Zamberlan Hunter Pro GTX Boots
- By Chris Parkin
- 4 Comments
- Last updated: 18/01/2019
isiting Zamberlan was an eye opener, with so much to see and learn about the manufacture of products we easily take for granted. The waxed chestnut colour Hunter Pro boots are an extreme level boot for mountain hunting on harsh and difficult terrain. The GORE-TEX insulated lining guarantees considerable warmth and breathability yet retains light physical weight to avoid feeling overly loaded across arduous terrain. Build quality on first inspection was faultless and the Hydrobloc Full Grain Waxed Leather is personally inspected for defects before it enters the production line. Zamberlan date back to 1929 and Mr Zamberlan senior was a local contemporary of Vitale Bramani, whose ‘Vibram’ whose soles are still used here.
These ‘Darwin’ soles combine with the ‘Zamberlan Wide Last’, around which each boot is formed, giving better comfort to wide feet. Rubber toe reinforcement better protects from sharp rocks as the rand wraps the perimeter of the boot with a unique process where the leather/rubber joint is ‘shaved’ angularly, to allow a better bond between porous surface and minimising the ridge in this joint where water can hold, and seep in as boots age. Here is the point where most boots fail, and a greater overlap is a smart measure to minimise possible damage, as well as subtly smooth out and neaten the looks. The softer Flex System junction on the ankle zone helps the foot rolling while hiking, yet plentiful support is still available from the 10-inch height with nine pairs of eyelets to fasten and uniquely tighten the leather up to your calf. The tongue is joined into the boot’s integral Gore-Tex sock liner to a height of nineinch and I haven’t had any leaks yet after five-months of wear.
A soft padded collar surrounds the top three-inches of each leg, preventing any chaffing and abrasion, whether worn with thinner socks in the summer or thicker now as the winter arrives, with a confident foot placement and grip on most surfaces. I wore the boots quite hard without much wear-in time during a hunt over rocky terrain and although not wet at the time, I found the lighter weight and grip of the boot always gave me a lot of confidence. This type of glacial moraine rock is a terror for mechanical abrasion damage and although some is visible on the Zamberlans, and although untreated by me, shows how tough the product has proven to be.
I did have a little bit of discomfort at first, as the tongue/leg joint folded in on my ankle bone but after a couple of re-folds, and careful arrangement of the thinner leather and Gore-Tex here, a natural fold developed over the first hour, suiting my leg rather than the factory ‘last’, the boots are now perfect for my needs, with my size 45s weighing 2.25kg for the pair. Grip around your heel is different with more pressure from the sides than at the rear for a snug fit, which I warmed greatly to. The twin piece clamshell type wrap, rather than a single wraparound, was another small feature that showcased Zamberlan’s intimate connection with their products’ functionality, combining the latest high -ech shapes from the multiple leather components with generations of perfect boot making craftsmanship at each stage.
In short, excellent boots with masses of attention to minor details and personally proven manufacturing standard.