The Scott Palani is an odd combination of a daily trainer and an uptempo performance running shoe, combining the less favorable properties of both.
The Scott Palani is a high-quality shoe, however, it did not perform very well during testing.
- The Palani is made from high-quality materials
- The Palani is a very durable shoe
- The Palani has excellent traction for a road running shoe
- The Palani has a unique, comfortable sock liner
- The Palani is very heavy
- The midsole is far too firm; there is very little cushioning
- The tongue is not padded and slides to the side
- The lacing system needs improvement
- The Palani is not breathable enough for summer running
- The Palani has too much heel to toe drop
The upper consists of five distinct sections.
The plastic toe cap, the breathable mesh in the forefoot, the same breathable mesh overplayed by plastic, a midfoot wrap, and a plastic heel cup. The only part of the shoe that is breathable is the forefoot mesh. As such, this is a hot shoe.
The mesh in the front feels comfortable enough while wearing socks, but it is not comfortable if you like to run sockless.
The midfoot wrap is smooth and soft. It is very comfortable against the foot, however, it is not breathable.
The Palani has a very substantial heel cup. The heel cup provides great support and enhances the fit.
The heel collar is heavily padded. There is actually too much cushioning in the heel collar. Scott should taper back on the heel padding in future iterations of this shoe.
Tongue & Laces
The tongue and lacing system is neither comfortable nor functional. The Palani has a very thin plastic tongue, which has no padding at all.
This would not be a problem if the shoe had a dynamic lacing system that distributed the pressure from the laces well, but the shoe does not have anything like this. The Palani has very thin laces that cause pressure points on the top of the foot.
The laces are laced through holes in the midfoot wrap. This works fine in terms of lockdown, but it is nowhere near as good as the Saucony Isofit system or any other lacing system.
The sock liner has a unique rough texture.
The Palani has my favorite sock liner of any running shoe. It feels very good on the foot and has more wicking capabilities than the standard sock liner.
The Palani has a little toe bumper. The toe bumper is a piece of rubber on the front of the shoe and a plastic wrap around the toe.
The toe bumper makes the Palani capable of light trails more than the standard road running shoe.
The Palani has a standard straight fit. The fit is not very adaptable; if you do not have a standard shaped foot, try it on first. There is plenty of room in the toe box for proper toe splay.
The midsole was very disappointing. The midsole is made of a thick piece of Scott’s Aerofoam, underneath a strobe board. The Aerofoam is extremely firm; it provides very little cushioning. It is also quite heavy.
The Palani’s midsole feels like a racing flat since it is firm and responsive. The problem is that I would never dream of racing in the Palani because of how heavy the shoe is.
The Palani has an 11-millimeter drop.
This is quite substantial. The 11-millimeter drop is more geared towards heel strikers than forefoot strikers. When you heel strike, a high drop increases your turnover rate.
When you forefoot strike, the extra cushion in the heel gets in the way. The Palani would be geared towards heel strikers, but the midsole is so firm that heel striking is uncomfortable.
The Palani is a very stiff shoe. This gives it a more responsive ride.
Stiff midsoles take a lot of energy to flex, but they really spring back when you toe off. The stiff midsole also makes the Palani a little bit less comfortable.
The Palani’s midsole works well on trails. The thick firm midsole provides great protection from rocks and roots.
The Palani has an outstanding outsole. The outsole is made from a single sheet of sticky rubber with small multidirectional lugs protruding from it.
The outsole provides great traction on wet roads and light trails. The outsole has enough surface area to feel comfortable on roads yet it still bites on trails.
The Scott Palani does not particularly excel in any area.
Racing: The Palani has a race-like feel. It is very responsive, but it is way too heavy to truly feel fast.
Daily Training: The upper has enough padding for comfortable daily training, and the Palani has a high-quality durable construction, however, the midsole is too firm for the shoe to be a comfortable daily trainer.
Trail running: The firm midsole, toe bumper, and outsole make the Palani suitable for light trails.
The bottom line is that although the Scott Palani is a high-quality shoe, there are other running shoes on the market that completely outperform the Palani in every area.
Take the Hoka Clayton 2 for example. It works better than the Palani as a daily trainer, an uptempo racing shoe, and even a trail running shoe, while at the same time being 3 ounces lighter. At 140 dollars, the Palani is not cheap either.
Overall, the Scott Palani is a high quality, good looking shoe, that turns out to be a quite impractical.