First test: Zamberlan 330 Marie GTX boots reviewed (2019)

Is Zamberlan’s Epic Women range of female-specific boots just another marketing ploy, or is there really something revolutionary about the Marie?

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  • Price £230

  • Material Upper Hydrobloc Full Grain Waxed Leather Lining Gore-Tex Performance Comfort 

  • Outsole Vibram Lite Wolf 

  • Sizes 36-43 (including half sizes)

  • Weight 1215g (pair, size 40)

When Zamberlan announced its new ‘Epic Women’ range – totally designed and tested for the needs of the feminine fit, weight, performance and aesthetics, by an almost all-female team – my initial reaction was surprise. It made me wonder whether, until now, women’s gear hadn’t been made with actual women in mind after all. 

When it comes to gear, though, it’s often a case of you don’t know what you’re missing. I remember a time many years ago when I used to walk in a baggy cotton T-shirt, a hand-me-down men’s rucksack, and a pair of cheap and cheerful walking boots. But now I’m spoiled with female-fit wicking base layers, a short-backed women-specific rucksack and custom-fit boots…

The female-fit debate

When the most technical boot in the Epic Women range – the Zamberlan 330 Marie – arrived for testing, it sparked an intense and somewhat heated debate in the office about women’s gear. The question that remained at the end of it all was: are women sufficiently different to need specially-designed boots? We decided the answer was, in a lot of cases, yes. So, according to Zamberlan, what is it that I’ve been missing out on with its new women-specific range of boots? 

First Zamberlan carried out detailed research on the needs of today’s female mountain, hill and nature lovers. Then rather than tweaking an existing men’s model, it designed a range of boots built to specifically accommodate the foot, fit and posture of women. Finally, it wanted to capture the spirit of pioneering female climbers and mountaineers. So how do these concepts translate into the 330 Marie boot? 

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Instant comfort

On the foot, the Marie is immediately and very noticeably more comfortable than most boots suitable for 3-season high mountain terrain. This seems to be down to a combination of a really nice cushioned footbed, a soft collar and padding around the ankle, and a robust but flexible sole. The shape of the boot appears to be slightly narrower at the ankle and wider at the toe, which suits the shape of my foot perfectly and is a common requirement for the female foot. 

While some boots lack good support for the foot, this was not a problem with the Marie. Even without fitting my beloved custom footbeds, my foot felt well supported and I was treated to a nice straight footfall with no inward rolling. Fit is a very personal thing though, and all female feet are, of course, not the same, so having your boots professionally fitted will still always be best. 

Italian design

To look at, the Marie is clearly a quality boot, made in Italy and incorporating full-grain Tuscan leather, a Gore-Tex liner and rubber protection at the toe and heel which protects the necessary parts from abrasion. They feel very light compared to other full-leather boots, which was welcome when my legs got tired. I wasn’t initially sold on the peacock green leather, but they’re also available in camel – which still makes a change from the traditional brown leather boot we’re all used to seeing, albeit less of a ‘statement’. 

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Great grip

On test in Snowdonia, the sole gripped superbly on all terrain, from sodden grass to the slippery rock of Tryfan, and protected the foot well. Durability is yet to be tested over time, especially as the sole rubber is slightly softer than some, but they are re-soleable if required. The lack of stitching is also likely to aid longevity so long as the leather is cared for.

Zamberlan has chosen to name each boot model in the Epic Women range after pioneering female mountaineers. But while the intention is clearly a celebration of women in the outdoors, I can’t decide if I find it a touch patronising – ‘Epic Men’ anyone? That said, given it wasn’t that long ago that mountains were places few women dared to venture, perhaps us women need a reminder that we can indeed be epic too. And to commemorate female pioneers – like the Marie boot’s namesake Marie Paradis, who was the first woman to reach the summit of Mont Blanc way back in 1808 – surely can’t be a bad thing.  

Verdict

The Marie is a supremely comfortable, quality boot, and one which will stay in regular use for my 3-season walking. 

  • Features 4/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 5/5

  • In use 5/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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5 OF THE BEST... 4-season boots REVIEWED (2018)

When the hills are plastered in snow a well stiffened 4-season boot is ideal to make mountain walking safe and secure, so here’s five of the best. 


Fit

No boot is worth having if it doesn’t fit properly. The inside of the boot should be around 13-15mm longer than your foot. You can gauge this by putting the boot on, without the laces tightened up, and then placing your forefinger down the inside of the boot at the heel. Better outdoor stores will measure your feet for a precise fit. The upper should be snug and comfortable across the foot too.

Durability

If you want your boots to last as long as possible, look for uppers with minimal stitching and a rubber rand that fully encloses the whole boot. Durable designs are most important for those regularly heading out onto rockier ground and ice-covered mountains, but it’s not so important if you walk less often in the hills, or tend to stick to paths or level terrain.

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Ankle cuff

The ankle cuff helps prevent mud and grit from entering the boot. It also protects the ankle against being scraped on rocks. The stiffness in the ankle cuff reduces the strain on the ankle when traversing slopes and while scrambling by adding extra support. But on easier ground, smooth paths and level ground, such support is less important. Some walkers also prefer the freedom and easier ankle movement of boots with lower or softer ankle cuffs.

Midsole stiffness

Grab the boot by the toe and heel and bend the toe towards the heel, then twist the toe while holding the heel stationary. The harder it is to bend the boot in these two directions the better the boot will perform on snow and ice, and with crampons. A 4-season boot will be almost totally rigid,
while a 3-season boot will be very bendy, and a 3-4 season boot will be somewhere between these extremes.

Outsole lugs

Deep, wide-spaced lugs will bite into soft mud and snow without clogging, while also providing many years of wear before they are too shallow to give a good grip on soft ground.  A heel breast between the forefoot lugs and heel of the sole adds valuable braking power on descents.

Crampon compatibility

Not all boots are designed to be used with crampons due to the stiffness of the sole and flexibility of the upper. Crampons are not generally recommended for 3-season boots, but flexible crampons rated as C1 can be fitted to 3-4 season boots, while stiffer crampons rated as C2 can be fitted to 4-season boots.


Asolo Elbrus GV £250

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  • Men’s 6-13.5

  • Women’s 4-9

  • Weight 1802g (size 11)

It’s good

This well-priced boot is built around a suede leather upper, with Schoeller soft shell materials around the ankle cuff. There is not too much stitching or overlays of material, so durability is good and you also get a full rubber rand. There is Gore-Tex inside for waterproofness. The very aggressive Vibram outsole has deep, well-spaced lugs and a deep heel breast, which is ideal for crunching through snow and keeping a grip. The fit is great, with a slightly narrow toe which helps with scrambling over rock. The ankle cuff is very comfortable and allows a gentle flex forward, while the outsole rolls smoothly from heel to toe. Walking below the snowline is good for this category of boot.

However

This boot holds the foot slightly higher above the ground than some, which means that when walking over rocky ground or when scrambling you feel slightly less stable. But this is a tiny difference and will only impact those wanting the absolute best performance on tricky ground. I’m always cautious about recommending synthetic materials for hard environments, as they’re rarely as durable as quality leather or a plain rubber rand, but again this will only impact the hardest of users. For pure mountaineering others are very slightly better if you want the best and can afford it. But most hillwalkers will find this ideal for their needs and any benefits from others are small.

Verdict

A great boot at this price for general winter hillwalking, with some benefits available if you pay more.

  • Features 5/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Zamberlan 1000 Baltoro GTX £250

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  • Men’s 38-48

  • Women’s n/a

  • Weight 1828g (size 11)

It’s good

Zamberlan’s 1000 Baltoro competes well with other boots, particularly as the price is more tolerable than some and it’s also relatively low in weight. The upper is made from Hydrobloc Perwanger leather, with Cordura nylon around the tongue and the ankle cuff. Inside the boot there is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. I like that there’s not too much stitching, and for even more durability there is a rubber rand at the toe and heel. Underfoot you get a Vibram sole unit with widely-spaced lugs and a heel breast. Get the boot on and the toe box is spacious, and the upper is quite stiff and supportive, so the result is a great boot for general hillwalking.

However

While this feels good on the foot, it does not feel quite as neat and precise as some. Also the ankle cuff is not quite as well padded as others and doesn’t flex quite so smoothly forward when walking, so this area in general is just a little less comfortable than higher-priced boots. The sole unit is good but the outsole lugs are not quite as deep as others, so on snow without crampons the boot does not crunch into the surface and grip as well as others. If you want a boot for scrambling then those with a slightly narrower toe are better, as they offer more precise foot placement. There is no women’s option either. 

Verdict

For its price tag this boot is ideal for most hillwalkers who don’t need the best performance but do want to save some cash. Slightly more expensive boots offer extra benefits though.

  • Features 5/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 5/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%


AKU Tengu GTX £280

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  • Men’s 5-12

  • Women’s n/a

  • Weight 1812g (size 11)

It’s good

The Vibram Curcuma sole unit of this boot sets it apart from many others, and makes it ideal for winter use thanks to its deep and widely-spaced lugs. The sole has great stiffness too, and a good heel breast. Working from the ground upwards you get a full rubber rand for durability and an upper made from synthetic fabric with suede leather overlays. The tongue and flexpoint of the ankle cuff are made of softer synthetic materials. Get it on and this boot feels great on the foot, with a fit that is neither too narrow nor too wide. The ankle cuff is supportive and ideal for general use. When walking below the snowline the sole rolls nicely. It’s a pretty lightweight boot too. 

However

While the overall performance and general comfort is great, what lets this boot down is that there is no women’s option, although at least the unisex size range does go down to a 5, which may be sufficient. Like other synthetic boots, it probably won’t be quite as durable as a leather boot without stitching, although only really hard users need to worry about that. If you do lots of scrambling or mountaineering you’ll notice that others allow for slightly more precise footwork. Some also offer more comfort around the ankle cuff for a little more cash, while for those with an eye on the budget other boots carry a lighter price tag.

Verdict

A relatively lightweight boot with great performance for general winter walking, but regular scramblers or mountaineers will find others offer even better features.

  • Features 5/5

  • Fit 4/5

  • Comfort 4/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 4/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 84%


Meindl Jorasse GTX £300

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  • Men’s  6-12

  • Women’s 3.5-8

  • Weight 1885g (size 11)

It’s good

The first unusual feature of this boot is that the top of the ankle cuff gets an elasticated gaiter to help block debris from entering the boot. The ankle cuff itself is high and supportive, but it also flexes forward comfortably to allow easy walking. A double tongue design extends from the ankle cuff down the boot to add more cushioning and breathability. The upper is made from leather with synthetic materials, while a Gore-Tex waterproof lining keeps feet dry, and a full rubber rand provides more durability. The outsole is a Meindl Vibram Alpin 3 unit with a great set of deep, well-spaced lugs for grip on snow. Get it on and it instantly feels spacious and comfortable, and generally great for mountain walks on snow.

However

While this boot feels spacious and comfortable, it doesn’t feel quite as precise on the foot as others, which is slightly more noticeable when scrambling over rocks or mountaineering rather than walking. It is not the lightest boot either, and so when that is combined with its slightly less precise feel it just feels a little clumpier than some others when scrambling. These are tiny drawbacks though and not really that apparent when just walking. The main drawback is that this boot has a higher price tag than others, so you have to really value the extra comfort and spacious fit you’re paying for. 

Verdict

This very comfy and spacious mountain walking boot is ideal in many ways, but isn’t the best if you want a more precise feel for climbing over rocks.

  • Features 5/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 5/5

  • In use 4/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 88%


Scarpa Manta Pro GTX £320

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  • Men’s 40-50

  • Women’s 36-42

  • Weight 2074g (size 46)

It’s good

The Manta Pro defines the 4-season mountain walking boot category, and while it remains unchanged it is still the best option if you can stretch your budget. Built around a leather upper with synthetic overlays and Gore-Tex waterproofness, the upper is supportive, with extra durability coming from a full rubber rand. The ankle cuff is slightly more comfortable than other boots. It provides great support and also flexes forward particularly smoothly for comfortable walking. The outsole is a Vibram unit with deep, well-spaced lugs and a good heel breast, and it also rolls reasonably well from heel to toe when walking. A nice benefit is that the forefoot and toe areas are slightly wider than others, but still afford a precise feel for scrambling over rocks. 

However

If you need a boot mainly for mountaineering then a more dedicated design would be better, owing to those boots having a narrower toe and therefore an even more precise feel. It would be nice if this was a little lighter, but on the foot it actually feels lighter than some other boots that do weigh less, and this is due to the careful design that works so well with the foot. A boot with fewer overlays might be more durable for those of you that really hammer your kit. But the main drawback is the price, so if you aren’t a regular winter walker then a lower-priced boot will no doubt suffice.

Verdict

Sets the standard for regular walks and scrambles over British mountains in winter, but others have benefits for climbers or less regular hillgoers.

  • Features 5/5

  • Fit 5/5

  • Comfort 5/5

  • In use 5/5

  • Value for money 3/5

  • OVERALL SCORE 92%

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Test of the Best: 3-Season Walking boots review (2018)


Is it worth paying more for a top quality 3-season boot? We reviewed boots with price tags from £175 to £250 to find what benefits they offer.

Ankle Cuff

To reduce weight and price of footwear the ankle cuff may be cut quite low in some boots. However, this can be a false economy, as a lower ankle cuff more easily allows water, mud and debris to enter the boot while also providing less ankle support to the foot, which means your foot has to work harder on more uneven ground.

Upper

A traditional leather upper, made with minimal stitching, will last for many years if cared for well – and will probably outlast the grip on the sole. Conversely, an upper that is made of lots of synthetic fabric, mesh and thin strips of suede leather is unlikely to be as durable– due to extra stitching – and often tends to be slow drying.

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Midsole Flex

Grab the boot by the toe and heel and bend them together to test longitudinal stiffness, and then twist the sole to test lateral stiffness. A more flexible sole flex is better for comfort on level ground, while a stiffer sole flex is more comfortable on rockier ground and also allows a more precise use of small footholds when scrambling over rockier ground.

Toe Box

To protect the foot from stray boulders, a stiffened toe box is important. You can test this by pressing the top of the area where your toes will be in the boot.

Rand

To enhance durability on rockier ground, a rubber rand may be added at the toe. On the most durable designs, this rubber rand extends around the whole of the boot, between the sole and the upper.

Outsole

Well-spaced deep lugs can bite into soft ground without clogging. A deep heel breast – the step between the heel and midfoot area of the sole unit – is vital for providing braking power in descents.


Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX £190

  • Men’s 7-13
  • Women’s 4-9
  • Weight 1584g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This boot is lighter than most others in this category and has a little more flexibility in the ankle cuff and sole unit too, which adds up to this being better than many others here for walking. The upper is made from suede leather, with some synthetic materials in the tongue, there’s a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside and a full rubber rand on the outside to increase durability. Underfoot, you get a very aggressive sole with a good heel breast and deep lugs. On the foot, this feels great as the ankle cuff and softer sole flex all make walking very comfortable. But the sole has good lateral stiffness too, so it scrambles well on easier rocky routes.

However

The Salewa’s upper is quite soft and flexible, so this forces your foot to work a little harder on more uneven terrain – which may take some getting used to. Stray boulders impacting the top of the foot are more noticeable in this boot compared to one with a stiffer upper. The fabric tongue, and the upper in general, may also wear out sooner on rockier ground than boots with leather in this area or with less stitching. So, for me, this boot is probably best used for general trekking here in the UK or abroad, over a range of path types, rather than too much dedicated use on very rocky ground.

Verdict

An interesting mix of a very good sole unit for mixed path use, as well as a softer and more flexible upper for comfort when walking.

  • Features 4/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

Asolo Greenwood GV £190

  • Men’s 6-13.5
  • Women’s 3.5-9
  • Weight 1514g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

New for 2018, this boot replaces the popular Asolo Tribe. First, check out the weight, as this boot is lighter than most at this price point. The upper is made from Perwanger leather, with minimal stitching, and there is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. There is a rubber rand at the toe and good stiffness in the upper for general hill and mountain walking. The outsole is an Asolo Vibram Duo Radiant design with a very deep heel breast and good sole lugs for softer ground. On the foot, this boot feels noticeably lighter and more dexterous than others, and easier to place on small footholds when scrambling. The toe-to-heel flex is good and this feels good for walking.

However

The toe area is slightly narrower than some, which is great when scrambling, but you may want a little more room here. If I was being picky, I would say some higher-priced boots flex slightly more smoothly across the forefoot area, but this is a tiny difference. Higher-priced boots do often have a full rubber rand and the upper on some other boots is softer against the foot, too. So, this boot may lose out on overall comfort, and potentially on durability, but it’s a small drawback when you look at the price and weight benefit. For most British hill and mountain walkers I think this offers an excellent package of benefits. 

Verdict

The weight and performance is very good for general hillwalking. So, at this price point, it is a superb option but pay more and there may be additional benefits.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%
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Mammut Trovat Advanced High GTX £199

  • Men’s 7-12
  • Women’s 4-8.5
  • Weight 1776g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

A well-established boot that for has provided the right goods for hillwalking over rougher terrain for some years. The upper is nubuck leather with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and this is well stiffened for support and protection on rougher rocky ground. A rubber rand at the toe and heel adds further durability. The outsole is Vibram with a good set of deep lugs and a heel breast. On the foot, this has a closer fit around the toe than others and it feels quite good for scrambling. The ankle cuff is a little stiffer than on other boots too, so it feels more supportive on scree slopes. So a good boot for scree and rougher terrain.

However

Some others are lighter, have a slightly smoother roll when walking and feel a little more dexterous when scrambling, giving this a slightly clumpier feel on the foot by comparison. Also the toe area is offering a slightly closer fit around the foot, so some wider-footed people may prefer those with more space in this area particularly for walking rather than scrambling. Some higher-priced models have a full rubber rand and less stitching on the upper, which may promote even more durability for the hardiest of users. Mammut does offer the excellent Trovat Guide High (£219), with a full rubber rand, but also more sole stiffness. All in all, there’s not a lot wrong here, but there are some small details to consider.

Verdict

Solid performance on rock and scree mountain terrain, but lighter and more flexible boots are available.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

La Sportiva Trango Trek Leather £200

  • Men’s 41-48
  • Women’s 37-42
  • Weight 1714g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

A unique welded upper construction keeps weight down and, potentially, durability up. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a rubber rand at the toe for durability. The sole unit is a very stiff Vibram Mulaz unit with very deep lugs and an aggressive heel breast, so this is great for grip in mud and softer terrain. The ankle cuff benefits from an exceptionally soft forward and lateral flex compared to others, which makes walking far more comfortable and scrambling easier. The close-fitting toe area is particularly good for scrambling, as it allows more precise foot placement and, when combined with the stiff sole and easy ankle movement, this is great when used on rocky via ferrata-style terrain.

However

The toe box is a little snug, so broad-footed hillwalkers – or those that just like more wiggle room – may prefer different boots. The outsole is pretty stiff, and while this is great on rockier ground, if you are walking on easier terrain then a more bendy boot will suit you better – with the additional benefit of less weight and a lower price. One slight concern is that the fabric tongue extends to the toe, so this area may be less durable compared to other boots when used on scree and rock regularly. Some people may also prefer a stiffer lateral flex in the ankle area than is offered here. 

Verdict

Superb ankle flex, combined with a welded upper, make this boot ideal for rockier scrambles and via ferrata routes.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX £200

  • Men’s 38-49
  • Women’s 36-43
  • Weight 1756g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This boot is stiffer than many others in this price range, making it particularly suitable for scrambles and rockier walks. The full-grain leather upper has minimal stitching for maximum durability and there is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. The sole has good, well-spaced lugs for general walking, as well as a good heel breast for grips during descents. This is a stiff boot, but it still feels great when walking on the level, due to a curvature of the sole that allows a reasonably natural roll from heel to toe – while the ankle cuff flexes forward a little, too. This is superb for walking over typically rocky British mountains and ideal for scrambles, as it feels precise on the foot.

However

The toe is a little neater and closer fitting than on some boots, which is great for scrambling. But those who are more walking-oriented will probably prefer boots with a slightly wider toe area. There is no rubber rand, so those who want maximum durability for very regular jaunts onto rocks and scree may prefer others. These boots are slightly heavier than some others too – due to the extra stiffness. Of course, if you are not tackling rockier ground then boots with a softer ankle cuff and softer sole flex are all you need – with the benefit of less weight, a cheaper price tag and more comfort.

Verdict

Excellent boot for scrambling and rockier terrain, but it has no rubber rand and other boots are slightly better away from the rocks.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 88%

Scarpa Trek GTX £200

  • Men’s 40-48
  • Women’s 36-42
  • Weight 1684g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

Built around a low-volume last for a closer fit, the Trek has a 1.8mm nubuck leather upper with minimal stitching on the outside to improve durability as well as a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside to maintain dry feet. You get a rubber rand that fully encloses the boot, too. The sole is a Vibram Biometric Fly unit with deep, well-spaced lugs and a good heel breast. The sole flex between toe and heel is good for rockier ground, and the sole also resists pressure from jagged rocks well. We also liked the slightly more precise fit on this boot around the toe – it made scrambling a little easier and neater when placing the foot. 

However

This is not the lightest model around, so if you don’t need all that durability and stiffness you can definitely get lighter boots. Also, if you are not going to be heading onto rocky ground regularly you could choose a boot without a rubber rand, which would be lower in price and lighter. As with any boot that is stiff enough for rocky ground, if you walk on moors or paths then you will find boots with a softer flex more comfortable, of course, until you hit the rocks. So, something like a Scarpa Ranger at £180 may be all you need if you plan on backpacking over paths, rather than regularly clambering over rocks. 

Verdict

An excellent general-purpose hill and mountain trekking, and scrambling, boot that is great for regular use on rockier terrain.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 5/5
  • In use 5/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 92%
 

Alt-Berg Nordkapp £205

  • Men’s 4-14
  • Women’s none
  • Weight 1670g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

This boot has remained the same price for a couple of years now, which is impressive in the current climate. Equally impressive is the weight when you realise what you are getting. This boot has a nubuck leather upper, without much stitching, so durability is good. But you also get a full rubber rand for even more abrasion resistance and, inside, you get a Sympatex waterproof lining to ensure dry feet. The sole is a Vibram Masai unit with good lugs for grip. There is a nice rolling action on the foot, making easier ground comfortable, but also plenty of stiffness for rockier ground. This is great for tackling rockier routes on Lakeland fells, Scottish Munros and Welsh 3000ers. 

However

There is no women’s version,of this boot, but it does come in a good size range, from 4 to 14. While this boot does roll exceptionally well with the foot, from toe to heel, and the toe box is very spacious, it doesn’t feel quite as neat and precise as others might when scrambling over rock. So, if you’re planning to do a lot,of scrambling, these boots may not be,your best bet. While this is a relatively lightweight model, you could go for an,even lighter boot if you don’t really need the impressive stiffness and durability on offer here – and this would save you cash at the checkout, too. 

Verdict

Superb for general mountain walking over rockier ground with an excellent heel to toe rolling action, but others are more precise on scrambles.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 4/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Meindhl Bhutan £210

  • Men’s 6-14
  • Women’s 3.5-9
  • Weight 1794g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

The Bhutan is a popular boot that replaced the classic Meindl Burma back in 2014. It is a very solid boot with a little more stiffness in the sole than some lower-priced options, making it better for rockier ground. The upper features nubuck leather, with Gore-Tex waterproof protection, and there is lots of padding inside for more comfort against the foot. A full rubber rand provides even more protection on scree and rockier routes. Underfoot, a Vibram sole, with deep lugs, and a good heel breast help keep a decent grip. This is a well-proven and very popular boot for regular trips to rockier British mountains. 

However

This boot is heavier than other others in this category and it also feels a little less precise and neat on the foot – so, when scrambling over rocks, it feels a bit more clumpy, in general, than some of its competitors. There is also slightly more stiffness in the sole than in other boots, here – which is great on rockier ground but, obviously, if you are tramping across moorland or sticking to well-trodden paths for the most part, a boot with a softer flex will provide all your needs. It would also give the benefit of less weight on the foot and be quite a bit cheaper. It’s still a great boot, but there are other models that are starting to show some desirable benefits.

Verdict

A popular boot for regular jaunts over rockier ground – but new trends towards lightness and dexterity are starting to challenge its dominance.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 84%

Arc'teryx Bora Mid GTX £250

  • Men’s 6.5-13
  • Women’s 3.5-10
  • Weight 1376g (size 11 pair) 

It's good

Boot design is changing rapidly, with lower weights the norm and ankle cuff design becoming more and more flexible. The Bora Mid GTX pushes the term ‘lightweight’ to new levels, with this super-light boot. Inside, your foot sits within a Gore-Tex sock which is fixed to the outer shell, while the outside is made of synthetic PU-coated materials and features a rubber rand. The sole features Vibram for grip and the result is unparalleled forward flex and dexterity underfoot, but with the sort of performance you’d expect from, say, a boot priced at £175 or above. Very impressive. The outer is also very durable as there is no stitching, and the mesh and PU-coated materials feel very durable.

However

The toe box and sole flex are softer than other 3-season boots in this price band – and the sole flexes when standing on jagged rocks, so comfort is not ideal on rock. But the lateral stiffness is good, so it’s useful when scrambling. Compared to other boots, it doesn’t have the deepest sole lugs or most pronounced heel breast. Then there is that Gore-Tex sock liner – it is too early to say how durable it will prove to be, so the jury is out on that for the moment. Water can get between the liner and the shell easily, which feels cold, but it does pump out while walking. The price is painfully high though.

Verdict

The low weight, flexible ankle cuff and durable outer shell are major benefits, but the price and potential durability of the sock liner are concerns.

  • Features 5/5
  • Fit 5/5
  • Comfort 4/5
  • In use 4/5
  • Value for money 2/5
  • OVERALL SCORE 80%

Test of the best: 4-season walking boots

ANKLE CUFF
The ankle cuff helps prevent mud, snow and grit from entering the boot. It also protects the ankle against being scraped by rocks. The stiffness in the ankle cuff reduces the strain on the ankle when traversing slopes, by adding extra support, which makes it less tiring and easier to get a stable foothold, particularly on lower slopes.

MIDSOLE STIFFNESS
Grab the boot by the toe and heel and bend the toe towards the heel, then twist the toe while holding the heel stationary. The harder it is to bend the boot in these two directions, the better the boot will perform on snow and ice and be compatible with crampons. A 4-season boot will be almost totally rigid, a 3-season boot will be very bendy and a 3- 4-season boot will be somewhere between these extremes.

OUTSOLE LUGS
Deep, widely spaced lugs will bite into snow without clogging, while also providing many years of wear before they are too shallow to give a good grip.

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DURABILITY
As these boots are destined for the particularly challenging conditions of winter, they need to be durable, so look for uppers with minimal stitching and a rubber rand at the toe box. For maximum durability, look for a rubber rand that encloses the whole boot.

FIT
No boot is worth having if it does not fit. The inside of the boot should be 13-15mm longer than your foot, which you can gauge by putting on the boot without the laces tightened up and then placing your forefinger down the inside of the boot at the heel. Better outdoor stores will measure your feet. The upper should be snug and comfortable across the foot.

CRAMPON COMPATIBILITY
The 4-season boot is rated as B2, which means it is compatible with a C2 rated crampon (stiffer than a C1 crampon used with 3-4-season boots). To make it easier to fit crampons, 4-season boots may have a ledge at the heel that allows crampons with heel clips to be fitted. These are easier and quicker to fit than strap-on crampons, which is important in very cold conditions.


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Mammut Magic High GTX £230

  • Mens 6.5-13
  • Womens 4-9
  • Weight 1878g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD Compared to other 4-season boots, the price and weight are instantly more appealing. The upper is made with a mix of velour leather and synthetic textiles, with lots of stitching, but there is a full rubber rand for more durability and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. The outsole is Vibram, with a good set of deep, well-spaced lugs. There is slightly more flex in the sole and ankle cuff than some boots, making this better for easier ground than pure mountaineering designs. The toe area feels reasonably precise for scrambling, but you also get a wider forefoot area, which makes this better for more general use. Better than most at this price.

HOWEVER The complex upper may be less durable than simpler designs with less stitching, although this will only be an issue for the hardest of mountain users. While this has a good weight, it does not feel quite as precise underfoot when scrambling as some heavier boots, which is due to it having more padding and a less precise fit to the upper, compared to others. As there is slightly more flex in the upper and sole than some designs, your foot has to work a little harder when traversing slopes or negotiating scrambles, so again this points this boot more toward general use than high grade mountaineering. 

VERDICT A very good all-round boot with a good weight and price that should be ideal for many, unless you really cannot live without specific benefits.

  • Features: 4/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 84%

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Asolo Elbrus GV £230

  • Mens 6-13
  • Womens 4.5-9
  • Weight 1802g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD The weight and price set this apart from other 4-season boots, but also you get some important performance benefits. Firstly, the upper does not have too many layers of material, with large panels of suede leather and synthetic Schoeller materials in use, while a full rubber rand adds further durability benefits. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining too. The outsole is a very aggressive Vibram unit with deep, widely spaced lugs and a good heel breast. This has a good general fit. The toe is slightly narrowed, to improve performance when scrambling over rock. The ankle cuff gently flexes to allow easier walking but it remains supportive. The outsole has a good rolling action. 

HOWEVER The foot does sit slightly higher from the ground than some higher priced designs, which means this does not feel quite as stable and precise on rockier ground, although this is probably only an issue for those needing the ultimate in performance. The synthetic materials around the ankle cuff may be less durable than other boots. If you want an out-and-out mountaineering design, then others are slightly better, and you can get a lighter mountaineering design if you have more cash. Hard to fault for general mountain walking in winter conditions, though. 

VERDICT Unless you need the absolute best performance, then this is a superbly priced boot for general winter mountain use, which is very difficult to improve upon.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 92%

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Zamberlan 1000 Baltoro GTX £230

  • Mens 40-48
  • Womens none
  • Weight 1828g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD The weight and the price tag are both great and, for this, you get an upper that is primarily made from Hydrobloc Perwanger leather, with Cordura nylon in the tongue and ankle cuff areas. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining inside and a rubber rand at the toe and heel. The Vibram outsole has well-spaced lugs and a good heel breast. On the foot, the upper is noticeably stiffer than some, particularly around the ankle cuff, which is great for more uneven ground when more support is of benefit. The toe box is spacious and good for general mountain use. Overall, a good all-round performance. 

HOWEVER There is no women’s version of this boot. Also, the fit does feel less precise and neat on the foot, compared to higher-priced designs. While the stiffness on the ankle cuff, in particular, is a benefit on really rough ground due to its increased support, there is a less comfortable forward flex in the ankle cuff, which means this is not the best for comfort when walking on level ground. In terms of the sole, the lugs are not as deep as others, so this does not quite have the best grip on soft ground or snow when not wearing crampons. Others with a more narrow toe are also better for more precise climbing or mountaineering. Others get a full rubber rand for harder use. 

VERDICT A good price and weight for a general use mountain boot, but others are better for more natural walking on level ground and for climbing on more technical ground.

  • Features: 4/5
  • Fit: 3/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 80%

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Hanwag Ferrata Combi GTX £235

  • Mens 6-13
  • Womens 3.5-9
  • Weight 1852g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD An appealing price tag and weight compared to other 4-season boots. The upper is made from Cordura synthetic textiles with leather overlays and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining as well as a full rubber rand for durability. The outsole is a Vibram Climbing II unit with well-spaced lugs that are slightly more shallow than some designs and there is a smooth climbing zone under the toe. The ankle cuff is slightly softer than some others for more comfort. On the foot this feels slightly more spacious than some designs, so good for general users and also the upper is slightly softer so again great for general use. Walking is reasonably natural in this boot although others have a slightly smooth rolling action from the sole. 

HOWEVER The outsole lugs are not the deepest, making this good for rocky ground, as you get a more precise feel from more shallow lugs, but less good on softer ground or snow, as the grip is not so great without crampons. The upper is softer throughout than others, which is great for use on easier ground, but this means it lacks a little support for more technical ground or traversing slopes. I do find that the tongue area is less well padded, so I had to be a little more careful with the lacing to prevent creating a firm spot on the top of my foot, something I did not have to be so careful about with other boots. 

VERDICT A relatively low priced and relatively low weight boot that is good for general use.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 88%

Aku Tengu GTX £260

  • Mens 5-12
  • Womens none
  • Weight 1812g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD The upper is stiff and supportive and made from a nylon fabric with some small areas of suede leather and a full rubber rand for extra durability. There is a Gore-Tex waterproof lining on the inside. The outsole is a Vibram Curcuma unit, with deep and widely spaced lugs. This provides a good general fit, being neither too narrow nor too wide. The upper and ankle cuff are stiff and supportive, so again, great for general use. Toe flex is smooth and the ankle cuff flexed forward nicely to allow a reasonably natural walking for this category of boot. It is also pretty lightweight compared to other 4-season boots. The price is slightly less than some too. 

HOWEVER The good overall performance and features of this boot are let down by there not being a women’s specific option, but at least the unisex size range does extend down to size 5, so some women may find this boot does fit them. The upper is made from nylon, rather than a thicker and more durable leather, so really hard users may want to consider other models. While great for general mountain use, others are better for more the precise footwork needed for more technical climbing or scrambling on harder grades of rock. Some boots have a little more padding and softer flex at the ankle cuff for more comfort, if that is your priority. 

VERDICT A great all-round mountain boot with a good weight and price to suit general users, but specific benefits are available in other boots.

  • Features: 4/5
  • Fit: 3/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 5/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 84%

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Salewa Vulture Gore-Tex £270

  • Mens 6-13
  • Womens none
  • Weight 2012g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD This eye-catching design uses suede leather on the upper, with synthetic materials around the ankle cuff, as well as a Gore-Tex waterproof lining and a full rubber rand. The ankle cuff is lower than others and also more flexible. Underfoot, you get a Vibram sole unit with very deep lugs for biting into soft snow and there is a smooth climbing zone under the big toe for scrambling. To ensure a good fit, this boot comes with a choice of footbeds to manage the volume. On the foot, the toe feels slightly narrow and lower in volume than some, but it widens at the forefoot and the ankle cuff is very flexible in the forward flex when walking, as well as laterally. 

HOWEVER This is not available in a women’s specific size range. The ankle cuff is so flexible that this means your foot has to work harder on more uneven ground, as you are not getting the support from the boot, so this makes this more of a walking than a mountaineering design for me. But then, the narrow toe means it is not quite as comfortable as other more walking-orientated designs, but also it is not the most precise for scrambling either. So, overall this is great for walking over level snow and glaciers, but on ground when you need more support from the ankle cuff, or precision at the toe, it is not quite the best. 

VERDICT An unusual mix of features with the benefit of a more flexible ankle cuff and deep sole lugs that are great for walking over snow-covered mountains.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 3/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 3/5
  • Value for money: 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 76%

La Sportiva Cube GTX £290

  • Mens 41-48
  • Womens none
  • Weight 1962g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD This is exceptionally lightweight for a 4-season boot, at just 1692g (size 46). It also features a unique seamless upper construction of abrasion-resistant nylon and a thermoplastic covering. Inside, you get Gore-Tex for waterproofness and there is a full rubber rand on the outside. The tongue is a softer and more flexible synthetic material, but overall this upper is very durable in design. The outsole is a unique Vibram Cube unit, with deep, widely spaced lugs, with a smooth climbing zone under the big toe. The fit is narrow and neat and, when combined with the low weight, this boot is ideal for scrambling and more technical ground, as well as walking in general. 

HOWEVER There are no women’s specific fit options here and the size range is relatively small. The fit is narrower than some, too, which may hinder those with wider feet. Also, the ankle cuff is lower and has less forward flex, which means walking is not quite so comfortable. There is also a little less cushioning around the foot in general compared to some, so this does not feel quite as comfortable as others in general. It’s not uncomfortable, it is just that others are more comfy. The price is still quite high compared to some options, but if you want that low weight, then these are the drawbacks you have to consider. 

VERDICT A very lightweight and durable boot, that is ideal for technical ground, but walkers may prefer the extra comfort on offer elsewhere.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 3/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 76%

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Meindl Jorasse GTX £295

  • Mens 6-12
  • Womens 3.5-8
  • Weight 1858g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD The upper is a mix of leather and synthetic materials, with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining on the inside and a high rubber rand on the outside for extra durability. This boot has a double tongue design, for more comfort around the top of the foot and at the top of the ankle cuff a small additional elasticated cuff to lock out debris. The outsole is a Vibram unit with good well-spaced deep lugs and a substantial heelbreast. There is a little more volume around the foot than some others, to suit chunkier feet, and there is also more cushioning around the foot too, particularly under that double tongue. So, in terms of comfort this has a slight edge over some other designs. 

HOWEVER While this has a good weight, it feels slightly less precise on the foot, and slightly clumpy, which is not an issue for general walking, but is noticeable when more precise footwork is needed, such as when walking or scrambling over more uneven rocky ground with crampons. While this has a good weight, you can get even lighter designs and some boots have a lower price tag, but of course those boots may not have the extra comfort and space around the foot offered here. It is possible that boots with less layers of material and less stitching will be more durable on the feet of really hard users. 

VERDICT A great boot for mountain walks if you prefer a more spacious fit and more cushioning but it does feel slightly less precise on rocky steps.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • In use: 4/5
  • Value for money: 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 88%

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Scarpa Manta Pro GTX £300

  • Mens 40-50
  • Womens 36-42
  • Weight 2074g (size 11)

IT'S GOOD Setting the standard of 4-season boots for British mountain use, the Manta Pro has a Gore-Tex waterproof lining that is protected by a stiff leather upper, with additional synthetic materials and a rubber rand. The ankle cuff is particularly comfortable and allows forward flex to allow easier walking, yet it still maintains lateral support. The Vibram sole has deep well-spaced lugs and a heel breast and, while it is fully stiffened, it also provides a reasonable forward roll for this class of boot, to make walking below the snow possible. The forefoot and toe area is slightly wider than some, more climbing-orientated, designs and this makes it great for general walking over snow and glaciers. 

HOWEVER If you are looking for a boot for mountaineering, where lots of precise toe placement is needed, then others are slightly better, owing to them having a more narrow toe, that allows more accurate placement of this area onto smaller footholds while climbing. In an ideal world, a little fewer layers of material and less stitching may be more durable for really hard users. Other boots are also slightly lighter but of course they may have additional drawbacks. Then there is the price tag, which is more than most but, on the bright side, the price has remained the same over the past couple of years. 

VERDICT For regular mountain walks in snow and ice the Manta Pro GTX remains the first choice but others do have benefits in more climbing focused situations.

  • Features: 5/5
  • Fit: 5/5
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • In use: 5/5
  • Value for money: 3/5
  • OVERALL SCORE: 92%

Zamberlan Pelmo Plus GTX (2016)

Features

The Zamberlan Pelmo Plus GTX is a well-priced boot with a reasonably low weight, but the ankle cuff is 3cm lower than in other models. The upper is one-piece leather with minimal stitching, a rubber rand and a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. Underfoot you get a Vibram sole unit with widely spaced lugs but they’re slightly shallow in depth and the sole has a slightly softer flex than other B2 boots. 4/5

Fit

The size range is 36-48 for men only – so there’s no women’s fit here, sadly. The boot has a good general fit with space around the forefoot for a little movement. The lower ankle cuff may appeal to some users as it allows this boot to fit the ankle more easily than higher-cuffed options. 4/5

Comfort

That lower ankle cuff improves comfort as you can move your foot more easily, but it may mean you need to wear gaiters to keep out debris. Generally the comfort is good, although perhaps not quite as soft around the foot as some, but the Zamberlan Pelmo Plus GTX is more supportive and protective because of this to some extent. 4/5

In use

The lower ankle cuff is a benefit as it allows this boot to be lighter and extremely durable, which creates a more natural walking action. It may require more use of gaiters, though, and when traversing slopes you get less support. The outsole lugs aren’t the deepest and the flex in the sole is very slightly softer than you’ll find with alternative models. Overall the Zamberlan Pelmo Plus GTX delivers good winter walking performance. 4/5

Value

The price is very good for a walking boot that has the stiffness and support that most walkers will look for. 5/5

Verdict

The Zamberlan Pelmo Plus GTX is an excellent hillwalking boot with a low ankle cuff that you may or may not like. It’s a pity there’s no women’s fit available, though. 4.2/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine January 2016

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Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX (2015)

Features

The Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX’s upper is Hydrobloc waxed full-grain leather with very little stitching so it is durable and will keep the water out easily, but you also get a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. Around the outside is a rubber rand for yet more durability. Underfoot you get a sole with deep, well-spaced lugs for grip in soft snow and on loose scree. 5/5

Fit

This boot only comes in a men’s version in sizes 41-48. The nearest women’s model is the £200 Cornetto in sizes 37-43. The fit does feel snug with good space at the toes. The ankle cuff is about 1cm lower than some other boots and it’s softer too, making this area less supportive but more comfortable, although its forward flex is stiffer. The pre-curved sole allows a natural walking action. 4/5

Comfort

The Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX feels good on, but it’s a bit more cumbersome than some other models (though there’s not much in it). There is slightly more toe room, which feels good, and the toe flex is just enough to make walking below the snow comfortable. The ankle cuff is not quite as comfy as some others in the forward flex position, but again not much in it. 4/5

In use

For general hillwalking on snow, scree and rough terrain the Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX feels great. It is a little less delicate than some others when scrambling, however, so it’s not the best for those who want a more precise feel on the rock. The sole lugs are deep and well-spaced, and ideal for soft snow and other loose ground, while the stiffness is good for snow and rock. 4/5

Value

The Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX is a very well-priced boot compared to other options here, and you are getting a Gore-Tex lining for your cash. 5/5

Verdict

The Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX is great for mountain walking, but slightly less precise for scrambling than some others. 4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine December 2015

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Zamberlan Air-Round GTX RR (2015)

For years, manufacturers have had a puzzle on their hands – how do you make a shoe breathable from beneath? Last year Gore-Tex unveiled their solution: the new Surround membrane. It wraps around the foot, with warm air passing beneath the sole into a spacer and escaping through meshy – yet waterproof – side vents. Zamberlan are one of

the first brands to use it (along with Meindl, as seen in the men’s test). It certainly works, and on several walks it kept my feet comfortably dry. But how about the rest of the shoe? Well, fit is pleasing, with a narrow, trainer-like shape hugging the foot. The upper is thin and stretchy but doesn’t feel flimsy. It’s all very breathable and when laced well, it fits with just the right combination of snugness and support. The Vibram sole is tough and thick, offering well-padded underfoot protection with a precise shaping – quite the contrast with the light, meshy upper. If your feet run hot and you don’t need the strongest level of protection, the Gore-Tex Surround technology – and these shoes – are certainly worth your consideration.

Specifications

Sizes: 36-43 (including half sizes)

Membrane: Gore-Tex Surround

Outsole: Zamberlan/Vibram Speed Hiking Lite

Weight per pair: 780g

Men’s version: Yes

Contact: 0161 432 0319

www.zamberlan.com

Verdict

Light, well-fitting and loaded with the latest tech, best for fast summer walking.

Tested by Sarah Ryan

Country Walking June 2015

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Zamberlan Airound Mid GTX (2015)

Features

At just 1014g (pair, size 11) the Zamberlan Airound Mid GTX is extremely light. It features the new Gore-Tex Surround technology, which provides an air gap below the footbed to allow moisture vapour to escape from the base of the foot through the side of the boot. The upper is made of mesh and PU with a rubber toe rand and stiffening at the heel. Underfoot the Vibram sole unit has relatively shallow lugs, but there is a heel breast. 4/5

Fit

The size range is 36-48 unisex but there is no women’s-specific fit or design here. On the foot it feels more spacious than some models, and as the upper is very flexible it can be tightened down easily – but it does not feel quite as precise as the models with stiffer uppers. The heel fits really well though. 4/5

Comfort

Gore-Tex Surround technology means the Zamberlan Airound Mid GTX should feel less sweaty, while the soft upper means it does mould to your feet. That is great on easy terrain, but there is very little support from that upper so your feet easily move about on more rugged ground. There is more flex in the sole unit too than others, so again it’s not so comfortable on rocky ground. 4/5

In use

On easy, level paths the low weight is a real bonus and in hot weather that extra airflow should keep your feet cool. But take this onto rougher ground and it is far less supportive, while on mud or grass slopes the outsole lug pattern does not grip as well as others because the lugs are just less aggressive in design. It needs to be kept to easy terrain to get the best performance. 3/5

Value

The Zamberlan Airound Mid GTX is the lowest priced Gore-Tex Surround boot, but there is less performance here. 4/5

Verdict

In terms of weight and underfoot breathability the Zamberlan Airound Mid GTX is superb, but performance on rougher ground is compromised. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine August 2015

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Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX (2014)

Features

The Hydrobloc waxed full-grain leather upper has minimal stitching and provides great protection for the foot but you also get a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. A rubber rand extends around the boot for even more protection. The outsole has reasonably deep lugs that are widely spaced for grip on softer ground. 5/5

Fit

Available for men in sizes 41-48 and for women in sizes 37-43, the Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX gave a nice snug fit with good space around the toe box. The ankle cuff is slightly lower than some others, but it felt a little more restrictive as it does not flex forward as gently as some. The outside feels stiff with some precurvature in the sole for a more natural fit. 5/5

Comfort

The ankle cuff is not quite as comfortable in the forward flex position as some others, and the boot feels a little ‘clumpy’ and less dexterous than some options. But walking does feel generally comfortable with a good flex at the toe to facilitate walking below the snowline. The toe is not so narrow as to feel restrictive either. 4/5

In use

The Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX is great for backpacking across rockier ground and tackling easier snow slopes. It feels a little bulky for scrambling but is great for generally negotiating uneven mountain terrain. The sole lugs are a great depth for softer ground including snow, gravel and scree. Climbers will prefer more precise-feeling boots though. 4/5

Value

The price is very attractive for a genuine 3-4 season walking boot with a waterproof lining. 5/5

Verdict

Not quite the performance finesse of others, but the Zamberlan Vioz Plus GTX is great for hill and mountain walking.

4.4/5

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine December 2014

www.zamberlan.uk.com

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Zamberlan Crosser GTX (2014)

The Zamberlan Crosser GTX is a good lightweight option at 954g (pair, size 46), making it instantly appealing to anyone wanting to travel light. The shoe has a synthetic upper with a Gore-Tex waterproof lining, but there’s less mesh here, which means the waterproof lining is better protected and the upper may be faster-drying as well, as it will tend to absorb less water. There is a rand around the sides of the shoe that features Kevlar, so that should be very durable. The Crosser also sports a rubber rand at the toe and heel. Surprisingly for such a functional design the toe box is very soft, perhaps to keep weight down, but it certainly offers less protection in this area than many other shoes. The outsole has widely spaced lugs and a heel breast, and although the lugs aren’t quite as good as the best available they are reasonably good on soft terrain. I’d ideally like them to have a little more bite, though. The sole has good stiffness for fast action with a nice spring in the toe and particularly good cushioning in the heel area. This all adds up to a comfortable, fast-action shoe for general use. The Zamberlan Crosser GTX doesn’t excel in any particular area, but that is what makes it a good all-rounder for walking, fast and light hiking, or just playing outdoors.

Specifications:

Upper material Cordura and Schoeller Kevlar-reinforced fabric

Waterproof lining Gore-Tex

Sole unit Zamberlan Vibram Speed King

Men’s sizes 40-48

Women’s sizes 36-43

Weight 954g (pair, size 46)

Website www.zamberlan.com

Verdict

The Zamberlan Crosser GTX is a lightweight shoe that offers good performance; but a sole unit with a little more bite would be useful, while a stiffer toe box would help on rockier ground.

Review by Graham Thompson

Published in Trail magazine May 2014

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Zamberlan Zenith GT (2013)

Really stable and supportive walking shoes made from split waterproof leather and mesh. The fit is very snug and quite stiff at first, although they’ll relax with a bit of wear and quickly become comfortable. A great lacing system allows a really secure fit, and coupled with their stiff midsole, they inspire confidence on rocky, uneven terrain. An aggressive, Vibram sole grips well on all surfaces, with extra grip at the heel and toe for traction on steep ground. There’s a tough rubber bumper at the heel to protect from hard knocks, and a waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex lining to keep your feet comfortable all day. Slightly heavy, but a great all-round walking shoe that won’t look out of place on the street either.

 

Sizes: 36-43
Upper: Hydrobloc split leather
Sole: Vibram Active
Waterproof/breathable lining: Gore-Tex
Weight: 840g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: 0161 4320319; www.zamberlan.uk.com


Zamberlan Vioz Plus (2012)

These boots are designed to be loved and cared for and take all the abuse you can throw at them. The fit is secure and comfortable, although the heel isn’t quite as snug as the Scarpas and they definitely need a bit of wearing-in before they really feel good. They’ve got lovely snug and secure ankle cuffs, though; and a well-placed locking eyelet that really helps fine-tune the fit. They’re the heaviest boots featured with an exceptionally stiff midsole that makes them better suited to higher level walking and can feel quite cumbersome on easier ground. Grip is excellent on all surfaces, although the stiffness can feel slightly unwieldy on soft mud
and grass.

Sizes: UK 4-12
Upper: Waxed full-grain leather
Waterproof/breathable lining: Gore-Tex
Sole: Vibram
Weight: 1,500g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: www.zamberlan.uk.com
; 0161 432 0319


Zamberlan Torre GTX (2013)

The Zamberlan Torre GTX is designed for Alpine mountaineering where glacier travel and some ice climbing are part of a normal day. The boot is made with a single piece of leather that is integrated with synthetic materials. A rubber rand protects the upper from abrasion when mountaineering, while a Gore-Tex waterproof lining helps to keep feet dry. The outsole is very aggressive for an Alpine boot, with very deep lugs, and there is a smooth area under the toe to help with precise foot placements on rock. On the foot the Torre has a good, close fit, and the slight taper at the toe allows for a precise feel when climbing. The ankle cuff has some articulation to allow forward flex when walking while still managing to provide good lateral support when climbing or traversing slopes. When walking you don’t quite get the easier natural gait of some other boots, but once you’re on the snow and ice and wearing a pair of crampons it feels great. There is no extra insulation in the Zamberlan Torre GTX, though, and it has no weight benefit over others – which makes its price feel a little chilling!

Upper materials microfiber and Hydrobloc split leather
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram Teton
Women’s sizes 37-43
Men’s sizes 41-48
Weight 2112g (pair, size 46)
Website
www.zamberlan.com

 

Verdict
The Zamberlan Torre GTX is an ideal boot for the winter mountain walker who also wants good mountaineering performance, but the price is high for what you get.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2013


Zamberlan Willow (2012)

Don’t be deceived by the Zamberlan Willow – though it looks very traditional style-wise it actually has a modern feel to it when on your foot. For a start, it’s really light: at 1011g for the pair it’s the lightest in our test. Also, its sole unit is surprisingly bendy, offering a lot of flex, which some may prefer. But, compared to the usual design of light and bendy boots, it has much less upper stitching meaning it should last well. However, the lighter weight had to come at a price and with the Willow it’s a lack of cushioning that is the most noticeable, with it feeling quite hard underfoot. And with a bendier sole anyway it means that over longer distances on rockier terrain your feet can feel more through them, making them tire quickly. A fairly sturdy heel does help with support at the back, though, and it has a Gore-Tex lining to help keep feet dry. The toe box offers a reasonable amount of protection – but not as much as others here – and an extended rubber rand would help more with stubbing and durability too. Underneath the lug pattern is well-spaced to help prevent the build-up of mud, but it’s not as aggressive as others on test. The Zamberlan Willow has a heel breast to help with descents, though it would benefit from being more pronounced.

Weight 1011g (pair, size 39)
Upper materials hydrobloc nubuck buffalo full-grain leather
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
Sole unit Zamberlan Vibram Lite Grip
Women’s sizes 37-43
Men’s sizes 41-48
Website www.zamberlan.uk.com

 

Verdict

The Zamberlan Willow has the benefits of a modern boot wrapped up in a traditional style – but a lack of cushioning and a bendy sole make for tired feet.

 

Review by Phoebe Smith

First published in Trail magazine August 2012