Zamberlan Storm GTX CF boots

Review: Zamberlan 1103 Storm GTX CF hunting and hiking boots

These Zamberlan Storm GTX CF hunting boots have clocked up 200km of hiking now, all of it in rough country away from flat footpaths, and they are just getting into their stride, maintaining near-new condition and comfort. 

The Storms are fairly high-end boots, hand-made in Italy and retailing for just over $500 a pair, and they show every sign of living up to Zamberlan’s claims over the long term.

Zamberlan Storm GTX CF boots
The Zamberlan Storm boots have good performance in difficult terrain and provide protection and great comfort

Despite their ruggedness, they are the lightest and most affordable set of hunting boots listed by distributor Spika in its range of five Zamberlan styles, and as such they are very attractive to Aussie hunters for a number of reasons.

Most of Australia is relatively mild through the year and most of our terrain is flat or hilly rather than mountainous, so the need for extra-tough, heavy-duty and purpose-specific boots isn’t always there. 

I’ve walked trails and virgin bush in these boots in all but the most extreme conditions, and a lot of the hunting has been in steep, gravelly, rocky or muddy terrain with a few creek crossings thrown in. 

The Storms have come up trumps — certainly one of the best pairs of boots I’ve ever had.

Zamberlan Storm GTX CF boots
They are waterproof out of the box, and will stay that way if you regularly treat them with something like Hydrobloc

One thing that particularly stands out is their comfortable flexibility, particularly in the Vibram Star Lite soles, which strike an excellent balance between hardness and malleability. They cushion your feet nicely, making them more comfortable over long distances, and they mould to and grip on the ground far more dependably than the harder soles that are so common on outdoors boots. 

You get better feel for the ground underneath you as you walk because of these soles, too, which improves your confidence when it’s uneven or traction is low.

And yet the grippy soles are not showing much wear at all. Like I said, a nice balance. 

The uppers are a suede called Perwanger combined with Cordura and lined with Gore-Tex. This creates a highly water resistant structure that’s made waterproof with the addition of Hydrobloc. If you keep up that treatment they’ll keep your feet dry (I’ve yet to find truly waterproof boots in this class of all-round hikers).

Reaching just above ankle height, the Storms give you ample ankle support when you trip — I’ve not once hurt my ankles when rolling them — and don’t trap as much heat as taller boots. 

Zamberlan Storm GTX CF boots
The Zamberlans are strongly constructed and long-lasting. This pair has walked just over 200km in bushland and rocky hills

Maybe it’s got something to do with my feet suiting the mould, but the Zamberlans have been supremely comfortable and wrap well around may feet to reduce movement in all directions. They prevent my toes sliding to the front on steep descents and hold onto my ankles when lifting off at every step. 

At just over 500 grams per boot, they’re respectably light. This was partly achieved by deleting the rand that protects the junction of sole and upper, but there’s no sign of that being detrimental to longevity at this stage. 

Besides, the protective rubber cup extending up on the base of the toe has been retained and serves an essential role in the boots’ integrity. It’s backed up by the tough Cordura over the rest of the toe and on the heel. 

I know I shouldn’t do it but I regularly kick weeds like Bathurst burr out of the ground on my property, which is an abusive way to treat good boots, but these have survived an unfair burden of it with remarkable resilience — just look at the photos. 

I’ll have an update on the Zamberlan Storms further down the track when I’ve walked a lot more, but in the 200km covered so far I can say they’ve been a good investment, treating my feet with tenderness while dealing with hard use and some abuse. 

Their performance in the field is great, just what you expect of high-end boots and no comparison with what you get from cheapies. 

They are not expensive, not when you consider their quality and strong construction. I’m happy to hedge my bets by saying they are good value, though I suspect that if they keep going the way they are I’ll revise that praise upwards.


Manufacturer: Zambleran, Italy

Sizes: US 8-13 in half-size increments

Upper: Leather, Cordura with Gore-Tex lining

Sole: Vibram Star Light with 3mm nylon inner

Mid-sole: EVA

Weight: Approx 550g per boot (size 8)

Price: $515 (2024)

Distributor: Spika

Thanks to Shots&Shadows for the background shot of our main image above.




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.