First Look Gear Review

Scarpa Zen Review

   

Hiking Boots - Men's

  • Currently 3.6/5
Overall avg rating 3.6 of 5 based on 6 reviews. Most recent review: September 27, 2014
Street Price:   $145 | Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros:  Excellent grip, works as approach shoe, durable.
Cons:  Thick sole, no ankle support.
Best Uses:  Approaches, easy soloing.
User Rating:     
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 (4.0 of 5) based on 5 reviews
Recommendations:  80% of reviewers (4/5) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Scarpa
Review by: Atherton Phleger ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ June 1, 2012  
Overview
Mendel would be all over this shoe. The Scarpa Zen is a hybrid of hybrids. A casual combination of a light hiking boot and an approach shoe, the Zen moves a bit farther along the shoe-to-boot spectrum. It fills a niche that doesn't really demand filling. Its a mediocre approach shoe, and a poor-to-middling light hiking boot. However, it does have a few redeeming qualities. Its durable as all hell. It endured abuse every day for months without any critical damage. It has better rubber than any hiking boot you'll find, and a comprehensive rand that makes it possible to jam and climb off-widths without shredding the shoe to pieces.

There are better options out there. If youre primarily interested in an approach shoe, heres our approach shoe review. If youre looking for something a bit more boot-ish, try the Merrell Moab Ventilator or Keen Targhee.

Other Versions
The Zen - Women's is the women's version of this shoe.

The Zen Pro Trail, $170, has an upgraded midsole and Vibram Spyder 2 soles. Scarpa makes the claim that these shoes have the feel of a running shoe, with the sensitivity of an approach shoe. The Scarpa Crux, $100, is built for scrambling, smearing, and approaches.


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Atherton Phleger

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: September 27, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

80% of 5 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
6 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (3)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 33%  (2)
2 star: 17%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 5 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Sep 27, 2014 - 10:25am
I bought these shoes for a 2 month motorcycle/camping adventure through Greece.

I wanted something I could hike in and would be solid on the motorcycle. I was against anything high top for three reasons. One, I wanted something that I could wear with shorts that would not scream tourist dork. Two I really don't thnk ankle support is necessary unless you are carrying a huge backpack, as long as you are reasonably active to have built up some strength in the ankles. I'm not in great shape but I make furniture so I am often on my feet and carrying heavy stuff around enough to keep the muscles workng.
Three I wanted to pack light. I don't have much room on the bike so there was no way to fit big hiking shoes when wearing my other shoes.
Turns out these scarpa Zen's crushed it. To be honest I bought these based on looks mostly without trying on other shoes. I have a thing for Italian design and these were made in Romania. I'm not sure that makes a difference, I just have prejudice against made in China. I guess because I figure labor costs are cheaper there so when buying a $100+ pair of shoes less of my money is going to actually make the shoe. Anyway, the fit at first was dissapoi ting.
I have wider feet at the big toe area so they were very tight at first. They broke in though after I bent them in half to stretch them and I got them wet and hiked up mount Zas on Naxos. After that they fit great. Mount Zas is an easy hike,I went off the trail though and scaled the face. Which was pretty easy though vertical for two small parts. I also hiked up to the top of mount olympus all the way to the peak Mytikas. The end of the trail is all rock, the shoes gripped great. It was 3 hours the first day and 7 hours the next. My legs were jelly but my feet were as comfortable as I could have hoped after hiking for so long. I never felt like I was missing ankle support and the shoes have withstood all the sharp rocks here in Greece.

I also hiked in Samothraki. The shoes gave me confidence to free climb and dance along the tops of rocks and boulders. The whole time the shoes have also looked terrific. They feel solid and well built. I highly recommend them. Just to clarify I am wearing high quality wool socks from darn tough and smart wool. I also credit these with preventing blisters during the break in and for providing extra comfort.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 3, 2014 - 06:03pm
Naitch · Climber · Seneca, Area
They such for the purpose that I bought them - hiking/approach, scrambling and easy climbing. Too heavy, stiff and the toe is boxy/clunky. They do seem to be well made, though - much better than the 5.10s. However, I think I'll stick with my 5.10 Tennies or La Sportiva Gandas ($$$)

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 3, 2014 - 04:36pm
Kit · Climber · Walcha NSW
By far the best approach shoe I have ever owned!
Great for around town,forest, track and rough terrain.
Makes a great choice for the easier solo climb or a little rock hopping.
Fits like a glove, my feet love them!
They are smart enough to wear out and about (great for long flights!)
I have had many positive comments around the world on my travels.
If I had to chose one shoe to do it all the Scarpa Zen would be that shoe.
Long lasting and tough, stylish and ohh so comfortable.
I would reccomend 2 pairs, once one pair is worn in… start the others for "Best".
Repeat this process for maximum satisfaction!

(if I could take 2 pairs of shoes to that rocky deserted island paradise I would pair them with my faithful Boreal "Stinger" rock shoes)

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 26, 2012 - 07:23am
Stefan Jacobsen · Climber · Danmark
Great approach shoe that climbs well. Perfect fit. Sole and laces wear out before the rest of the shoe. Can't understand why ST doesn't like it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 18, 2012 - 12:58pm
I couldn't disagree with this review more. The shoe perfectly fits my needs; an every day city shoe good for sidewalks, light hikes in and out of the city, and occasional scrambling. It's the most comfortable street shoe I've worn, and takes no time to break in. But the sole wears out way too fast. I suppose it all depends on where you test the shoe.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Scarpa Zen
Credit: Scarpa.com
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