These are my second favourite approach shoes ever. The reason? As well as a nice all-round shoe they’re awesome to climb in. The Zen is tight fitting, rigid, and sticky, with a sensibly moulded sole that allows precise footwork. I’ve bouldered a few slabby problems where friction and maximum rubber to rock surface area is paramount in them that I couldn’t manage in rock shoes (honestly!). They’re not so clunky as to render football and ‘hack’ impossible, and the suede upper means they are perfectly respectable enough for a night out.
They do tend to get a bit warm when laced up tightly for a few hours, but then so do most tight fitting shoes. The major downside is the cost. At £80 most people will probably look out for them in a sale. That said, £80 is a lot less than you’d have to spend for 2 pairs of shoes – one to climb in and one general purpose. Look at it that way and they’re a bargain!
And what are my favourite approach shoes? The 5.10 Guide Tennies, but then they are really glorified rock shoes and not at all suitable for running, football or heading into town, so make up your own mind…
What Scarpa say:
Ideal for crag approach and descent, scrambling and Via Ferrata. The Zen has leather uppers so is very hard wearing and can take the knocks. The lacing extends to the toe to give a secure and precise fit. The innovative Spyder Vibram® sole give fantastic adhesion to the rock and is sure footed on the trail or on tricky descents. The Zen also features a rubber toe bumper, good arch support and a well cushioned heel area.
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