Summary

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

8 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.
  • A multitude of owners 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.
  • About a handful of patrons only had admiration for the hiking shoe’s stunning aesthetics.

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.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated hiking shoe
A top rated Scarpa hiking shoe

Expert Reviews

86 / 100 based on 3 expert reviews

  • 95 / 100 | All Outdoors Guide | | Level 1 expert

    If you are someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, primarily on trails, but also wants a shoe that can handle the stress of other fun activities, you need to seriously consider the Zen.

  • 90 / 100 | Gear Guide | | Level 1 expert

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

  • 72 / 100 | OutdoorGearLab | | Level 1 expert

    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.

  • First look | Shop Zappos |

Become an expert
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.

paul@runrepeat.com