Don’t be deceived by the Zamberlan Willow – though it looks very traditional style-wise it actually has a modern feel to it when on your foot. For a start, it’s really light: at 1011g for the pair it’s the lightest in our test. Also, its sole unit is surprisingly bendy, offering a lot of flex, which some may prefer. But, compared to the usual design of light and bendy boots, it has much less upper stitching meaning it should last well. However, the lighter weight had to come at a price and with the Willow it’s a lack of cushioning that is the most noticeable, with it feeling quite hard underfoot. And with a bendier sole anyway it means that over longer distances on rockier terrain your feet can feel more through them, making them tire quickly. A fairly sturdy heel does help with support at the back, though, and it has a Gore-Tex lining to help keep feet dry. The toe box offers a reasonable amount of protection – but not as much as others here – and an extended rubber rand would help more with stubbing and durability too. Underneath the lug pattern is well-spaced to help prevent the build-up of mud, but it’s not as aggressive as others on test. The Zamberlan Willow has a heel breast to help with descents, though it would benefit from being more pronounced.
Weight 1011g (pair, size 39)
Upper materials hydrobloc nubuck buffalo full-grain leather
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
Sole unit Zamberlan Vibram Lite Grip
Women’s sizes 37-43
Men’s sizes 41-48
The Zamberlan Willow has the benefits of a modern boot wrapped up in a traditional style – but a lack of cushioning and a bendy sole make for tired feet.
Review by Phoebe Smith
First published in Trail magazine August 2012