Verdict from 1 expert and 89 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • This shoe feels comfortable with or without socks, according to some reviews.
  • Many applauded the lightweight and comfortable construction of the Ultra Kiawe 2.0.
  • This shoe offers a smooth ride with impressive traction all throughout the every stride, according to several reviewers.
  • The BareFit internal liner that gives sock-like fit gained positive feedbacks from runners.
  • The ZVA technology of the Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 offers dynamic shock absorption based on a handful of reviews.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners felt that this shoe is too firm.
  • Limited color options.

Bottom line

Experience a great fitting and performance feel while running on this Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0. The lightweight and overall construction of this shoe helps the runner surpass the demands on a race day. Expect an ultimate performance from this neutral running shoe.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Good to know

  • The very minor modifications of the 2nd version of the Kiawe show Zoot’s reluctance to change something that has gained quite a following already. A closer look would show that the new version features a mesh with wider holes for enhanced breathability. Zoot also informs runners that this mesh is of better quality than the past version.
  • The second change is also very minimal; one that may go unnoticed by those who are not familiar with the Ultra Kiawe. There is now a slightly lower ankle collar in the Kiawe 2.0 to respond to past concerns regarding ankle rubbing or irritation. The update should enhance the comfortable feel while wearing this shoe.

The fit and sizing of the Kiawe 2.0 are regular and resemble those of the original. This offers a sock-like fit that hugs the contours of the heel, midfoot, and forefoot. There is just enough room in the toe box for the toes to splay. Runners who want to wear socks may want to get a half a size up. Available widths are D and B while sizes are 7 to 14 for the men’s and 5 to 12 for the women’s.

The Zoot-exclusive ZCR is a sturdy carbon rubber located in the usual high-prone areas to limit wear and tear. Zoot also uses their own configuration of rubber treads called the ZPU to enhance the shoe’s grip on the track or road.

The midsole of this Zoot shoe is composed of industry grade EVA that Zoot proprietarily calls the ZVA. It spans the entire length of the shoe and provides decent cushioning and responsiveness. A carbon fiber shank is located in the midfoot to help with the toe off and to add torsional stability to the shoe.

The fit and feel of the Barefit Technology make sockless running an excellent option for the Ultra Kiawe 2.0. A Dri-Lex fabric basically covers the interior portion of the shoe for hygienic purposes and very plush next to skin feel. An Ultra Tri Sock liner adds comfort and cozy feel while the Z-Bound insole adds more responsive features. Zoot uses the Quick-Lace System in most of their triathlon shoes, including the Ultra Kiawe 2.0. The tongue loop and heel tab provide convenience when wearing or taking off the shoe.


How Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 32% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 30% Zoot running shoes
All Zoot running shoes
Top 33% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.