Scott Tri Carbon Shoe (2012)

Scott is known for its range of bicycles, but, as with Trek and Specialized this company has a lot to offer beside bikes. It’s got a footwear division, making shoes for both running and cycling.

I’m impressed with the quality of its work. Still, Scott hasn’t really broken through yet in running. In cycling they’re gaining ground inch by inch, store by store.

Scott currently offers two triathlon specific cycling shoe models: the high end Tri Carbon ($295) and the more moderately priced Tri Pro ($170). The Tri Carbon is predominately black and the Tri Pro almost entirely white.

I tested the Scott Tri Carbon, superlight, made with a stiff carbon sole with the standard 3-bolt Look/Shimano pattern. These shoes are rumored narrow but, in fact, they are not. Not close. I have wide feet and they fit me without any pressure or hotspots in the forefoot. Yes, they look narrow, but when I put my feet in there is plenty of room. The sizing is like many cycling shoe models: a little on the small side. I tested a US 8/41 and I need this size from them. They fit like my Bontrager Hilo (2011 model) in the same size, smaller than the Lake TX312 which was also a 41 reviewed here.

The upper features shiny synthetic leather and, never seen by me before, a near see-through mesh with a honeycomb pattern. When riding in bare feet the wind blows through the mesh, so, they're well ventilated on warm days and too ventilated on cold days.

Closure is executed with 2 hook-and-loop straps, both from the inside to the outside of the shoe. This model follows a trend. I see this with the Scotts, as well as in the new 2012 Bontrager Hilo and the Pearl Izumi Tri Fly IV.

Unnerving at this price level is the imprecise pattern placement of this mesh material. When you put this shoe on and close the Velcro the mesh wrinkles wherever it's placed on the shoe. It’s not that you really feel this, it’s just an appearance thing. Maybe it’s in the nature of the fabric but it’s not ideal.

Getting into the shoes is easy. The strap opening is wide, and entering this shoe in T1 is a snap. What I don’t get is why Scott chose such a lame heel loop design. It’s not easy to get hold of because it’s so flexible—it doesn’t stick up like in the picture, rather it hangs down against the shoe.

Countering these negatives are Scott’s Ergologic Insoles. These are built with a substantial—yet not too high—arch support and metatarsal pad. Still, is it too high for you? Adjust the height of both features by taking out the extra layer of material. Very convenient and well thought out insole.

Scott rates its Tri Carbon, built with its all-carbon fiber sole, with a number 9 on its stiffness scale. I assume 10 means no flex at all and this shoe feels stiff, but not particularly stiff versus shoes made by its competitors. It feels just good, with certainly adequate power transfer.

The Tri Pro with a fiberglass reinforced sole rates 8 on the stiffness scale, so, according to Scott there is only a minor difference in sole stiffness.

Overall these shoes are good, but certain design features need some upgrading.

[Editor’s note: Our capable editor-at-large for footwear Jeroen van Geelen owns Total Running, one of the more important running and triathlon retail establishments in The Netherlands.]