Zoot Ultra Race 4.0

7.9
7.9 score
[Editors rating (7.9) + Users rating (8.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (7.9)/10

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Editor rating: 7.9 / 10
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Zoot Ultra Race 4.0Review Facts
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The Zoot Ultra Race 4.0 is a lightweight neutral road running and triathlon shoe. It was designed for speed, fast transitions, and high energy return. The Ultra Fit upper provides form-fitting comfort using Teksheen material that is breathable, adaptive, and lightweight. It has a BOA closure system that tightens and loosens the cable’s tension by turning the dial. The outsole uses a Zoot ZPU pattern for excellent grip on different surfaces. The midsole has a system of holes called Tri-Dry that are used to drain water from the shoe to keep it dry and lightweight. The Z-Bound cushioning softens landings and propels the foot back into the air, and the CarbonSpan+ stabilizes landings and smooths transitions. The 8mm drop helps improve speed by keeping the foot closer to the ground. If you are looking for a shoe for daily runs or an upcoming triathlon or race, read on to see if the Ultra Race 4.0 is right for you.

Pros
  • No laces to worry about tying or coming untied, and the cable system provides a perfectly snug fit
  • Lots of reviewers liked the bright colors
  • Comfortable and supportive, sock-like fit
  • Sturdy sole allows light trail running and has good traction
  • Great cushioning
  • Good triathlon or racing shoes
Cons
  • Not many color choices
  • Small toe box: potential buyers should consider ordering a full size up from what they would normally wear
  • Heel area is not padded and foot can become irritated when worn without socks
  • Sole starts to wear out after about 100 miles
  • Slightly pricey
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole is made out of carbon rubber for durability, a slight bounce to the wearer's step, a little bit of cushioning for landings, and to protect the bottom of the wearer's foot from feeling whatever is on the ground. It has treads for gripping and grooves for flexibility. The ZPU pattern was designed to create a nice grip on different surfaces, from hard indoor gym floors to soft dirt roads and paths for races and triathlons.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole uses three different technologies made specifically for triathlon runners. The Tri-Dry water drainage is a system of holes that lets the water flow out of the shoe. This helps eliminate the risk of the foot getting blisters or irritation and also keeps the shoe from getting too heavy and filling with water. The next layer is CarbonSpan+, a carbon fiber, that stabilizes the foot as it lands or turns and makes the heel and forefoot work separately to create smoother transitions. The top layer is the lightweight and durable Z-Bound foam that softens landings, bounces the foot back into the air, and adds some support to the arch and bottom of the foot. Lastly, the 8mm drop helps improve speed by keeping the foot lower and more level than a traditional 10mm or 12mm drop.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper uses textile and synthetic materials that are stitched together. It uses UltraFit technology to ensure a comfortable and lightly supportive fit that touches the skin or socks. The material combination is called Teksheen, which is lightweight, fairly breathable, and adapts to the shape of the wearer's foot. Instead of a traditional lacing system, a BOA Closure is used. This uses a thin but durable cable and a dial that can be turned to tighten or loosen the fit to be exactly as snug as the wearer likes. The upper uses some thicker material in front to protect the toes, and the back has a heel counter to stabilize the rearfoot as well as a loop to make it easier to put the shoe on and take it off again.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The men's shoe weighs 8.4 ounces (238 grams) and the women's shoe weighs 7.9 ounces (223 grams) Testers found that the Ultra Race 4.0 feels lightweight when running. The lightweight materials are the Z-Bound cushioning in the midsole and the Teksheen that is used in the upper. The slightly heavier but still light compared to materials used in other shoes are the blown rubber outsole, the CarbonSpan+ carbon fiber in the midsole, and the upper's BOA closure system.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

Breathability is provided by the Teksheen material in the upper and the Tri-Dry drainage system in the midsole. The textile and synthetic Teksheen is fairly breathable according to testers, making it usable in different temperatures. The Tri-Dry system in the midsole uses holes in the midsole to allow water to pour out of the shoe. This is especially good on rainy days or when putting shoes on after swimming, as used in triathlons. The draining helps the foot dry faster, prevents blisters, and avoids carrying around water weight. The upper has quite a bit of stitching, which in some cases could cause irritation, but testers did not seem to have problems in this area.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The Ultra Race 4.0 is very comfortable and fits snugly like a sock, creating a custom like shoe for each wearer. The fit is narrow or medium and the toe box is relatively small, so many people will prefer ordering a full size larger than they normally wear. Although advertised as not needing socks, some testers found that the heel area is not padded and can cause irritation when not worn with socks. However, compared to the last edition, the collar is lower in order to reduce that risk. Some testers found that the sole takes a while to break in. The sole unit has great cushioning, from the blown rubber in the outsole, to the soft Z-Bound foam in the midsole. There are no laces to tie, and the BOA Closure creates an exact fit just by turning the dial ever so slightly. Also adding to the comfort are the lightweight materials, flexibility, and responsiveness that allow runners to move quickly without really noticing they are wearing a shoe.
Style
Style

Style

The Zoot Ultra Race 4.0 is known for its bright neon colors. Many reviewers liked the bright colors but did not like that there were limited choices. The men's shoe is available in Safety Yellow / Green Flash and the women's shoe comes in Beet / Safety Yellow. The shoe has been discontinued, so not all sizes are available anymore. The upper looks flatter than most shoes because of its form-fitting flexibility. The toe curves upward more than other shoes for better responsiveness and smooth transitions. Also noticeable in the design is the large dial where the top of the laces would normally be, and instead of laces that go all the way across, they are about three-quarters of the way across and are connected by a thin metal cable that pulls them together for a snug fit.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The Ultra Race 4.0 has good durability in most of its components, but testers noticed that the sole unit started wearing out after about one hundred miles. The material in the upper is durable and the BOA Closure's dial and wire are very sturdy. In the midsole, the CarbonSpan+ has great durability, while the Z-Bound foam's top layer starts to wear down after a while. The outsole is made out of blown rubber, which is great for transitions and responsiveness, but is not quite as durable as carbon rubber, which many shoes use on the outside edges where it might hit an object or the areas under the heel or forefoot where the foot is going to land.
Protection
Protection

Protection

This is a slightly protective shoe. The outsole protects the foot against feeling sticks, rocks, or debris on the ground. The midsole protects joints by cushioning landings, especially the Z-Bound foam. It also protects against blisters because of its water drainage system. The upper protects against heat, wind, cold, and rain, and the lower collar helps protect against blisters. There is thicker material in the toe and heel areas to prevent injury from accidental stubbing and kicking. The heel cup protects against rolling and the snug fit helps prevent sliding.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

As a racing and triathlon shoe, the Zoot Ultra Race 4.0 is very responsive. The outsole uses blown rubber, which is known for adding a little bit of spring to the wearer's step. The midsole uses CarbonSpan+ to smooth transitions and Z-Bound foam to cushion landings and create bouncy takeoffs. The 8mm drop also helps with speed. The upper wraps around the foot to create a next-to-skin fit that moves as the foot does.
Support
Support

Support

The Ultra Race 4.0 has a light, neutral level of support. Testers noticed that the fit felt supportive when running. The outsole and midsole support the underside of the foot. The Z-Bound foam and CarbonSpan+ work together to create a neutral level of arch support, designed for neutral runners (who do not over-pronate) with medium to high arches.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This is a road running shoe that is sturdy enough that it can also be used on light trails. As a triathlon shoe, it was designed to be used in competition, so it can go on hard indoor surfaces like gym floors, dirt roads, paved roads, gravel, and even things like paths and light trails. It can be used as a running shoe or on a bicycle. It was not intended to be used on snow or ice.
Price
Price

Price

The original price of the Zoot Ultra Race 4.0 was a bit more expensive than other running shoes. The price is justifiable for some people who run in races or compete in triathlons because of its water drainage, form-fitting cushioning and support, unique BOA Closure system, and great responsiveness. People who are only interested in a daily running shoe or are looking for something for longer distances will probably not want to pay such a high price, especially since the shoe's sole has questionable durability and might not last for too many runs. It has been discontinued but is currently being sold for anywhere from half price to full price, though not all sizes are available anymore.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The ZPU pattern on the outsole delivers great traction. It gets a decent bite on a variety of surfaces, from hard indoor floors to softer dirt on paths or light trails that a race or triathlon might go over. It can go uphill or downhill without any problem, and gets good enough traction to take off and pick up speed. It does not grip slippery surfaces well, such as mud, snow or ice, but it can go over water.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The Ultra Race 4.0 has great flexibility, yet is still stable enough for neutral runners to safely go on light trails. The sole unit is bent slightly upward and pushes down naturally as the foot does. The Z-Bound foam cushions landings while bending and conforming to the shape of the foot. The upper was designed to fit like a sock and is very flexible so that the foot can move naturally.
Stability
Stability

Stability

This shoe is only lightly stable. It is a neutral road running shoe, but testers found that the sole is sturdy enough to run on light trails without having to worry about accidental rolling, sliding, or twisting. The ZPU pattern's grip and the midsole's CarbonSpan+ stabilize the foot as it lands in order to prevent twisting motions. There is a light amount of arch support, but it will not correct overpronation. In the upper, the snug fit adds light stability and the heel counter helps keep the ankle from rolling.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The forefoot height is 13mm and the heel height is 21mm, giving a drop of 8mm, which is below the standard range. This keeps the foot closer to the ground for a faster feel when running. It provides some forward push of the higher drop but also helps build muscles for faster speed when worn over the course of several runs.
Key Features

Key Features

  • Ultra Fit upper provides a next-to-skin comfortable fit

  • Teksheen upper material is lightweight, breathable, and provides and adaptive fit

  • Tri-Dry water drainage system reduces the risk of blisters and keeps the shoe from getting heavier when it gets wet

  • BOA Closure gives a precise fit and is lightweight and secure

  • Z-Bound midsole is lightweight, cushioned and responsive

  • CarbonSpan+ midsole provides stability and smoothens transitions

  • 8mm drop keeps the foot lower to improve speed

  • Zoot ZPU outsole pattern has great grip on different surface types
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Zoot Ultra Race 4.0 is a great shoe for someone who is racing or competing in a triathlon, especially on rainy days because of the water drainage system. It is lightweight, breathable, and responsive, and has a very comfortable and close fit. Its BOA Closure system is great for people who don't like tying their shoes or want to maintain a snug fit throughout the race. It protects pretty well against the elements or getting blisters or irritation, as long as potential buyers remember to size up. People generally liked the colors of the shoe but wanted more choices. Areas to improve include adding padding in the heel, a larger toe box for easier splaying, and a more durable sole unit, as 100 miles goes by very quickly when training for competition. Overall, this is a nice shoe but could be considered too expensive for people who are not interested in triathlons or races, or who like to run a lot of miles in their shoes.