When it comes to hiking, hunting and hardcore outdoor activity, your feet are probably the most important asset for you to take care of. Many a trip have come to an early demise because there wasn’t enough thought into what went onto the planner’s feet.
The Zamberlan 980 Outfitter GTX RR boots are no joke when it comes to well put together footwear. Zamerberlan has been developing fine hiking boots for nearly ninety years now and they have used those years of experience to develop this hard-core hunting boot. From the ground up, they are built to provide support and durability for those that spend hundreds of days a year in the field.
This is truly a high-quality guide/outfitter type of boot. Where the rubber meets the road so to say, the Vibram StarTrek sole wears extremely well and grips the terrain like another set of hands, even when wet. The tread pattern provides for a very good downhill break, a toe climbing zone and the wide grippy lugs allow for easy cleaning. The dual-density polyurethane midsoles have been designed to provide both comfort and support which is paired with a thermoplastic polyurethane stabilizer which gives you torsional rigidity.
What all of this jargon means in lehmans terms is that these boots will support not only you, but an extremely heavy load. It also means that you will not need months to break them in. The 2.8mm Hydrobloc Tuscan nubuck leather uppers are soft enough to provide out-of-the-box comfort, along with tremendous support. The Gore-Tex membrane delivers world class waterproof protection and breathability throughout the life of the boot. The 3/4 rubber rand system helps to protect your boot from brutal rocks in terrain. It is developed with an improved rubber compound which has better elasticity and has a beveled under-edge to prevent catching and peeling.
This boot is only available in an uninsulated version at this time, so allow for heavier socks when sizing if this is going to be your go-to winter boot. The sizes on these boots run true, but many hunters fit into a half size smaller. I normally wear a size 10, but even with a 9.5, I can get on a heavier sock for insulation and my foot doesn’t feel cramped.
Out of the box, these boots were extremely comfortable on the first outing. The midsole is rigid enough to easily throw 100 pounds on your back and not worry about the support in the boots. Carrying a load for an extended period of time, like a guide would be required to do, is as pleasurable as the experience can be. And as mentioned, very minimal break-in is required and the hotspots are minimal.