The shoes use what they title a Zonal tongue and Achilles padding, these generate ready-to-wear comfort. The shoe has anatomically contoured energy foam foot-bed cushions to support weight distribution and moisture control. All of this being noted, I still think you need a good shoe insert. I like the softness of these shoes, but I dislike what I believe is a flimsy upper, and an outsole that is too cushy. The upper is thin yet pliable, and therefore feels cheaply constructed. I prefer more structure. I can tell that they are decently made, and should hold up for 6-12 months or more; but I prefer full-leather shoes with a running shoe outsole, rather than the flimsier and less robust upper that they offer on the Zerogrand. A more structured shoe will support the feet muscles, better than an unstructured/mushier shoe.  Companies are going lighter, but also thinner on the upper; this is not necessarily a good thing; sometimes it’s done to reduce costs. Time will tell how these do.

I recommend using inserts from a notable brand to give the show more rigidity.  Foot muscles react better to some firmness, than too much sponginess with long term wear. The Flex Welt, and laser-perforated leather support unrestricted movement and flexibility. A pair of Superfeet or Spenco inserts will do the job.

Durability – 3.5/5 So far, so good. No complaints. They haven’t given me any issues, like some brands have. These are supposed to be made of leather. I dislike non-leather uppers because they don’t get softer over time, and never really flex completely with the foot like real leather does. These are comfortable, but time will tell if the leather is robust enough to hold up to everyday wear.

Functionality – 5/5 They do well in rain, mud, street, and mixed terrain. Due to the closed-lace design of this shoe, men with a high instep or a slightly fuller width foot may consider sizing up 1/2 size.

Weight – 5/5 With the use of lightweight materials I think you’ll be surprised at how light they feel.

Value – 5/5 A fair price, considering what is offered by similar products and companies out there. They come in at $139.00 but you can get them at outlets like DSW for $119.00.

Overall rating – 20.25/25

Old school and New school

AGILITY: Stay with shoes that have a rubber or EVA foam outsole instead of a leather outsole. Rubber or EVA foam mean comfort and they lessen the chance of you slipping; particularly on marble or high shine floors.  The best “tactical” shoe will have a cushioned rather than hard outsole that flexes in all directions the way that your foot does. This will give you freedom to move despite most obstacles. Rubber or foam outsoles put a spring in your stride and provide all day support.

COMFORT AND INSERTS: Look for shoes with good outsoles for added cushioning. Look for good memory foam insoles if possible. Good cushioning, whether foam or rubber, ensure you can stand or move for long periods of time. Good shoes reduce foot fatigue. EVA outsoles provide better shock absorption than rubber. A padded heel-collar helps prevents blisters. A good heel cup will cushion your heel. Take a look at the Superfeet brand if you get a chance. If they fit in the shoe give them a try for added comfort.

STYLE: You want to look sharp and have a professional profile. You want good leather that give the shoe a nice appearance and will take a shine. Full-grain leather is easiest to clean and maintain and it will extend the product life. If you don’t like leather, look for synthetics or a durable suede.

STABILITY and FIT: A high density collar provide a good heel lock while also being supple enough to provide all day comfort. A shoe with a shallower fit or collar, especially slip-ons can come off the heel when you run. Your heel should fit comfortably in the shoe with a minimal amount of slippage. The shoes should not ride up and down on your heel when you walk. Try to purchase shoes that use shoe-strings or shoes with a good, heel encapsulating collar. Premium materials give you a glove like fit. A padded heel-collar can prevent blisters. Slip resistant or oil resistant soles are a must.

When a load is applied to your foot by running, your foot will spread up to half an inch in length. One shoe size up is only 1/3″ inch larger. Go larger rather than smaller if you can. You can always wear thicker socks with a larger shoe but you can never make your foot smaller. Get the best fit.

WEIGHT: Go for lightweight, and check for tough material. Thin material can tear at the most inopportune moment.  Buy the best that you can afford.

DURABILTY: Look for shoes with anti-microbial linings as they help reduce foot odor and will wick moisture to help keep the foot dry. Synthetic uppers will often dry more quickly than leather but depending on the material used, some can degrade more quickly than others. A good quality leather or synthetic upper will last a long time. Strong material will protect your feet. Some shoe brands have inner toe caps or some kind of reinforced toe guard.

  1. Have your feet measured. People’s feet size and shape can change over time. Don’t rely on the fact that you have always worn a certain size.
  2. Most people have one foot that is larger than the other, so make sure you have BOTH feet measured. Fit your shoes to the larger foot.
  3. Take your time and try several shoes on, preferably at the end of the day when your feet are most flattened and swollen.
  4. Try on shoes with the type of sock that you will wear for your activity.
  5. Walk on a firm surface, not a carpeted one.
  6. Walk quickly in the shoes if you are able.
  7. Don’t plan on the shoes stretching over time; they should fit well when you buy them. Shoes won’t stretch like pants or shirts do overtime.
  8. Pivot in the shoes.
  9. Always stand and walk around in the shoes to see if they are comfortable, fit well, and don’t chafe or rub anywhere. Your heel should not slip or slide while walking.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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