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(The Gear Loop) - Scott might be better known for its range of road, mountain, gravel and eBikes, but it also offers a competitive line-up of outdoor clothing, technical winter sports wear and trail running shoes. In fact, there’s not much that Scott Sports doesn’t dabble in.

Its current line-up of trail wear has been thoroughly refreshed for 2022 and we’ve already reported on its innovative line of versatile mountain wear, as well as its revised line-up of runners, all designed to appeal to those who like to take their fitness into the wilderness.

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Scott is a serious competitor in the outdoor active lifestyle world and its Kinabalu 2 Gore-Tex trail shoe is testament to the research and development that has been invested into the latest range.

Lightweight, waterproof but protected enough to venture into the wildest depths, the Kinabalu 2 Gore-Tex trail is a versatile and fast trail shoe that excels in a variety of situations. It’s just priced to compete with some seriously good shoes from Hoka, Saucony, Inov-8 and more, which could be its undoing.

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Our quick take

The Scott Kinabalu 2 Gore-Tex is a great lightweight shoe that proves plenty grippy enough to cope with most generic trail running situations. The Gore-Tex coating adds an extra layer of protection from the elements, without adding bulk, while the racy rocker and 8mm drop promote a fast running style.

There is a question mark over the comfort of the tongue, which we felt was a bit stiff for our liking, while the price tag sees it face some very stiff competition from some fantastic running brands.

Scott Kinabalu 2 Gore-Tex review: an elusive mix of lightweight, highly breathable and waterproof

Scott Kinabalu 2 Gore-Tex

4.0 stars
For
  • Breathable upper
  • Great protection from the elements
  • Lightweight
Against
  • Fairly large drop
  • Tongue can irritate
  • Lacing could be more secure

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In the Loop

Everything you need to know about the Scott Kinabalu 2 Gore-Tex trail shoe in brief:

  • Waterproof material construction
  • Heel height: 29mm
  • Forefoot height: 21mm
  • Weight: Approx 300g
  • Versatile Traction
  • eRIDE Midsole
  • Toe Guard
  • Dual Density Kinetic Foam
  • Gore-Tex coating

Fit and features

The Kinabalu 2 Gore-Tex trail running shoe fits true to size and we found that our typical UK8 was comfortable for the most part. That said, the toe box is fairly narrow and this definitely has the streamlined feel of a technical road running shoe, rather than the heft of a grippy trail or speed hiking hybrid.

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There’s also a fairly noticeable 8mm heel/toe drop, which puts it on par with things like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 road running shoe we recently reviewed. That’s a fairly sizeable heel/forefoot discrepancy for a trail runner and coupled with a fairly pronounced rocker, the package fells like it wants to go fast.

Thankfully, the heel has been reinforced and widened to offer a really stable platform at the rear. The stack height might be fairly sizeable but the running experience never feels perilous. It’s a nice, stable platform to push off from.

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Despite the pace-prompting set-up, there’s a Gore-Tex membrane covering the main upper, which keeps the moisture at bay and happily fends off the worst downpours. Amazingly, the upper simultanesouly packs a mesh construction, which is both light and breathable. Not properties you would typically associate with a water resistant shoe of this nature.

The tongue is supposed to be "form-fitting" and lay flat against the foot, but we just found it irritating. It’s often too firm in parts and doesn’t sit comfortably against the skin. The lacing is robust enough, but we also found that it could come loose unless cinched down properly.

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Other features include a high traction rubber sole with strategically placed chevron detail for additional grip. There’s also a responsive Kinetic Foam midsole that is said to return 14 per cent more energy for a springier feel.

Performance on the trails 

As previously mentioned, the pronounced rocker featured in this shoe is immediately noticeable and it instantly gives the impression of footwear that wants to run fast. 

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This is aided by the Kinetic Foam midsole, which feels soft and springy underfoot, but also returns a decent amount of running energy. Add to this the Ortholite ECO X-40 footed and you have one comfortable off-road running shoe that’s better suited to picking through quick but unchallenging terrain, rather than scrambling across thick shingle or deep mud.

We were impressed by the amount of traction the sole afforded and the Gore-Tex finish on the upper didn’t add any unnecessary bulk to the overall package, but remained watertight throughout a few drizzly runs. What’s more, the shoes always felt lightweight and eager to press on. They look fantastic, too.

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There’s a neat reinforced toe guard, which does a great job of protecting from scrapes and knocks from rocks and twigs, while the overall set-up feels robust enough without ever feeling overtly bulky.

Perhaps the biggest issue with the shoe is the tongue, which is supposed to lock down over the forefoot, but proves overly firm and can rub a little around the edges over longer runs. We also found the lacing system to be a bit hit and miss. We had to stop to re-tie a few times, which is far from ideal.

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It’s a solid package, that feels reassuringly stable underfoot, but we can’t help but feeling there are more technically accomplished trail shoes in this price bracket.

Take the Saucony Peregrine 12, the Inov-8 Parkclaw G 280 or Hoka Zinal for instance. They all cram plenty of lightweight running technology into equally robust shoes, although a lack of Gore-Tex treatment means they aren't as water resistant out of the box.

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To recap

The Scott Kinabalu 2 Gore-Tex is a versatile trail running shoe that feels lightweight and perfectly grippy enough tackle a variety of scenarios. The Gore-Tex treatment means its is about as waterproof as you’re going to get in a running shoe, yet it remains lightweight and breathable. It’s just a shame the tongue is fairly uncomfortable and the asking price so high. We feel there are more technically accomplished trail shoes out there at this price point.

Writing by Leon Poultney.