Scott’s new Ultra Explore Shoe uses "world first" natural flax fiber in its carbon plate

Scott Ultra Explore trail running shoe
(Image credit: SCOTT)

Scott has launched the Ultra Explore trail running shoe, which features “the world’s first hybrid composite plate” from Carbitex. 

So what’s that, exactly? Well, carbon plates are the big thing in running shoes, currently. Where running shoes used to be all about being as light as possible, these days they’re all about carbon fiber plates and lots of foam to give you more bounce, or “maximum energy return with every step”.

But carbon plates aren’t eco-friendly. Their production involves energy-intensive processes, including the use of high temperatures and often harsh chemicals, and the energy used in these processes often comes from non-renewable sources.

So that’s why companies like Scott are looker at greener alternatives.

According to Scott, the new plate in the Scott Ultra Explore is made from 50% flax and 50% UD carbon plus a bio-based resin, and is designed to give you the same response as 100% carbon plate.

The Scott Ultra Explore is priced at £245 (UK) / €250 (EU). The US price appears to be yet to be announced.

A model lacing up a Scott Ultra Explore trail running shoe

Scott Ultra Explore trail running shoe (Image credit: SCOTT)

The company says that the “natural flax fiber in the carbon plate is viable as a reinforcement material due to its long, continuous cellulose fibers, which offer tensile strength and stiffness for a natural fiber”.

We’ll leave it to the reviewers to determine whether that’s true.

Scott also claims that the Ultra Explores use third-party certified recycled materials in the upper, laces, footbed, midsole and outsole. According to the brand, these elements, combined with the partially bio-based plate, comprise 58% of the shoe’s composition by weight, positioning the Ultra Explore as a strong contender in sustainably-focussed performance footwear innovation.

It certainly sounds like a positive step. We just hope that the new hybrid plate is a genuine attempt to reduce the eco-impact of carbon plates and not a case of greenwashing.

A hiker wearing the Scott Ultra Explore trail running shoe on loose terrain

The Scott Ultra Explore trail running shoe should give you the same response as an all-carbon plated running shoe (Image credit: SCOTT)