Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Quick Guide
Category: Waterproof Mid-Top Hiking Boot
Weight: 2lb 6.4oz (1.09kg)
What We Like: Exceptional traction; Very comfortable; Highly durable.
What We Don’t Like: Expensive for a hiking boot; Minimal ankle support; Somewhat heavy.
Best Suited For: Experienced backpackers and long-distance hikers.
Final Verdict: A high-performing, rock-solid boot perfect for off-trail travel in the mountains.
The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX is a modern twist on a classic hiking boot.
They blend super sticky rubber and a durable construction design. This mid-top boot has features built specifically for use in technical terrain.
The Zodiac Plus is an excellent addition to Scarpa’s line up of hiking footwear.
Is the Zodiac Plus is a good candidate for your hiking adventures?
Up next, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of the Zodiac Plus. So we can show you why it’s one of the best boots on the market today.
Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Performance
The Zodiac Plus is one of the best-performing hiking boots when it comes to traction. This is thanks to its sticky rubber and slightly stiff midsole.
In rocky terrain, the Zodiac Plus acts much like an “approach shoe.”
Approach shoes are for climbers who are accessing remote climbing routes. They have very grippy rubber that provides ample traction as a climbing shoe would. But, they are also comfortable enough to wear for miles on end.
The slight stiffness of the Zodiac Plus’ midsole is also important. This stiffness means that it also performs like a mountaineering boot on snow. Thus, the Zodiac Plus provides exceptional traction in snowy and rocky terrain.
Since the Zodiac Plus uses suede leather, it is very comfortable. Unlike a full-grain leather boot, the Zodiac Plus offers flexibility for all-day comfort. Plus, the EVA in the boots’ midsole provides lots of cushioning for downhill hikes. So, the Zodiac Plus are some of the most comfortable boots available.
Thanks to their Suede Perwanger uppers, the Zodiac Plus is super durable. The leather in these boots will last through years of adventure.
These boots also have other ultra-durable features, like metal grommets. Unlike plastic and fabric grommets, metal grommets are strong enough to withstand the rigors of off-trail travel.
As a mid-top boot, we don’t expect the Zodiac Plus to offer very much ankle support.
We have to admit that it lived up to our expectations here. Although the boot provides a lot of underfoot stability, it somewhat lacks ankle support.
Of course, this isn’t a problem, unless you need a boot that’s supportive around the ankles.
Thus, this boot is best for people who have experience carrying heavy backpacks., also for people who don’t need a lot of ankle support.
While the Zodiac Plus isn’t heavy, it isn’t very lightweight, either.
At 2lb 6.4oz (1.09kg), the Zodiac Plus is comparable in weight to boots like the La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX (2lb 14oz/1.3kg). Since the Trango Tech is a mountaineering boot, this means the Zodiac Plus is a bit heavy for a hiking boot.
Who Are The Scarpa Zodiac GTX Best Suited For?
The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX is for hikers that spend a lot of time in high mountain terrain. They perform best while scrambling over rocks and traveling through scree slopes. Also, they are great on summertime snow.
The boot features a lot of high-end technology, thus making it one of the best options for frequent mountain adventures.
The Zodiac Plus is for backpackers and long-distance hikers. Its lightweight design and minimal ankle support is not a great option for hikers who are new to carrying heavy packs.
Instead, this boot is best used for off-trail travel in the high alpine. The Zodiac Plus excels in technically-challenging terrain. Places like rocky ridges and moderate snow slopes, where traction is key.
We can picture these boots cruising up a gnarly peak ascent in the Sierra Nevada, ripping through the Cascades or the Wind River Range. In these places, there are plenty of boulder fields and lots of snow. The two surfaces where the Zodiac Plus really shines.
Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Fit, Sizing & Break-In Time
The Zodiac Plus is a mid-top boot, so it won’t take very long to break in. Plus, the boot's material is suede leather. This means it's softer and more pliable than the traditional full-grain leather boots.
Therefore, the Zodiac Plus is generally pretty easy to break in within the course of a few days.
As far as sizing goes, Scarpa’s hiking boots have a bit of a wide fit.
The Zodiac Plus is no exception to this rule. Additionally, Scarpa makes its shoes according to European sizes. They then convert them to US sizes for the North American market. So, if you don’t know your European size, it’s best to add 1/2 of a shoe size when buying Scarpa boots.
Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Construction
The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX is a highly durable boot. It has a robust construction and some top-of-the-line materials. Up next, we’ll walk you through the features of the Zodiac Plus.
These boots use 1.8mm Suede Perwanger, which is a type of leather. The leather used to make the Zodiac Plus is from Italy crafted by the Perwanger Leather Company.
Suede Perwanger is becoming increasingly popular among high-end shoemakers. This is because it is water-resistant, breathable, durable, and scratch-resistant. Perwanger tests every piece of leather before it leaves the factory. This is to ensure the highest level of quality.
The suede leather used to make the Zodiac Plus is directly responsible for how durable they are. With proper treatment and regular cleaning, the leather can easily last for years on end.
The midsole in the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX is surprisingly complex. Most boots on the market feature either an EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) or a PU (polyurethane) midsole, the Zodiac Plus has both.
EVA midsoles are popular because they provide a lot of cushioning in a lightweight package. This is ideal for hikers because it helps to reduce pressure on the joints when walking downhill. However, EVA midsoles are not very supportive.
PU midsoles, on the other hand, are slightly heavier but much more durable. This type of midsole also provides a lot of support and structure in a shoe.
Since the Zodiac Plus has both EVA and PU in its midsole, it is the best of both worlds. This unique midsole makes the boot comfortable, supportive, and durable.
Scarpa claims that they put their “Pro” insole in the Zodiac Plus. However, it’s merely a thin piece of foam.
To be fair, though, pretty much every shoe company in the world is bad at making insoles. If you prefer a pair of supportive insoles, consider adding Superfeet.
The outsole of the Zodiac Plus is where this boot really shines. Built with Vibram Drumlin rubber, the Zodiac Plus is one of the grippiest shoes out there. These boots excel on rocky terrain because of the stickiness of this Vibram Rubber.
Plus, the Zodiac Plus has an outsole with an aggressive lug construction. This means the boots provide a lot of traction on both mud and snow, which is perfect for off-trail travel.
Waterproof Breathable Membrane
These boots have a built-in Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining. Gore-Tex Performance Comfort is a waterproof-breathable membrane that provides a moderate amount of insulation and heat retention and a lot of ventilation.
Gore-Tex makes the best waterproof breathable membranes on the market. So, it’s not surprising that Scarpa included this material in their Zodiac Plus boot. Thanks to its Gore-Tex liner, the Zodiac Plus is both waterproof and highly breathable.
Are the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Worth the Money?
The Zodiac Plus has a list price of $269. As far as hiking boots go, that’s expensive. But, that doesn’t mean they’re not a great value.
For comparison, the Keen Targhee III goes for $150, and the Merrell Moab Mid WP sells for $140. The only other mid-top hiking boot that’s close in price to the Zodiac Plus is the Arc’teryx Acrux TR GTX with an MSRP of $240.
Scarpa priced the Zodiac Plus more like a mountaineering boot than a hiking boot. So, it’s not exactly ideal for hikers on a budget.
Since these boots use top-of-line materials, they will last for years. This also means that one pair of Zodiac Plus boots might outlast two or three pairs of Merrell Moab Mids.
So, these boots might be expensive upfront, but they’re a great deal in the long term.
If the Zodiac Plus isn’t the right boot for you, there are some alternatives out there.
The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX is a good option. This boot is for people who want a more supportive backpacking-specific boot.
Alternatively, the La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX is another high-performing boot. It's both lighter and cheaper than the Zodiac Plus.
The Final Verdict
The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX is a rock-solid boot for off-trail travel in the mountains.
If you can get past the price of the boots, it’s hard to imagine that these boots wouldn't impress you.
The Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX is excellent for experienced backpackers that need a highly-technical hiking boot in the mountains.
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