Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Hiking Boot Review
This hiking boot works in challenging environments that do not need a purpose designed mountaineering boot and yet the challenge would be too much for standard short-distance hiking footwear.
Hiking enthusiasts' feedback is that this can take whatever is thrown at it in tough conditions during long, heavy-duty endurance hikes.
The uppers are made from Perwanger suede, a known effective waterproof material for hiking in very wet conditions. Watch how the water just rolls off and does not soak through into the inner foot area. The protection is doubled with a Gore-Tex lining. This level of protection makes this model good even in snowshoeing types of weather.
If you're into tough hiking conditions on long-distance routes while carrying a heavy load, then this high-performing, comfortable, supportive and protective boot is worth trying.
Comfort combined with stability
Breathability surprisingly good
Good for technical terrains
Durability is good
Don't take long to break-in
Suede can show wear through dust and grime
EVA midsole tends to wear but lasts relatively well
For multiple days out hiking and putting in a lot of distance, comfort has to be present and it is with the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX. These are comfortable straight from the box with minimal break-in needed; a great boot for avoiding those painful blisters that often result from new footwear. Breathability is surprisingly impressive and after hours of hiking, the feet tend to feel comfortable and free from a build-up of sweat.
Traction in these means your feet have dependable stability due to Vibram Drumlin soles which even have traction features on the sole edges. This means good grip on slopes, sand, snow, mossy surfaces and even on slippery rocks; whatever the type of surface, these boots give traction. The lugs are spaced widely and this means that mud cannot easily cling to the soles and prevent adding wet clinging weight or destabilizing the support given by these boots.
When descending steep slopes, the combination of comfort and support is impressive with an appropriate stiffness to allow you to descend loose slopes even while carrying a heavy load in a hiking backpack. When going up a slope, the boot has a balance of flexibility which works well and is complemented by the design in ankle support.
These do not have a built-in shank; that feature is replaced by a blend of PU and EV. This is not a common feature in hiking boots and the result is a balanced performance for shock-absorption and stiffness, while PU is known to prolong durability and works to provide great cushioning with the three layers of EVA. Hikers can cover long distances with comfort, protection from the toe-box rubber and supportive high top design feature.
Built with a Perwanger suede upper and more waterproofing back-up from a Gore-Tex built-in liner, boggy ground, wet grass, snow, falling rain, moisture just rolls off the sued uppers; you can even quickly wade through reasonable short stretches of shallow water and stay dry.
Hikers know that usually a combination of leather and Gore-Tex results in hot sweaty feet but even though the Perwanger suede is thick, the breathability is very impressive. This means you will avoid hot spots and blistering as a result of over sweaty feet in sweat-soaked hiking socks.
A tough suede-leather upper afford very good protection from sharp protruding things such as sticks and rocks, and the high top design means protection blended with support. For the toes-forefoot, the heavy-duty rubber rand feature offers a good amount of protection, while the uppers are protected from abrasion through the designed-in heel-box.
Dirt, snow, dust, grit and small rocks are kept out from entering via the ankle area through the inclusion of sock-fit technology and a good supportive lace-up system. Underfoot uneven surface problems are prevented through the built-in PU midsole and layers of EVA cushioning.
Fit and sizing are on target; you will notice no heel slippage issues even when making your way down very steep slope. The toe box offers a lot of space yet is still comfy, even for narrow feet. The asymmetrical lace system which is usually a feature in many running shoes helps focus fit while feeling supportively comfortable and a good feature is lace locking hooks which are useful for adjusting and customizing fit.
The collar design joins comfort with support and the boot tongue is a one-piece feature that does not bunch or slip. Memory foam is built into the rear of the heal and again we see comfort and support blended together. The top foot area and ankle are designed for ergonomic flexibility; this feature eliminates undue pressure on the ankle and heel and enhances a good comforting Fit. These are made in Italy and the craftsmanship is very impressive while the actual footwear is designed to be highly functional for its purpose.
In Comparison to Other Hiking Shoes
Traction is very impressive in comparison to other models; the lugs are spaced wide enough to prevent clinging mud yet still offer high-performing traction on all surfaces and terrain angles. The sides of the soles also offer traction and this puts these boots ahead of a lot of other available models for this type of hiking.
The EVA and PU systems offer an alternative to the traditional shank and the performance and support are notably good. These are different from the array of available soft flexible versions because these have been built to tackle just about any terrain.
The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX is for long-distance hiking in all types of weather while carrying a heavy backpack and for those seeking this type of protective and comfortable hiking footwear, this option is unquestionably a well-crafted, good quality choice.
Very comfortable, highly supportive and protection where it is most needed and functional. Designed to be exceptionally waterproof but unlike many other choices, here the waterproofness does not result in hot sweaty feet. Fit is reliable and supportive and the lacing system lets you further customize the fit.
The traction is impressive no matter what angles, slopes or surfaces are encountered; these are crafted to serve purpose and the price is surprisingly balanced when you consider the build quality, protection, support and comfort.