I went through a lot of changes with my racing gear this year – new kit, new bike, and, this week, new shoes. I will say more about the kit and the bike later. For now, I wanted to say something about the shoes – the Zoot Kiawe.
I saw an early version of this shoe at a triathlon night at the Sacramento Fleet Feet in January. It represents a big shift for Zoot in their racing shoes. First and foremost, it is designed as a true racing flat. Whereas Zoot’s other racing shoes are more like lightweight trainers, the Kiawe is racing flat. It has the fit, feel, and flexibility of a racing flat. Compared to the Ultra TT and Ovwa, it is much less shoe. Also, whereas Zoot’s other racing shoes have a 10mm heel/toe offset, the Kiawe has a 6mm offset. It also has a more traditional set of eyelets, which allows you to use a set of laces of your choosing and “fine tune” the lacing tension in different parts of the shoe. Like Zoot’s other shoes, however, it is still designed for use without socks, it still uses the carbon span, and it is still very fast and easy to put on. Zoot lists the shoe as weighing 6.1 ounces. This is lighter than just about any other 10k+ racing flat.
This may well be the ultimate triathlon racing flat. There are other other good racing flats out there, but they are not barefoot friendly and they are relatively awkward to put on quickly in T2. The shoes is light and feels fast. I cannot remember the last time I looked forward to transition runs and track workouts as much as I do now.
Editor’s Note: I remembered after publishing this blog that that the Pearl Izumi ISO Transition is another shoe with similar features. The ISO Transition does, however, have a 9mm offset, so it may feel different under stride.