Our Zamberlan Salathe GTX Shoes Review explores a high performance shoe with striking design details. We hope you find it useful.
Italian manufacturers Zamberlan know a thing or two about footwear – they have been manufacturing them since 1929! They started as a family business and all this time later they are still a family business. Nowadays, after millions of pairs of boots sold, the business is run by third generation family members Marco and Maria.
They make boots and shoes for all aspects of outdoor adventures and sell their products in 50 countries. They have always focussed on making top quality products primarily using leather and their footwear being handmade.
The Salathe GTX follows that heritage. Zamberlan describe it as a shoe developed to be a ‘from the car to the top’ shoe. It seemed to be just the type of shoe that would suit my uses perfectly. With that in mind, here is my Zamberlan Salathe GTX Shoes Review and I hope you find it useful.
The Salathe GTX has an upper made from 1.8 to 2.0mm embossed suede leather. This is then protected on the lower part of the shoe by a durable 360 degree rand. The leather is treated with Zamberlan’s Hydrobloc treatment and the shoe has a Gore-Tex Extended Comfort lining for waterproofness. Hydrobloc is a Zamberlan patented tanning treatment to enhance water-repellence, wear resistance and durability. Gore-Tex offer a range of liners and the Extended Comfort model is designed for high activity levels in moderate and warmer conditions.
The ankle padding rises quite high in what Zamberlan term an ‘up-cut’ design. This means that, although they describe the Salathe GTX as a shoe, it sits somewhere between a shoe and a mid shoe. This higher ankle should offer both protection and additional ankle support. The ankle cuff is constructed from an elasticated and breathable material. Zamberlan say this is constructed from a ‘new technology’ but I couldn’t find any additional information on what this means.
The tongue is formed into an elasticated sock. This means you slide your foot in as if putting on a sock rather than the tongue sitting separately. The lacing uses a traditional eyelet system but extends right to the toe box to allow fine fit adjustment.
The midsole has two densities of EVA to offer shock absorption alongside torsional rigidity. The outsole is a Vibram Pepe unit with Megagrip compound to ensure traction on varied terrain. A well shaped insole completes the sole package. The Pepe sole is heavily lugged and features a stepped structure for grip on loose or slippy ground. The front of the outsole offers a good edge for using the shoes on smaller holds.
The Salathe GTX is available in a range of colours and the stated weight is 450grams for a size 42 (UK 8). On our scales a size 42 weighed 438 grams. The shoes are available in 38-48 (including half sizes) and they retail for £230.
The Zamberlan Salathe GTX is a striking design. The shoes provided came in a vivid red colour with contrasting orange at the toe. The Zamberlan logo is then printed down the outer side of the PU rand along with orange and red geometric designs. I think they look great. As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of colours to choose from if you want something more subtle.
The shoe is certainly high at the ankle. As previously described, I would say it sat between a shoe and a mid shoe. This higher ankle may not suit everyone, but again I think it looks great. More details on how it performs later.
One other immediately obvious feature is the elasticated sock style construction. The tongue doesn’t sit separate to the rest of the shoe as in many shoes. It offers a continuous loop connected to the ankle cuff. To put the shoes on you pull them on like a pair of socks.
Fitting & Fastening
Pulling the shoes on is simple and, from first try, I knew I would love the fit of these shoes. The ankle and tongue are constructed from a very supportive and yet comfortable elasticated material that sits snugly around the foot. Even without tying the laces, the shoe is comfortably held in place. I should also mention that the shoes fit me true to normal sizing. In terms of width, the Salathes again are very comfortable for my medium width foot. There isn’t lots of room on either side of my foot, but I’d prefer that for tackling more technical terrain where lateral support and edging are important.
But you will of course want to fasten the laces, and that works superbly too. The laces extend from the very top of the ankle cuff right to the toe box. This offers very tuneable tightness all the way down the shoe. It also allows easy adjustment. I have found, for example, that leaving the top section quite loose works well on walk ins. Then, if you re tackling more technical ground, you can cinch the laces up to offer more ankle support. It is a great system. The well padded tongue also ensures the foot is well protected when the laces are pulled across the foot.
So, having discussed fit, how do they perform? Zamberlan describe the Salathe GTX as an approach shoe. However, they also make it clear they would be a good choice for other activities like Via Ferrata and trekking. I would heartily agree. These are very capable shoes that will suit a wide range of uses. They are also especially good for scrambling activities.
The excellent fit combines with the very capable sole unit and well designed midsole to offer great performance and comfort. I have used the Salathes for long walks in to crags and they are a pleasure to walk in. I have also tested them on steeper scrambling terrain and they are very capable on both slabby rock and small edges. These are likely to become a regularly used scrambling shoe.
The Vibram Pepe sole unit is also exceptionally capable. I have used Megagrip compound soles before and really rated them. In this case the deep lugs and instep ‘ledge’ also help offer excellent traction on all types of terrain. I would say these are an ideal boot for challenging UK conditions.
I haven’t even started to test the boundaries of the durability of these shoes, but I have no doubt they will stand up very well to hard use. The 2mm suede upper combined with the chunky 360 degree rand mean they should handle any bumps and scrapes with ease. They also just show all the signs of being really well made and designed for challenging use.
Having a leather upper means it is easy to reproof the suede as needed. The Salathe also benefits from Zamberlan’s HydroBloc treatment. But, even if these barriers let water through eventually, the addition of a Gore-Tex Extended Comfort Liner should ensure feet stay dry. I have certainly had no problem with water getting in even during long wet days working at Peak District crags.
The only downside to the durable materials and liner may be breathability, but this is helped by the chosen liner being one Gore-Tex offer for high activity levels in warm conditions. The reality of the very damp summer testing period in the UK this summer has meant dealing with high temperatures hasn’t been a big consideration. However, I have certainly appreciated the weatherproof features.
I am sure my Zamberlan Salathe GTX Shoes Review makes it clear how much I like and rate these shoes. The styling is great, the fit is exceptional the quality and durability are second to none. They are a premium product and the price reflects that, but you are sure to get an extended life from these shoes. Zamberlan also make their shoes so they are resoleable. The investment will surely pay off. I also value that products made to give a longer life means a more sustainable product.
I have loved testing these shoes and highly recommend them. They perform well across a range of activities and could be a great go to choice for anyone that dip in varied adventures. That sock style tongue and slightly extended heel cuff is just great. Full details on the Salathes is available on the Zamberlan website here.
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