Gear Review: Zamberlan Boots…

My name is Jabon and I am a wilderness explorer and photographer now living in the Phoenix area. I have spent my entire life exploring.  Starting as a child camping with my family in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, I later relocated to Colorado Springs. Colorado is filled with epic adventures and I quickly got hooked on climbing 14’ers (14,000 foot tall plus mountains). I was deeply bitten by the summit bug and have climbed the highest mountains in Colorado, California, and Arizona. Now living in the warm desert of southern Arizona, I have discovered the mystique of Indian Ruins and petroglyphs left behind by the native tribes of the Hohokahm, Salado, and Sinagua to name a few. I spend hours investigating images and leads to hidden gems of the southwest then plan excursions in to the wilderness to find them.

Zamberlan Boots in ColoradoWhile in Colorado I worked as a fireman and assisted in search and rescue cases.  I also worked a few major wild land fires including the biggest in Colorado’s history. I relied heavily on very diverse and specialized equipment to perform my job with confidence and to explore in comfort. Having used a wide array of outdoor gear, I have learned to become especially critical of my choices before each purchase. This is what led me to the Italian footwear company, Zamberlan.

The first premium hiking boot I ever purchased was a pair of leather Zamberlan boots. I had previously avoided slushy spring time hiking to avoid inevitably cold, soggy boots.  When I was ready to make my purchase, I walked into a local sporting goods store in Colorado Springs and reached to the top shelf for a rugged looking boot named Zamberlan Civetta. This began my love affair with Zamberlan boots.  Over the next ten years, climbing and hiking more than 1000 miles in the Colorado Rockies, these boots always did what I pushed them to do allowing me to focus on the trip and destination. This suddenly changed when I realized I had worn my boots out! The Vibram lugs were worn smooth. The leather uppers, which I had religiously waterproofed every season, had become paper thin from countless scuffs and abrasions. I was in denial and tried to keep these old boots alive with glue but they had finally succumbed to the abuse.

Zamberlan Boots hikingI then began the quest to replace my favorite boots and was impressed with the new features and advances Zamberlan had made. There are many new models to suit any footwear need.  I laid my eyes on the Vioz GT and read through the specs.  The Zamberlan Vioz GT represents cutting edge technology carefully crafted with age old techniques dating back to just after World War I. Giuseppe Zamberlan began shoe production in 1929 after a short time as a shoe repairman and the design and manufacture of these products reflects his love of the mountains. Zamberlan was an early adopter of Vibram soles for his footwear and these technologies come together with time tested synergy. The full grain leather upper treated with HydroBloc and the Gore-Tex lining make these a truly waterproof boot.

True to form, my second pair of Zamberlan boots has carried me to high mountain peaks and scrambled down red sandstone to splash in the rivers bellow. The Zamberlan Vioz GT’s are equipped with the toothy Zamberlan Vibram 3D soles which are made of a softer rubber than the old style Vibram sole, therefore they grip with more assurance.   These new soles bite into any surface allowing me to climb virtually anything that stands in my way, fulfilling my childhood comic book superhero fantasies.

Each and every Zamberlan product is made entirely in Italy and are designed and tested by the Zamberlan family. The modern technology such as Gore-tex membranes, Hydrobloc leathers, and Vibram 3D rubber soles are on the long list of features Zamberlan incorporates in their footwear. User comfort is ensured by minimal torsional flex and a solid heel cup. This is noticeable when walking on grapefruit sized rocks as the stability of the boot reduces stress on the ankle. I have found the factory laces have to be double knotted or they loosen up.  However when replaced with a simple flat lace, they stopped creeping on me.

Zamberlan Boots in snow and waterEven after 14 hours of pounding feet along a trail, these comfortable boots are the last thing I take off before zipping up the sleeping bag. I have now owned the Vioz GT for 3 years and have worn them in 115 degree desert heat, summited Arizona’s Humphrey’s Peak in the rain, and hiked in cold, snowy canyons all in perfect comfort. Every time I lace up my Zamberlan boots and point them towards the next adventure, I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic, walking on more than 80 years of Italian tradition and quality.

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Jabon Eagar is a husband, father and outdoor photographer based in the Phoenix area of Arizona. He has spent his life exploring, and photographing the Southwest and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. His focus is creating compelling images of landscapes lost in time while finding moments of reflection in the outdoors.

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Comments

  1. Neat review, you have certsinluy earned your Zamberlan expertise. I had similar experience, first pair worn straight out the box for a 100 mile trek through far West Nepal. Completely waterproof and in high summer temperatures so comfortable and going 12 hours a day over ankle breaking stones uphill and down Dale for days on end , just amazing comfort. They lasted 5 years of walking then 5 years as my daily footwear on building work, walking and loafing. Just talked to the lovely Marta at Zamberlan, they really are into their company / life work and she sent me on the hunt for replacement. So lucky, I found a hardly used identical pair on ebay for under £50. As my dad says, keep your hair cut and wear good shoes the rest takes care of itself. No hair to talk of these days but…. Cheers Andy

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