooling effect thanks to moisture evaporation.


Supertrac rc2 on left, and RC on right


As for breathability, I found that Schoeller tech works effectively. Using the Supertrac in quite different conditions (hot afternoon, cold and humid mornings), promises were kept. My feet stayed mostly dry (or at least, excessive humidity was evacuated through the upper) and the shoe did not feel hot during a 25°C run under the sun.

The heel collar has a good layer of padding. On the plus side, it comfortably holds the heel, without any excessive pressure point. But I find it creates some friction around the ankles. Maybe the cut here is either too low or too high, but it comes slightly rubbing against my malleolus. 

The heel counter is fairly rigid at its base and more flexible at the top, but the level of padding takes care of any discomfort. One thing I think Scott might improve on the next iteration of the Supertrac lies in this area: working on a thinner padding and a more refined heel cup shape would lead to the same level of heel hold and maybe less discomfort - and losing some weight.


The tongue is not gusseted, and is doubled with a sort of TPU layer increasing protection from laces pressure.


Interestingly, the laces go through the tongue by two holes on the top. This clever design minimizes the need of a semi-gusseted tongue as it stabilizes it laterally. It’s simple, and it works: I never experienced tongue sliding, nor had any difficulty when putting the shoes on.


Two pairs of eyelets are replaced with loops (gray reflective above) through which the laces go. One at the front (second row) and one at the top (penultimate). I think that loops allow some more freedom to the lacing system in those two sensitive places. At the front, it enables some forefoot splay without compromising foot hold. At the top, it does the same to the instep, and it’s as effective as I did not feel any pressure here during some downhill repeats, where foot movement towards the front is at its most.


At the front, the toe bumper does its job with no fuss. It goes way back to each side and protects both from front bumps and from rocks that can hit the sides of your toes. It’s not overly rigid so I think that big hits against rocks might hurt a little bit, but usually in these cases, what hurts the most is the fall that follows! 


The upper does not have lots of stretch to it, but its shape is really conforming and I find the shoes are quite comfortable in this area, despite a narrow looking forefoot.


Big bright yellow inlays located on the midfoot improve the foothold, and I cannot say much more than they work very well. The upper of the shoe stays flexible here, but I have yet to experience the slightest of foot movement during my runs. These inlays are connected to a reinforcement that goes all around the shoe at the bottom part where the upper meets the midsole.

Jeff V:  Jeremy really nails the description of the upper perfectly, so I do not have a lot to add.  I have found temperature regulation of the Schoeller fabric to really deliver on its promises, where on warm afternoons (though given it is Fall, has not been too hot, maybe upper 80’s once or twice very early in the review period), I have never noted the upper being at all hot or even noticed my feet being warm.  Conversely, on colder mornings, my feet never feel too drafty or chilly.

I will agree with Jeremy’s commentary on the heel collar.  It has actually seen a bit of reduction over the previous version, which I too found to be a bit puffy and somewhat out of character for this type of shoe,  the RC 2 could still use a little reduction I think as Jeremy suggests.  I will also note however that I have not had any issues with the heel collar, finding it to be very secure, comfortable and protective.


The sockliner, like the previous version, seems to be the same rubbery material, which I didn’t care for (it pulled out with my foot each time, was difficult to slide into and felt a bit warm under foot), but for some reason, I do not have the same issues with the RC 2, as it holds better for some reason.  I pulled out the sock liners from the RC and RC 2 and cannot detect a difference between them, but for some reason, I am not bothered this time around.


The toe bumper and the rest of the upper provide very adequate protection no matter how rocky and routh the terrain gets, while remaining flexible and comfortable.  Like Jeremy, I agree that the black with yellow highlights looks quite sharp.

The tongue, while not gusseted, now features lace eyelets on the tongue that help keep it in place.  It was never an issue on the previous version, but I like this better as it helps keep the tongue solidly in place.



Midsole

Jeremy: The midsole is made of Scott’s traditional Aerofoam+ EVA material, here in a  comfortable thickness (25mm measured at the heel), and considering the orientation and intended use of the shoe.


I find it to be rather...flat. Not in a bad way, it’s not especially dull. It is neither too bouncy nor has a lot of springiness. It is just a standard, efficient EVA based midsole that perfectly does the job for technical terrain, and gives a little bit of pop on mellow trails. 


As a consequence, I appreciate its predictable character, meaning there’s no exaggerated energy return that might push you a bit more than you expect. It’s for sure a bit less efficient than recent midsole foams (Energy Surge in Pulsar, PWRRUN PB in Endorphin Trail for instance) on easy, rolling terrain. Here, the slight rocker profile of the shoe, called eRide, helps a little bit.

As usual when testing trail shoes, I try to do an “up & down” session, to test how the shoe goes up, but also most importantly how it goes down!

The Supertrac proved to be a tiny bit firm, not harsh, encouraging a fast and nimble cadence - “dancing on the rocks” dare I say. The eRide profile works transparently on rolling terrain, and clearly promotes a mid to forefoot strike minimizing the amount of shock one can feel with sore legs.


The midsole is quite flexible - middle of the ground flexible precisely, and really sits in between protection and agility. A more flexible midsole would have meant a softer foam, or less of it, and it would have broken the nice balance that the SuperTrac offers. 


Rock protection is effective, without the need of a plate. Of course, rock protection also depends on foot agility, and clearly hard landings on rocks will be a punishing experience as the foam will not absorb all the shock. Nothing too unexpected here: it’s a Sky Running shoe and as such, it demands some attention and work from its holder, as opposed to shoes dedicated for long distances.


Jeff V:  The Aerofoam+ midsole for me exhibits a very good blend of flexibility, durability and rebound, finding it to be very adept for its intended purpose, moving fast through technical terrain.  I had no issues with response and find them to be very lively, which I not only attribute to the midsole, but also in part due to the lighter weight, precision upper and all around sportiness of the shoe.  

Ground feel is good without ever feeling thin and despite not having a plate, I never find myself being cautious, even when running at fast speeds through talus and rock gardens, they feel as though they have an ideal blend of flexibility/proprioception with predictably stable landings and protective absorbent cushioning.


Outsole

Jeremy: The outsole is made of in-house Advanced traction rubber, following the trademark Radial traction pattern for its 5-6mm lugs.

The lugs disposition has just been modified a little bit, the biggest difference coming from the midfoot where the tiny lugs of the first RC have been changed to larger, low profile lugs and some hollows.

Top: RC, bottom: RC2

On anything loose, dirt, muddy, I find that the combination of the lugs height and their very specific disposition to work flawlessly, even on loose off camber. I think that the Radial Traction really shines in this kind of situation when in major need for lateral grip.

On road stretches, the Scott isn’t at home at all, but thanks to the nice cushioning and the eRide profile, I find that they can handle some (short) miles with no harm.


No issue with mud accumulation


My main gripe with the shoe is around the grip on wet rocks and wet hard clay based terrain (not muddy terrain). I think I’ve never experienced a shoe that is as slippery as the Supertrac RC2. I admit that these rocks and terrain I’ve gone to are not easy on the shoe's grip, but this is the worst experience I have had there. 


Comparatively, the compound on the Salomon Slab Pulsar (RTR review) or the Asics Fuji Trabuco Max (RTR review) work way better. I think that the greater contact surface thanks to the multiple lower lugs on those two shoes helps in this situation. But even the Salomon Cross/Pro (RTR review) with its mud-dedicated lug pattern worked way better. It may be due to a change on the Scott’s compound in order to enhance lugs durability at the cost of some stickiness, but here I find the compromise far from ideal.

Jeff V:  I have had great success with the RC and RC 2 outsole.  While the lugs in the center of the shoe have been slightly retooled, I have not noticed a difference between the old and new version.  Traction in loose terrain, mud and snow is among the best out there that I have used and is also very good on dry rock, slab and improves when the temperature is warmer, as the rubber compound noticeably softens to even better conform over every undulation under foot.  


I have not been able to test the RC 2 in rainy, wet conditions, but I did note in my RC review that I found them to be good in the wet, so I suspect the same here.  Of course the type of surface (and rock composition) matters, so will not at all question Jeremy’s wet traction experience, as the sandstone rock I frequent here is often more forgiving in the wet.  Results may vary depending.


I did note with the RC that treadwear was a bit accelerated, but over time, that treadwear has seemed to have leveled off and ultimately was less of a concern than I had initially thought.  That said, the rubber compound is soft and if you run often in rocky terrain, you will experience faster than average treadwear and I expect the same from the RC 2.


Ride

Jeremy: I feared an all too firm shoe given the technical trails purpose of the Supertrac RC2, but it proved to offer a superb ride even on the mellow trails around home. The fit falls perfectly into the “comfortable race-oriented” category, offering efficient foot lockdown no matter how hard you push, without compromising comfort, and with some nice room for the toes to splay and play their stabilizing role.

My first run with the shoes was an up & down session, with controlled ups and then bombing the downhills. On the uphills, the flex is appreciated and gives a lot of pop at the toe off. On every surface (except for wet rocks), the tremendous amount of grip bites on the ground for an efficient and energetic push-off. 

On downhills, the cushioning is appreciated as it brings some more comfort for when you land a bit more heavily, and the multi-directional lugs are as effective as could be. Quick stops, turns, off camber runs: the Supertrac sticks to the ground.


My only gripe was on wet rocks (more like pebbles pressed into the ground, with a clay-based soil), where I’ve experienced lots of slippage.

Just like the fit, the midsole offers a nice blend of comfort and firmness. Not mushy nor soft at all, the Aerofoam+ is protective and offers a nice, dynamic ride which is more suited to faster paced runs than easy ones. 


It’s a perfect shoe for a 5-6h race on technical terrain where the cushioning will save the legs for the last miles.

Jeff V:  Jeremy relayed my experience and sentiments exactly.  The ride is fantastic for a shoe in its technical trails category and while I would not pick it for solely running on less technical trails, it’s smooth ride, cushioning, response and overall performance makes the Supertrac RC 2 a shoe that can perform wonderfully just about anywhere.


Conclusions and Recommendations

Jeremy: A super effective, no frills, reliable shoe. That’s exactly what I experienced in the SuperTrac RC2. Craftsmanship is excellent, materials are sturdy and the shoe will work in many more situations than what it has been designed for. It reminds me of a beefed up Sense SG: more protective, more grip, more cushioned, and yes it does lose just that bit of fun that you can get from a lighter, nimbler shoe.


The fit, despite being race-oriented, is accommodating enough for long outings in the mountains thanks to a secure foothold and adequate space for toes. Just remove some padding material around the ankle and heel collar and it will be perfect in those areas.


My main and only gripe with the Supertrac RC2 comes from its grip on hard wet surfaces, where I kept on slipping no matter how I tried, and in quite unpredictable ways.

Jeremy’s Score: Score 8.5 /10

Ride: 9 Fit: 8 Value: 8 Style: 9 Traction: 8.5  Rock Protection: 8.5 , Weight: 8.5


Jeff V:  In my opinion, the SuperTrac RC 2 is one of the best, if not THE best shoe for fast movement over the terrain I frequent most (steep, rocky mountain trails and off trail) due to it’s secure locked down fit, stability, traction, protection (upper and under foot), ground feel, weight, response and cushioning.  I think the RC 2 could still be improved with better wet traction as Jeremy suggests and the heel counter/collar could be dialed in and slimmed down, but I am truly splitting hairs here.

Jeff V’s Score:  9.6/10

Ride: 9.5 Fit: 10 Value: 8.5 Style: 9.5 Traction: 9.5  Rock Protection: 9 Weight: 9


Comparisons


Salomon S/Lab Sense 7/8 SG (RTR Review)

Jeremy: As I said, the RC2 reminds me of a beefier Sense SG. More aggressive lugs, more cushioning, more protection, sturdier upper. You gain all this but lose on nimbleness, lightness and fun, for that matter. Despite the light construction of the Sense SG, I did not have any issue with the upper or the outsole regarding durability.

At the end of the day, it may depend on which fits your foot the best, or your needs: shorter races for the Sense, while the Scott can also work for longer outings in the mountains...as well as races.


Jeff V: While I like the S/Lab Sense SG series, I find them to be a bit too light and minimally cushioned/protected for fast, rocky, technical downhilling, but they might be a better choice for up only due to the light weight, nimbleness and response.  RC 2 is much more protected, both the upper and underfoot protection, combined with the more substantial cushion, I find the weight penalty to be absolutely worth it for a round trip on a technical peak.  In the RC 2, I have no reservations on any terrain or at any speed, although with the Sense SG, I find myself slowing to dance through rocks and pick the least impactful steps.


Salomon Cross/Pro (RTR Review)

Jeremy: I think it is the closest shoe I have to the Supetrac RC2. Comparable weight, rock solid upper, and an even better traction for the Cross /Pro.

The fit is also so much more refined in the Salomon thanks to its sock-like upper, enhanced with the Matryx outlays, ensuring an incredibly secure foothold with any constriction. The Cross /Pro is also more cushioned, and is slightly softer.

The Scott gets an edge on breathability and heat management thanks to the Schoeller Coldblack upper. So the Cross/Pro is the winner for me.


Jeff V:  I had a bit of a different experience with the Cross Pro.  While I really like them, I found the upper to not be as secure when the going gets rough (athough could be contested as it is more comfortable for wider feet and longer distances due to the more compliant Matryx upper).  I also find that in rocky, technical terrain, the RC 2 gives me better protection, cushion support and stability underfoot.  


Hoka One One Torrent/Torrent 2 (RTR Review)

Jeremy: I had a good time with the Torrent, its cushioned, dynamic ride was really inspiring. It has a good grip too, but one of the least durable outsole I’ve experienced.

The fit was kinda sloppy and I’ve only run on not too technical trails with them.

For me there’s a clear distinction between those two: softish, yet dynamic and enjoyable ride in the Torrent, fuzzy fit and weak foothold, versus a firmish midsole, secure, precise hold and more “serious” ride in the Scott. Of course the Torrent’s cushioning makes it a better choice for long outings.


Jeff V: Jeremy describes the Torrent and I agree, so I will touch upon the Torrent 2.  Everything Jeremy says still applies to the Torrent 2, though the upper of the Torrent 2 has been refined to have a better foothold.  That said, the RC 2 is far superior in that department, as well as better grip and better protection underfoot.  RC 2 for all mountain exploits, but Torrent 2 for faster running on more moderate terrain.


Saucony Peregrine (RTR Review)

Jeff V: The Peregrine is a much more substantial (and heavier) shoe, offering more cushioning (though firmer), better rock protection due to the plate, but is not as speedy, nimble or responsive as the RC 2.  While the upper of the Peregrine is very secure, the RC 2 feels a bit more dialed and precise.  Traction is generally comparable, where the RC 2 rubber is a bit stickier and compliant, though less durable than the Peregrine’s.


Salomon XA Alpine (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  While both shoes are excellent all mountain picks, I would select the XA Alpine for long high alpine adventures where I would be rock hopping most of the day due to the better rock protection, stiffer midsole, better wet traction and even better upper protection.  That said, that firm midsole is a liability for faster running and extended downhills, where it does not feel all that lively and can feel a bit harsh.


VJ MAXx   (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The VJ MAXx has superior traction (especially good in wet conditions), a comparably secure upper (though not as flexible or breathable), has similar cushion, protection and overall performance, but I find the VJ to be a bit more firm and the less lively than the RC 2.  


Salomon Sense Ride 4 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Sense Ride 4 is a larger and heavier shoe, less agile, responsive or nimble, with not as good loose traction, comparable dry rock traction and perhaps comparable wet traction.  I would pick the SR 4 for more moderate trail use and casual running/day to day wear, where I would select the RC 2 for fastest/race type efforts on very difficult terrain.


Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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10 comments:

Jeff Valliere said...

Following

Iain said...

Thanks for the review. How do they compare to the La Sportiva Cyklon for sky running and scrambling?

Jeff Valliere said...

I think the Cyclon is a better pick for slower speeds and rougher terrain, particularly when it is wet or snowy, like high alpine scrambling and rock hopping in the summer, where the RC 2 is lighter, faster and more responsive, more of a race or PR specific sort of shoe.

Chris said...

So interesting that you found the wet traction to be so bad! I’ve taken mine out on VERY wet and VERY technical runs up and coming down the rocky trails of the White Mtns of New Hampshire and found that they were amazing going through sections where dirt was rare and I felt like I was running on solid rock. Not a single slip. The only other similar shoe I found rivaled them in terms of wet traction in such rocky, technical conditions is the Sense Pro 4. By the end of the season I still haven’t decided on a traction winner.

Unknown said...

@ Chris: I agree, although I ran also V1 so far. But this is quite often the case with wet grip, there seem to be some major differences depending on the various rocks you run.

Antoine said...

@chris and Unknown. Cannot agree more. Although I trust very much RTR, the wet-traction criteria are sometimes not matching with my experience in the alps.
Scott rubber first choice with Vibram Megagrip and La Sportiva Frixion, for my use.
Salomon Contagrip just a little bit less good.
Inov-8 graphene not far behind and more durable.
Saucony rubber at the bottom of the class, a disaster for me.
Cheers, Antoine.

Anonymous said...

@Sntoine I agree. Best traction for me is with Vibram Megagrip. I own xodus 10. Grip is very bad in wet conditions. I am very interested in Scarpa ribelle run, I heard very nice things about presa outsole.

Mike P said...

Comparison to VJ Spark?

Jeff Valliere said...

The Spark has better grip and is lighter, but the RC 2 is more substantial underfoot with better cushioning and protection.

Skidad said...

Interesting on the lack of traction in wet rocks or smooth slab rocks and I can concur.
Still not sure if this model is available in the US but I ordered from Europe a pair of the Supertrac Ultra RC’s after some great reviews I read.

https://www.scott-sports.com/us/en/product/scott-supertrac-ultra-rc-shoe?article=267682

This has a slightly different tread pattern than the RC 2 but compound is identical. Initial runs were great, really liked the shoes and fit but not used on technical terrain. Then I took them to the White Mountains of NH for the true test. The Whites will bring out a shoes weakness pretty quick and sure enough it did. Lack of traction on wet rock or smooth slab rock. I literally went sliding across a dry off camber boulder falling 6 feet onto my back. Numerous other slips and slides on this 32 mile day (Pemi Loop) convinced me of sub par grip. Was happy with the shoes comfort but just could not trust the grip. As a soft ground shoe, loose rock/gravel/mud it’s great.
Not sure how Chris above found that compound excellent in the Whites but we’ll have to agree to disagree. If anything the Ultra I had should have worked better on wet and slab rocks with it’s additional slightly closer spaced lugs for contact surfaces. I believe the compound Scott uses is just to hard. Put Vibram MegaGrip on these shoes abd you’d really have something special. Same as the Saucony Xodus 10/11. Great shoe that also failed the White Mountain traction test.
Primary shoe for the Whites is the Speedgoat 4 and VJ Maxx. The VJ’s grip is ridiculously good just begging you to take chances testing its limits. It craves technical but definitely not long easy flat sections. Gotta try their new Ultra.
So yeah the Scott’s (Ultra and RC) IMO are great even fantastic soft or loose ground shoes but not slippery technical stuff. Build quality on my Ultra’s is superb and although subjective the looks are killer. Fantastic looking shoe.