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Scott T2 Pro
By Tom Demerly.
Read this first about our reviews

Scott T2 Pro
Scott's T2 Pro joins the growing category of tri-specific running shoes.

With the growth of triathlons a new category of running shoe designs have evolved to the specific needs of triathletes. A number of niche brands chase the tri specific market with shoes that have unique multisport specific features and benefits for triathlon runners.

Triathlon specific running shoes have a few unique requirements missing from generic trainers or racing flats: Fast donning, good drainage, a smooth interior for blister-free running without socks and light weight since they are intended for racing.

Scott T2 Pro
The unique quick donning heel design in the closed position.

Scott T2 Pro
...And in the open position for fast donning. Note the position of the closure straps.

In the early history of triathlons a few companies attempted tri specific running shoes. Nike made the unusual Sock Racer that became a brief hit with triathletes due to its stretch upper with no laces, light weight and niche appeal. The design morphed into a trainer and is even carried forward in some of Nike’s current designs. Saucony and others also attempted an early tri specific designs that never gained market traction largely due to the size of the sport at the time. Now that triathlon has gone mainstream the need for tri specific running shoes is valid.

The second coming of tri specific running shoes includes the new Scott T2 Pro. The T2 Pro incorporates a unique donning system that facilitates fast transitions from bike to run. A rear closing heel counter enables the athlete to pull the shoe on instantly and close the upper tightly with a single strap. The traditional laces on the upper are adjusted and tied prior to race day and then simply left tied- you never touch them. Putting the shoe on and taking it off is done exclusively with the heel closure. This is a unique system since there is no reliance on elastic shoe laces. Once the shoe is donned and closed it feels the same every time.

Scott T2 Pro
Heel closure locked down. A velcro patch secures the closure.

Scott T2 Pro
Heel closure opened and ready for high speed donning.

The T2 Pro incorporates a nod toward the forefoot striking trend in racing shoes popularized by brands like Newton. Scott calls their sole configuration “Ergologic Ride”, a more level, less heel heavy design that carries the foot more parallel across the ground compared to shoes intended for heel strikers. The Scott design sits about half way between a Newton style forefoot striker and a heel heavy cushion shoe. If you’ve tried Newtons and they seemed too fore-foot oriented the Scott design may be a workable middle ground between traditional main stream heel-heavy shoes and the Newton-esque fore foot striking designs.
Of the tri-shoe specific designs the Scott has a complete list of features that speak to the triathlon race day runner. The benefits go beyond the novel donning system. The shoe has excellent drainage ports at the heel, midsole and toe box. The cups of water you douse yourself with on a hot day won’t soak the inner of the shoe- the water simply shoots out through the drainage holes. It’s a clever design and one I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of.

Scott T2 Pro
Drainage ports originate under the perforated insole and empty out the front, back and sides of the midsole.

Scott T2 Pro
The heel drain is largest. The drains keep your feet will be drier after dumping an aid station cup over your head on a hot day.

Most old timers remember the story of how Dave Scott was turned away from Ironman registration one year when he didn’t have reflective tape on his running shoes. Scott USA shoe designers must have heard the story since they built “Hawaii compliant” reflectors into the shoe.

Scott T2 Pro


Designed for use without sock the Scott T2 is comfortable and neutral. We weren't able to test our production sample on long runs, but we wager it would be fine even up to Ironman distance.
The tongue of the shoe also has a pull tab to assist donning at T2. Rounding out the tri specific feature list is an interior that is friendly to bare skin for running without socks. There is effectively no separate tongue whatsoever on the shoe. This sock-like design basically eliminates interior seams. It also makes the shoe feel like a slipper on the inside. Running without socks in the Scott T2 Pro is no problem as long as you test them in training for your race distance. I didn’t run 13 miles in these but wouldn’t anticipate any problems going that distance in this shoe without socks.

Scott T2 Pro
Heel counter closed and another view of the heel drainage ports.

Scott T2 Pro
Wrap toe design with integrated drainage port. Note the refelctive dots built into the toe in compliance with Ironman rules.

The big questions for the Scott T2 Pro surround the unique heel closure/donning system: How does the heel closure system work? Does it really make donning the shoe any faster compared to elastic laces and traditional racing flats? Does it provide adequate heel support and stability while running? Does it stay closed for the entire run without accidentally opening?
We didn’t have the opportunity to do a real world race since we only had our sample for four days. We did have a chance to do training runs in them. The heel retention/closure system worked without a single fault. It stayed closed reliably and did not move while running. For a 170 pound neutral stride runner the shoe provided adequate heel support and motion control for race day. The heel closure system did not influence the performance of the shoe while running. Scott’s unique heel closure system worked dependably for us.

Scott T2 Pro
Heel hatch closed. Laces are tied in advance to precisely size the shoe.

Scott T2 Pro
Is this system any faster than elastic laces? It may be for some athletes. The impressive thing about the system is how well it works and fits while running.

Is the unique heel closure system any faster than using simple elastic shoe laces installed on a traditional racing flat? It depends. If your racing flats are set up carefully with stretch laces such as Easy Laces or Xtenex stretch laces they may actually be faster to don than the Scott T2 Pro- but they also may not. It boils down to which system is more fool proof. If you’ve ever tried to make a second or third attempt pulling your stretch lace equipped shoes on in T2 then you understand. If the tongue of a traditional running shoe is crammed forward by inserting your foot you’ll have to spend a few seconds fixing it in T2. The Scott T2 Pro is specifically designed to facilitate a faster transition; as such it maybe more dependable. There is no tongue to tangle. Given more time we’d like to test the Scott T2 Pro’s donning system in a repetitive series of controlled donning under the same circumstances and repeat the same donning test the same number of times with stretch laces and a traditional (non tri specific) racing flat. We’d total the amount of time for donning over the repetitions- the shortest time wins. We haven’t done that test, but I predict the Scott shoe would prevail since it is specifically intended and designed for transition donning rather than being retro-fitted with different laces for faster transitions.

Scott T2 Pro
Weight is 7.9 ounces, on par with most lightweight trainers and more robust racing shoes.

In any case the fast donning feature is a significant one but only one of several designed into the Scott T2 Pro specific to the bike-to-run racer.

In general I was more impressed with the Scott T2 Pro than I imagined I would be. It is a solid neutral running and racing shoe with viable features that benefit the triathlon runner. The unique fast donning heel design does work- there appear to be no drawbacks to it, and it was dependable during the duration of our evaluation. Given the amalgam of features and benefits I will race in the new Scott T2 Pro since it has a combination of tangible benefits I haven’t found in any one other running shoe.

© Tom Demerly, Bikesport Inc.
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