Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 Review Facts
Zoot, born in Kona, Hawaii, has grown from a company that produced triathlon clothing into a head to toe solution for multi-sport athletes. Beginning in 1983, their exclusive focus on the padded shorts and swim fabrics for triathletes has evolved into a global company distributing to 22 countries and being the first Triathlon Specific Footwear Line. Within that line, we find the Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0.
This shoe itself has a lightweight, natural cushion. Because it is a triathlon shoe, it is comfortable on all terrain types and is stable. The triathlon attributes built into the shoe design carry over into distance running, making this model great for higher mileage runs. The UltraFit upper, designed exclusively by Zoot, has a glove-like fit that can be worn with socks or without. The stiff carbon fiber plate runs through the midsole for increased stability, and the CarbonSpan+ gives a firm base for push off. The convenience of the design as well as the solid construction makes for a high performing multi-sport shoe that works for triathlons and endurance runs alike.
The Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 has a trademarked CarbonSpan+ outsole. This carbon-base provides a firm platform when pushing off. The combination of this outsole and the foam insole reduces stress and fatigue by efficiently rebounding the runner’s energy, providing a smooth and fast ride for long distances. This combination also reduces foot and leg fatigue
over high endurance runs with the lightweight construction.
Zoot has another trademarked piece of technology in the Ultra Kalani 3.0: the Z-bound, a stiff carbon fiber plate that runs through the midsole of the molded foam insole, creates a light underfoot cushioning. This addition eliminates the need for traditional medial posts while still providing the stability necessary.
The Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 uses yet another trademarked technology, the UltraFit synthetic upper with Teksheen compression, to keep it light for longer distances. This original design promotes a glove
-like fit. Made from a mesh synthetic, the breathable fabric lining doesn’t allow any dirt or debris into the shoe when traversing changing terrain. The compression-like fit expands with the feet as they swell in order to maintain comfort for long distances.
The keyhole pull on the tongue and the heel loop are designed for a fast transition, letting the runner pull the shoe on without spending any extra time on the laces. Asymmetrical lacing matches the asymmetrical shape of the foot encouraging the sensation of the shoe being molded completely to the individual with or without socks.
With the UltraFit technology and the Z-bound midsole, the Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 is considered a lightweight, neutral cushioned shoe, weighing in just around 10.8 ounces for men. These elements make it lighter than the Kalani 2.0 as well as 30 percent lighter than others in its class.
A triathlon shoe has to be breathable for racers to cover long distances without excessive swelling
and discomfort. The Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 epitomizes breathability. The UltraFit upper is a breathable synthetic fabric with durable lightweight overlays to keep dirt and debris out. This upper cage model is significantly lighter than the earlier version, the Kalani 2.0, reducing hot spots in the shoe.
Zoot has become a global premier endurance sports brand by catering to comfort. They began with clothing that made triathletes more comfortable and built their footwear line borrowing from that same perspective. They have enhanced cushioning, created trademarked technologies, and added synthetic fabrics to further extend the comfort of the ride. The Z-bound molded insole and the CarbonSpan+ outsole combine for maximum comfort. This reduces stress and fatigue by rebounding the runner’s energy efficiently from toe off to landing. The lightweight materials also reduce foot and leg fatigue over high endurance
runs while keeping the cushioned feel. Removing the medial posts and adding the carbon fiber plate adds stability that allows for a firm base but keeps the shoe lightweight so feet are focusing more on the run and less on balance.
The UltraFit upper on the Ultra Kalani 3.0 has a glove-like fit due to the mesh and synthetic overlays. The shoe is made with a one piece construct to help reduce any seam rubbing. Adding to the fit of the shoe is the asymmetrical laces and design. The BareFit technology that constructs the inner shoe is comfortable enough for the runner to go sockless for longer distances.
It should be noted that these shoes may blister at the heel but adjustments can be made to reduce friction, such as tightening the laces or using a different lacing method. Also, because of the snug fit, some runners choose to size up on this model.
Zoot has been known to nod to their Hawaiian roots with regard to design but tends to lean toward bright colors popular with current triathlon apparel trends. The Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 is more of a straight forward running shoe. It is two-toned with a solid base and a colored accent pattern around the shoe. The most popular colors are a bright orange and a neon green with a black highlight pattern. Zoot is emblazoned across the toe and a Z logo is found along the toe line. The laces are held tight to the shoe and the heel loop stands upright at the heel. It is similar to other triathlon and running shoes out currently.
Zoot attempted to reinvent the Ultra Kalani 2.0 with the 3.0 and they succeeded. They created a significantly lighter shoe but they did not take away from the durability. They kept the same rubber base with the CarbonSpan+ plate and the Z-bound midsole. Because of the lighter weight and the continued stable design, these shoes are more durable and suited for all types of terrain without concern for failure. The lightweight, flexible
upper is designed to form to fit, reducing friction cracks and tears after high levels of usage.
With no apparent reflectivity on the outside of these shoes, there isn’t much low light protection for nighttime runs
. However, internally, the combination of the carbon fiber plate through the midsole and the molded foam insole reduces stress on the feet and joints. This protects from injury and reduces fatigue
by rebounding the runner’s energy more efficiently. The lightweight shoe itself reduces foot, leg, and joint fatigue over longer distances, protecting from over-use injuries.
The snug fit of the upper and the synthetic overlays keep dirt and debris out of the shoe and reduce friction associated with blisters and foot irritation. For triathletes, having the tongue keyhole and heel loop make for an easier transition associated with lacing and slipping these on in a hurry.
A lightweight, neutral cushioned shoe, the Ultra Kalani 3.0 has a 10mm drop. This gives it a natural ride with a weightless feel making for smoother, fasters runs. With the extra cushion, the amount of fatigue is significantly reduced and runners can enjoy many different routes. The CarbonSpan+ technology has a firm base that allows for a faster toe off and the Z-bound midsole has a light underfoot cushion for support but not enough to reduce the impact of the base.
Since Zoot decided to eliminate the traditional medial posts on the Ultra Kalani 3.0, they added a stiff carbon fiber plate (CarbonSpan+) which runs through the midsole, adding stability. Built directly on the CarbonSpan+ is the Z-Bound midsole molded foam insole that provides light underfoot cushioning to cradle the foot into the base of the shoe. The upper then wraps around the foot, incorporating the tongue with a snug glove-like fit made from Zoot’s UltraFit technology. This durable lightweight synthetic overlay holds everything with a tight enough fit where it is comfortable both with and without socks. With the upper, midsole, and outsole all working together, the result is a shoe that feels molded to the foot providing a cushioned, smooth run.
Coming from a triathlon-based company, the Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 is built to cover all terrain
types: concrete, gravel, outdoor trails, medium duty trails, tracks, and treadmills. The Kalani 3.0 is also recommended for high temperature runs as the shoe breathes very well with the mesh upper.
Zoot has created some very high tech triathlon shoes and is sold in 22 countries. With this level of expertise and commitment to the sport, the Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 is more than reasonably priced. To find a sport-specific shoe that is just as successful in long distance running and comfortable is not a common occurrence. Having three trademarked components in one design is priceless.
The carbon fiber plate that runs through the midsole (CarbonSpan+) adds the stability needed when toeing off. Combined with the rubber outsole, the traction is significant enough for various terrain types, such as outdoor tracks and gravel, but not encouraged for competitive trail races.
Since the CarbonSpan+ only runs to about the middle of the foot in the Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0, the base flexes naturally with each step. The upper is a stretchy mesh that is flexible to the asymmetrical shape of the foot, allowing for swelling during a run without discomfort. The molded foam insole adds cushion and comfort to the sole of the foot while forming to the individual shape.
While the Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 is significantly lighter than the Kalani 2.0, Zoot did not reduce any of the stability. With the carbon fiber plate running through the midsole, the stability is consistent without the traditional medial posts. The UltraFit upper fits snugly and the one piece construct and tongue give solid, glove-like, support.
The Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 has a medium drop of 10mm. This is an average drop but allows for a neutral ride with natural feel. With such a light shoe, this shoe is known for smoother, fast runs.
• CarbonSpan+ provides a solid, firm base with a fast toe off
• UltraFit design, mesh, synthetic upper with lightweight overlays has a glove-like fit and doesn’t allow any dirt or debris into the shoe
• Tongue keyhole and heel-pull make for a faster transition for triathletes
• Smooth, fast ride
• Z-bound insole and CarbonSpan+ outsole reduce stress and fatigue and give maximum comfort on long distances
In 1983, Zoot became synonymous with comfort in triathlon
clothing but has since made its smooth transition into multi-sport shoes while keeping the same main priority - comfort. Their commitment to athletes and the goal of providing them with the ultimate in performance apparel and footwear is very evident in the evolution of both their apparel and their shoes. Creating shoes that incorporate keyholes for transitions and a glove-like fit with BareFit technology is one of Zoot’s many accomplishments. The addition of the midsole and outer sole combination reducing fatigue on endurance runs and high mileage is another exceptional benefit.
This shoe does not disappoint. The Zoot Ultra Kalani 3.0 is the culmination of each shoe that Zoot has introduced before it and will continue to be a basis for growth. The CarbonSpan+ base will be kept as a solid outsole to build on and the UltraFit upper will continue to be adjusted for comfort and ease of use.
This shoe has evolved from a simple triathlon shoe to a long distance, endurance running shoe because of the comfort that Zoot has carried over from its apparel to its performance footwear. Beginning with triathlon courses, the Kalani 3.0 is also friendly on many diverse terrains, leaving its uses up for interpretation. For a smooth, fast run, this shoe is a perfect choice.