The Zamberlan Zenith was for me a reminder of how important a shoe’s fit is – it began to give me a blister on the heel after a just a two-mile walk. Obviously this won’t be the same for everyone, but for me my foot didn’t sit firmly enough in the heel for it not to rub, despite the shoe having what Zamberlan describes as side traction webbing to lock the heel in place. If it fits you though, this is a good, solid hiking shoe from the Italian footwear specialist.
It has a Vibram sole that offers good grip, hefty extra protection at the toe from the rubber rand and laces that do up a bit like those on a hiking boot, via a metal clip at the end. It’s Gore-Tez lined, making it fully waterproof, and the upper is made of the company’s Hydrobloc Split Leather, interspersed with meshing for added ventilation. I like the amount of grip and support it offers, and would have no problem using it for walking on or off a path, and scrambling. If anything it’s a bit heavy, at 442g for one in size 40, but for activities like scrambling I’d rather a heavier shoe with more stability than a lighter one with less. One thing it’s lacking is a loop on the tongue to help you get it on – only a minor detail but for me a bonus when I’ve got tired arms and hands and generally can’t function after a day of climbing.
Looks-wise the Zenith looks the most like a sports trainer out of all the shoes we have on test, and it’s fairly non-descript which is fine if you’re not too fussed what your feet look like. I’m not, but if you want something a little more aesthetically imaginative you might want to look at others first. Price-wise this shoe hits the £100 mark, but I can see why as it’s fully waterproof and offers a high level of support.
In a line: A solid hiking shoe offering a high level of support and protection.