I received these boots in May, a prize from TGO magazine. The timing could not have been better, my old Raichle Goretex Scout boots, were about to be sent off to be repaired as the stitching was coming away, a common fault with that model.
I’d been contacted by TGO and told I’d won a pair of boots as a prize for letter of the month, and had been asked to supply my boot size. I had tested boots previously for Trail magazine, which highlighted the difficulty in ordering boots online. As someone who is between a nine and a ten it can be difficult to get the size right, as some sizes nines are too small and some size tens too large. Fortunately these boots are manufactured in half sizes, and I went for that. The boots arrived and I slipped on a pair of walking socks and tried them for size. They seemed a perfect fit, so much so that after a quick walk round Blackhill I was immediately convinced of their quality, comfort and fit.
The Zamberlan Vioz Lite is a leather boots with a Goretex lining. Weighing 1500g, they have a well padded tongue which is stitched up to the same level as the last two lacing hooks, so that ankle deep water can be walked through without it finding a way in. The boot upper is constructed in two parts, a large main section and a small area at the heel, meaning a minimum amount of stitching. Around the upper ankle there are sections of softer leather which help maintain free movement of the foot, being comfortable but not overly restrictive, along with extra padding around the top of the boot.
The boots lace up using a combination of loops at the bottom and hooks at the top. I found the system to be comfortable and secure, doing what it is supposed to with the minimum of fuss.I often find myself having to stop and tighten my boots but these seemed to maintain their security for longer, meaning less stops to adjust footwear.
The boots have a Vibram sole, grippy with shallow lugs which I’ve found minimise the chance of small stones getting stuck, and are well lined. having a very comfortable insole. Some boots don’t come with the most durable or comfortable of insoles, but these tick the box on both counts, and I think it will be some time before I consider changing insoles.
Almost straight from the box I pressed them into service with a major test, the South Glen Shiel Ridge. Nineteen miles and seven Munros, a tough order for any new boot, but I needn’t have concerned myself. I found the boots comfortable, supportive and grippy on rock, and the only criticism I could see was that the leather became chipped around the toe due to the rocks, something a higher rand at the toe would perhaps prevent. This feature is found on the Zamberlan Vioz Plus, a slightly heavier boot with full rubber rand.
I was so taken with these boots that I was going to write the review immediately, but I’ve given them a few months, and having seen them perform in a variety of weather conditions it only reinforced my initial thoughts. The Goretex membrane works well, and this being my first Goretex leather boot I did notice my feet to be warmer, but not uncomfortably so. My feet remained dry in the rain, only getting wet on one occasion, and that was when it was raining so much the rain ran down my legs into the boots, something no boot can cope with. Having got them wet I found they took longer to dry than a fabric and Goretex boot, but that’s to be expected.
Having never used Zamberlan boots before I would probably have stuck with the Raichle/Mammut brand. In future I’ll be casting my eyes across a wider range, and Zamberlan will certainly be a brand I’ll be on the look out for.