Zamberlan – 230 SH Crosser Plus GTX RR

It is safe to say these boots are quite a bold colour. You would certainly struggle to trip over your own feet, as you’d know exactly where they were. Luckily I’m okay with wearing some bold coloured footwear, but if you aren’t so keen there is a more subtle black choice along with a somewhere-in-the-middle green.

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However, what a boot looks like should not dictate whether you like it or not – despite what my girlfriend says. It’s all down to the fit, and then maybe you can consider the colour.

Zamberlan has a traditional Italian narrow fit. These felt particularly narrow across the ball of my feet, but I suspect that going up a size would help with that – that is why you need to try boots on before buying them! I particularly liked the narrow fitting heel, it held my foot firmly in place, something I’ve not always found with lighter more flexible boots.

The sales strap line on these boots describes them as “lightweight and dynamic shoes to tackle the mountains!” and they are definitely lightweight! I’ve got trainers that feel heavier than this pair of boots. When I read them described at dynamic, I confess I cast it off as marketing waffle. But I was pleasantly surprised when getting out and about with these boots, because I did feel a bit energised. I almost felt as if I could run with them, but I’m not quite into that dark magic stuff!

Some of that dynamic feeling comes from a fairly flexible and low ankle. So you aren’t going to want to be taking these boots on a serious scramble in the Alps. But that isn’t where these boots are designed to take you. Having said that I didn’t feel like my ankle was exposed. I felt supported, with enough flex to do just about whatever I wanted to.

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I think some of what makes these boots feel great is their sole unit. It uses Zamberlan’s Vibram Speed-Hiking sole. What I liked about this sole unit is it doesn’t let your foot bend and twist all over the place. A lot of similar boots I’ve tried have really flexible soles, which means the boot can and does twist in all sorts of strange directions. These don’t. They allow enough flexibility so your foot can bend like it should do when you are walking, but it’s not so flexible that your foot can do what it likes at a moments notice.

I did get quite excited when I read that these boots are made from Kevlar. I’m pretty sure that there isn’t enough Kevlar to make these boots bullet proof, but does mean that there are certain points which are super strong. The Kevlar is actually a Cordura-Kevlar mix, and forms a rand like band around the shoe. It is quite clever to take this particular design feature from heavy leather boots, and add it to a lightweight boot like this. Another thing that adds to the strength of these boots is the plastic reinforcements around the lace holes, and across the upper. I’ve had laces rip through the fabric, which is mightily annoying when the rest of the shoe is fine. I like to think I’m strong, but I don’t think I could rip plastic with just a shoe lace.

The final piece of protection these boots give you is in the form of a Gore-Tex lining. It uses Gore’s Extended Comfort membrane, which is meant for use in warmer conditions and for active use. It adds waterproofing, and should mean that you get a good level of breathability. I still found my feet got hot and sweaty, but I’ve always found that when my feet have been in any lined shoe.

These are a great lightweight pair of boots, with a technical twist on them.

5-hammers Price: £139 (RRP)

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