With gravel bikes becoming so popular, the best gravel bike shoes are definitely a thing now too. These Scott shoes are a great balance of road and MTB features for light, stiff, low profile mixed surface performance as long as you don’t accidentally kick the Boas off.
According to Scott, its new Gravel shoes are a ground-up design, not just a blend of its XC and road race shoes, and the Tuned is the most expensive option. So what does that mean for your feet on mixed surfaces? Read on to find out.
Design and performance
Scott has clearly made a decision to make its gravel shoes quite different from its XC/MTB shoes. That means it hasn’t only shrunk the tread on either side of the cleat hole in depth, but also in width. That can make them wobbly underfoot in the center, and there’s no side stamping traction either. If that’s what you’re after, you are better off getting the XC shoes, but in terms of toe and heel traction and coffee stop/short toddle utility, the Gravel Tuned shoes are fine. The lightweight ‘Sticky Rubber’ compound doesn’t turn into soap at the first sign of dampness either.
As well as the tread being very low profile, the sole is also super thin which properly floors your foot onto the pedal. It can feel weird at first but being that close definitely pays dividends in terms of control and connection when you realize your all-season tires aren’t really a match for winter grip levels.
Add carbon composite reinforcement with a stiffness index of 8 and they’re a very direct feeling shoe with a decent kick. Plus there’s still enough flex not to numb your foot on typically high mileage, high vibration gravel days.
While they feel flat internally, the insoles can be raised by fitting a fatter center orthotic (available separately). The squared-off toe box is quite low but usefully broad and the whole shoe has a snug but well-proportioned fit that should suit performance-minded riders well. The double BOA dial arrangement starts low on the forefoot to give a really secure ‘whole foot’ wrap. They’re only single directional though so if you need to back off tension if your feet swell you have to fully undo and start again.
While it's potentially an issue with any BOA shoe, the dials seem particularly pronounced and we knocked the top of the right upper right twister into the undergrowth within 15 minutes of starting the first ride. To be fair, that was on tight sniper rock singletrack though, not strictly gravel territory.
Otherwise the padded, perforated one-piece synthetic upper is hot spot free and cuts a reasonable balance between summer sweat and winter freeze. They clean up well and dry fast and there’s a reinforced bumper around the toe for at least a hint of stub protection too. A padded collar adds heel retention and there’s a soft cut out in the tongue where some shoes can dig in when new. Overall weight is low at 383g per size 44 shoe and for a double BOA, carbon-reinforced shoe pricing is really good - even compared to Scott’s own MTB and road shoes.
Deliberately narrowing the center tread just to hide it can cause an occasional walking wobble but it also means Scott’s new gravel shoes pass scrutiny fine on the road if you want to use SPDs for everything. The sole is a great balance between a very efficient and communicative feel that’s stiff enough to get hard on the gas without ending up with numb feet after a few hours. While they’re certainly snug and minimalist they’re not pinchy or painful in any way and the materials are easy to live with. Just don’t kick the BOAs off.
Check out the Gravel Tuned shoes on Scott-sports.com.
Tech Specs: Scott Gravel Tuned shoes
- Price: $179.99 / £164.99
- Colors: Black
- Weight: 766g (size 44 with cleats)
- Sizes: 40-48