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ProView – Scarpa Women’s Zodiac Plus GTX

The Zodiac Plus GTX Women’s Hiking Boot is a cross between an approach shoe and a hiking boot. It’s great for 3rd or 4th class scrambling as well as long hikes with varied terrain. So, when I received a backcountry permit to hike deep into Canyonlands National Park for a few days, I knew which shoes I was going to bring.

I had been in the desert for a few months and after taking the Zodiac Plus GTX on a few climbing approaches, I wanted to test them out on a more significant hike.

Scarpa Women's Zodiac Plus GTX

Product Description: A softer, more flexible version of our Zodiac Tech with the same low-profile performance fit and full waterproof and breathable protection, the Zodiac Mid GTX excels on more moderate mountain terrain where the threat of weather still looms.

Price: $269.00 MSRP

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (4.5)
  • Fit
    (4.5)
  • Durability
    (4.5)

Summary

The Zodiac Plus GTX Womens Midweight Hiking boot is the perfect blend of an approach shoe and a hiking boot. It is designed for long approaches in technical terrain but can also stand up the abuse of a regular hiking trail. Its weight is minimal considering the technical aspects and sturdiness of the shoe. And the Gore-Tex lining makes this shoe perfect for rain, mud, or snow. I would recommend breaking these shoes in on a few ‘training’ hikes before you take them out on a big objective, as the stiffness is significant. If you are looking for your next pair of technical hiking shoes for a productive High Sierra season, then these are the shoes for you.

Overall
4.6

Pros

  • An exceptional blend of technical rock shoe and hiking boots
  • Comfortable over long distances
  • Waterproof yet breathable (no trench foot for you!)

Cons

  • Lace lock catches too firmly
  • A significant break in period

Fit

I slipped my feet into the shoes and felt the Zodiac Plus hug my ankles. The high ankle support has always been important to me, for I live in chronic fear of breaking an ankle in the backcountry. The laces are fine, but the lace locking system gave me pause. It works, but it works almost too well. Once the laces have been threaded through the first locking mechanism, it is impossible to loosen (which is good) or tighten them (which is less good) at all. However, this is a minor issue and can be resolved by just pulling harder before locking the laces into place.

The Zodiac Plus GTX are a stiff but comfortable shoe. I noticed while hiking on very steep terrain that there is very little bend in the sole. This gave me a ‘floating forward’ feeling, which I quite enjoyed. I have wide feet and this can sometimes make buying shoes difficult. But, the Zodiac Plus GTX felt snug against the sides of my feet and still had acceptable room in the toe box.

Performance/Features

As my boyfriend and I navigated the terrain we were consistently hiking up steep sandstone slabs, and then pitching downwards into treacherous canyons. To get the best views, I often hiked off trail (but not on the crypto!) to scramble up a boulder field. When we weren’t hiking on rocks or dirt, the trail led us through deep soft sand.

They are a solid shoe with a PU midsole and three densities of lightweight EVA, making them much lighter than their counterpart the Zodiac Tech.

The shoes are only about one pound each (size dependent). While not the lightest hiking boot on the market, they feel exceptionally light when you consider the high ankle support, thick outer sole, and deep tread.

Speaking of tread; the lugs are widely spaced and sharp, which made it almost impossible to slip in the inconsistent desert sand. Each step felt like a harsh bite into the earth below my feet. This also helps keep mud from accumulating too much on the bottom of the boot, which is essential in wet or snowy terrain.

As a rock climber, I really see the potential of these shoes in alpine climbing. The tread is Vibram rubber with a partial rand around the toe box. This makes them extra sticky on rock and the rubber toe means you can do more technical footwork if the occasion calls for it.

The Gore-Tex lining makes them breathable yet keeps moisture out. In the hot desert sun, I sweat a lot, but even after hiking all day long my feet remained mostly dry. Curious about the effectiveness of the Gor-Tex, I found a small stream and stood in the water for a few minutes. The water flowed off my shoes like water off a duck’s back and my feet remained blessedly dry.

Room for Improvement

My only real critique for these shoes has been the break-in period. I got some heinous blisters on my first few hikes out, but after a few longer treks I have broken them in comfortably. I would recommend training with them before leaving to hike a big objective.

Look/Style

The color is rad. I’m a sucker for teal.

Final Thoughts

The Zodiac Plus GTX Womens Midweight Hiking boot is the perfect blend of an approach shoe and a hiking boot. It is designed for long approaches in technical terrain but can also stand up the abuse of a regular hiking trail. Its weight is minimal considering the technical aspects and sturdiness of the shoe. And the Gore-Tex lining makes this shoe perfect for rain, mud, or snow. I would recommend breaking these shoes in on a few ‘training’ hikes before you take them out on a big objective, as the stiffness is significant. If you are looking for your next pair of technical hiking shoes for a productive High Sierra season, then these are the shoes for you.

Like everything Scarpa does, it is manufactured at the highest quality. Everything from the leather shoe exterior to the perwanger suede to the Gore-Tex liner is stitched together seamlessly. It’s also extremely light, at just over two pounds. Overall, the shoe is comfortable, lightweight, well built, and stylish.

Shop the Scarpa Women’s Zodiac Plus GTX on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

Kaya Lindsay is a writer and photographer with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors.  In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing ever since. You will most likely find her in a parking lot or coffee shop, camera in hand, planning her next grand adventure. Connect with her on Instagram @OneChickTravels

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