Facts

  • Subcategory

    Hiking Sandals

    Made of lightweight materials. They don't have much top-of-the-foot coverage so they're mostly suitable for well-maintained trails and summer hikes. Also useful for crossing rivers and streams. They come in open and closed-toe designs. See the best hiking sandals.

    Hiking Shoes

    The low-cut equivalent of hiking boots. Comfort is paramount in the creation of these shoes so they often have flexible materials. Generally used for day hikes. See hiking shoes.

    Hiking Boots

    Mid to high-cut models designed for more aggressive hikes and backpacking. See hiking boots.

    Mountaineering Boots

    Specialized footwear. Often insulated and used in technical routes, ice climbing or expeditions. See mountaineering boots.

    Good to know

    For hikes that won't last for more than a day, go with hiking sandals or hiking shoes. Tackling trails with greater challenges will require hiking boots or mountaineering boots.

  • Use

    Day Hiking

    Shoes or boots for hikes that only last for half a day. Flexibility and lightness are the highlights of these kinds of footwear. See the best day hiking shoes and the best day hiking boots.

    Backpacking

    For multi-day trips with a heavy pack. Manufacturers emphasize durability and support in the creation of backpacking boots. See backpacking boots

    Speed Hiking

    Designed for users who want to cover a greater distance by going fast, usually with a light pack. See speed hiking shoes.

    Winter Hiking

    Boots that grant insulation to the user during hikes. See winter hiking boots.

    Multi-sport

    Mainly sandals. Aside from hiking they can be used for other purposes such as water activities. See multi-sport hiking sandals.

    Good to know

    Casual hikers can choose day hiking footwear or multi-sport sandals. More info here.

  • Cut

    Low

    Shoes with a cuff that goes below the ankle. See low-cut hiking shoes.

    Mid

    Boots with an ankle-height cuff. They provide extra ankle support. See mid-cut hiking boots and mid-cut mountaineering boots.

    High

    Boots with a cuff that goes above the ankle. In the case of insulated ones, they may reach the calf. Also grants extra ankle support. See high-cut hiking boots and high-cut mountaineering boots.

    Good to know

    Generally, for trails that are easy to tackle, go with low-cut shoes. Go mid to high if there are more trail obstacles.

  • Price
    $155
  • Weight
    Men: 15.5oz
  • Width
    Men: Normal
Show more facts

Summary

We spent 7.3 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what hikers think:

7 reasons to buy

  • A group of testers gave the Scarpa Zen shoes positive remarks in terms of comfort.
  • Its flexibility, especially in the forefoot area was applauded by some experienced hikers.
  • More than a handful were surprised with the support from Scarpa Zen even when carrying a pack.
  • Lengthwise, it was spot-on, based on a lot of consumer reviews.
  • Several of those who owned the pair for quite some time testified to its durability.
  • The outsole received compliments from numerous wearers as it handled various terrain types efficiently.
  • The majority appreciated its little-to-no breaking in period.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A small portion of users disliked its somewhat restrictive fit, particularly on the forefoot region.
  • A few experts and outdoorsmen wished that the Scarpa Zen had a gusseted tongue for extra trail protection.

Bottom line

Scarpa Zen has a lot to offer to those who love the outdoors. Its low-cut design did not compromise the support that hikers need on the trails. Its exceptional grip, durability and true-to-length fit also received high ratings. However, it was not able to escape a couple of criticisms. All in all, considering its fairly tolerable setbacks, the Scarpa Zen’s list of pros makes it a likable day hiking shoe.

Rankings

Expert Reviews

Experts are hikers, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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83 / 100 based on 2 expert reviews

  • 80 / 100 | OutdoorGearLab

    The Scarpa Zen is one of the best approach shoe we tested, IF… your focus is hiking comfort with the durability to handle rough, rocky abuse.

  • 90 / 100 | Gear Guide

    This could pass for an upscale sneaker that you can wear with jeans around town as well as a credible piece of technical gear.

  • First look / Unboxing | Shop Zappos

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Updates to Scarpa Zen

  • With the features of an approach shoe in mind, Scarpa designers bridged the gap between a hiking boot and a trail running shoe in the Zen. Its revamped model still carries an all-leather upper with Vellutina lining for comfort. Aside from providing added protection, the partial toe rand also grants grip on climbs.
  • Previously, Scarpa Zen shoes were equipped with a PU insert and Comfort Flex midsole for cushioning. The current model comes with an injected medium-density EVA midsole and P-Flex insole to cushion and support each step.
  • It now wears a Spyder II outsole (still made of a Vibram compound). Its tread profile renders grip and responsiveness on the trails.

Scarpa Zen size and fit

The Scarpa Zen shoes cater to male hikers. They comes in regular sizes and medium (D) width. Generally, they run true to size.

This gear is shaped using the BH last which feels snug in the heel and spacious in the forefoot. It has a lace-up closure which allows fit customization.

Outsole

The Spyder II outsole of the Scarpa Zen uses Vibram TC4+ compound. It optimizes grip and durability on different ground conditions. Also, the sole has a dedicated climbing zone—found in the toe area—which grants precision and responsiveness, especially on ascents. The lugs are designed to shed off mud which helps maintain traction.

Midsole

This low-cut day hiking shoe employs an injected, medium-density EVA midsole. This lightweight material delivers cushioning and rebound underfoot. Its semi-circle design at the heel area promotes shock absorption. The P-Flex insole (polypropylene with 3.5 mm thickness) is incorporated to amplify comfort.

Upper

The Scarpa Zen has a durable suede leather (1.8 mm) upper. It has a Vellutina lining, a quick-drying material which wicks away moisture and helps maintain comfort. Leather reinforcements wrap the base of the shoe and the heel area for added trail security. It is also designed with a partial rand at the toe area to enhance protection.

To manage fit, the brand’s designers used punched and metal eyelets as part of its lacing system. A lace keeper is attached on the tongue to prevent it from sliding sideways. Lastly, a pull loop at the back of the shoe assists in donning and doffing.