Boreal Zanskar (2015)


The Boreal Zanskar has been popular for several years but for 2015 it receives quite a makeover with a new sole, new upper and new fit. The current boot has full-grain leather, rather than the nubuck of the previous model. There is a Dryline waterproof lining, a Vibram sole unit and a full rubber rand. The whole bundle is lighter than the previous model. 5/5


The boot is available in sizes 6-13 for men and 4-8 for women, with the new fit being wider at the forefoot while being close at the heel to suit the typical British foot. The top of the foot is also close-fitting. The fit is slightly shorter in length than expected, so you might want to try a half size up from normal. The upper is very soft and easily moulds to the foot. 5/5


The Boreal Zanskar has quite an unusual level of comfort as the upper is quite soft but the sole is quite stiff, which takes a little getting used to. Having a full rubber rand on that soft upper may also be adding to the unusual feel, as this tends to cradle the foot around the sides. It’s different, but quite pleasant once you get used to it. 4/5

In use

The Boreal Zanskar feels slightly less precise than the best boots we looked at, but it’s also less ‘clumpy’ than the heavier models, and generally it’s comfier than most for walking. The sole gives good stiffness for rock and a good pattern of lugs for softer ground, but when combined with that softer upper this gives a slightly unusual experience, which you may or may not like. 4/5


This is a typical price for a quality leather boot with a waterproof lining and high rubber rand, plus a Vibram sole. 3/5


Comfort and performance are a bit unusual but the Boreal Zanskar competes very favourably with others. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine May 2015