To be a serious player in the running shoe market it is essential to have a good selling neutral shoe and support shoe at or around $100 MSRP. In 2009, Zoot attempted to accomplish this with the introduction of the Energy (neutral) and Advantage (support) at $110 MSRP. While the shoes were decent performers, they had no wow factor. They were often see as a more affordable alternative to the go-fast TT and Tempo. Well, that has now changed.
Noticeable improvements without a price increase.
From the initial step-in, the improvements made to the Energy 2.0 and Advantage 2.0 are apparent. Caressing the foot in a glove-like manner the two shoes just ooze refinement. The feel underfoot is has been greatly enhanced. Although the midsole materials have not changed, the distribution of the shock absorbing Z-Bound material has been separated into two distinct zones. A resdesigned outsole is a bit thicker and aids in providing better cushioning. The result of these changes is a ride quality that is much more lively than last year’s shoes. Reminds us a bit of the Brooks Launch, which has been selling in huge numbers.
Why all this talk of the two shoes together?
The Energy 2.0 and Advatnage 2.0 share the same tooling (chasis) and have nearly identical uppers. Some may be wondering if it makes sense to build a neutral shoe and support shoe from the same mold. Well this is not new. The first Asics Landreth was a neutral version of the popular Asics GT-2000 series. The Brooks Defyance is a neutral version of the preceding year’s Brooks Adrenline GTS and until recently the Saucony Ride and Guide shared the same tooling. Although the level of success of these different models has varied, runners have certainly found a favorite in a shoe that may otherwise not have existed.
With the Energy 2.0 and Advantage 2.0 runners get a snug-fitting, comfortable midfoot thanks to a bootie-like, one-piece upper that contains a stretch material in the tongue area. Additional structure is provided to the upper of the Adavntage 2.0 by way of thin welded overlays. However, any fit difference was imperceptible to our staff.
By including a second density foam along the medial side of the midfoot of the Adavatange 2.0, the shoe is given the necessary support to keep mild to moderate over-pronators in check. Other than that and the color, the two shoes are identical. We are so high on these shoes, we think it makes perfect sense to make the two shoes from one mold.
Updates add durability and cut weight.
A constant battle exists between improving shoe performance at the cost of durability. Usually, weight reduction results in a loss of durability. This not the case with the Energy 2.0 and Advantage 2.0. Both shoes now have a thicker oustole, which improves both the shoe’s cushioning and increases durability, but the shoes are alomst a half ounce lighter than their predecessors. Weight reduction was accomplished to changes in the upper. Last year’s shoes had long pull tab extensions of the heel and tongue for easy and quick pull on. The heel and tongue have been reduced to normal lengths, which resulted in a good weight loss. However, the does upper maintain its Bare-Fit construction, which provides a seam-free environment so runners may go sockless. The shoes also now have traditional shoe laces.
Zoot scores two runs with one swing of the bat. The Energy 2.0 and Advatnage 2.0 are worthy of good consideration when looking for a new daily trainer.