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It's the kind of boot you'll take to the mountains for years and years. Say hello to your most dependable backpacking and hiking buddy.
- Waxed full-grain leather uppers look handsome, are highly weather-resistant, and stand up to years and years of use
- Softer leather interiors wrap around the feet for a comfortable, smooth fit, and the longer you wear the boots, the more they will adapt to your specific foot shape
- Anatomically-shaped footbeds offer cushioning and support, and they draw moisture from the foot to help prevent blisters and discomfort
- Sturdy interior shanks improve arch support and make the shoe more stable
- Zamberlan partnered with Vibram to create custom grippy outsoles for these boots, with plenty of contact at the heel and toe and self-cleaning multi-directional lugs underfoot for extra traction
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Not a hiking boot....
I bought a pair of these boots with the idea in mind that I wanted to get a pair of hiking boots that would last me a lifetime and perform well under some serious trekking conditions. I was disappointed; I do not recommend these boots and disagree with the review by Peter below. The first real test of these boots was a three week trip trekking in the Annapurna region in Nepal. I had three major issues with these boots. The biggest issue was that of waterproofing. I had treated and proofed these boots with recommended Nixwax leather cream a few times prior to the trip and within a week of wear the leather was sopping up water. The leather literally absorbed the water and made these boots incredible heavy. They already are very very heavy boots, which is something you should really consider if you are doing long hikes. The second issue I had was the stiff leather and flex of the boot with the step; the toe box is really big (which is actually nice, esp with descents) but the transition from the tow box to the foot uppers creates this collapse of the uppers downward (if that makes sense, you can kinda see it on one of the photos below). This results in an awkward fit around the bulk of your foot. Thus, these boots did not have a great fit, they were not snug and not consistent b/c of this toe box issue: I had to really tighten the hell out of the laces to get snug around my foot erstwhile my toes were super roomy. This is awkward. My last issue was something that I noted below in one of the photos: there is this transition point between the formed heel cup and the soft uppers that creates this ridge that is right on the apex of your calcaneus (heel) bone that caused serious serious blisters for me. Everyone's feet are different, so not everyone will have this issue. The construction issue, though, remains, the leather in the heel cup is really stiff and this ridge causes some serious issues and was incredible annoying throughout my 3 week hike, even with the callouses that I'd developed from wearing these boots previously. I was able to stay on top of my blisters but taping religiously (but the lack of waterproofing didn't help as my feet were always wet). I am disappointed with these boots on all fronts; they are very expensive and, although they are constructed well (clearly Zamby knows what they are doing) they did not perform well for me on my trek. After this trek, I am going to get rid of these boots and buy a pair of Gore-tex lightweight synthetic boots that have a better flex and that are not leather. There is something 'classic' that draws people to leather, some sort of aesthetic, or prior experience with leather boots that becomes romanticized (it is certainly why I bought these). But when it comes to getting up in the mountains where you expect your boots to do their job and to not become a burden, these boots fail on all accounts. I would recommend these boots to someone who works in the woods or construction or farming or something where you need to protect your feet, but NEVER to someone who is interested in hiking/trekking; there are just so many other better boots out there that are lighter, deal with moister better, flex better, and provide better foot support than these. These leather boots are not worth it.
Bottom line: These are not hiking/trekking boots. They have zero 'performance' characteristics. Not waterproofable when compared to what a good Gore-tex boots gives you, the leather absorbs water. Funny flex and awkward transitions in the leather at heel cup and toe box.
These boots are definitely bombproof; everything held up well and I sure will hold up well for many years and miles (however, not with my feet in them, I am gonna give these boots to my friend who works construction as they are much better 'stand around' boots than actual hiking boots).
You can see how the uppers 'collapsed' around the more-solid ridge of the toe box. This gave these boots a very awkward and inconsistent fit to my foot. I do not recommend these boots for walking any distant, very good boots to stand around in, but very bulk construction to really allow you to take advantage of the nice soles/rand of the boots as they are really not made for hiking.
Again, not waterproof. The gators helped a ton and worked very well with these boots.
These boots are not waterproof, nor do they waterproof well, at least initially, with Nixwax waterproofing cream. After a week of hiking below the snow line my first treatment was already shot, the leather literally absorbed the water making these already heavy boots even heavier. Also, they didn't have a lot of great foot flex for longs days of walking, sometimes they felt like stiff planks, not that agile.
It too a very long time to break these boots in; even after a month of really trying to like these boots, they still simply did not adjust comfortably. I used Nixwax leather waterproofing cream. Lace them loose when you are breaking them in, the heel cup is very unforgiving. There is this density ridge right above your calcaneus where the formed leather heel cup transitions to the softer leather uppers that was a blister issue for me from day one and all through the trip, kind of a bummer.
It is nearly impossible to get Zamberlan...
It is nearly impossible to get Zamberlan HydroBloc proofing cream in the USA... everywhere online is on backorder, including Zamberlan USA. What do people recommend for a replacement??
Try Sno-Seal. I've used it for years on my full-grain boots with great success.
Clean the leather up, even new leather, with Lexol leather cream.
While they're still wet spray on Tectron (REI has it), two light coats.
Then Nikwax them. None of this will damage goretex nor impair breathability and it'll last a long time.
Sno Seal is solid, old-school and rubs off, is sticky and attracts dirt.
sno-seal should be melted in using a hairdryer
yes you need to reapply it maybe once a season but it really works
I am an avid Colorado mountaineer and was looking for a boot that first and formost focused on quality and comfort. This boot fits both to a T. First, the comfort they provide is astounding. I wear a silk sock then a light weight sock and my feet are totally comfortable. I climbed steep trails, Talus, snow, forest bushwacking, and crossed streams in these boots and was pleased with the results. Although these boots do take some pride and maintenace to keep them waterproof, the effort is minimal and well worth the effort. The quality is also excellent and I can see no real issues with my boots after a very long and vigorous climbing season. I highly recommend these boots to those who insist on quality footwear. My feet feel great and the support I get from this boots is as good as I have ever had. When these wear out I will be getting another pair. Enjoy!