These days sandals are morphing into enclosed multi-activity shoes, so that your feet can benefit from the ventilation of a sandal as well as the protection offered by an enclosed shoe. The Zamberlan Cliff has an upper of leather and synthetic materials that combine in an enclosed toe box. Adjustment comes from the elasticated laces on the top. It also has the most aggressive sole unit of all those tested and is more than capable of getting a grip on muddy or stony paths. Indeed a good level of stiffness and cushioning in the sole further encourages exploratory adventures with the Cliff on your foot! So initially it appears ideal for those who want a sandal that can be worn in more challenging situations than the average, which is often useful for hill-walkers and campers as well as travellers. But once water or grit enters the Zamberlan Cliff it cannot escape as easily as from other enclosed sandals because the sides are blocked at the footbed level. This makes it quite annoying to wear as grit gets in easily through the top if the user is fooled into taking this on rough, loose or muddy terrain. It’s a weird mix that does not have a natural home I feel.
Upper Hydrobloc split leather and Cordura
Sole Zamberlan AMS sole
Weight 668g (pair, size 42)
Made in China
Stores in the UK 50+
Verdict: The Zamberlan Cliff is a great price for a sandal that offers extra protection, but it does not allow water or grit to escape as easily as more open sandals – and that is its Achilles heel.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine May 2009