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We review Zamberlan's 960 Guide GTX RR walking boots, a robust choice of footwear best suited to backpacking on rough terrain. Can they make good on those promises?

zamberlan 960 guide gtx rr wns waxed grey
Overall Score
Extremely rugged design, good comfort, great all-round performance
A little heavier and stiffer than most

At 840g per boot, these are nearing the meatier end of 3-season footwear. However, bear in mind that they're aimed at those carrying backpacking loads (or not) and taking on off-trail scree, slopes and brush and the Zamberlans begin to make perfect sense. If that sounds like your idea of adventure then read on.

In terms of design and protection, they offer a comprehensive package. The construction is of 2.8mm Italian nubuck leather, which combines with a Gore-Tex lining to give as impressive a weather and water protection as you could hope from any boot in this category. Throw an extremely prominent rand around three-quarters of the boot and this is one rugged footwear option. We're struggling to name a tougher example.

The 'backpacking' last used is actually a new design, and goes for a more precise fit than previous boots. We certainly found it to be that and it communicated a precise feeling of control, which was unexpected in a package which is certainly not lightweight in its ambitions.

In terms of fit, bear in mind that Italian boots tend to be narrower than those from other countries, and in this respect the Zamberlans are certainly no exception. Broad-footed users may struggle with them.

We've also found that previous models from Zamberlan had a tendency to rub aggressively at the heel for some users, although thankfully this has not happened with the 960 Guides yet and it's possible the new last has resolved the problem.

Aesthetically they're a beautiful pair of boots to behold, and the extremely capable (but stiff) Vibram Star Trek sole - complete with excellent climbing zone, great lugs and impressive heel brake - is a real boon too.

In conclusion: If your tastes run towards the rougher end of non-winter walks, you want a durable pair of extremely eye-catching boots and your foot shape matches Zamberlan's new last, then you're in for a real treat.

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