Zamberlan have been making high quality boots since 1929 when shoemaker Guiseppe Zamberlan first started piecing together footwear from his workshop in the Dolomites.
Fast forward 89 years and the company is still going strong, releasing high quality shoes and boots for the walking and mountaineering market.
As the name suggests, the Fell Lite GTX is designed to be used for fell walking rather than scaling vertiginous peaks in the Dolomites and as such can afford to be lighter and less rigid than a mountaineering boot. The sole unit is perfectly matched to its intended application, providing enough flex to be easy going without resorting to being overly sloppy. The footbed is Zamberlans own and has quite a solid initial feel but there is some give under high pressure as well as enough cushioning to soak up impacts. The premium PU midsole is lightweight and offers good cushioning as well as shock absorption and flexibility. Although the boot feels a little lacklustre underfoot it does provide a solid, comfortable and natural walking platform which promotes a natural stride and reduces fatigue.
The full height ankle of the boot takes a little breaking in - perhaps a few miles - after which it becomes suppler and the generously cushioned collar flexes nicely but still provides good lateral support.
On the outsole you'll find deep lugs which grip fantastically well on all the usual 'fell terrain', they also shed mud well. There's a sticky climbing zone at the forefoot to help with steep ascents.
The premium full grain waxed leather upper has a classic fell walking look to it and the lack of stitching adds to the durability, reliability comfort and looks. Zamberlan have added a Hydrobloc treatment to the leather to keep the water at bay but this is only a first defence before the real work is done by the Gore Tex performance comfort liner which is both waterproof and breathable (to a degree). The Fell Lite lacks a toe bumper or rubber rand so the fronts of the boots get scuffed up, but the leather is of a high enough quality that with good care durability should be guaranteed.
The high ankle of the boot allows for three rows of open eyelets which can be used to tie any manner of lacing knots depending on your foot shape. In its natural shape though the Fell Lite is narrow across the midfoot, tapering down into a snug toe box, these boots will suit narrow feet, which is pretty much par for the course with Italian footwear.
The considered approach to the Fell Lite' construction keeps the weight down to a respectable 545g per boot which, along with the comfortable sole unit and upper contributes to great all day wearing comfort.
Overall the Fell Lite boots are a fantastic option for British hill and fell walkers but don't rule them out for woodland rambles and evening dog walks either.