SCARPA Zen Pro Hiking Shoe
When it comes to shoes that are used during long hikes or scrambling over boulders and climbing up cliff faces, there are a lot of options available. Depending on your point of view, many of these options have become more and more specialized. There are shoes that are designed primarily for hiking over rough terrain. Other shoes are designed to excel at smearing and edging along the rock, and others offer great flexibility while crack climbing.
But what if you want an approach shoe that is actually a bit more versatile than that? Is it possible to find a great overall balance between a hiking shoe and a climbing shoe? The people over at Scarpa think that they have found the right balance with their Scarpa Zen Pro Approach Shoe. So we’ve decided to do the research and put the shoes to the test to find out if they’re right.
- Extremely durable
- Fairly comfortable to wear
- Shorter break-in time
- Sturdy toe box
- Fantastic for hiking and scrambling
- Can wear through at key places for climbing, such as the toe area
- Not very good at smearing
- Not well suited for crack climbing or technical climbs
- Outsole thick and stiff
- Doesn’t breathe as well as it should
- Can be bulky
- The Scarpa Zen Pro Hiking Shoe is solid. These hold up better for long hikes. Your feet will be protected in these shoes. The grip is great as well on rocks, snow, and mud.
- These are my second pair. They hold up well. My first pair lasted two years. I use my shoes for year work. Very comfortable.
- The workmanship and quality of these shoes are very good. They have the Vibram soles for a great grip and they are very comfortable. I have three pairs of these shoes.
- These Scarpa Zen Pro Hiking Shoes fit like a glove. I hiked in these shoes for a week with no issues. They have an incredible grip. My feet felt protected and secure. I was able to get my regular size and I have wide feet.
- These shoes are a little stiff in the beginning but they break in and are very comfortable after about a week.
- This is my first pair of Scarpa Zen Pro Hiking Shoes. Great shoes! I use a thin orthotic insert and these shoes fit perfectly. Super comfortable and very good arch support.
- Scarpa Zen Pro Hiking Shoes are very sturdy for hiking but I wear mine for every day. The pair that I do wear for hiking is a bit bigger. My favorite shoes are made by Scarpa. These shoes are indestructible.
- These shoes do have a break in period. So be prepared for that but overall it is a durable, high-quality hiking shoe. Would definitely buy again.
- I covered a lot of miles in these on my trip to Italy. These shoes are awesome!
- This is a great hiking and climbing shoe. Love how it can handle water and have great arch support. Put several miles on my Scarpa Zen Pro Hiking shoes with no problems.
- Still, have to break these in but overall these shoes fit perfect. Nice and tough.
- I replaced my Limelite shoes with these and so far they provide great arch support. I am hopeful that they will hold up as equally as well.
- I am impressed at how well these shoes have been holding up. I had these for two years and wear them almost every day.
- Right out of the box these shoes are very comfortable, and fit great. Well made and they look amazing. Although I will be wearing mine for casual wear I am confident these shoes would do great for hiking.
- These shoe are very well made and excellent construction. They do require some breaking in because they are so stiff.
- The Scarpa Zen Pro Hiking Shoe is made really well and they are very comfortable.
- This shoe is very comfortable after the minimum break in time. The run true to size.
- I use these shoes for traveling, hiking and climbing. Great shoes.
- I love Scarpa. These are my second pair.
- My current pair is doing fine but I wanted to buy another pair before the price went up. I use my shoes for trail walking.
- Some buyers preferred the earlier version
- Runs too narrow for some buyers
Another nice thing about the mid-sole area of the shoe is that it provides fantastic weight distribution throughout the shoe, so there aren’t really too many pinch points. This can be a great help, especially during longer hikes or approaches, where comfort is certainly a strong consideration.
Most people found that the upper portion of the shoe provided a good amount of comfort overall, with those with average or narrow feet adoring the contoured shape of the shoe overall. Those with wider feet found the upper portion somewhat restrictive, especially in the instep area of the foot.
The shoe itself isn’t that heavy, either, weighing just over one pound. While it’s not as light as a standard climbing shoe can be, it’s still lighter and more comfortable than many of the more robust hiking shoes on the market today.
Most people found the sizing to meet their expectations, with only a few recorded instances of the sizes running a bit small overall. There is also a significantly shorter break-in period than what was seen in earlier incantations. Where the old Scarpa Zen would have taken at least a few months of solid use to break in completely, these shoes usually break in a few days with a moderate amount of use.
These shoes are definitely not waterproof but do offer a moderate amount of protection from moisture. Even without waterproofing treatment, the suede upper portion does provide decent protection from moisture and water infiltration.
Another area where these shoes do moderately well, despite their low cuff is in protection against ankle twists or bad turns. Their naturally firm grip provides a good amount of support, even when moving over more rugged areas.
As an approach shoe, this shoe is absolutely fantastic for the trip to the climbing spot. Once you’re there, however, the Scarpa Zen Pro does leave a bit to be desired in the way of responsiveness, grip, and traction. If you’re going bouldering or doing some light technical climbing, this shoe will work well enough. If crack climbing, smearing, or any other activity that requires a more firm grip with great flexibility in the toe areas, you might want to look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, that stability and extra durability do come at a bit of price. These shoes almost have too much stability for the climbing portion of the approach, lowering the amount of overall flexibility and ability to use your foot to its maximum capability.
Comparison to Other Brands
However, if you’re more worried about getting to the climb in one piece rather than actually climbing, the Scarpa Zen Pro is definitely worth considering. The durability of the shoe clearly outmatches quite a few of the closest competitors, such as the Five Ten Guide Tennie and the Evolve Cruzer, and the hiker-friendly tread allows for a good versatility when it comes to terrain.