Gear Review: Scarpa Zen Pro

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So, it’s been a while since reviewing anything and I think these are worth it. The issue with approach shoes is that if you walk into any outdoors shop you hear the same thing…. 5:10 Guides. In my local go outdoors I was told there was no point in buying anything else. The assistant looked at me like I had plague when I said I have a pair of 5:10s  and I didn’t get on with them.

So after 5 months of owning these I can emphatically tell you that these are by far and away better than the 5:10s for use as a genuine approach shoe.

Pros
– Grippy in all conditions and all surfaces
– Stiff sole allowing confidence when walking on a small edge
– Excellent climbing rubber across the toe area (Have climbed HVD 4a in these)
-Supportive on rough ground
– They look smart and have shoved them on to head to the shop

Cons
– Stiff soles are not as comfortable for everyday wandering round town or easy walk ins on paths
– The heel loop is so small it’s useless and can’t be used to aid the shoes being put on

Scarpa vs 5:10

I can understand why people love the 5:10 they’re super comfy and on clean, dry rock round the base of a crag they’re great. That’s where it ends sadly. The Scarpa is by far and away superior for grip in all conditions especially on grass slopes and in the wet where the 5:10 is lethal. As a shoe to do scrambles and low grade climbs in the Scarpa is also far superior you trust the rubber and edges,  they worked well on Bamford grit. Vibram has really outdone itself whereas it feels like Stealth hasn’t moved forward. I don’t know why but the lacing system on the Scarpa is better.

Overall

The Guides are by no means a bad shoe  but they feel a bit lost in the past while others have developed. If I was on expedition and wanting a shoe I trusted on flat, mountain, scramble and climb the Zen Pro is my choice every time

 

More info and stockists here: http://www.scarpa.co.uk/approach/zen-pro/

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