The zone below the surface in pure Zr exposed to dry sliding is the subject of studies using positron lifetime methods. New type of the defect depth profile is observed. The zone contains dislocations and vacancy clusters which occur only at a certain depth from the worn surface. The size of the vacancy clusters decreases with the depth increase. The total depth of the subsurface zone is about hundreds of micrometers and depends on the applied load. The estimated effective strain in the subsurface zone decreases exponentially with the depth increase. The similar kinds of defects and their depth profiles are observed also for the Zr samples exposed to sandblasting. This indicates the common origin of formation of the subsurface zone during dry sliding and sandblasting. Results of the theoretical calculations of the positron lifetime in vacancy clusters in Zr are also presented.