Article by Mike Postaksi
Scott SuperTrac Ultra RC ($160)
Mike P: Since I received this shoe long after it had been released in the market – I’ve had this review on the backburner for quite a while. Scott has been great about getting both existing and new models into the hands of RTR reviewers. It helps to have some experience with current models when reviewing new releases and updated technologies from a brand. At this point I’ve got 75 miles in my test pair and it’s definitely earned a spot in my rotation when the right conditions arise. I find myself coming back to the Supertrac Ultra RC when I’m looking for a supportive shoe that’s comfortable in moderate to technical terrain.
Great traction in loose terrain – 7mm lugs!
Soft rubber grips well on rocks, yet still durable
Deep lugs & AeroFoam+ midsole – very protective in rocky/sharp (alpine) terrain
“Most Durable in Class” Schoeller upper
Secure upper lockdown without over-tensioning
Effective rocker – up front towards the toes
A bit heavy (but it’s a tradeoff for upper protection + outsole coverage)
Upper overbuilt for non-alpine terrain (not necessarily a con)
Narrow at the front of toebox
Approx. Weight: men’s 12 oz / 340g (US9)
Sample: men’s 12.3 oz / 348 g (US 9.5),
Stack Height: 29mm heel / 21 mm forefoot, 8mm drop
Available now. $160
Mike in Boise, Idaho currently focuses on long mountainous ultras – anywhere from 50K up to his favorite – 100M. 5’10”, 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker – he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to nearly 100 mpw during race buildups. A 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 – 9:00/mi. Mike shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, with plenty of forefoot space, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.
First Impressions and Fit
Mike P: The Supertrac Ultra RC is definitely a durable shoe.The high quality materials and construction are immediately noticed. Most noticeable is the thickness and texture of the upper material as well as the full 360 degree bumper/rand above the midsole. The shoe is definitely designed for alpine terrain, with no compromises in durability and protection in the upper. It’s about as stout an upper you will find in a trail running shoe. This does make the shoe feel a bit heavy, but with this type of upper construction, that is to be expected.
I find the fit very comfortable and secure, with no excess space anywhere around my foot. This bodes well for technical running. Length-wise they are true to size in my US 9.5, but they do taper towards the front and are definitely on the narrow side. With the upper being so thick in addition to the 360 degree rand, there’s not much room for lateral stretch. So those with wider feet may not find these very accommodating. I would ideally go with ultra-sizing and size up by ½ for more comfort over longer distances.
Mike P: The upper is designed and well suited for alpine terrain, i.e. highly technical, with sharp and loose rocks. The 360 degree (not just around the toes – but around the entire shoe) rubberized bumper protects the edges of your foot from any loose rocks or sharp impacts from the sides. Outside of a hiking boot – it’s about the best edge of foot protection you can get for the trails. The Schoeller-dynamic upper is both thick, as well as textured and should do a good job of at least deflecting anything loose that should land on the top of the foot.
One great feature about such a structured upper is that I find the fit extremely secure without having to tighten the lower laces much. There’s no squeezing of the forefoot, and I find it the most comfortable “narrow” shoe that I have in rotation. A lot of the issues with narrow/tight toe boxes have more to do with shallowness and lack of vertical structure rather than the actual width across the toe box.
That being said, I do notice some pinky toe pressure during extended steep descents, which is caused by the taper of toebox up front. Sizing up to a 10.0 (half size up for me) would alleviate this issue.
Mike P: Stack is listed at 29/21mm of uniform AeroFoam+ cushioning. Interestingly, I tested the Kinabalu Ultra RC which lists the same 29/21 stack (but with their “Kinetic” foam). I found that shoe much firmer and even harsh underfoot. To me it feels like the Supertrac Ultra RC’s foam compound is softer and more responsive. But it could also be that the overall feel includes the effect of the taller lugs which absorb and distribute the impact better.
After my experience with the Kinabalu’s I had some reservations about testing the Supertrac’s, but I want to reiterate that I found these much more comfortable, with none of the harshness which I felt with the Kinabalu’s. I find the AeroFoam+ in conjunction with the deep, soft lugs – absorbs impact quite well, while remaining responsive and stable. The shoe also flexes quite well laterally, which aids in stability over uneven and rocky terrain. It’s a good combination overall for alpine conditions.
Mike P: The full coverage rubber outsole is well thought out and optimized for technical terrain. The lugs are tall, soft, and flexible, so I find that they grab really well, and especially so in loose terrain. The outsole is also great in snowy conditions.
The obvious downside on paper seems like it would be durability, but surprisingly I’ve found them to be quite durable. At 75M so far (picture above and below), I find a bit of abrasion at the edges of the lugs, but they don’t show much sign of wearing down.
As mentioned above, the outsole also enhances both the cushion and protection of the shoe. Between the lugs there are raised and textured diamond-shaped sections of rubber, rather than just having flat spaces of rubber between the lugs.
I’m sure this helps deflect any impacts that do find their way through the deep lugs. I haven’t noticed any real rock impacts getting through to my feet.
Mike P: Scott’s eRide rocker shape provides the effect of the shoe riding much lighter than its weight. The 8mm drop is noticed, but not in a precipitous drop from heel straight to forefoot. Rather, the rear of the foot (from the ball of the foot back) seems to sit elevated on an even, elevated plane, while the ball of the foot is lower, where the eRide rocker begins to engage. So while you can feel the heel noticeably elevated, balance and stability is maintained.
This eRide rocker implementation works better for me than the same implementation in the Kinabalu. Again, this is likely due to the enhanced cushion and protection provided by the lugs. The Kinabalu felt harsh at the ball of the foot – likely because the lugs are much shorter, and the Kinetic foam is firmer. The Supertrac with its higher lugs seems to smooth out the rocker effect at the ball of the foot. I find the ride effect quite similar to the more recent plated implementations from other brands. It will be interesting to see how Scott approaches their own plated trail implementations (inevitable and they already have a plated road shoe in the Speed Carbon RC RTR Review), and if/how plates will work with their eRide rocker.
The shoe is quite flexible, and even with its relatively high weight – it still feels very agile. Going down steep and rocky/uneven terrain, I find myself not worrying about stability too much. Foot placements are precise given the narrow platform, and the shoe contours well over terrain, despite the high-ish stack. Climbing is also effective with the eRide rocker – which is activated from the ball of the foot forward. The toe flexes easily and climbing grip is enhanced by the soft, deep lugs under the forefoot and toes.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Mike P: Given the shoe’s targeted alpine terrain, there’s not much to quibble about with the Supertrac Ultra RC. I’d say a bit less taper towards the front of the toebox, maybe a touch more cushion, and a little bit of a weight drop. But those would just be minor improvements. I don’t feel like anything is lacking when I take these out in really technical terrain. Ultimately this shoe is designed for a specific type of terrain – you can clearly see the more European orientation vs. trail shoes geared more towards the American market. This shoe will definitely be in my luggage for my trips to Germany and runs in the Bavarian Alps.
Mike P’s Score: 9.2 / 10
Ride: 9 – eRide provides smooth turnover, a touch more cushion without compromising stability and a weight drop would be welcomed.
Fit: 9 – Excellent overall, a bit more rounded at the front and they would be perfect
Value: 9 – Highly durable and premium materials, but designed for specific technical usages
Style: 9 – Could be modernized a bit, but has a certain off-road monster truck-type look
Traction: 10 – Nothing lacking in this department, pulling extra duty as cushion/protection
Rock Protection: 9.5 – Not much if anything gets through
Index to all RTR reviews: HERE
Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC (RTR Review)
Mike P (10): Kinabalu’s Kinetic foam is firmer and harsher than the AeroFoam+ of the Supertrac. The Kinabalu is designed for moderate trails has shallow lugs and uses a rock plate to provide some protection. The upper is also more breathable and lightweight. The Supertrac upper is more durable and provides more rock protection with its midsole/outsole also way more protective and cushioned in technical terrain.
Adidas Agravic Ultra (RTR Review)
Mike P (9.5): Two mountain-oriented shoes, the Agravic Ultra leans more toward longer distances. The Adidas is 0.5 oz lighter, but actually rides heavier. The carbon-plated ride feels stiff and is oriented towards cruising rather than agility. The Supertrac is much more preferable in truly alpine terrain. Supertrac upper is more secure and comfortable. The Agravic upper suffers from an overly stiff ankle collar and extremely high and rigid Achilles collar.
Hoka Mafate Speed 3 (RTR Review)
Mike P (10): Somewhat similar in terms of ride – MS3 utilizes a stiff rocker, while the Supertrac’s rocker is more flexible up front. The Hoka offers much more cushion, at a lighter weight. But the Hoka at the higher stack is less agile – it’s ok in technical terrain, but you have to pay attention. Hoka’s upper itself offers minimal protection as opposed to the heavy duty Supertrac upper. MS3 is clearly designed for long, American-style ultras, while the Supertrac is designed for European-style alpine terrain/ultras.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 (RTR Review)
Mike P (10): The Speedgoat comparison to the Supertrac is similar to the MS3 comp above. The SG5 has a wider platform and is a bit more stable in technical terrain than the MS3 – so a bit more overlap with the Supertrac in that regard. I do have to note that the SG5 toebox is both pointier and shallower than the Speedgoat V4. The Supertrac, although narrower, is more comfortable up front.
Nike Terra Kiger V7,8 (RTR Review)
Mike P (10): No contest in technical terrain, especially when wet – Supertrac is far superior. The TK may be suitable in more moderate, dry, and for longer distances. But there’s too much going on underfoot for technical terrain – a quite soft feeling foam with embedded air pod, strangely oriented rows of lugs, rock plate in the heel. The fit of my V7’s is more on the plush side as opposed to feeling secure. There are many more and better options that overlap with what the Terra Kiger provides. Not as many can handle what the Supertrac does.
Saucony Xodus Ultra (RTR Review)
Mike P (9.5): Clear edge to the Xodus Ultra over longer ultra distances. It’s also much more versatile in easier, moderate, and semi-techincal terrain. The Supertrac gets the edge in technical and alpine terrain. Xodus Ultra is more cushioned and responsive, and the upper is also roomier and more comfortable. Xodus is also more flexible whereas the Supertrac relies on a rockered ride. I prefer the Xodus Ultra across the board, but I’d still take out the Supertrac here and there for shorter technical runs.
Scarpa Golden Gate Kima RT (RTR Review)
Mike P (10 1/3): This is likely the closest comparison, as the GG Kima is also expressly designed for sky running-type terrain. In terms of ride, I find the plated Kima and the rockered Supertrac to be equally quick. The Kima is slightly lighter, but neither are lightweights. I find the Supertrac to be more agile, even though heavier. The Kima’s plate can make it tippy at times. The Kima is wider across the forefoot, but shallower across the top. I actually find the Supertrac upper has a better fit, even though it’s narrower. The Supertrac is more cushioned and protective with the higher stack. The Kima’s midsole foam is denser and firmer.
Topo MTN Racer 2 (RTR Review)
Mike P (9.5): Obviously more toebox space with the Topo. It’s also quite flexible, but your foot has to put in a bit more work. Supertrac is more supportive underfoot and its eRide rocker feels more efficient. The Topo is much lighter, but I find the forefoot a bit thin for either technical terrain or longer distances. I find it best suited to comparatively more moderate terrain.
VJ Ultra (RTR Review)
Mike P (10.5): The VJ Ultra is also built for technical terrain – but attacks ir from a slightly different angle with amazing traction, very light weight, soft cushioning, and highly flexibility. They can feel like suction cups at times on foot. Due to their softness, I’d say they’re best suited to short-mid distance ultras, while the Supertrac better suited to mid to long-ish ultras. VJ does have some issues – a very stiff and high ankle collar, a very sharp toebox taper, and we did uncover some outsole detachment issues. Scott has their materials and construction much more dialed in at this point.
I find the Supertrac Ultra RC to be quite a unique shoe, so please feel free to comment with any further questions on comparisons or anything else about the shoe!
Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. 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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