Usually, I don’t write reviews first because I always find something to nitpick about, and second because that’s not my job (i.e. I’m not paid to do that). However, every so often, a company listens to customer feedback, and actually improves their product. A couple of years ago, I tried the first iteration of Zoot shoes (I forgot which model). Zoot clearly focuses on the triathlon market with its laceless shoes and their various versions. Their original shoes had an incredibly high back of the shoe, going way over the Achilles tendon. It included some cutout to quickly put the shoes in. However, it proved to be a not so great idea. There were numerous reports of people getting irritated Achilles, even in a non-injury prone crowd and in my case, one run was enough to convince me that my old injury would flare up in no time (and it did!)
Then came the 2012 season. The line up included only shoes with much lower back, but still that triathlon oriented design, no laces (Ultra Speed 3.0), or just an elastic (called QuickLace in the case of the Ultra TT 6.0):
Zoot actually listened to the feedback and modified the back part of the shoe. Doesn’t it feel nice when a company listens to the feedback its customers provide? Bottom line is: it’s a great running shoe for training, for tempo training, and for long course racing, although heavier athletes or athletes with heavier strides may also want to use this shoe for short course racing. The drop (11mm front – 21mm heel) is a bit more than I typical like, but still very acceptable. Plenty of room in the toebox even for those with wide feet, and a 9oz verified weight in size 9.5. The ride is comfy with a good compromise between cushioning and dynamics. Additionally, with these colors (and a bright pink/blue combo for the women’s model) you’re easy to pick out at a race. My only slight issue is that I like to run trails, and usually with the same shoes I use for the road, and the elastic lacing system is not well suited for that, as anything that gets stuck in the QuickLace system will make it go loose. And since I need to nitpick a bit more, the outer sole is a tad fragile and will not tolerate much trail running, if you leave in the Southwest, and have access to rocky trails only. But then I could just listen and run trails with…trail shoes.