Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0

8.5
8.5 score
[Editors rating (8.0) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.5)/10

Our RunnerClick score is based on our editors overall rating compared to the user ratings in order to generate the most accurate and unbiased score of each product we review.

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Editor rating: 8.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 2 user ratings
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Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 Review Facts

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is a racing flat made for triathletes. The shoe is made for the road and is very lightweight. The responsive racing flat is meant to fit snugly to ensure a worry-free fit. Despite its fairly minimal appearance, the shoe does contain some cushioning. It’s meant to perform on race day but could definitely hold up during training. Athletes who prefer minimalist shoe wear could easily use the Ultra Kiawe 2.0 while they train for their triathlon. It’s not a good choice for heavier runners or those seeking stability. Runners who have issues with overpronation may want to try Zoot’s Ultra Kane 2.0 instead. The shoe should provide a lightweight, responsive ride on race day.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Secure and comfortable socklike upper
  • Ability to wear the shoe without socks
  • The lightweight shoe provides a fast ride
  • Cushion is minimal but provides outstanding protection underfoot
Cons
  • Cushion protects but is very hard underfoot
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 features an outsole made of ZCR carbon rubber. The outsole acts to provide traction underfoot so the wearer feels stable when moving forward. The treads on the sole of the shoe are featured in a ZPU formation, specific to Zoot brand shoes. The tread pattern is meant to provide excellent grip without causing stoppage or breaking action. The ZCR outsole is made of very durable materials so the wearer should get many hundreds of miles out of the Ultra Kiawe 2.0.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is a minimal racing flat but the shoe still does contain some cushioning. The midsole is composed of very durable EVA foam called ZVA. The full-length midsole cushioning provides a good amount of energy-return for the wearer. The ZVA cushion also ensures proper impact protection by offering dynamic padding as the athlete moves.

In addition, the CarbonSpan+ midsole shank provides support for the wearer and helps with an efficient toe-off. The CarbonSpan+ shank is visible when viewing the shoe's side profile. It's the light gray portion. This part of the midsole is the most rigid part of the shoe.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 uses Barefit technology to ensure a snug fit that's also comfortable for the wearer. The socklike fit of the shoe keeps the athlete's foot from slipping, preventing blisters and hot spots. The Z-Bound insole provides an additional layer of comfort and makes for a soft interior. This makes the inside of the shoe comfortable enough to wear sockless. The intention, after all, is for runners to wear the shoe without socks. If you do plan on wearing socks with the shoe, you may need to size up a bit to make room for the extra material.

The upper's tongue is fused to the shoe. This makes slipping the shoe on and off easier. Dri-Lex material lines the interior of the shoe and helps to minimize bacterial growth and prevent odor formation. The material is meant to feel nice against the wearer's barefoot. The shoe also comes with an extra set of quick tie laces that are meant to make slipping the shoe on and off much easier.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 weighs in at about 7 ounces for both men and women. It's a fairly lightweight shoe. The point of a racing flat is to offer minimal protection for race day while keeping the weight down as much as possible.

Runners shouldn't be paying attention to the shoe on their foot when racing. A low total weight and comfortable fit make this a reality with the Ultra Kiawe 2.0. The shoe is a good choice for both racing and speedwork.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0's breathable upper provides excellent ventilation for the wearer. The inner liner material, Dri-Lex, absorbs moisture and promotes a healthy environment inside the shoe. Runners with particularly sweaty feet will find the shoe does a good job at soaking up all their perspiration.

The second version of the Ultra Kiawe features an improved upper to help with ventilation. The shoe offers better water drainage which is important for those wearing the shoe for any triathlon. A breathable shoe is important for any sport, but it's extremely important when it comes to triathlon. Athletes jump into shoes with wet feet and need a shoe that can breathe and wick away moisture to help prevent discomfort and blisters.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is very comfortable. In fact, this was the first comment made by many reviewers. The fit is snug and secure without being overly confining. The majority of reviewers commented that the fit was true to size. Some reviewers even mentioned the Ultra Kiawe 2.0's ability to stretch. The upper is able to stretch and accommodate foot swelling that occurs when running longer distances or when running in hot weather. Runners found that when wearing the shoe sockless they had no issues with blisters, only a select few had issues with blisters forming. A minority of reviewers were unhappy with the fit, explaining that with socks the shoe felt too tight. Going up a half size might be a good idea if you prefer to wear your shoes with socks.

This version of the Ultra Kiawe features a lower heel collar. It's one of the few changes made to the shoe. The high heel collar on the previous version caused unwanted rubbing and blisters. Reviewers found the new lower heel collar was a big improvement.
Style
Style

Style

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 looks as fast as it feels. It actually looks heavier than it is and many wearers were pleasantly surprised by the shoe's lightweight when they first tried it on. The shoe is offered in bright, flashy colors. For men, the shoe comes in a bright green and a vibrant orange.

For women, the shoe comes in the same bright green as the men's version and a rose pink color. The design is modern and fresh and the shoe looks like it belongs on a racer's foot. The large Zoot logo isn't that noticeable since it blends into the background. Reviewers liked the bright colors offered but some mentioned that they would have liked more options to choose from.
Durability
Durability

Durability

Despite being such a lightweight shoe made for the specific conditions of race day, the Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is quite durable. The outsole is made of durable ZCR carbon rubber. The proprietary rubber is meant to last for miles.

The shoe's mesh upper is also meant to last. Reviewers found the shoe was quite durable and that it lasted longer than they expected for a racing flat. The outsole is designed to withstand heavy pounding and the midsole cushion is meant to continue protecting wearers throughout the shoe's life.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 features decent protection underfoot for runners. It's a racing flat, so it does not feature as much cushioning as other shoes. But wearers should still feel well protected from impact in the Ultra Kiawe 2.0. The midsole's ZVA foam runs the entire length of the shoe offering padding for runners whether they are heel strikers or forefoot strikers.

The light padding is still minimal, though. It's best to choose a more cushioned shoe if you are prone to injury or need more protection for your joints. If you're a heavier runner, you may find the cushion in the Ultra Kiawe 2.0 lacking.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is very responsive. The racing flat is meant to provide excellent rebound on race day. The midsole's ZVA cushion provides a good amount of energy-return for the wearer. In addition, the Z-Bound insole provides an additional layer of responsive material that propels the wearer forward. The material is lightweight which helps to keep the overall weight of the shoe down. Reviewers felt that the shoe provided a lightweight and fast ride.
Support
Support

Support

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 provides enough support for race day. The full-length cushion helps to provide a supportive base for the wearer. In addition, the Barefit technology helps to ensure runners are securely fastened inside the shoe. Runners should not feel wobbly when racing in the Ultra Kiawe 2.0. Most reviewers found the fit of the Kiawe 2.0 was perfect and were happy with the support of the lightweight racing flat.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is meant to handle roads. It's a shoe that's meant for triathletes and most triathlons are run on roads. The ZPR outsole is made of carbon rubber which is meant to provide a durable, grippy base for the wearer. The shoe is not meant to be taken on technical trails. The excellent ground feel of the shoe would likely cause some discomfort if used on tough trails. Quite a few reviewers commented that the shoes carried them comfortably for Ironman triathlons. The shoes can clearly handle a lot!
Price
Price

Price

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is a midrange shoe. The middle price point seems fair considering the shoe is so durable. Runners were very happy with the shoe's ability to hold up after miles of use. The price may seem high to those looking for a more cushioned shoe, but the shoe's responsive midsole cushion offers a supremely responsive ride for a racing flat. Athletes felt quick and agile when wearing the Ultra Kiawe 2.0 and many found the shoe was priced accordingly.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 features a ZCR carbon rubber outsole with a ZPU tread formation. The treads underfoot are meant to provide traction in wet or dry conditions. The shoe does a good job at gripping wet surfaces which is a necessity since it's geared towards triathletes. Runners should feel confident running in the Ultra Kiawe 2.0.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Being a racing flat, the Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 needs to be quite flexible to provide a comfortable quick ride. The outsole's ZCR carbon rubber is flexible enough to allow for some pliability. The upper of the Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is another part of the shoe that offers some stretch. Reviewers were pleased with the upper's ability to accommodate different foot shapes. The shoe performs well when running fast and runners found the shoe moved naturally with their foot.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is not a stability shoe and as a lightweight racing shoe there's little in the form of stability. This is not a shoe made for excessive overpronators. The shoe does offer some support underfoot so runners have a stable base to run upon. In addition, the upper fits like a glove and ensures the wearer is secure when moving forward. The socklike fit ensures a runner's foot is well planted inside the shoe. And, of course, the ZPU tread formation provides plenty of traction to ensure wearers stay upright even on wet surfaces.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 has a drop of 6mm. It's a fairly significant drop for a racing shoe but that extra height accommodates some cushioning for the wearer. The thicker construction of the shoe also means that the outsole is more substantial than in most racing flats.

Wearers found that the shoe's outsole lasted much longer than they anticipated so there's an advantage to that 6mm drop. It also makes this a perfect racing option for wearers not used to zero-drop shoes.
Key Features of the Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0
Key Features of the Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0

Key Features of the Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0

  • Quick-lace system included

  • ZCR carbon rubber outsole

  • ZPU tread formation for added traction

  • ZVA full-length midsole cushion

  • CarbonSpan+ midsole shank

  • Barefit technology

  • Z-Bound insole


  • Dri-Lex interior



  • Bottom Line
    Bottom Line

    Bottom Line

    The Zoot Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is a decent race day option for triathletes looking for a fast and responsive ride. This update to the Ultra Kiawe doesn't offer too many updates because it's clear Zoot didn't see a point in fixing something that was never broken, to begin with. The shoe is ultra breathable, provides excellent traction even in wet conditions, and can be worn without socks. When you're transitioning during a triathlon do you really want to fiddle with getting socks on? Keep in mind that the snug fit of the Ultra Kiawe 2.0 means that you should size up should you plan on wearing socks in the shoe.

    If you're looking for a fast shoe for your upcoming triathlon the Ultra Kiawe 2.0 is a good option. It's perfect for wearers who are not comfortable in ultra minimal zero-drop racers. With the Kiawe 2.0, you get a bit of padding underfoot so you can go the distance.