27
Apr
10

Zoot Ultra Race 2.0 Running Shoes

I wish I didn’t like these shoes so much, because I think they’re ugly as sin.

Since August of last year, I have been training and racing in Zoot’s Ultra Race 2.0 running shoes. I have done sprint and olympic distance triathlons in my first pair, and I just completed my first-ever marathon wearing my second pair. I had run in Nike, Saucony, Asics, and Newtons before, and these are totally different. All those other shoes feel like heavily padded moon boots compared to these puppies. These are super light, and super thin. There is no extra material on these. And coming from those other thick shoes, it didn’t feel right at first. I felt like I was wearing a reinforced sock more than a shoe. The sole is very, very thin and there isn’t much padding. The upper is a thin layer of…whatever that stuff is, leathery stuff. You don’t feel like you’re getting much for your money when you pick them up or put them on, and especially not when you look at them, but I can’t speak more highly of how they performed. I’m a 200 lbs guy, so trust me, I was nervous to run in something without a lot of padding on the sole, but I never had any problems I would blame on the shoe (some other problems, but I don’t believe they had anything to do with my shoes).

The real moment of conversion for me came when I tried running in an old pair of my shoes. Since running in the Zoots I had started running on my toes and avoiding heelstriking. When I went back and tried running in a pair of Sauconys, it was hard to not heelstrike because the heel was so big. That’s when I realized I could never go back to a standard shoe that isn’t designed to keep you from heelstriking, and the Zoot shoe is great for making it easy to run on your toes.

Pros

  • Super light
  • Quick to get on (if you’ve used Yankz, these have the same type of thing built in–you slip the shoe on, pull a string, and your laces tighten instantly without any tying anything).
  • Comfortable
  • Airy
  • Great sockless shoe
  • Results–Hey, I trained for and ran my first marathon as a 200 lbs guy in these dogs. What better testimonial could you ask for?

Cons

  • Ankle wear – I never had any problem with blisters or wear in these prior to my marathon, but on the marathon the part of the heel you grab to pull the shoe on wore slightly on my Achilles area and wore it raw during the marathon. It would have been easily preventable had I ever had this issue come up on my long training runs, but it never did. Evidently it took a marathon for me to find this out.
  • Ugly – Seriously, ugliest shoe ever.
  • While they’re airy due to ventilation holes in the sole, that means they’re not the greatest shoe for winter training in snow, slush, or other wetness.

Would I buy a third pair? Yeah, this is definitely the best shoe I’ve run in to date (although I’d like to spend some more time in Newtons), so I’m hesitant to mess with a good thing.