This shoe is just plain great and the first shoe that I am 100% satisfied with.
What makes it great is that it delievers great power on the big toe with your toes just slightly bend and great comfort.
I can edge (as well as in my previous shoes, I use them up to 5.12), smear and crack climb with the shoes and wear them all day long - perfect allrounders.
Also the quality of the shoes is very good. The new Quattro rubber is a serious improvement over the F3, and is now just as good as the Vibram or Stealth.
There strength is their weakness - they are very good at almost anything but do not really excel at anything.
I personally climb more comfortable and hence better with them than with other shoes.
Fits medium to wide feet, and people with Egyptian feet. The toe box stretches quite a bit after a while, what I find adds to the comfort.
I usually have a US 10.5, but wear a 9.5 in the Zens.
Note that the Zen is the only Boreal shoe with this last, so other Boreal shoes do fit differently.
I have a problem with mild ingrown toenails, any shoe to narrow in the front will cause infection. With the Zens this problem was eliminated for me, no problems anymore and I can for the first time in years climb and have happy feet at the same time while my toenails slowly (hopefully) recover.
The only complain fit-wise with the Zens is none really as this depends on your heel - the wide heel (I have a narrow heel).
But it works, and a heel cup conforms also to the feet when the shoes stretches. That said, the heel was to wide for me at the beginning, but now it fits.
Other shoes worn:
- Boreal Stingers: favourite for steep sport climbs (still have a pair)
- Boreal Matrix: favourite for gym and steep sport
- 5.10 Moccasym: favourite for thin cracks and slabs here in Squamish
- La Sportiva Cobras (also very nice)
- 5.10 Anasazis (OK, edge well, but just too narrow for me),
- 5.10 Rock Socks (Nothing special to say about them)
- Scarpa Minimas (Comfy, and seem good for thin cracks, long-time second shoes of mine)
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