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.
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.
Mid to high-cut models designed for more aggressive hikes and backpacking. See hiking 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.
For multi-day trips with a heavy pack. Manufacturers emphasize durability and support in the creation of backpacking boots. See backpacking boots
Designed for users who want to cover a greater distance by going fast, usually with a light pack. See speed hiking shoes.
Boots that grant insulation to the user during hikes. See winter hiking boots.
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.
Shoes with a cuff that goes below the ankle. See low-cut hiking shoes.
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.
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.
Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.
83 / 100 based on 2 expert reviews
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.
This could pass for an upscale sneaker that you can wear with jeans around town as well as a credible piece of technical gear.
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.
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.