My experience with Zoot running shoes is that they tend to be lightweight with soft heel cushioning and a bouncy ride. It was, therefore, interesting to discover that the Zoot Ultra TT 6.0 is a slightly different sort of animal. Read on for details and a verdict.
My pair of the latest iteration of the Ultra came in the attractive, bold black and green color scheme. A bright blaze yellow color way is an option. The shoe weighs just 9.0 ounces and has a 10mm heel drop. The Ultra has Zoot’s Patented Quick Lace System, which is asymmetrical on this model. The shoe has Z-Bound midsole cushioning and a new heel tab pull (augmented by a grab hole above the laces) which makes it easier to pull the shoe on or off in a rapid fashion. As with other shoes from Zoot, the Ultra was originally developed as a “tri shoe.”
When I first slid my feet into this model, it dawned on me that the Ultra may stand for an ultra-comfortable fit. The shoe runs medium-narrow, and provides more spacing than in other Zoot models. There’s plenty of room for one’s toes at the front of the fully lined, slip-lasted shoe. And Zoot throws in reflective trim pieces for safety in front of one’s big toes.
There were no issues with the sock liners, which fit well and supply an above average level of cushioning. This is par for the course with Zoot.
My pair was a half-size up from my walking shoe size. The fit was fine and I had no need to fiddle with the Quick-tie laces. Some may find the fit to be a touch loose around the sides of the foot. However, this can be remedied by wearing a slightly thicker pair of running socks. For me, the Ultra was the almost-perfect representation of the overused phrase, “slipper-like fit.” I’d probably wear these shoes to bed if I could!
At first glance the Ultra does not appear to be a substantial trainer-racer, but it has a good sized midsole that’s highly protective. It proved to be a comfy walking shoe on the way to a nearby track. Running laps around the crushed gravel track demonstrated that my feet were indeed well protected. This also proved to be true on a crushed gravel trail. (Because of the level of protective midsole cushioning, the shoe feels “heavier” than its actual weight.) The ride feels a bit firmer than in other Zoot shoes, and the same is true for the heel feel.
The Ultra seems to be a shoe that’s best for mid-foot strikers, but heel strikers will appreciate the firmer heel and the non-minimalistic heel drop. I found it difficult to get up on my toes in this model, which means it may be problematic for forefoot runners.
On asphalt, the Ultra delivers a good, steady ride. The ride is not bouncy, but provides a fair amount of energy return. On concrete, the Ultra allows for a rhythmic, natural pace. The shoe does not feel speedy, but the Ultra’s protective nature translates into a shoe that might be selected for longer and challenging training runs.
The Ultra proves to be an enjoyable shoe for runs on hard-packed dirt trails. There’s excellent lateral stability, and this is where you can pound the surface landing on the forefoot. The Ultra has a slice of durable hard rubber that sits under the small toes and seems to help with toe-off.
The Ultra may not be a trail running sports car, but it delivers the ride of a very sporty sedan.
This is a good shoe to use for running on hard rock trails. There’s a bit of slippage since the shoe does not have a sticky-patterned sole, but it’s minimal. (I’d love to see Zoot produce a trail-specific running shoe one day!)
The Zoot Ultra TT 6.0 is one of the most comfortable running shoes that I’ve worn in the last year. This model mixes comfort and protection in a trainer that can still be considered to be lightweight.
Verdict: This is a more substantive shoe from Zoot Sports that will work for neutral to mildly-pronating mid-foot and heel strikers. The Ultra is a model that provides a good amount of protection for sensitive feet. It is a durable shoe that should stand up to hundreds of training miles.