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The Scott Road RC Ultimate shoes are extremely comfortable, have an excellent Li2 dual Boa closure system, and are extremely stiff for the most demanding of racers. However, their top end performance comes with a truly top end price.
The RC Ultimates sit at the top of Scott's shoe range, and seemingly no expense has been spared when creating them.
The carbon sole has a rigidity rating of 10/10 and is described as extremely stiff, and I'd agree. I found they were rock solid when I gave them my best (weak) sprinting and climbing efforts.
It took me a few rides to get used to them, to be honest, as they are stiffer than my regular ones (rated 7/10). My feet ached a little on my first few rides, but I soon got used to them and appreciated their stiffness – especially when putting in a hard effort.
The uppers are 'Carbitex' carbon and feature mesh ventilation holes, and the high tensile strength of the fibres further futher helps with stiffness and aids power transfer.
These uppers are the main difference, in fact, between the Ultimates and Scott's, erm, penultimate Road RC shoes, which are a whopping £150 cheaper. Personally, I think all but the most demanding racers might find the extra performance and cost hard to justify.
Despite the rigidity, I never had any issues with road buzz from terrible surfaces... which seems to be most roads these days.
The soles accept any three-bolt cleat design, and you get adjustment markings to ensure you get the same positioning on both shoes. They were easy to set up with Look Keo cleats.
Each of these wears a pair of top-end Boa Li2 dials, and these allow 1mm adjustments in either direction. It was easy to dial in the perfect fit across the whole foot.
They're very easy to use even while riding, as you don't have to release and then retighten them like a lot of Boa dials. I really liked this as, during summer, I need to adjust my shoes as my feet get warm. The Li2s make it super easy.
The heel and toe bumpers are on the small side but give good grip when off the bike, and they protect the sole of the shoe well enough. They have some signs of wear, but after a few months of heavy use that is to be expected.
These are designed for a slim, racing fit, but I found them a bit more roomy than other slim-fit shoes (particularly around the toes), and it gave them an all-day comfort which I haven't always found with such things. Even on a three-day bikepacking trip I never had any niggles with them, even after nine hours in the saddle on a warm day.
The sizing is spot on. I tested EU45s which equate to UK10.5s – my usual size for road shoes. These were a very comfortable fit, and I had no issues with heel slippage.
Scott's 'Ergologic Insole System' allows you to adjust the insole depending on arch volume, too, via three pad options that come with the shoes. They're designed to reduce numbness and distribute pressure evenly, but as I have pretty standard feet I just stuck with the default. It was very comfortable for me.
At 555g a pair in size 45, these are very light and similar to many other top end shoes, although not the absolute lightest on the market.
The upper has decent ventilation and is breathable; my feet didn't overheat too much, even after some long rides in temperatures of around 22°C. There's a good sized vent on the front of the sole, but nothing at the back to draw air through – these might be a bit warm if temperatures are getting up towards 30°.
I'd say ventilation is well balanced for the UK, as they'll keep you cool on all but the hottest of days, but shouldn't automatically freeze your toes in winter.
While I haven't tested these in winter temps, given the white front and the price I'd never wear them in poor conditions without toe covers anyway. They got dirty-looking easily even during the unusually dry spell that occurred during testing – that's always a problem with white. They were easy to clean, at least.
At £439.99 these are some of the most expensive shoes we have ever tested, and some of the most expensive off-the-peg road shoes out there.
The Specialized S-Works Torch shoes were rated very highly, and though Liam (quite reasonably) described them as 'silly expensive,' at £385 they're still cheaper than the Ultimates.
Scott's RC Ultimates are very impressive. They are extremely stiff yet all-day comfortable, and the excellent dual Li2 Boas makes it easy to dial in the perfect fit. However, with such high performance comes a very high price.
Very stiff and light shoes that offer all day comfort, but that price is hard to stomach
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Scott Road RC Ultimate Shoe
Size tested: 45
Tell us what the product is for
"The SCOTT Road RC Ultimate is about pure performance. These top-of-the-line shoes offer unrivalled power transfer with a lightweight construction. They provide the perfect fit for racers and those who want the ultimate performance."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Stifness Index 10
HMX carbon sole and Carbitex upper
BOA® fit system Li2
Adjustable ErgoLogic insole
I found the fit great. The toe box was a bit more roomy than my usual shoes, which gave them an all-day-comfort feeling.
In line with the size guide and true to your normal size.
At £439.99 these are incredibly expensive shoes. Their performance is excellent, but some top end rivals are cheaper.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They're easy to wipe down after use, but get dirty quite easily and need cleaning fairly often.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, they were super comfortable and felt great.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I found these extremely comfortable. Even after nine hours in the saddle on a hot, hilly day there were no hot spots and my feet felt great.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The white toes got dirty quite easily. That price is also very easy to dislike!
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These are the most expensive road shoes we've tested at road.cc in a long time, and are at the very top end of the price spectrum of non-custom road shoes.
The Specialized S-Works Torch, the Suplest Edge+ 2.0 Road Pro, the Shimano S-Phyre RC9 Shoes are all top end offerings that scored well, and they're all cheaper than the RC Ultimates.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No - they are too expensive for me
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes - if price wasn't an issue
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are very comfortable, light and extremely stiff for the most demanding of racers. The dual Boa Li2 dials are excellent at securing the perfect fit too. Really the only downside is the price - but that's quite a big downside as they're extremely expensive. There are other top-end options that cost less.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Roubaix My best bike is: Cervelo S3
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Indoor