Zamberlan Ridge GTX Hiking Boots

Zamberlan Hiking Boots

My Zamberlan Ridge Hiking Boots

Gear Review

I travel with a pair of hiking boots. Many people decide not to. The choice on traveling with boots should be based on what kind of adventures you plan on getting yourself into.

UPDATE: I no longer pack full-size hiking boots. I’ve switched to hiking sneakers.

Simple day hikes can easily be done in a pair of sneakers – they are comfortable & lightweight. But if you plan on doing a lot of serious hiking & multi-day trekking while you travel, I believe a pair of strong, comfortable, and lightweight boots is essential.

They provide greater support and protection while stumbling over volcanic boulder fields, sloshing through jungle mud, and maneuvering your way across a river.

I’m actually a big fan of the barefoot running movement, and travel with a pair of Luna Sandals. But trying to attempt a barefoot 4 day snake-infested jungle trek with 40 lb. of food, water, and camera gear on my back is not a realistic option for me at this point.

Because I frequently do these kinds of trips, I need rugged footwear with good ankle support.

Strong, Comfortable, Lightweight

I’ve owned many pairs of hiking boots over the years. The Zamberlan Ridge Mid GTX hiking boots are definitely the most comfortable boots I’ve ever used.

The first time I tried on a pair of Zamberlans, I was hooked!

I’ve never used a more comfortable pair of boots right out of the box. These things require almost zero break-in time. They are made in Italy, a country with a well deserved reputation for quality footwear going back hundreds of years.

Zamberlans are waterproof and moisture wicking with a thin lining of Goretex. But even with the lining, the model I use is surprisingly comfortable to wear in the summer heat.

These Boots Are Made For Walking

My hiking boots are about a year old, and still going strong. They’ve powered me up ancient Mayan ruins in Mexico, climbed onto exploding volcanoes in Guatemala, survived wild drug plane expeditions in the Honduran jungle, sloshed through muddy salt marshes in Nicaragua, and have withstood multiple river crossings deep inside the Costa Rican rainforest.

I’ve NEVER had a blister using these boots, and I’ve put a lot of hard miles on them.

By the looks of things, I think they’ll last me at least another year with the prolonged travel torture I put them through.

The only modifications I’ve made to them is to replace the laces with 550 parachute cord and replace the stock insoles with Premium Superfeet Greens (also highly recommended). They’re practically as comfortable as a pair of sneakers now!

While sneakers may be fine for some people, I know I can count on my trusty pair of boots to safely take me into some pretty remote locations on my travels. They work great on sidewalks too.

Product: Zamberlan 250 Ridge Mid GTX
Cost: $112 USD
Useful Notes: These are the most comfortable boots out of the box I’ve ever used, and I’ve used a lot of hiking boots. Until I find something better, these will always be on my feet.


This post contains affiliate links. However I would never endorse a product or service I didn’t actually use & believe in. Reader trust is always more important.

8 Comments

  1. Wearing thin liner socks under my hiking socks has kept me blister free. I haven’t jumped on the barefoot bandwagon yet. However, everyone I know who is doing it are hooked. Maybe I need to get a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and give it a try…

  2. Yes, Matthew, I like a light pack. I do it because I want to be able to move without thinking about where I am going to stow the pack and to be able to walk with it without losing the pleasure of walking.

    I had a RAB down jacket and a micro-weight down sleeping bag and everything worked well except for one night on a bus parked up for the night high on the altiplano.

    I bought cups of coca tea and a woolly hat right on the bus and I still froze. :-)

  3. I know what you mean – there’s no point in denying oneself the opportunity to do the kind of things that are possible with the right footwear.

    So knowing one has the boots that can take that hike, negotiate that rock-filled stream, walk across that slippery tree-trunk bridge etc, is important.

    However, I love to travel light – my pack for a year in Central and South America weighed less than 20lbs (8.75kg) at the airport check-in, and I felt as proud as could be.

    I joked that people with huge packs would only be able to tell stories of what the ground looked like because they would spend all their time bent over with the weight.

    Somewhere in that equation is the boot that is right for you. I favor a very light boot, not as high as the one you show.

    I have a pair of Scarpa boots as tall as those Zamberlans, but I also have a lower pair of Scarpas halfway between a boot and a shoe that don’t give the side protection of a higher boot but are great for me. They are very, very light – Goretex lined and with great grip.

    If I were to wear a higher boot, it would not be so much because of the ankle support as because of the protection against knocks on the ankle when negotiating rock fields.

    As I mentioned in an article on my blog earlier this year, my pack ” didn’t include a spare pair of boots and I was sorry about that when I left my only pair to dry by an open fire one evening in the wilds of northern Colombia.

    I recovered the boots just in time to heat-weld the sole back on to the uppers by the dying embers of the fire.”

    Happy trails…

  4. When I Was young (a couple of years ago) I used Limmer boots. Heavy, but rugged, and expensive. Now I like light boots. LL Bean Cresta’s are very nice with hardly any break-in. I do like a rubber bumpertoe though. Gortex can make you’re feet hot and then tender, but are nice initially in wet areas. They all have their points. Now that picture in the mud. It looks like you had a bad accident, maybe bad food, as in eating too many green bananas. I guess you could call it a muddy salt marsh.

  5. I just bought a new pair of boots last week. They’re Oboz and I can honestly say that they were pretty comfortable right out of the box. Nevertheless I’ve been wearing them non-stop to get them broken in for my next adventure next month.

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