A premium quality leather hiking boot, handmade in Italy and perfect for a whole variety of hiking adventures.
Hiking boots are a very personal purchase and you need to take plenty of time to find and develop a relationship with a brand of boot that both fits you well and serves your adventure needs. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time in them and as outdoor equipment purchases go a pair of hiking boots will mean either a great hill day or a miserable one.
As a Mountaineering Instructor I’ve seen my fair share of hideously blistered feet from poor fitting boots and poor quality socks and I can’t emphasise the importance of getting these two elements perfect; not ‘just right’ or ‘they will do’ but perfect – absolutely perfect. A high quality, well made hiking boot will be worth every penny you spend on them and should last you many years if looked after correctly.
The Zamberlan Vioz GTX is a premium quality 3 season hiking boot that is well made using high quality leather and Gore-Tex linings. These coupled with thoughtful features and handcrafted in Italy means that the Vioz GTX has plenty to offer in your quest for the perfect boot.
The boot is crafted using premium grade, full grain leather that is 2.4mm in thickness so it’s plenty robust enough to tackle the roughest of terrain, including scree. It has a Hydrobloc treatment that means it repels water as well as works with the Gore-Tex to help breathability. In practice the boots have been perfectly waterproof in what has turned out to be a very wet winter here in the UK. I’ve used them over all manner of waterlogged and boggy ground and worn with good gaiters my feet have remained dry throughout the season.
I haven’t had to re-apply any Hydrobloc as yet but that should be an easy enough job and the Zamberlan website has a great Boot Care Guide to help you take care of them. Do remember that after shelling out a lot of money for a high quality pair of boots the quickest way to ruin them is to dry them out on a radiator or in a boiler cupboard! So do take your time and enjoy caring for your boots and they should last a long time. Hydrobloc is available in the UK from specialist retailers but you could use a similar brand if you can’t get hold of it. Zamberlan do recommend that re-treatment is done with Hydrobloc cream as this is the original treatment. So as I said, the combination of the Hydrobloc treatment, Gore-Tex lining and gaiters should keep your feet as dry as they can unless you need to ford a river.
The bellowed tongue is made with beautifully soft leather that allows for a cushioned closure and helps eliminate pinch points on your foot. It is stiffened at the front to help keep the boot in shape and the laces tightened. There are 8 lace points that al worked well, the ankle hook locks the lace into position nicely which allows you time to make the correct adjustments around the top of the boot. Eight points have been enough to adjust the lacing to match the thickness of socks I’ve been wearing as well as providing a good length to secure gaiter hooks to and keep the entire tongue under a gaiter when I’ve been wearing one.
There is soft leather faced padding and the achilles heel are which is finished with a breathable polyester scrim. This is all breathable to help keep your feet cooler and prevent blisters. A nice touch which has worked well. There is also some flex in the ankle zone to aid stability when moving over varied terrain. I like the small details such as the red flashings at the heel and tongue and the Italian flag tab which helps add a little flair to the design. I really like the Dark Grey colour scheme which is a refreshing change from the usual brown hiking boot colour.
The fit on the Zamberlan Vioz GTX has been what I would consider a ‘solid’ fit. My normal boot size is a UK8.5 and I used a EUR43 for the test. This was spot on and I measured the Vioz against several pairs of UK8.5 and they came up the same. The toe profile is on the narrow side, but then so are my feet. If you have wider feet the Zamberlan do make the Vioz in a wider fit so you may want to try those if you have a wider foot profile. I experienced very little movement in the shoe when on the move. The boot has a low density PU midsole which helped cushion my tired legs on rocky descents and the ZFS midsole is flexible enough to be comfortable yet stiff enough to take a walking crampon. I tried my Grivel G10 walking crampons on them and they provided a good fit and I’m confident that they would be fine for all but technical winter climbing. Snow gullies and steep slopes have been fine.
The Vibram sole is excellent, super grippy on dry rock with a nice pattern of lugs to help on wet grassy slopes and looser terrain. They have performed in all conditions and the rigid midsole has kept my foot stable when scrambling on rocky terrain. I really liked the undercut, slightly tapered heel which gives more surface area for heel strikes on rocky descents. Although the website doesn’t state that the boot can be resoled, it can be and Zamberlan recommend Feet First in Chesterfield for UK customers.
So, in conclusion, the Zamberlan Vioz GTX are a great hiking boot. The build quality is as excellent as you would expect from a premium Italian bookmaker. They are made in Italy with quality materials and over 90 years of boot making experience. I have used them on a whole variety of winter and wet hiking adventures and they have performed in all conditions. They have taken quite some time to wear in, but that is only to be expected from an all leather boot but they are breaking in nicely and I haven’t had any blisters in them (yet!). As always, I’ll sign off with the usual caveat: do go to a specialist retailer to get your boots fitted correctly but if you are ordering online I would start with ordering a half size bigger than your usual hiking boot size.
The Zamberlan Vioz GTX come is sizes EUR40 to 49 in half sizes to 47. There is a women’s specific version in Dark Brown in sizes EUR 36 to 43 in half sizes to 42.
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