Montrail Zealot, $95
- Steep rock: 2.5 Star
- Face climbing: 4.5 Star
- Long routes: 2 Star
- Upper: Synthetic, lined
- Rubber: 4mm Gryptonite
As you would expect from a company that earned its reputation equipping trail runners, Montrail’s Zealot is exceptionally well made. I’ve been wearing this bargain-priced Velcro shoe consistently since the summer and it hasn’t bagged out or lost its shape. One of its standout features is its secure heel cup. “These shoes are totally locked on,” raved one happy tester. The solid fit enhances foot power, and with a well-rubberized heel and upper the Zealot hooks and scums like a dream. But don’t be suckered into thinking this is a shoe just for the steeps. With a firm midsole, the Zealot edges better than it smears. This is a great shoe for hard, gently overhanging terrain like Smith Rock or the VRG. One gripe: The elastic upper and low-volume fit make this shoe a struggle to enter the first few times you wear it.
+ Powerful face-climbing shoe that can also handle the steeps.
– Difficult entry. Hot in the sun.