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Ready.. Set.. Zoot! | Zoot ULTRA TT 4.0 and ULTRA Tempo 4.0 Shoe Review

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Zoot ULTRA TT 4.0 and ULTRA Tempo 4.0

By: Carlos de Guzman | Enzo Hipol for the Ultra TT 4.0 Review

When you say your company is founded in Kona, Hawaii, home of the Ironman Triathlon World Championships, triathlon is something that is forever ingrained in your blood. Zoot, established in 1983, eats, breathes, and lives, triathlon. That’s why it’s no wonder that they were also the first to introduce the first ever Triathlon-Specific Footwear Line.

One look at Zoot shoes and the thing that will immediately pop in your mind is that this company mean business. No frills, no fuzz, just create the lightest, fastest, and the most bad ass triathlon shoe in the market today. PERIOD.

Light ‘N Up Marketing, Inc., local distributor of Zoot, picked three athletes to road test three different Zoot shoes. We’re going to feature here on SBR.ph the Zoot Ultra TT 4.0 which went to Enzo Hipol, while yours truly was lucky enough to be called upon by Ias Bernardo, Marketing Manager of Light ‘N Up, to give the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 ( ULTRA TT 4.0′s stability brother) a thorough SBR style road test! Mari Javier got to try the Zoot Ultra Kalani, which will be posted soon at the Zoot Sports Philippines facebook page.

Lucky Zoot Testers. Unlucky me with no pic when I got mine :(

As with most products that I  review, I will not post here on SBR.ph something that I didn’t truly wear and use. So with less than a week to go, I embarked on another test project that is probably condemned by most of the running coaches out there. Run with new shoes without any form of break-in period! No better way to test right? If it sucks, I’ll know right away and let you guys know. If it makes me cross the finish line in one piece, given my various flat-footed shoe needs, then we got ourselves a good product.

Lets get on with the review shall we?


The Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0

1. Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 MSRP P7,400

Thoroughbred.

Like the thought process that I mentioned earlier when you first look at Zoot shoes, that’s the word that I immediately thought of when I first saw the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0’s. Damn. Can I actually handle this  shoe? I must admit, I’m not in my best shape right now and for me, shoes this light can be really unforgiving! With great power comes great responsibity. ;)

All boxed up

Everything about the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 is tri-specific. Armed with the BareFit – Sockless Wear = No Stink Tri-Dry technology, it’s designed to be worn sockless during races. Plus it really doesn’t stink at all! I just gave mine a quick sniff as I’m writing this and it still smells like new! Zoot’s unique barefoot technology incorporates a seam-free liner within the shoe, which you can really feel the first time you put on the shoes. So say bye-bye to those blisters caused by your skin being grated by the stitching inside.

Check out the seam-free liner inside.

The liner in a way, limits the air flow.

What I also like about this shoe is the extra “hole” on top of the heel tab which just makes putting it on so much faster, which saves you precious transition time. Downside is, the extra long rear heel tab can cause rubbing. Not a problem for me because I still prefer to run with socks. The sole is equipped with Zoot’s patented CarbonSpan+ technology which handles the stability side. The best part is, the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 has a nice Patented Quick-Lace system with a one hand lock down which saved me money as I didn’t have to buy elastic laces anymore.

Hole in the heel tab for faster transition!

Pull them tight and lock ‘em up!

Cool Carbon Fiber

THE FIT: I don’t know if I’m just used to wearing loose shoes but I had to go ½ size down for the Zoots. When I was doing my research before about the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 almost everyone on the net was saying that it’s true to size. So that’s something to watch out for. I also strong suggest that you buy your shoes from Zoot’s local retailers just to make sure (stores posted at the end of this article). The fit of the shoes is quite snug on the sides and on the top part of the foot, and has a lot of toe room. Don’t get me wrong, the snug feeling is great! It feels like the shoe is wrapped around your feet. This is one unique characteristic of Zoot because of its asymmetrical design that tends to match your foot. I tried wearing the size 10 (my usual size) but its too big already.

Sized Down

THE FEEL: The Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0, as the name suggests, is designed as a tempo shoe for athletes with mild to moderate over-pronation needs. It’s a super light shoe, weighing just 9.0oz. The cushioning of the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 is very minimal. You will really feel the ground underneath you. Make no mistake, although it’s second tier only to its big brother, with the ULTRA TT 4.0, being .3oz lighter, the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 is still super fast shoe.

Exactly as advertised.

THE FORM: This is one department where the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 really shines. I just love the Pure Yellow/Black/White combination. Give it a good look and tell me you don’t like the colorway? You don’t have to be a P-Noy fan to like it. Zoot surely has a lot of talended guys in the design department.

The Thoroughbred

THE FUNCTION: I like the fact that Zoot has incorporated its own quick lace system into its shoes. If you’ll call yourself a triathlon shoe, you better know that majority of triathletes use elastic laces. My only concern about it is, what if you accidentally snap the laces? I asked Ias about it and he informed me about Zoot’s warranty policy. “Zootwarrants that its products will be free of defect in material and workmanship for a period of one (1) year from date of original purchase. The warranty does not apply to any defect, malfunction or failure due to repair/alteration, misuse, negligence, or improper/inadequate maintenance.” So I guess unless you do something really silly with it, you’re covered.

Quick Lace System

The drain holes worked to perfection as well. You can feel the water squishing out of the shoe as you’re running. Surreal feeling but nice. It was something that I was really looking forward to during the test run.

Numerous drain holes at the forefoot area.

THE VERDICT:

Born in Kona

With neither a 10k run nor a short 30 minute jog to get a feel of the shoes, (I did wear it for a couple of short walks and mini runs though), I can say that the shoes worked for me. I used the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 at the Yamaha Run 2011, wherein I ran the 21k. I was able to cross the line in one piece. My feet took a little pounding yes, but I blame it mostly on my excess weight and not on the shoes! My feet didn’t get sore or anything after the run. Will I run a full marathon with the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0’s? That I still don’t know. But it’s definitely good enough for me up to the 21k distance. I’d recommend the Zoot Ultra Tempo 4.0 for those looking for a super light shoe with a little bit of stability. You can barely feel the “stability-poke” (the term I use for the sensation of the stability system poking your arch) inside the shoe, but you know its there. So don’t worry about over-pronation. This shoe can definitely handle it. For its price, it ranks way up in the 7k+ range along with the other high end shoes in the market. But I’ll give it a high mark for being a specialty running shoe that has both looks and function, plus the history and prestige of the Zoot brand.


2. ZOOT ULTRA TT 4.0 – MSRP P7,400

The ZOOT ULTRA TT 4.0

Triathletes know that the run leg could make or break their triathlon. Will I be walking all the way? Will I be able catch those who overtook me in the previous legs? Even those coming from a running background may be found to humbly walk in a triathlon. Aside from investing in training and recovery, finding the right shoe for already tired legs is sometimes overlooked. Zoot addressed the little details in a running shoe for a triathlon that actually could have a big impact in one’s experience in a race.

Before wearing the ZOOT ULTRA TT 4.0, the mid sole gives the illusion that the shoe has a thick heel of about 32mm. Closer inspection of the shoe interior reveals that the heel height is just around 10mm higher than the 15mm forefoot height. This helps maintain a mid-foot strike even when running off the bike.

Having a relatively thin mid-foot area, Zoot solved the feeling of running in flip-flops by having two parts in the midsole. The red area on the midsole, Z-Bound, is strategically placed on the mid-foot area. This gives the shoe an unexpected level of cushioning while keeping the foot low to the ground for increased proprioception. Go slow and feel the beefy cushioning. Run fast and experience the responsiveness of the Z-Bound.

With the triathlete in mind, Zoot made the shoe as light as possible without sacrificing functionality. Blending with the Z-bound is a carbon fiber shank that runs underneath the mid-foot that not only reduces mid-foot torsion in already tired legs but also promotes a powerful toe off.

Time is shaved on T2 because wearing socks is eliminated thanks to the seamless interior of the upper. Securing the shoe is a breeze because of the quick lace system. With a pre-adjusted lace tab, just put on the shoe and storm out of T2. The high heel pull tab could be a cause of chafing if the feet aren’t properly secured.

With drain holes underneath, fluids won’t accumulate and thus keep theshoe light. The shoe is about 240 grams or 8.6 ounces for a size US 9. Though there are lighter shoes, remember that socks aren’t needed so it could be just as light as a combination of shoes + socks.

Designed for neutral runners, I’m surprised it worked well for my high arches. It wasn’t hard to get used to this shoe since most of my shoes have a similar midsole profile. Pure runners can benefit from this shoe as well since the whole outsole is made of very durable carbon rubber to ensure that miles and miles can be squeezed from the shoe. The price might initially come as a surprise but compared to other shoes in its class, no other shoe is finished from the inside, uses carbon fiber and comes with locking elastic laces.

Get your Zoots at the following official Zoot retailers Planet Sports (Rockwell, Trinoma, Shangri-La), RUNNR Bonifacio High Street, The Brick Multisport Store and The Starting Line.

For the latest news onZoot products, Visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ZootSportsPhilippines.

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