If there is one thing that all soldiers care about, it’s boots. “Why?” you may ask. Because we basically live in them. It is one of the few pieces of equipment a soldier is guaranteed to have with him (or her) and in many ways the most critical. If the choppers are down or the roads become impassable, the boots on one’s feet are all one has to get one back to base.
Any Grunt with a uniform that doesn’t still smell like the PX has at least one horror story about his boots failing and talks about the perfect boot like it is the holy grail. In military circles, the ideal boot is debated more than caliber choice and UCMJ loopholes combined. For me at least, I think I have solved the riddle.
- Use: Primary Backpacking/Hunting for moderate to rough off-trail mountain terrain
- Upper: HydroBloc Nabuk Leather
- Leather Thickness: 2,4/2,6 mm
- Hardware: H.R.T. “High Resistance Treatment”
- Lining: Gore-Tex® Performance Comfort
- Footbed: Zamberlan Memory Foam
- Padding: Z.A.S. “Zamberlan Air System”
- Insole/Shank: Zamberlan Modular Flex GT
- Toe and Heel: Thermoplastic
- Sole Paclage: Zamberlan Vibram 3D
- Construction: GTX Bootee
- Weight: 710 grams
- Made in Italy
- Manufacturer Warranty: Lifetime Workmanship Guaranteed; Limited Warranty
- Manufacturer Item Number: 1013
- MSRP: $300
A month ago I started my test on the Zamberlan 1013 boots that I discovered at SHOT Show 2017. From the moment I put them on, I was ready to call them the most comfortable boots I’ve ever owned. With footwear though, first impressions can be deceiving, so I knew I had some work to do before I could render judgment.
I put a lot of miles on them in that 30-day stretch, including many days where I had my little tank of a son strapped to my back. Because I live in Idaho I had no problem finding different environments to put the boots through their paces. From chilly 31-degree snow covered hills to 91-degree sun-scorched sidewalks, I covered it all.
And the verdict? No issues. The boots worked great. My dogs weren’t barking. You’ll see in the video I did a 10-mile hike through a rock field with a 45-pound ruck and when I examined my feet there were zero blisters! Zero!
The Zamberlan 1013 are billed as a lightweight, early season hunting boot. But to be honest that description may be a little too narrow. For me, unless I’m doing something extreme, I think the 1013s are a perfect all-season option.
The traction from the Vibram sole is fantastic, even on wet river rocks. I have actually had expensive hiking boots before that were awesome until a millimeter of water was introduced along with a small stone and then all hell broke loose. But the water repellency on the 1013 boots was nothing short of amazing. Like a duck’s back, the water beads and falls right off. The tongue of the boot is one piece which is great for keeping out unwanted guests: stones, foxtail grass seeds, bugs, etc.
Overall, the biggest indicator of a quality boot to me is my back hurts less at the end of a long day. When you’ve broken your spine in two places like I have (both the top and the bottom), pain is inevitable. Yet what I’ve learned is that that back pain can be greatly mitigated with solid footwear. Zamberlan boots fit that bill. No doubt.
Check out the Zamberlan website for more information.