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4.5 / 5.0 backpacker rating
July/August 2013

Zamberlan - 298 Tundra GT

Perfect boots for people who tackle big miles with substantial packs. Review by: Dan Larson
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Raves: "You'd swear these were camp slippers. The supple leather gives, but is formed enough to provide protection in the toebox." Rants: "There was a bit of stiffness in the back of the heel that irritated my heels a bit." Best Uses: Heavy-duty backpacking for hikers who crave comfort, and like a wide footbox
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Gear Review: Zamberlan 298 Tundra GT Boot

“These are great for people who tackle big miles with substantial packs,” says one Oregon mountaineer who wallowed through deep mud and snow on the steep Ruckel Creek and Ruckel Ridge Trails in the Columbia River Gorge. “A 45-pound pack, hours of snow, and 3,700 feet of elevation gain in 9 miles: no problem,” he says. All testers raved about the comfort of the mostly nubuk leather, Gore-Tex-lined Tundra. “I wore them as camp shoes, even after a long day,” says one.

“The supple leather gives, like it’s been worked or massaged, but it’s thick and substantial enough to provide solid protection, even in the toebox.” Says another: “They conformed beautifully to my feet almost instantly, and the underfoot cushion feels decadent.” Testers appreciated the details of fine Italian craftsmanship, like the perfectly sculpted padding around the anklebone and the way the bellows tongue folds smoothly into the one-piece leather upper. “I’m typically not a big fan of boots that are primarily leather, because I find synthetic fabrics more breathable,” another tester said after enduring rain, ice, snow, and mud on Colorado’s 9,237-foot Emerald Mountain.

“But the four small Cordura mesh windows let heat escape so my feet stayed plenty dry.” Testers agreed that their feet felt armored in these boots, thanks to the supportive and well-contoured heel pocket (which is reinforced with hard plastic TPU), a stiff but cushioned PU midsole, and a durable Vibram tread. $240; 2 lbs. 14 oz.; m’s 40-48, w’s 37-43; zamberlanusa.com

Tester Notes

Barbara Weiss: For tough terrain this boot is an all-around champ. I slogged up the super steeps in these in mud, snow, and ice. These boots tackled everything early spring in the Pacific Northwest could throw down. They were great out of the box with never a blister no matter what the situation. The toe box is roomy enough to accommodate any sock combination (I prefer two pairs of socks), so your feet will stay warm, dry and happy.

Walter Keutel: My favorite boots for general hiking. Light and strong and terrific all around. These boots grip and hold. They are reliable on steep and slippery uphill and downhill sections. Maybe not the sharpest looking boots, but that doesn’t matter at all once they are covered in mud. Who cares about looks if the boots keep performing?

Shayla Paradeis: I give these boots a solid 4. I’m not usually into heavy leather material, but these are surprisingly breathable and comfortable for being leather. One great thing about this test is that I got to try boots I probably wouldn’t have bought for myself.

Ted Alvarez: Extemely plush, insanely comfy, zero break-in and protective. Coastal saltwater beads like mercury on these. They’re quite breathable for mostly leather boots, but with less ankle support. They’re looser in feel—the cuff felt loose enough that sand and dirt could kick in. So less ankle support, but insanely comfortable. I’d swear these were camp slippers. Supple leather gives, but is formed enough to provide protection in the toebox. Not terribly technical; might be a bit rough for sidehilling (given lack of ankle support) but they’re definitely the most comfortable in test.

 

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