Zamberlan Men's Vioz GT

Priced: $279.95 - $280.00 Rated:   - 5 stars out of 5 by 186 reviews.
Zamberlan Vioz GT
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Color: Dark Gray / Red
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Zamberlan Vioz GT - A modern version of a traditional full-grain leather backpacking boot that's ideal for extended backpacking trips, long trekking, and all-season hiking.
Hydrobloc® full-grain leather upper with PU coated reinforcement.
High-resistance treatment on the hardware.
Combination GORE-TEX® and MICROTEX® lining for breathability and climate control.
Zamberlan® 3-Action Footbed is designed to respect the foot anatomy, reduce heel strike, follow the natural foot movement during walking, reduce muscle fatigue, and deliver total comfort and increased performance.
Zamberlan® Z.A.S. Air System is a special construction, design method, and choice of components to optimize comfort and make the boots extremely lightweight and breathable.
Zamberlan® Z.C.S. Cushioning System utilizes different types of shock absorbing materials with high cushioning and stabilizing effects.
R.R.S. (Rubber Reinforcement System) is a special rubber reinforcement applied to the upper that ensures maximum abrasion resistance, enhances water repellence, and helps the boot to keep its shape during extended use.
Thermoplastic rand on the toe and heel.
Resoleable Zamberlan® Vibram® 3D outsole has been expressly developed for backpacking and hiking use with three specific components: an aggressive Vibram special rubber outsole with deep lugs, a low density PU midsole, and a TPU stabilizer.
Made in Italy.

Midsole:

  • Polyurethane midsoles provide all-day cushioning while thermoplastic urethane midsole shanks enhance rigidity and stability on uneven terrain

Fabric:

  • ZCS system utilizes an array of shock-absorbing materials in the footbed for a cushioned and stable trail experience
  • Nylon linings wick moisture away from your feet, further ensuring dry comfort

Padding:

  • Padded and gusseted tongues relieve lace pressure across insteps while also keeping out trail debris; heel loops aid entry

Support and Cushioning:

  • Durable, single-piece Hydrobloc® full-grain leather uppers offer excellent support and flexibility
  • Zamberlan Flex system gives the boot exceptional lateral support while flexing to match the natural motion of the foot and lower leg

Ventilation:

  • Removable, moisture-wicking insoles are anatomic for extra comfort and are perforated for ventilation and moisture control

Weather and Wind:

  • Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining provides guaranteed waterproof and breathable performance
  • Seam-sealed Gore-Tex® liners protect feet from wet weather and allow excess moisture vapor to escape, keeping feet dry and comfortable

Traction and Grip:

  • Exclusive Vibram® rubber outsoles deliver durability and reliable traction on rough ground
  • Zamberlan Vibram 3D sole provides traction and durability on the trail

Upper:

  • Hydrobloc full grain leather upper is specially treated for increased water resistance and durability

Features:

  • Rockered toe profile lends an improved walking action
  • Handmade in Italy with attention given to detail and high quality
Backcountry.com

Whether you're trekking through the Dolomites or exploring the vast wilderness of Denali, the Zamberlan Vioz GT Boot is built for performance every step of the way. Handcrafted by expert boot makers in Italy, the Vioz features a Hydrobloc full grain leather upper, a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort liner, and a high-traction Vibram 3D sole so you can be confident that, wherever the trail leads, your boot will be up to the challenge.


REI

With legendary Italian quality and comfort, the Zamberlan Vioz GT boots offer waterproof protection and burly construction to handle everything from easy day hikes to backcountry adventures.

Imported.

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Average Price History: Price History
Review RatingNumber of Reviews
141
29
6
5
5
Also available for: Women
Activity:Backpacking
Average footwear weight (pair):3 lbs. 8 oz.
Crampon compatibility:Strap-on
Footwear closure:Lace-up
Footwear height:Over-the-ankle
Lining:Waterproof breathable membrane/nylon
Midsole:Polyurethane
Outsole:Rubber
Support:Thermoplastic urethane shank
Upper:Full-grain leather
Waterproof:Yes
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Zamberlan Vioz GT Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

A boot for all (north country) seasons

It is very difficult to provide a meaningful review of hiking boots. No two people are likely to experience the same "fit" in a hiking boot, even if their feet are the same approximate length and width. There is an almost infinite variety in the shape and structure of our feet -- the shape of the arch and heel, length of toes, etc. -- all of which dramatically affect a boot's comfort and fit. Moreover, differences in gait and stance, to say nothing of terrain and intended use, all conspire against broad generalizations. My own assessment of the Zamberlan Vioz GT is therefore, of necessity, highly subjective and personal, other than my observations about its construction and materials.

I purchased these boots to replace a very old pair of traditional "waffle stompers," which had taken me over hundreds of trail miles and were re-soled several times. I tend to reserve my hiking boots for hiking (they are my most important back country tool, not fashion wear), and wear them on long day hikes, and on overnight treks, ranging from 2 days to 2 weeks, in a variety of trail and weather conditions throughout the year. Since I live in Minnesota, and do most of my hiking in the upper mid-west, I am more concerned that my boots be water proof, or highly water resistant, and am less concerned about their performance in extremely hot or arid conditions. I am not likely to hike at low elevations in Arizona during the summer, for example.

My experience with the Vioz GT has been entirely satisfactory, wonderful in fact, and I would strongly recommend these boots to any whose feet fit comfortably.

The materials used in the Vioz GT, and the overall quality of construction, are exceptionally good. The uppers have only two seams -- one at the heel, and one around the tongue gusset. The absence of seems, quite apart from the Gortex lining, gives these boots excellent water resistance with normal leather treatment. To date, they have kept my feet dry even when trails have turned to rivers.

The sole is manufactured by Vibram, but uses a slightly softer rubber than found on the old-style, traditional Vibram product. I have generally found it to provide excellent traction in most conditions, and on bare rock (granite boulders, for example), both when wet or dry.

The lugs that form the leading edge of the heel come to an aggressive point. This provides excellent grip on loose soil when descending on steep trails, and help to prevent the boot from sliding forward. (See photo below) I did not really appreciate this feature (or notice it, for that matter) until hiking a difficult bluff trail in southeastern Minnesota. The sole also has a nice, stiff arch and easily supports my weight with a pack, when hiking over rocks and uneven terrain. Unlike lighter boots, the soles of my feet did not feel the sharp edge of rocks through the sole. Those who have packed over rough, rocky terrain will understand how a soft sole can turn your feet into mush after six hours.

The soles have a "rocker design," which means they are built on an arc, and intended to facilitate walking by rolling forward with each step. This is noticeable when the boot is placed on a flat surface. (See photo below) The heel is slightly elevated where it makes contact, and the arc tends to break upward at the ball of the foot. When these boots are new they seem to almost propel you forward with each step. They have lost none of their support, or shape, over many miles, and still launch me down the trail.

Because these boots are lined with Goretex, they can be hot in the summer, although I have found them comfortable even on warm days. For those who will not be hiking in wet conditions, or are more likely to be in a hot climate, a cooler boot may be more to their taste, although I would wear this boot in almost any wilderness environment.

This boot fits my foot exceptionally well, and (for me) it is the most comfortable hiking boot I have ever worn. It is heavier than some other, light trail boots, but then again it is designed as a back packing boot and intended to provide support for those with a pack. Although it serves this purpose admirably, I also find it an excellent boot for day hikes.

Finally, a few have noted that this boot may be difficult to lace. This is because the hooks are smaller than those used on an Asolo or Sportiva, for example. I consider this to be a trivial point. I find it to lace easily and securely.

If this boot fits... wear it.
Minnjohn at REI on 09/09/2009

Top quality boot, high performance

Although I do most of my hiking in Florida, I needed a pair of top quality, high performance boots for mountain hiking and backpacking trips in Alaska and Montana. After much on-line research I selected the Zamberlan Vioz GT boots and I am quite happy with the choice. These boots have met all my expectations for comfort, support, and durability when hiking on rocky alpine trails, when hiking off-trail including scree and talus slopes, and when carrying heavy backpacking loads. They were also very good on the mushy tundra of Denali Park in Alaska. The Vioz GT boots are well-designed and have a natural "rocker" motion that puts a spring in your step. If you are considering these boots, I offer a few pointers in advance:

1. To obtain the most accurate sizing selection, go by your EU size and use that to cross-reference to a US size. For example, I determined that my shoe size was EU 44.5 and this cross-referenced to a US 10 in the Zamberlan boots, although my normal US shoe size is 10.5.

2. Like all good, stiff boots with leather uppers they take time to break-in. Give yourself about a month to break-in these boots before using them on any hike of significance.

3. Apply Zamberlan's Hydrobloc cream to the leather uppers on a regular basis to keep the appearance, waterproofing, and performance of these boots at their best. It only takes a small amount of the cream for each application.

4. I replaced the standard footbeds (insoles) in these boots with SOLE Softec Ultra footbeds (heat molded for custom fit) and they provided an extra level of comfort and performance. After 9 hours of alpine hiking during one day in Alaska, my feet were ready for more!

5. The Vioz GT boots work best when the laces are snugged to just the right tension (not too tight, but definitely not loose). I found that I needed to re-snug the laces once or twice during a day of hiking to maintain the right fit.

6. These boots are not the high-breathability type; they are for moderate to cold climates (temperature-wise) where your feet don't sweat a lot. I tried them on a couple of 2-hour hikes during July in Florida and the boots filled with 1/4" to 1/2" of sweat/water (not good if you want to avoid blisters). Use these boots for the mountains, not the swamps.

Final comments: The Zamberlan Vioz GT boots fit like a glove, provide excellent comfort and support, and they seem to work with the anatomy of your feet. Good Italian design like that of their fine sportscars!
Florida Hiker at REI on 09/09/2011

BUY THESE NOW!

Been researching online for a new hiking/backpacking boot for weeks now. I have very sensitive/tender feet so finding a great boot is imperative to enjoy hiking at all. Not to mention when spending $200+ you owe it to yourself to compare shop and do your homework. Read all the reviews. Looked at all the stats. Went into REI several times to try different brands/boots on. After comparing them all and trying on several from Asolo, Vasque, Salomon, and other Zamberlan's there is now no doubt in my mind that this is the best boot out on the market. It is a very attractive modern interpretation of a classic boot. The Italian styling and quality of craftmanship and materials is unmatched from any brand I've ever seen in hiking boots. Its a blend of soft and supportive in all the right places. It flexes just the right amount and the the leather is top notch while the lining and cushioning are plush yet they don't feel like they will ever break down. The fit is superb and fits true to size. The heel holds like a suction cup and there is just enough room in the toebox so your toes don't feel cramped. Traction is great but haven't really tried it out to its fullest. The heel strike feels like a memory foam mattress and the forefoot is shaped to roll with each stride and it is really noticeable. Haven't tested waterproofing or durability but I'm assuming both are top notch based on other reviews and perceived quality. These boots are also much lighter than expected. Even if they are full leather they feel lighter than most other synthetic's because of how well they fit and the quality of materials. It feels like an extension of your foot and you don't want to take them off. Lacing feels snug but not painful. Ankle support is good but still flexes in the right direction when needed. It's a high boot but not annoyingly high if you compare it to others. They feel perfect right out of the box and will require minimal break-in but will only better with age. Going on a 3 day hike through the Grand Canyon in two weeks and really excited to rock these bad boys. All the hype is worth it. The reviews don't lie. It is the best boot out there even over other Zamberlan's I tried and I feel like I'll have them for many many years. They had one pair left in my size at REI so I felt it was fate that I buy them.
ejflotta at REI on 09/09/2010

Listen to your feet

It's amazing not to have blisters! My finicky blister prone feet have found a match and I'm looking forward to miles and years in these boots.

After hours in the store trying on boots I narrowed my choice down to Zamberlan Vios GT, ASOLO TPS 520 and Scarpa SL M3. I bought the ASOLO TPS 520 and followed proper break in techniques but still had problems so back to REI they went. The 520's appear to be great boots just not for me.

Enter the most comfortable boot I've ever wore, Zamberlan Vios GT. I've wore these through most of the summer and I couldn't be more pleased. I wanted to wait to write a review until I had some miles on them. The Full-Grain leather is banged up from the trail but that's what I bought them for and there's no degradation in performance.

I didn't like the rocker sole in the store but it's a different story on the trail. I usually put Superfeet in my boots but found the original inserts more comfortable. Break in was minimal; actually they felt so good I skipped a few steps. They provide great traction and support; better than most on wet rocks and perfect for carrying a load over sharp terrain. My feet don't ache at the end of the day and they've never gotten wet. Yes they're heavier than trail runners but provide more support. I've used them in Oregon and Alaska and my feet didn't get excessively hot and stayed warm during spring snows.

I wish they came with the rubber rand found on other boots, it's a small gripe I'm willing to live with.

Listen to your feet and don't get wrapped up in sizes. ASOLO support gave me this sagely advice when I contacted them about the 520's:

"First let's make sure you are in the correct length boot. With your hiking socks on put your foot into the unlaced boot. Then push your foot forward till your toes just touch the front and make sure you stand up since your weighted foot is often longer. Then stick a finger down the boot behind your heel – sometimes easier to have someone else do this so you do not tip over. You should have one finger space of extra room in the boot. If there is wiggle room then the boot is too big."
Kwan at REI on 09/09/2012
Been researching online for a new hiking/backpacking boot for weeks now. Read all the reviews. Looked at all the stats. Went into REI several times to try different brands/boots on. After comparing them all and trying on several from Asolo, Vasque, Salomon, and other Zamberlan's there is now no doubt in my mind that this is the best boot out on the market. It is a very attractive modern interpretation of a classic boot. The Italian styling and quality of craftsmanship and materials is unmatched from any brand I've ever seen in hiking boots. It's a blend of soft and supportive in all the right places. It flexes just the right amount and the the leather is top notch while the lining and cushioning are plush yet they don't feel like they will ever break down. The fit is superb and fits true to size. The heel holds like a suction cup and there is just enough room in the toebox so your toes don't feel cramped. Traction is great but haven't really tried it out to its fullest. The heel strike feels like a memory foam mattress and the forefoot is shaped to roll with each stride and it is really noticeable. Haven't tested waterproofing or durability but I'm assuming both are top notch based on other reviews and perceived quality. These boots are also much lighter than expected. Even if they are full leather they feel lighter than most other synthetics because of how well they fit and the quality of materials. It feels like an extension of your foot and you don't want to take them off. Lacing feels snug but not painful. Ankle support is good but still flexes in the right direction when needed. It's a high boot but not annoyingly high if you compare it to others. All the hype is worth it. The reviews don't lie. It is the best boot out there even over other Zamberlan's I tried and I feel like I'll have them for many many years. They had one pair left in my size, so I felt it was fate that I buy them. Several staff gave me the head nod as I walked to the register with them and the cashier said good choice and that he owned a pair too and they were the best boots he ever owned.
Eric F - customer at Zappos.com on 09/22/2010

Great boots

I tried on a bunch of boots, probably spending 3 hours at the REI flagship store in Denver . The problem is that boots really require time to break in then being used on a trail before you know what you got. You need to make a guess while testing it out for 15 minutes.First of all, these boots are really nicely made. It's obvious that Zamberlan take care in designing and manufacturing their footwear in the tradition of numerous fashion shoe designers in Italy. The leather outers are as fine as you can find in shoes from top fashion houses. The leather seems to stand up to scuffing and other damage. In fact, mine look almost brand new, which sometimes makes me feel like a poser wearing them. I might have to intentionally damage them.The break-in period seems reasonable. I have nothing but anecdotal evidence, but it always seems that the higher end, more expensive boots break in faster. But, I'm sure there are others who would disagree.The Gore-Tex works more or less. I've never been impressed with its ability to breathe (I think it's over-rated), but it is waterproof, so I can't complain all that much. But after a few hours in these boots, I can feel that it's moist inside, which indicates that the breathability is lacking. I'm not a fan of Gore-Tex (except to be used in arterial reconstruction, but I'm in the medical world, so I would think that!), and think it is overpriced for what it does. I have weak ankles, but I feel remarkably stable wearing these boots. Nice.I have a couple of issues. First, the laces. They are way too long (unless that's a feature that I'm not getting). And they're already fraying, after just a few months of use. That's ridiculous that I'm going to have to buy new laces for such an expensive boot. Maybe I just got a bad pair of laces.The second issue is the tongue. It just doesn't self-center, and it takes me a while to get it right. It's not a major flaw, but I don't like it.The laces cause me to take my review to 4-stars. I might bring the boots back to REI for lace replacement, but I won't return the boots, because they're broken in, and I've got them feeling really nice on my feet.
Michael from Santa Barbara at REI on 09/09/2010

nearly excellent, but I'm returning them

I walk a lot, mostly on concrete and asphalt in city environments, carrying 40-60 lbs. of photo equipment. I need to wear good hiking boots for adequate support and stability. My previous pair of Raichle boots wore out, and the internal foam began to lose its resiliency. They were extremely comfortable and durable, but unfortunately they aren't available any more.

The Zamberlan boots are beautifully made, no question about it. When I first put them on, my feet slid into them slightly snugly width-wise and they felt good. But after a few hundred paces on a carpeted floor, I began to notice a serious problem. The length felt just right, BUT...

The toe box tapers to a "point" too quickly at the big toe, which causes both of mine to rub with every step. This would undoubtedly result in blisters. Also, there isn't quite enough vertical space for toe movement. My toes felt "trapped". I wouldn't expect breaking-in to alleviate these problems, because the leather is very thick and stiff. A larger size would have required wearing thick socks, which are especially uncomfortable in Phoenix's hot weather, and wool makes my skin itch. (I'm using Wigwam Cool-Lite Hiker Pro socks.)

Secondly, the Vibram outsole has too few "nubs" along the length. This causes a slight rocking motion and "perforated" or "pebbly" feeling as my weight rolls forward. There's also a bit of uncertainty on steps. It might be great for rough terrain, but it's not so good for city sidewalks, streets, curbs and stairwells.

I have a few other very minor quibbles: the laces are a little too thin when you want to pull them tight (and they're a little too long), there's an insufficient gap in the leather hinge cutaway at the inside ankle for flexibility (the upper and lower segments press against each other on the trailing step), and for my taste there are too many accent colors on the Vibram outsole (yellow, red, and light gray) which make them less acceptable for business wear.

All in all, it's a fine product, but it falls short of filling my needs.
mid fifties at REI on 03/03/2009

Best boots owned in 3 decades

Bought these boots about a year ago, took them on eight backpacking trips totaling about 25 nights, plus perhaps 10 days dayhiking about 10 miles per day, mostly in the mountains. In May 2010, took them on several trips postholing through early-season snow. I wear them with thin nylon REI liner socks (which are great) and thick Smartwool or synthetic outer socks. The thicker socks give more cushion, and the warmth is appreciated in the cooler climates I like to hike in. I typically carry about 40 lbs., with extra gear to have a comfortable safety margin above treeline. I spent a couple hours in the store trying on different brands (wearing my usual socks) and walking many laps on the carpet, looking for the boot with the best fit to my own feet. These boots have a larger toe box and generally fit me better.

All my previous boots have leaked when postholing in melting snow, including several with Goretex liners. These did not - or at least any small leakage was indistinguishable from sweat. I don't need to carry as many backup socks as I am used to carrying.

The boots fit well from the start, and continue to remain comfortable, perhaps even improving with 'break-in'. I don't carry camp shoes, my feet feel good after a 10-mile 2000-ft day over trails with some talus and other rough terrain. I do try to air my feet a couple times a day when it's hot, the outer socks do get somewhat damp from sweat when it's more than about 60F. The boots are not light, but I hike solo with loads and the extra ankle support has several times saved me from a probable sprain.

Usually after this many trips I expect to see the outer part of the heel wearing down, and I am starting to think about when I need to buy another pair. But I am pleasantly surprised to see very little wear on the soles.

These are the best boots I've ever owned. I have previously worn out 5 pairs from 3 other big-name manufacturers.
Midwest Aerospace Engineer at REI on 08/08/2010

Comfortable, only 1 complaint

This is considerably lighter than the heavier mountaineering boots I'm used to, a big plus. I'm a washed-up climber, so this seems good for the light mountaineering and long hard backpacking I'm doing nowadays. It is not what I'd call a real mountaineering boot, but it is stiff enough for step-kicking in moderately steep softer snow and will take crampons acceptably. It's good for easy/moderate mountaineering. Break-in period was essentially zero. Delightfully comfortable.The leather is not what I'd call top-quality, so take very good care of it: clean after every trip and keep it treated or it'll crack. Maybe this is the price of lighter weight. It's not gonna be as durable as old-style full-grain rough-out leather boots.The laces are extravagantly long. Don't be in a hurry to cut them short. Double-wrap the top hooks; you can lock them this way. The hooks are too small and lacing is awkward; that is my minor complaint.My major complaint is also the chief virtue of this boot: the radical rocker that makes it so comfortable and eliminates the critical heel pressure that has always made break-in an agony for me also eliminates some traction. Stand in the boot on a hard smooth floor. Note that the tread under your toes is OFF THE FLOOR! You do not have toe-grip as you begin your forward stride, when you need it most. You will notice reduced traction on smooth hard rock or wet sidewalks or descending smooth rock, because the footprint is reduced. Toes aren't on the ground. It's not the best boot for friction climbing on, say, steep canyon slickrock. But you get used to it; it is very different but not a deal-breaker. I have pump-bumps on my heels from a lifetime of shoe pressure; these have often gotten excruciating pressure from new stiff boots, but I have had NONE of this with these boots.The small hooks are dumb and the French-[*] styling is stupid and the leather seems 2nd-rate, but anything is forgiven in a boot that doesn't hurt my feet at all.
wolffie at REI on 08/08/2011

Worthy replacement for my Sundowners...

This is a sort of pre-review, as I have only owned the Zamberland Vioz for a few weeks. To date, I have only logged 7 trail miles in them. In 1992, I bought my first 'real' pair of hiking boots: Vasque Sundowners. The real Italian make, not the Chinese knock-offs. I hiked around in these wonderful boots for nearly 14 years before they went South. That is, they started giving me horrible blisters. I don't know what happened to them, but they had to go. Enter the Zamberland Vioz.With several upcoming overnight hikingtrips pending, I decided I needed to invest in a new pair. I knew I wanted the same build and quality of my original venerable Vasques. After reading several reviews , I quickly navigated towards the Vioz. Right out of the box, these hiking boots were wondermous![*] The sizing was spot on. The laces seemed about twice as long as needed, but I delegated the extra to double-lacing the hook ends. Perfect. Maybe this is by design. I wore them daily for five days while attending a conference. City walking. No issues. Even when I was hot, my feet were comfy. I used Smartwool socks, and my feet were very happy.Today, after a five plus inch rainfall, I took them out on a seven mile backpacking trip. I loaded up my pack and hit the trail. With all the rain we had, most of the trail was under water. As long as I kept the top of the boot above the water level, the Vioz kept my feet exceptionally dry. Even when I splashed water over the top, my feet were nice and dry. I experienced no issues at all with hot spots, arch pain, toe cramp, or anything that would have dissuaded me from these boots. Very nice indeed! Mid-May I will be taking on a modest 18 mile trip. I expect the Vioz will perform very well. If anything changes, I'll offer up a second review.
Darklightimagery at REI on 05/05/2010

Negative Reviews:

I wish I could keep them

I need to be clear about these...they are really, really good, tough boots...but after hiking almost 250 miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in them, including a recent stint of over 130 miles of PA rocks, I just can't wear them anymore.

They are great for the rocks...I didn't feel a thing and I could go from edge to edge of any rock on the trail and feel no pain and stay balanced.

The problem is their design. As many reviews have stated, they do have a pinched in part of the heel that is meant to trap your heal in place to keep if from moving/rubbing. Problem is, if you don't have the "typical" heel...it doesn't work that well - in fact it is a hindrance and quite literally, a pain.

On my first 7 day backpacking trip, I didn't only get blisters, I got holes in my heels . This year, after what I thought was enough of a break in period, the blisters weren't AS bad (still had them) but that pinched in part pushed in on my Achille's and make it achy and inflamed. And I tried everything to correct/help the problem...insoles, heel cups, alternate lacings and at least 10 different sock/combinations...all to no avail.

Again - I want to be clear - my feel are not the best feet for hiking. They are flat and wide and my right foot flares out a little bit (kinda like a duck)...So I know, most of the problem is me. But hopefully this review will help others like me. I am, regretfully, planning on returning them to the store to hopefully find something that is still as tough on the bottom, but has a little more flexibility on top.
Brent - AT Hiker at REI on 07/07/2013

Great boot, but has problems

I have the Zamberlan 308 and I thought these boots would be a great add on for wet weather. I bought 10 1/2 first which work great for short hikes; less than 4 miles but on my first 8 mile plus I had heel problems which was due to wrong size, my fault. I got the next size up 11's, which were great. I only use wool socks and the boots only go on the trail. I would guess it takes about 40 to 50 miles to break them in. I have to say they felt great with no problems what so ever. I do some bushwhacking hikes and these boots have great ankle support. The problem is with the outer sole. The front of the sole is coming apart and 360 degrees around the sole the paint or what ever they used is also coming off. I take very good care of my boots, but I feel these boots are not made good enough for off trail use, if you stay on the trail these boots will last, maybe? I also notice the letters on the boot tongue are falling off, I know this doesn't effect the boot but what else is going to fail? I told you I exchange the boots, and this all happen in 45 days. If you depend on your boots, be careful. While I give my Zamberlans 308 great review (posted on this site) I would not tell anyone to buy these unless your a trail person only.
Note: I was only able to post 2 pictures, I would like to also show the sole problems
Oldman3000t at REI on 06/06/2012

Great, until actually backpacking

I am a beginner backpacker and bought these boots with the plan I would use them for backpacking. I broke them in over 3 months with several day hikes of varying difficulty. The first hike which had a very steep elevation gain, the boots gave me blisters on my heels. Over the next dozen or so dayhikes, no problem. When the time came to use them for backpacking, they made my trip miserable. Take it, my first trip was no easy one doing 50 miles over 5 days with a total elevation gain of 12500 ft. After the first day I had horrible blisters on my heels and even after cleaning out two first-aid kits worth of mole skin the ended up becoming ulcers and getting infected. The fact that they were drenched after 2 days of hiking in the rain didn't help either, proving the waterproofing did not hold up. I wore gaiters and waterproof pants as well. Before the backpacking trip they were cadillacs. Never felt a pebble, great support and traction. Thankfully, REI replaced them no questions asked. I have had a lot of recommendations to try the Asolo's.
Ernie44 at REI on 08/08/2010

Not made for the long haul

I've had these boots for less than a year and they are completely shot. I cleansed and treated these regular as I have done with any of my other boots. The soles were almost entirely worn smooth, and the entire rubber foot bed was separating from the leather. The leather itself was almost worn through on the side at the toe crease.

A great boot for the recreational hiker looking for a nice comfy, light weight boot with no break in period. Comfortable to hike in all day, just unfortunately do not last.

I've had several pairs of Asolo boots that have far outlasted these. In fact, the pair I had before I bought these, which are two years older are in better condition.

I will be going back to Asolo. Should have never left.
Rusty the Dog at REI on 02/02/2012

"Don't judge a book by its cover"

Looked great, felt great in store. Wore around house for a few evenings to acclimate to the new boot. First hike out, 3 miler, rocky terrain, blisters on left heel. Took time off to heal. After several flat gravel miles went back to steep rocky trail. HAD to stop after 6 miles. Blisters on both heels. My feet/socks were soaking wet. Wish these boots would have worked out.I have never returned an item back to REI... until today. They were great about the return and focused on getting me into a boot that would fit my needs. Wore the Asolo 95 till the sole was smooth. I'll try the Asolo Fugitive's. Hope they work out as well as my 95's.
BillyWilly at REI on 04/04/2011

Stiff, stiff, stiff

Ouch. These boots feel soooo good in the store, but in the field, you need a very large load (I'm 200 lbs and wear a size 8.5) to make them bend, and that doesn't change with use. Without a large load, bending at the toe will bring your heel up instead of bending the boot and then the convex curve over the Achilles acts like a cheese slicer. I tried for a year, with different socks and lacing to no avail. First boots and first large REI purchase I've ever had to return--
BGC at REI on 07/07/2010

Great Boot but it did not last

I purchased this pair of boots in August 2009. I was getting my gear together for a labor day hike this year (2011), and I found the sole had begun to seperate from the boot. I have worn these boots everywhere. I have always thought the craftsmanship to be excellent. The leather is gorgeous. They are comfortable from the street to a muddy creek and everywhere in between. I was beyond upset to discover this problem. I will be attempting to return to rei...
will1 at REI on 09/09/2011

Beware

Purchase with caution!
First pair I purchased arrived used and filthy.
REI apologized and promised to send a perfect pair. Second pair was damaged cobbler stated they were probably repaired at the factory.

Third pair arrived in good order. Boots are extremely stiff and heavy. No heel cup to speak of.
If you don't mind an extremely long break in the boots may be a good fit. However as stated in other posts beware of the quality control.
hikingnc at REI on 12/12/2013

NOT MEANT FOR ARIZONA

I bought these boots Nov/13 on the recommendation of the rei salesman and was thrilled with the boot, comfort,breakin time, support,traction,but after just a few hikes in very rocky terrain, the thrill was gone. these boots were very badly scuffed on the toes and down the sides,they look far worst than my 2 year old,$100 boots,which have been hiking in the same terrain in az.
azprohike at REI on 02/02/2014

Returned then to REI

There was way too much room in the heel which allowed my foot to move too much in the boot. They felt good in the store, but I should know better than to wear anything but Merrell. I spend summers in the mountains, this year the Uintas, and I can't use Zamberlans.
Llama Packer at REI on 05/05/2011

Neutral Reviews:

Heavy Painful Boots

First, before I start whining, I should make it clear, beyond the regular (non-wide) cramping boot width, there should be no confusion about the quality and sturdiness of this boot. They felt bullet proof, and aren't coming apart anytime soon. If you like a heavy boot, and want to backpack for long trips over rough terrain, these would likely perform admirably for you. Hell, if you like kicking things that wouldn't ordinarily give, these are the boot for you. I'm sure if the left boot had matched the labeled size of the right one I'd have no doubt learned to cope with their ample weight and enjoyed them for 2-5 years. Before I detail my litany of criticisms, I should also point out I have pathetic feet. Despite my decent fitness level, my relatively small and flat feet (for a man) measure about 10.5 to 11" as an average shoe size, and almost no natural arch in my sole at all.The problem with these boots for me was that I tried on the size above and below 11" at the store, but both were profoundly ill-fitting, either comically too large or too small. I finally settled for my average with the 11"s, and over time even these, the best size on offer wound up hurting my feet more than helping. The left boot in particular had what seemed to be a smaller toe box than the right, and because they're so heavy, started feeling like one of those old Polio correction shoes might, curving my foot awkwardly and bruising it inside of a few hours. What's really weird is the right boot (sized exactly the same) fit comparatively well. I started imagining it might be my own mutant feet with one being smaller, etc., but I've never encountered anything like this with a spate of different shoes and boots throughout my life.On top of the narrow toe box (on small feet no less) the weight adds too much to the work for me. I'm 6'2" 190 and in decent shape, and these still just feel cumbersome. You go from mobility/agility and rock jumping in one second, to bricks wrapped in leather the next. If you're like me and won't compromise athleticism for durability, you won't like these is my guess. I think I'll be switching these for either the Salomon Quest 4D, or the Lowa Renegade Mid which each weigh about a lb less.
ManFleeFromBear at REI on 01/01/2011

blisters

I just bought these a couple months ago and I have been breaking them in. 1st on a short 7 mile hike up in the white Mts. of AZ. I got a blister on my right heal and thought nothing of it they were new after all. later that week I went on a 5 mile hike and noticed they hold a lot of mud and they kept throwing rocks and sticks into the top. I am going to get a pair of gaiters to fix that, but the blister got worse.

It was a wet trip and the feet stayed dry except that I could not get them to close snug around my ankle at the top no matter how tight I laced them.

Yesterday I went up Icehouse Canyon then to ontario Peak here in Socal 8600ft not a bad day hike. Half way up the canyon my heal started to get hot then the other. I tried 2 pairs of socks bandaids nothing but time will heal these blisters they are in bad shape.

I am going to get some mole skin and smart wool socks and try a couple more times maybe baldy or cucamonga peak. If they don't get better I will need to return them and get a pair that is easier on my heals. I have not had a problem like this before, so I am hoping this is a fluke.

That was the worst of it I will say that I was carrying a load while going to the peak and the arch support was exactly what I needed, I have high arches and my feet never got tired and my toes were comfortable snug at first but they loosened up as time has passed.

I'll edit this after I get a few more miles in them.
oldsalt at REI on 08/08/2010

Great Boot but far from perfect

Just got done doing an extended backpacking trip in the Los Padres National Forest 10+ miler with a 40+lb pack. After wearing these boots for over two weeks to work and just around town and what not trying to break them in I figured I wouldn't have any issues with break in. About 1 mile into my trip my left heel was rubbing causing a blister to form. About 2 miles in my right heel started to form a blister. After the end of the hike I was wearing two pairs of socks with bandaids and tape and moleskin. By the time I was done with the entire trip my feet had a total of 5 blisters. I also found that I was having to really tighten the laces a lot. The boots also scuff really easy and the laces are too long and the eyelets are already discoloring. I feel for the cost of this boot and that they are made in Italy they should be better quality and fitment issues. I also feel that the eyelets are to close. Need a rubber toe cap to keep wear down.

* Pros*
After waterproofing the leather they really are waterproof and the soles grip like non other. I love the rocker style of sole and great to climb in. I love the upper the leather around the very top very comfortable. The boots are constructed with two pieces of leather and a very simple and great build quality.

* I will probably return these if I can't break them in and get a boot that doesn't cause blisters* Blisters Suck!
lwild04 at REI on 04/04/2010

Poor sole to upper bonding

I've had these boots a year (since Dec 2011) and wear them virtually every day. I've worn them while logging, hiking, riding / packing in the back country, snowshoeing, whatever. I bought them to be a durable, tough boot. My last pair of boots I wore down until the sole was flat. Unfortunately, after one year the sole of these is separating from the uppers at the toe on both boots. I will probably return them for that reason. I expect a boot like this to wear out, not fall apart. I'm not particularly hard on them. They've been well taken care of, waterproofed, kept clean, properly dried, not overheated. I would be very satisfied if they just didn't fall apart. This seems to be a common problem with boots now-a-days with soles which are not stitched to the uppers, although my last pair lasted over 15 years, but I can't find another pair like them.

Traction is not the best; the sole pattern in the forwared part runs too much front-to-back, so if you put pressure forward of the ball of your foot and you're going uphill they tend to slide backward. A classic vibram sole pattern is more secure
Gary Aitken at REI on 12/12/2012

Great boots, but not for everyone

Bought these boots based on the 5-star ratings alone and out of the box, they were beautiful. Thy are certainly constructed with the highest quality. I was excited to try them out. I realized that there would probably be some break-in period so I wore them to work and a few day hikes. They would cause hot spots around my heels, but I summarily dismissed them as part of the break-in period.

I recently went on a dayhike up Icehouse Canyon and halfway up developed some hotspots on both heels. I applied moleskin on both heels, but to no avail as they became serious blisters on both heels. I knew then that I had to return these boots.

I've read that the design of the heel part of the boot is narrower as part of their ankle support system, but can be a source of hotspots for some. This is probably the cause of my problems. I am disappointed since other than the heels being bothersome, this is a great boot. It looks great and is constructed with the highest quality. I am returning them and going to try out the Asolo Power Matic 200 GV.
Bungo at REI on 05/05/2010

Great looking and sturdy

I loved these in the store - great looks and sturdy. I also like the walking motion of these boots - they almost seem to propel you forward. Once on the trail (I'm a peak bagger in Utah's Wasatch Mountains) I noticed the vibram sole that comes up onto the toe isn't high enough. I have already scuffed the toes quite a bit. After hiking almost exactly five miles, my big toes go numb...yes, they provide lots of toe space. I don't know if I'll be keeping them as I go much further than five miles a trip! It's too bad since I like the feel and looks of these boots and I expect they would've been my boots for many years to come.
Hilljr at REI on 07/07/2013