Fit & Features
When brands designate one of their models as a “do-it-all” shoe, I tend to recoil. This concept is a fiction in trail running, a sport whose extremes arguably reach further distances than road running. You’d likely never wear the same trail shoe for a VK or 20k as you would a 100-miler, yet I know several road runners who wear the same road shoe for a 5k that they do in a marathon. Most of the time, you don’t want a model that claims it can do it all; you want the one that’s right for the job. Still, most of us can’t have an endlessly expanding shoe quiver.
Call it semantics, but I’m more bullish on trail shoes that claim “versatility.” Most, in my experience, land somewhere in the “generalist” category, which we defined in our Trail Running Glossary of Terms as follows:
“Many shoes resist specialization by incorporating features from different categories, in turn making them more versatile than models designed to excel in a particular context. So-called ‘generalist’ shoes usually temper extremes by featuring fairly average, more middle-of-the-road stack heights / weights, modest outsoles, and accommodating fits. They tend to be pretty capable across a wide range of surface types and distances, which makes them a great option for daily training and for runners who want to keep their shoe quiver to a reasonable size.”
Scott’s Kinabalu 2 is very much in line with this description. It’s uncreative in the best way, relying on an average 29 mm / 21 mm stack height, 8 mm heel-to-toe drop, and neutral platform to establish a fit that I think will be familiar to a lot of runners. Compared to the Ultra Carbon RC, the Kinabalu 2 shares a comparable amount of arch support both medially and laterally through the midfoot, but flares out more in the forefoot, creating a toe box that’s still tapered compared to models from Topo / Altra, but more commodious than the typical shoe from Salomon (e.g., the Salomon Sense Ride 5). Through the heel, the Kinabalu 2’s 8 mm drop helps shift weight toward the front of the shoe and offload stress on the Achilles tendon, so its heel collar / counter is modestly designed and appeals to comfort more than strictly function.