Zoot Solana ReviewApril 1, 2015
- Sockless-quality comfort in upper
- Highly breathable upper
- Good midfoot to forefoot flexibility
- Limited energy return in midsole
- Fit slightly wide in midfoot area
Zoot’s Solana is a very comfortable shoe providing good cushioning and stability for high mileage days, yet is lightweight enough for fast training days. The Solana is probably too much shoe for races less than a half-marathon, but it would be a solid race day option for half to full marathons.
The Solana hugs the rearfoot securely with a molded heel, has good padding from ankle collar to midsole level, and keeps the heel in place well. Fit through the midfoot is slightly gappy on the medial side, but that can be accommodated by cinching the traditional lace system. The toe box is roomy enough for toe splay without being excessive.
True to its triathlon roots, Zoot has created a sockliner and upper that’s comfortable enough to wear sockless. A seamless internal sockliner wraps the foot with a thin fabric layer that eliminates friction points. The external mesh is thin enough to see through and breathes (or dries) quite effectively.
The Solana’s ZVA (Zoot proprietary EVA) midsole material is lightweight and provides good support on ground contact, but lacks some responsiveness when transitioning from heel or midfoot to toe.
Heeluxe, our shoe testing laboratory partner, tests the responsiveness of a shoe by measuring how thick a running shoe is and multiplying it by how much pressure the forefoot foot feels while running. The softer or thicker the midsole, the less responsive a shoe will feel, but the more comfortable the shoe will generally feel. The thinner or firmer a midsole is, the more power you’ll feel at toe-off.
Speed and agility
Its relative lightness, secure fit, and wide, stable platform are beneficial for speed, but outsole traction on the Solana leaves something to be desired on gravel or in wet conditions. Cushioning is adequate for fast efforts but there’s some energy lost from midfoot to forefoot.