Zamberlan’s strapline is an extremely appropriate: “discover the difference,” and having sampled these boots I’ve definitely discovered the difference and am a true convert!
I have a range of walking boots for different types of excursions. For example there’s the old Scarpa Mantas (sponsors of Trail magazine) for winter walking on scary mountaintops, and an old pair of faithful Raichle boots for less ambitious mooching. Both of which were purchased when heavily discounted because of the sheer expense of buying decent outdoor footwear.
So, when I was offered the opportunity to sample a seriously premium brand’s latest boots in exchange for a review, I naturally jumped at the chance!
Before having worn them I know there’s no way I’d have chosen to afford to buy these boots at their RRP. But I have to say; they really are worth the money. As a result I am slowly changing the way I think about paying for quality! Sometimes it really is worth it.
I’ve never believed you can have a comfortable pair of walking boots. I certainly don’t own a comfortable pair. And my husband, who has too many different brands’ offerings to even fit in the house (they have a shelf to themselves in the garage) doesn’t own a comfortable pair either. I know this because he’s always moaning about them!
In fact, I’ve always believed that walking boots are to be endured. We endure them because they keep us as safely grounded as can be on silly terrain…
However, I’ve honestly discovered that a difference exists thanks to Zamberlan’s Lady Lite Fell walking boots. Shockingly these extremely light boots were comfortable right out of the box. I honestly expected to have to break them in for months before being able to bear to write anything about them!
But I bravely (or stupidly) decided to take them for a fair old hike on day one. No mooching around the house in my pyjamas and Zamberlans for weeks on end! I felt I had no time to waste because these were new to the market in the UK in December, and because they’re Fell walking boots as opposed to mountain walking, climbing or even Alpine boots, it’s around about now that you might want to consider making your purchase.
There’s really only one thing I dislike about these boots, and that’s the colour. It’s not that I have a problem with brown per se; it’s just that these boots are a rather unattractive shade of cowpat brown. But come on, that is such a tiny gripe! And it certainly wouldn’t put me off recommending them. After all, when have you ever seen a pair of walking boots and said: “oh wow, aren’t they stunning, I bet Manolo designed them himself…”
So let’s instead look at all the positive features: –
– Despite being listed as Fell walking grade, I think these are an excellent choice for 3 seasons (but don’t sue me if I’m wrong!)
– They are comfortable out of the box…and repeated and longer-term wear has only made them easier on the sole
– They are very light – which is such a joy after hauling the Scarpas up a mountain – talk about ankle weights!
– They are so easy to get on an off. I dislike boots and shoes where you have complex lacing systems that require a fiddly series of tightening and loosening action for each row. The great thing about these Zamberlans is that you flip the tongue back to open the boot up wide, whack them on your trotters, give the laces one quick yank and you’re away!
– I have felt very grounded in these boots; they are very responsive even on a muddy slope or a slope with loose pebbles for example.
– As they wrap around just touching your ankles you’re well supported but not overly restricted, meaning you have just enough support and just enough room for flexible manoeuvre.
– They are totally boggy-muddy-puddle-waterproof, and if anything they actually look more attractive when covered in mud!
These boots deserve a 5 hammer rating… because they are absolutely appropriate for their defined purpose. I recommend them without a backward glance… and being cowpat brown can’t count against them so much that they should lose a hammer!
There’s just one final point to make: after a few initial wears my boots started to pinch across the top of my toes. However, this was a temporary problem, and more walking and breaking in broke them of that naughty habit.
Price: £170 RRP
Long-term review coming soon…