Scott Ultra Carbon RC Trail Shoe: A Step Ahead in Performance, but Sore Ankles Take the Scenic Route


Let’s take a look at the newly released Scott Sports Ultra Carbon RC Trail Shoe. If you were glued to the Western States live stream recently, like I was, you might have noticed Cody Lind rocking a pair.

Scott introduced the shoe with their new Dynamic Carbon Plate technology, which is designed to stiffen as you speed up, but provides side to side support in technical terrain as you slow down. Scott achieves this by splitting the plate under the forefoot, and towards the heel. The goal, according to Scott, is to return the runner to a more natural dynamic while still offering the efficiency of a carbon plate.

Another key feature of the Ultra Carbon is Scott’s rocker technology, along with their ultra traction outsole, which has “strategically placed lugs to provide the best traction for those fast rolling summer trail races.” Meanwhile, the rocker shape of the outsole is designed to help minimize heel strike. All told, the Ultra Carbon is designed for fast, flowy, trails, allowing you to “run faster for longer, using less energy.”

The shoe certainly boasts some heady expectations, but this is why we test shoes; to prove their worthiness. Out of the box, the Ultra Carbon (UCRC) is a good looking shoe. The color-way is fun, the rocker style makes it look fast, and the lugs look like they should hold the trail well.

I laced them up in my usual way in prep for their inaugural run. The first thing I noticed was how the upper cuts into my ankle bone. This is the first shoe I have ever experienced like this, and I am wondering if we got an odd pair. I mean, people are running WS in this – and this can’t be common. Or maybe it’s just me…

It was not comfortable but I hoped it would eventually work itself out. Also, take note that the shoes are not exceptionally wide. I have wider than average feet (at the forefoot) and these were quite snug. Still, the shoes are part mesh and I had the  hope was they would become a little more flexible over time.

My first run was hybrid – 2 miles on road before getting to trails. I love this for a lot of reasons, but also for testing shoes to see how they handle pavement. A lot of races feature road sections (including Western States), so it’s nice to know your trail shoe isn’t too soft to handle it.

I managed about 4 miles of road and 6-plus miles of trail, with 1,500 feet of vert. The discomfort at the ankle bone unfortunately didn’t let up much for the duration, but more than that was what I felt was sloppiness in the heel cup. I did utilize both of the upper lacing holes but it did not make any difference. Corners were not much fun as my ankle wanted to roll and the shoe would not hold for me, especially in steeper ups or downs.

I held back from pushing the UCRC in this first run, believing they needed a break-in period. My second run was just 2 days later as I decided to see if the traction was indeed suspect, and to attempt to soften the pain at the ankle. 11-1/2 miles and 2,000 feet of vert later, my ankle hurt more. My third run went 12-1/2 miles with 1,800 feet of vert. Similar to the second run, the ankle issue did not go away, it just kind of lingered. Since running in these, I have seen other reviews showcasing a similar feeling on the collar. Bummer.

It was then that I decided to forego the vert and try these on a more intermediate/flat trails. During that third run, I focused on shallower climbs and flatter trails to give the UCRC a chance to shine. After a few short miles, I determined that the UCRC is awesome on flat trails. When I wasn’t needing the support on more advanced terrain, the shoe really shone and delivered.

For what its worth, I am a pretty advanced trail runner – all things considered. I regularly run ultras and continually put in large mileage numbers and vertical gain. Given my experience, I would hesitate to recommend this fully (or at least try for yourself to see if the ankle issue is limited to me) if you are looking for a trail shoe with traction for steeper climbs and stable descents. I will say that, even with some discomfort, this shoe is solid and fast on those ups and down – which is exactly as it is advertised to be.

But if you generally limit yourself to flatter  and more intermediate trails, these seem like they could really shine.

Scott Ultra Carbon RC $230


  • Stack Height: 27mm-20mm
  • Offset: 7mm
  • Weight:
    • 10.6oz (men’s 9)
    • 9.5 oz (women’s 7)


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Thank you to Scott for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

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Ultra runner with an ice cream addiction.

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