Carbon shoes are a thing… There is no shortage of new shoes boasting a variation of a carbon plate that is designed to provide additional speed for in principal, less effort.
There are many arguments for and against and a plethora of recent world records confirms the current ‘new’ shoe design is bringing a performance enhancement.
I personally feel that any brand tries to make the new version of any product, better than the last. It’s called progression. We only need to look at the shoe that Roger Bannister used to break the 4-minute mile… Current milers are using very different shoes and running on very different surfaces to the cinder track of Bannister’s era.
But of course, a limit has to come (eventually) and gladly, I don’t have any say what or when that limit is. I do believe though; we are not there yet with the current carbon shoes.
Scott have been making shoes for many years and this current incarnation has been a revelation. It’s a great looking shoe. The yellow is bold! It maybe looks heavy but it’s not, it is a super-light shoe that screams speed. The cushioning is substantial and Hoka One One like – This is a standard feature of carbon enhanced shoes across all brands.
Notably, the Scott has a very noticeable rocker that makes you want to lean and propel forward. This is even noticeable when standing still, you can almost feel off balance.
The upper is light, breathable and the lacing reassured providing an excellent hold of the foot.
The outsole is designed for speed and provides grip when needed, but not so much grip that it slows the user down.
I am not experienced in carbon shoes and in all honesty, I am probably beyond my best running days when a carbon shoe could make a difference. But, it’s easy to compare recent road runs over fixed distances when I have timed and monitored effort.
i decided that my first run would be a half marathon. I have a run that rolls along with hills, descents and some long and flat sections.
Lacing the shoes up I initially found that my foot was not as secure as I preferred, so I lock laced and tied them tight… Post-run I realised I had tied them too tight as it had caused some inflammation.
The opening km’s felt a little weird. The cushioning and stack height was extremely noticeable but not unpleasant. The rocker was VERY noticeable and without doubt it makes you want to roll forward and increase speed and cadence. The Scott makes you want to run fast and funnily enough, post-run, I felt the shoe made me want to run faster than I had the fitness for.
With 5km covered I was getting in to a rhythm and cadence. Noticeably, to reap any benefit from the shoe, you need to strike the ground hard. This enables the carbon to do its job and propel you forward. This shoe does not give you anything for free, you need to invest effort to reap the rewards.
I purposely did not look at my watch during that first run. I wanted to run on feel and go on perception. I felt good, the shoe felt as though it was giving me something I hadn’t experienced before. But there was a fatigue in the legs different to my normal runs. I put this down to the carbon and the need to strike the ground harder to gain extra propulsion. As my run came to a close, I was feeling worked but also quick. I was convinced I had run quicker than previous runs, in different shoes on the same route. With 21.1km covered I stopped my watch… I was 33 sec slower than my fastest time on the route! I was surprised, I was convinced I had gone quicker but the margin of plus and minus was minimal and of course well within parameters of testing.
Thinking about the run above, I gave it 12-hours before accessing. The Scott is a fast shoe and without doubt is a shoe that would result in faster times and PB’s. But they are not magic! They require adaptation, they require investment and I would say that they do require some change in run style.
They are not shoes for training runs, they are ideal for speed sessions, intervals, timed sessions and of course races. But before you toe the line for a key or important race, you need to have made adaptation and learned both physically and mentally how to get the best out of the shoe.
POST INITIAL RUN
The Scott have joined me on many a run but only when I have wanted to run faster. I find running slower difficult in them; the rocker is so prominent that it constantly wants you to roll forward, increase cadence and push the pace. Also the carbon, irrespective of all the cushioning, does give a harder ride at slower speeds. But, increase the speed and the carbon flexes with impact and propels you forward. This is when the Scott comes to life and like I said previously, if you have the fitness, the Scott will keep tempting you to run faster, and faster.
As I accumulate miles and adapt to the shoe, I will eventually go back to my 21.1km route and see if I can give the Scott’s the speed they deserve. I may even toe the start of a road race, but don’t count on it… Ultimately though, over the years, running for me has been less about looking at minutes per mile and considerably more about the journey and the adventure.
The Scott is all about speed, about getting the most from a run when it counts. So, if that is for you, I firmly believe that the Scott will provide you with what you are looking for. But don’t expect something for nothing, you need to invest in this shoe to make the most out of it!
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