Every once in a while a boot comes along that just makes you stop and stare. This happened recently when I opened a package from Zamberlan containing their new 996 Vioz GTX backpacking boots. I felt a bit like I’d been hurled back in time, just looking at these boots. They reminded me so much of some of the old-school, full leather, quality boots that I used to wear 10 or 20 years ago, but manage to have a very modern appeal to them also. There’s few bright dashes of colour going on here – no satsuma orange or electric blue suede outer that we’ve come to accept from our boots these days. The Vioz are quite simply an elegant, well-designed, serious mountain boot for summer walking.

Zamberlan Vioz is a fine looking boot
Zamberlan Vioz is a fine looking boot

Zamberlan really are onto a winner with the Vioz. They truly are the most comfortable boot I’ve worn for a very long time for long days in the hills. The fit is perfect for my foot-shape, the sole is Vibram, there is enough stiffness yet with the right amount of flexion for scrambling on rock, and they simply ooze quality. Oh, and did I mention that they look great too?

The top view of the Zamberlan Vioz
The top view of the Zamberlan Vioz

I tried really, really hard to find fault with the Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX. I failed. I took them on grade 3 scrambles, and they performed superbly well. I walked 20 miles over rough moorland in them, and still had comfortable feet at the end of the day. I climbed Scafell Pike at night in these boots, and knew that I had a truly solid, reliable piece of kit on each foott. I even crossed rivers and kept my feet absolutely dry in them.

The Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX boots retail for an amazing £190 or thereabouts, which is very impressive indeed. Anyone looking for a superb summer mountain boot should check these out: Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX

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