Along with the many trail reviews for this trip, I also review some new equipment that I had to buy. My old Merrell boots had finally bit the dust when on one trail hike in the beginning of spring I felt a few rocks right through the sole. Not good. So it was time to invest in a new pair of boots. Now, the previous pair had lasted me six years of heavy duty. With shoes, it has always been my reasoning that I can afford to pay extra for good shoes/boots because they will last this long. After much review reading, I came up with the Zamberlan 760 Steep.
The boot is quite expensive compared to other pairs, but so far, it has been worth it. The boots have a more traditional footing, with a higher heel than many other hiking boots Ive worn in the past. At first, it was somewhat awkward wearing the boots, but as I started hiking in them, that feeling quickly vanished and I was instantly converted to this kind of boot.
The boots are incredibly comfortable, despite looking horribly rugged and rigid. The soles are Vibram, and I had practically no issues in walking over wet slick stones in the streams up in the Smoky Mountains. The boot is made out of Italian leather, yet my feet remained quite cool. It is of course water proof, and having that higher sole enabled me to splash across shallow creeks without having to worry too much about getting my feet wet.
One of the great features on this boot is the bend around the ankle. Instead of being completely bound in leather, around the ankle there is a short cut in the leather which allows the ankle to bend quite freely while still remaining strongly bound. At no point did I feel completely stiff and rigid within the boots.
Id also like to point out that the boots required absolutely no breaking in. I got absolutely no blisters or sore spots. The large toe box is also a wonderful part of the boots. Going downhill, your feet simple don’t slide forward and crush your toes as some other boots have done to me. This makes going down steep hills a far less painful experience.
The only con comes from its build. If youre not used to having higher ankle boot ties then your ankles are going to feel bound. This is probably only a problem if you wear lower cut boots or ankle free boots (are these really boots?). The price is also going to be quite a put back, you will probably spend at least 250 dollars for this pair of boots. For me, this pair could easily last 1500-1700 miles. Thats a lot of hiking time for me.