PRODUCT REVIEW - SCOTT 'TRAIL' MTB SHOES Product Review by Dale Garvey
A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Whoever said that “with experience comes wisdom” is seriously deluded.
I would say that with experience comes frustration. Just when you get the most important things in life sorted out (ie. What bike will I ride today? What helmet shall I wear? What bike shoes? ) someone changes all the ground rules!
My cycling life used to be simple and now it has been turned upside down by the recent spat between Specialized and Avanti – the two have parted company.
For good reasons I have been a long-time fan of Specialized/Avanti products because of their innovative approach to product development. I have reviewed and praised various products from them. However, we must now move on and see what surprises the changes have brought.
For starters, I have been asked by Howard (CEO Pro-Am Avanti Plus, Albany Creek) to review the newly arrived, Scott “Trail” MTB sports cycling shoes (and of course there will be the new Scott and Avanti bikes!)
ALWAYS CHECK THE INSIDE WIDTH
In previous articles on MTB shoes I have pointed out that Westerners ie. Australians, Americans and English, by and large, seem to favour a wider foot-bed. (A famous Japanese MTB company produces shoes that are always too narrow for my feet.) As with all generalizations, of course individuals vary and some are no doubt happy with the narrower foot-bed. It is essentially a matter of “try before you buy”.
Be alert to any constriction across the widest part of your foot (measured just below the small toe, across the width of the foot.) If that is a little tight, it is not the shoe for you.
HOW STIFF DO YOU WANT THE SOLE?
Another comfort aspect is the stiffness of the sole. If you want the shoe for long-distance riding, walking, socialising at coffee places etc, then some flexibility in the sole is called for. The opposite of this is the racing MTB shoe which generally has a carbon fibre insert in the sole to make it totally rigid and light. This is fine for a 2-3 hour race, but uncomfortable in the long term. You should check these extremes to understand what I am talking about, in order to make an informed decision.
Again, people vary in what they are looking for – I do not mind long tough rides, but I prefer comfort over stark efficiency.
The Scott “Trail” is a sports series MTB shoe with some flexibility in the sole, particularly at the front ahead of the cleat. This helps when you are walking that incredibly steep slope (some of us can’t ride them all.)
WHAT IS THE INSIDE CLEARANCE AT THE TOES?
In the past I have made much of the toe-box comfort of MTB shoes. This is the area where the top of your big toe meets the inside of the top of the shoe. If there is not much room available, you get sore toes in direct proportion to the length of the ride. I did note however, that the Scott “Trail” has got a higher toe-box profile than all previous shoes tested. It is supremely comfortable in this regard.
WHAT IS THE OVERALL COMFORT?
The internal padding on the Scott’s is well thought out. It gives “bedroom-slipper” comfort, particularly on the critical, tongue-underside (this is where tight laces could put pressure.)
I do have to say that I have been comfortable with all the bike shoes I have reviewed in the past (would you believe that I have run out of superlatives!)
I have now used the Scott’s exclusively for roughly 6 weeks, covering about 500 km under varying conditions (on road/off road/rain/mud/rocks/dust/gravel.) Despite my fulsome praise for past bike footwear, these would have to be the most comfortable and efficient shoes I have ever had. Mind you they have appeared later in the evolutionary cycle. You would expect them to be better!
The shoes look sturdily built particularly round the sole connection with the upper. The bonding shows no flaws and includes tight bonding around the cleat area (traditionally a weak point.) Stitching all looks fine, with no loose threads in evidence. Time will only tell with such matters, but with the number of manufacturers/competition around and the Scott reputation, you would expect that making a reliable shoe would now be a no-brainer.
Pro-Am Avanti Plus are selling them at A$139.95 (you need to supply your own cleats.) The shoes supplied to me are size 45 and each shoe has been accurately weighed at 590 grams (with cleat.) The colour is basically black/grey with minor red accents. The cotton cord laces are secured with a broad Velcro strap.
WHAT SCOTT HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THEM
Synthetic polyurethane, nylon air mesh
Stiffness index 6 (new stiffness index) glassfibre reinforced nylon co-injected, sticki rubber
Air mesh, EVA removable insole
Black 38 – 48, Brown 40 – 48
X traction, Ergologic Insole, Sticki Rubber,Lace Fastening for Comfort Fit, 3 D Mesh for a Maximum Breathability while having a Performance Fit, Double Density Nylon Midsole for Best Walking Performance.
That’s all folks!Dale Garvey
by DOG MTB © 2000