Gear Review

4 5

Zen

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

After returning the first pair, due to getting a slightly too small pair, I found the fit I was looking for. The fit is fairly narrow in the toe box, which is quite nice for front-point, steep approach hiking over talus and roots. The midsole provides nice cushioning under the forefoot and heel when plodding along over flat and uneven ground--making them nicer than some non cushion models for longer approaches. My few complaints are: wish they had a pull-loop on the tongue for getting them on easier, due to the lacing pattern used. Though that being said, the lace pattern does work well to keep them fitting snugly after they're on. Also, wearing custom orthotics makes for a rather tall fit within the shoe--allowing a sense that my heel wants to lift out of the heel pocket when ascending. This could be resolved by adding another set of lace eyelets next to the top eyelets--allowing for a better tension at the ankle. Other than these issues, the shoe fits very precisely, and is my go-to shoe for technical terrain. This shoe is no replacement for my 5.10 guide tennies, which I still prefer for sketchy 4th classing on rock, due to their superior flexibility and "stickiness", but are not nearly as comfy as the zens for long approaches. Zen rubber, as mentioned, is not nearly as sticky as five-ten, but neither are most other shoes, for that matter.