Norwegian welt stitched boot construction was commonplace until the 1980s. Such boots were heavy and required breaking in, but they would last a lifetime. Since then lighter boots with bonded construction have taken over. So why is Zamberlan now reintroducing welt stitched construction on the new Tofane GT?
According to Zamberlan the Tofane’s Norwegian welted construction ensures retention of the boot shape during prolonged use, so the product should last a lifetime.
Putting the Tofane GT on, I certainly felt a whiff of tradition here. This 3-season boot is beautifully made. The leather upper oozes traditional values of craftsmanship, functionality, comfort and durability. As I laced them up, the boots hugged the contours of my feet without localised pressure spots, and flexed gently with my foot. They were certainly more comfortable than anything I had worn in the Eighties; and indeed they were more comfortable than many boots I test today.
The key is that Zamberlan Tofane GT combines traditional construction with modern materials. So inside that Norwegian welt stitched design is a modern Gore-Tex waterproof lining and some foam padding. Prior to the Eighties, boots needed breaking in – but the Tofane felt great straight from the box. Underfoot there is a Vibram sole unit, which can be removed, replaced and rebonded to the upper. Surprisingly the outsole does have a relatively shallow pattern of lugs for a boot that is clearly designed to last a lifetime, but it can be easily replaced.
There are lighter and lower-priced options out there but there is probably no boot that will give the lifetime of comfort and performance that the Zamberlan Tofane GT can offer. Sadly, I doubt many people want a boot that will last a lifetime any more – particularly when it weighs and costs more than the alternatives. But this is a superb boot for those with traditional values.
Upper 2.8mm Hydrobloc full grain waxed leather; Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Zamberlan Vibram NorTrak, dual density PU cushioning
Weight 2080g (pair, size 46)
Made in Italy
Stockist details – tel. (0161) 432 0319; www.zamberlan.com
The Zamberlan Tofane offers traditional construction with a modern twist. If you are not dedicated to short-term weight and price benefits, this boot is a superb long-term investment.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2011