Scott Kinabalu Enduro Reviewed & Rated

The Scott Kinabalu Enduro is the latest offspring to the Kinabalu family of trail shoes. Siblings include the T2, an all-terrain kind of shoe; the RC, lightweight and made for racing; and the Supertrac, a soft-ground, medium-trail type of shoe. Scott describes the shoe as an “all-mountain” shoe with deep lugs and a Vibram outsole to take on a variety of extreme trail conditions. Unfortunately, this latest addition does not live up to the standards of the Scott family name. Some wearers found the shoe to be uncomfortable, heavy, and awkward. The main complaint is a plastic overlay which covers the entire shoe and makes it feel stiff and uncomfortable. The shoe does have some excellent durability features, but runners looking for a comfortable mountain running shoe may not be a good match for the Enduro.

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Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
See Deal
Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
See Deal
Pros & Cons

Heavily lugged outsole provides good traction

Vibram Megagrip sole is very durable

Highly protective upper can withstand harsh environments

Affordable if found on sale


Very heavy shoe

Upper material is stiff and uncomfortable

Narrow toe box

Key Features
The outsole of this shoe features a rugged Vibram Megagrip sole. 6mm lugs of different shapes and sizes that point in all directions provide excellent traction on a variety of trail surfaces. The Scott Kinabalu Enduro is made to climb mountains, but the tread is also designed to provide comfort and traction under more moderate conditions as well. Unlike some mountain shoes, the lugs do not overpower the Scott Kinabalu Enduro and which makes the shoe versatile for many activities. A rock plate keeps the foot safe from sharp rocks and roots that may be encountered on technical trails.
The midsole of the shoes is where comfort starts. A layer of soft, molded, EVA Aerofoam+ foam sits atop the rugged outsole. Although not overly thick, the midsole offers good cushioning to the underfoot area. The midsole and outsole work together to create Scott’s eRide technology. This technology allows the Scott Kinabalu Enduro to flex in three different sections which creates a rocking chair motion. It also promotes a midfoot strike which is preferred when negotiating hilly trails as runners tend to be more on their toes than their heels.
The upper of this shoe is where Scott went a little bit too far. A layer of mesh material found in most running shoes is covered with a seamless layer of heavy KPU material. KPU is a thermoplastic material often used to make safety shoes. Scott calls the material a protective and high-abrasion casing. The KPU upper is very durable and can take on almost anything, but it also makes the shoe stiff and uncomfortable. Runners complained of pain across the top of the toes where the material crumpled and creased as the shoe flexed. They also had a hard time lacing up the shoe to get a comfortable fit. With most shoe companies trying to find new materials to lighten their shoes, this upper adds excessive weight to the shoe.

Despite the unconventional upper material, the rest of the shoe offers adequate comfort. The heel area is highly padded and secure. The upper material has some breathability to keep the foot cool and dry. The sock liner is gender specific and adds comfort to the underfoot. Anti-slip laces keep the fit secure and tight and a loop of fabric on the top of the shoe labeled Lace Locker holds the ends of the laces after they are tied. This is great for keeping the laces from getting snagged on trail obstacles.
One of the most negative aspects of this shoe is the weight. The shoe is quite a bit heavier than the average trail shoe. The average weight for the men’s shoe is 14.7 oz. For the women's shoe, the average weight is 13.4 oz. The shoe is not meant for racing. If going for a hike with friends or just doing some training on tough terrain, these shoes will probably be fine, but the weight will become noticeable if trying for speed or distance.
Due to the KPU upper, the breathability of the shoe is not the greatest. It is also surprisingly not the worst. KPU is a thermoplastic material which is widely used in shoes that are used in harsh environments. It has fairly good breathability, is very durable, does not fade, and is environmentally friendly. The material allows some air into the shoe to keep the feet cool. A seamless inner lining provides good moisture management along with the removable sock liners. Runners reported that their feet got a little warm, but there were no blisters or chafing.
The midsole cushioning of the Scott Kinabalu Enduro does a good job of providing a soft platform for the foot. 28mm in the heel and 17mm in the forefoot give the shoe a plush feel. The fit was a little narrow for some and the shoe tapers toward the front with very little room to splay the toes. Some runners also said the shoe runs large and just had a strange shape that did not accommodate their feet at all. Because all feet are different, what works well for one runner may be a terrible fit for another. The supplied sock liners provide a little cushioning and support and are gender specific to better accommodate the shape of the wearer’s foot. The seamless inner lining of the shoe is very soft against the skin with no irritation points for blisters. Most of the discomfort comes from the KPU upper which tends to crease and dig into the top of the foot. It does not stretch and restricts the movement of the foot while running. Some runners found the shoe to be very comfortable and had no problems with the upper. The Scott Kinabalu Enduro does require a few break-in runs before it adapts to the runner’s foot.
The Scott Kinabalu Enduro website lists only one color option for men and women. The ladies' version is offered in a bright blue with dark pink highlights. Men will find a very bright yellow shoe with a few light blue and orange highlights. For those who like bright colors, the shoes are quite attractive. The KPU material also assures that the colors will not fade. If buying the Scott Kinabalu Enduro online, additional colors can be found. The look of the shoe does not scream trail, but the shoes are definitely not road shoes and would not make very good everyday activity shoes.
The durability of the Scott Kinabalu Enduro may be its saving grace. The Vibram outsole is designed to take on some pretty tough terrain. The KPU upper is almost bulletproof and can handle jagged rocks, thorns, ice, and almost anything found on trails. The rock plate keeps sharp objects from poking up into the shoe. Runners who typically chew up shoes on the trails got well over 300 miles out of these shoes with lug wear being the most common complaint. Running on asphalt and other hard surfaces will decrease the lifespan of the lugs.
The same features that make the shoe durable also provide protection for the runner. Not much is going to get in or under the Scott Kinabalu Enduro. The lugs on the outsole offer great traction to keep the runner from slipping and sliding. The rocker motion from the eRide geometry of the midsole promotes a smooth heel-to-toe transition and encourages a midfoot strike to help distribute the impact forces of hard landings. A toe cap also prevents any objects and bumps with rocks from harming the toes. When running in very harsh condition, a trail gaiter is always a good idea no matter how durable the shoe.
The weight of the Scott Kinabalu Enduro tends to override the responsive nature of the midsole. The stiff upper also acts against the shoe’s desire to provide a comfortable ride. The eRide geometry promotes a more natural midfoot strike which keeps the foot in the correct position for landings and take-offs. Some runners had no problems negotiating the trails, but many runners found the shoes hard to run in.
The cushioned midsole does a good job providing support for the underfoot. The eRide technology promotes a midfoot strike for a more protected and efficient stride. There are no extra components built into the shoe to help over or under-pronators. A few runners felt that the arch support was a little too far forward in the shoe. The sock liner is removable and can be replaced with a custom-made or commercial insole for added comfort.
These shoes can take on almost any type of terrain. The 6mm lugs on the hardened outsole work well in mud, grass, loose soil, sand, and snow. Very deep, slippery mud may slow the shoes down a little, but few shoes do well under such extreme conditions. The shape and direction of the lugs also make uphill and downhill running safe and secure. The Scott Kinabalu Enduro can be used for short distances on hard surfaces, but this will eventually wear down the lugs.
The Kinabalu Enduro retails for $150. This is a bit high for a trail shoe. A search of the net will find the shoes for about half this price. Due to many unfavorable reviews, this shoe is not a top seller for the Scott company. If the shoe happens to be a good fit for your foot, you can get a great deal on a very durable shoe.
The Vibram Megagrip outsole provides excellent traction on almost every surface. The design and position of the 6mm lugs do not get in the way of the shoe which can be a problem with some deeply lugged outsoles. The shape of the lugs prevents the accumulation of mud and dirt in the spaces in between which prevents even more weight from being added to the shoe. The lugs also help with steep climbs and descents. These shoes will power through mud, gravel, grass, loose dirt, hard packed trails, and the open road. If it weren’t for the weight and uncomfortable upper, these would be great Ultra running shoes.
The design of this shoe makes it fairly stiff. Grooves in the midfoot region of the outsole provide some flexibility, but the rock plate and Vibram sole are not meant to be very flexible. This is where Scott eRide technology comes in. The rocking motion makes up for the lack of flexibility and manages to provide a smooth heel-to-toe transition. After several runs, the shoes do become a bit more flexible.
This shoe provides good stability. Some runners were never able to get a good fit no matter how they laced the shoe and had constant heel slippage. Others found the shoe to be comfortable and stable on the trails. The lugs ensure good traction which prevents the shoe from becoming unstable, but a good fit is required to keep the foot in the shoe. On hard surfaces, the height of the shoe and the added height of the lugs will make the shoes feel a bit unstable. When used on the trails, runners should have no problems.
The drop in this shoe is rather high. 28mm in the heel and 17mm in the forefoot make for a drop of 11mm. An 8mm drop is preferred by most trail runners as it fits the sweet spot of not being too high or too low. The rocker effect of the midfoot does help make the shoe feel lower than it is. Once runners took the shoes for a test run, few complained about the high drop. Some even said the shoe felt more responsive as the higher heel helped push them forward.
Key Features
- Vibram Megagrip outsole
- Protective rock plate
- Cushioned EVA midsole
- e Ride Geometry for a rocker feel
- Bulletproof KPU upper
- Lace pocket to avoid trail snags
- Seamless interior lining
- 11mm heel-to-toe drop
Bottom Line
If you are looking for a rugged shoe that can power through almost anything and come out the other side still looking new, then this shoe might fit the bill. The Scott Kinabalu Enduro is an incredibly durable shoe that will take you up and down trails notorious for eating shoes. Although stiff and uncomfortable for some, other runners found the shoe to be fairly comfortable and claimed the durability made up for the excessive weight. The Scott Kinabalu Enduro will last for hundreds of miles and if purchased on sale, can be a great addition to your off-road adventure shoes.
Where to Buy
Backcountry Link
See Deal
By Abbie Copeland
Last updated:
Where to buy
Best offer on: Jul. 28. 2021

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