Tests & reviews

Scarpa - Zen Pro Mid GTX - Approach shoes tested

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This is what customers from around the world say:
Daniel's profile picture
Would buy for longer approaches.

I've had the shoes for just over two months, of which I spent three weeks using them as my primary approach shoe in Rocklands, South Africa.

Sizing:
I had a pair of Scarpa hiking boots sized at 42 (sized for a toe space) with the intent on hiking, and they saw a lot of use. Similarly I sized these as a 42. For future reference I think these particular shoes should be sized a size or two smaller than a hiking fit (for technical scrambles), but this was my mistake.
I have a high arch and a wide forefoot with protruding ankles. They fit the shape of my foot comfortably after a break-in period of about a week.

Comfort and Support:
These are definitely an approach shoe, despite the boot like high ankles. The sole is thin, and the shoe very rigid. They support the ankle well, and because of the very rigid sole there is a lot of foot support. My feet didn't get tired walking in them under load in thick sand and steep rocky approaches.
The break in period was pretty rough, but this is probably because I was alternating use of these with very tight climbing shoes. I'm not sure where the blisters on my heel came from (the boots or my climbing shoes), but I would recommend a long and easy break-in period (maybe day hikes over successive weekends). Over time they became very comfortable. I'm not sure how they would fair over long multi-day hikes, simply because they are quite thin and firm. I found that tightening the fit with a thick pair of hiking socks and a liner increased comfort significantly for the longer approaches.

Water-resistance:
I was very pleased with how waterproof they were. As a rule, even with GTX shoes, I try to avoid getting wet, but on the odd occasion that I had to cross a stream or step in a deep puddle I didn't get wet at all; even with the water washing over the top of my forefoot. I think this is thanks in part to the sock-fit tech.

Traction and Technical Approach:
The rubber is excellent, and the rigidity really great. The mid-height ankle saved me from a couple of rolled ankles on loose rock scrambles.
The rigid toe and rubber let me do a couple 6a-ish boulder problems easily. However, I think that to optimise that technical scramble aspect I would go for the standard Zen Pro Approach without the ankle, and downsize a little. These were great for longer walk-ins though.
Traction while wet or on wet rock was good.

Lacing system:
The lacing goes all the way to the toe. The first section just has the laces pulling through leather with very little slip, this meant that the toe could be adjusted somewhat independently of the rest of the shoe. From there to the ankle, the laces go through metal eyes which allowed for easy adjustments. The laces are surprisingly thin, but this seemed to aid adjustment, and they tied really well.

Build Quality:
Fantastic! Good rubber toe cap, and rock guards all around the shoe. With the caveat that the climbing rubber is quite soft and will likely wear down much faster than hiking rubber. This isn't a build quality issue though, merely about the intended purpose. The seams seem robust, and the sock-fit reduces moving parts.

  • Advantages
    Finish
    Good grip
    Price/performance
    Comfortable
    Lightweight
    Durable
    Stabilizes the foot
    Waterproof
    Robust
Michael's profile picture
| Dormagen

33% have found the reviews
by Michael helpful

  • Advantages
    Good grip
    Waterproof
    Stabilizes the foot
    Finish
    Lightweight
    Comfortable
Pavel's profile picture
| Zittau

33% have found the reviews
by Pavel helpful

  • Advantages
    Robust
    Finish
    Good grip
    Comfortable
    Stabilizes the foot
Erwin's profile picture
| Langenau

  • Advantages
    Waterproof
    Comfortable
Karsten's profile picture
| Nussbaumen

  • Advantages
    Good grip
    Stabilizes the foot
    Lightweight

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