Our team wasn’t sure what to expect when we started trying out the Zoot Solana ACRs, but we were eager to take them for a spin. Zoot is well-known in the world of triathletes, but tends to shy away from the straight running market. However, after putting these through their paces, I can tell you the Solanas can hang withe the best the running world has to offer. While they may look innocent enough, they pack a lot of tech in a super light package.
THE DESIGN OF THE SHOE
The shoe has a very traditional look with a laced upper and most won’t bat an eye when they see you fly by in them. The ACRs are different from their non-ACR cousin in that they are all-weather making them perfect for our Northwest rain. Looking closely you will notice the rubberized toe protector and side rails, water-tight stitched sidewalls, and weatherproof tongue. The ACRs only come in the black and green combo, whereas the normal Solana has a few more options. The toebox is the more traditional narrow style you find in most running shoes, but these definitely give you a little more room than others.
It also features a pretty sizable sole and while the shoe runs more like a barefoot, you can’t miss the big teeth up front or the enlarged heel padding. I can say all of this stood up really well and after many test runs, I noticed very little breakdown in the shoe structure itself, minimal scuffing, and it seemed to repel dirt fairly easily. What couldn’t be wiped off you can just take a wet cloth to, if you like that never been worn look.
HOW THEY FIT
The Solana really shines in the fit area as you can literally just put them on and go. The internal seamless sleeve really holds your foot well and given they are made for triathletes, you can definitely go barefoot in them. It’s actually quite pleasant and not something I would have ever expected to enjoy. The heel cup really holds you in place well and right above the heel cup is a heavily padded collar which additionally cuts down on any movement. The toebox as I mentioned is narrow, but you still get a fair amount of toe splay especially in a thinner sock or when barefoot.
Overall the Solana ACRs have the upper of a barefoot runner and feel super responsive, but they provide a solid level of cushion and are really form-fitting. They honestly live up to the hype, just lace them up and go run. There isn’t a lot of adjustment or break in time and they are just a really solid neutral feeling shoe.
HOW THEY RUN
To carry on from the fit discussion, I can’t emphasize enough what a simple shoe the Solana is and that is what really makes it successful. I took them out and ran them at numerous distances to see how they would do and in every case it was met with the same result. They provide great flexibility and control coupled with a good amount of softness and comfort. The one thing you don’t notice visually is the extra width the Solana has until you have been running in them for a while. This additional stability is really welcome and allows you to relax your foot a little more. I also tried taking the speed up a notch and was surprised at how responsive the shoes can be, you can really increase or decrease the pace while maintaining a high level of control over time. And did I mention they are light? Well they are and they actually shave ounces off even the top running shoes out there.
On the ACR front, lets talk about the weather and how they handle it. I ran the Solanas through straight downpours, minor sprinkles, and even hot days and they never even flinched. I took them through the biggest puddles I could find and nothing got through. On the hot days, there was a little more foot heat than I normally would experience, but given how well they performed in the rain and cold it didn’t bother me much at all. They definitely stood up to our Northwest weather well and if you like a weatherproof shoe, then high marks here.
So now I understand all the hype that has been praised on these shoes from running magazines like Runner’s World and Competitor Magazine. These shoes are good straight out of the box and there is no break in time. If you are a triathlete, then you should already be running in them and if you are a runner, then you may just want to get over the stereotypes and give them a shot. You may be pleasantly surprised.
TECHNICAL STATS, PRICING & AVAILABILITY
- Weight: 9.0oz (size 9)
- MSRP: $110.00
- Available: Buy Now