It was a pleasure to meet both Marco and Maria Zamberlan at this year's ISPO trade show in Munich - the clue of course is in the name. Zamberlan is a proper, traditional, family-run company and Marco and Maria are the latest generation of the family to be producing boots in northern Italy.
So what's new later this year? On the hiking. trekking, walking side of things, not much it transpires, but the one area where changes are being made is to the brand's expanding range of high mountain boots from the Alps-friendly Eiger GTX right through to the high altitude 8000 Everest Plus.
One change that's common right across the range is a shift in colour scheme from the current black and red to a new, vibrant black and orange. Not sure if there's a practical reason for that, but they look great in a bright, in your face way.
Zamberlan 8000 Everest Plus RR
As you can tell from the name, the 8000 Everest is designed specifically to perform at altitudes over 7000m or so - the current version has been to the top of Everest. For this winter, the boot gets a new foam inner boot which uses a completely seamless, bonded construction to improve warmth.
On the outside, the integrated Elastic Cordura gaiter now has a new totally waterproof RIRI zip and the crampon engagement points have been re-engineered for greater durability up front. There's a focus on saving weight too. The boots may weigh around 3000g a pair, but they use carbon fibre stiffeners to keep that weight as low as possible.
Serious boots with a serious 700 odd euro price-tag. Zamberlan sells just 200 or so pairs of them per year.
6000 Karka RR
If you're not heading up over 6000 metres or so - hello Andes - the Karka is a modern alternative to the traditional plastic mountaineering boot and again has had a revamp. On the outside, the boot uses the bombproof 'Superfabric' developed for the Nasa space programme and on the inside, there is again a seamless foam inner boot, but in this case, a slightly thinner one than on the Everest.
The stiffener is fibreglass rather than carbon fibre and other features include a footbed with head-reflective material for better heat conservation, a foot wrapping tongue, locking lace hooks, RIRI Storm waterproof zip and more. Weight is quoted at around 2600g per pair. Price around 540 Euros.
4000 Eiger GTX RR
Final member of the family is the Eiger GTX, a lightweight, high tech alpine boot with a claimed weight of just 1100g per boot and a light feel in the hand. It uses a stretch Cordura / Schoeller integrated gaiter with a YKK waterproof zip. Inside there's an inner boot made not from foam, but Cordura laminated to felt with a Gore-Tex liner.
The boot has a new, closer-fitting, more technical last for next winter and a revised crampon attachment system. It also appears to have not one, but two Gore-Tex membranes. One built into the inner boot and one in the outer. The new last, by the way, is tapered above the heel to minimise lift in that area and has a narrower forefoot for more precision which apparently places the big toe above the crampon points.
They'll sell for around 500 Euros. Much lighter than traditional leather or plastic boots.
2000 Ice Tech RR
You won't be seeing many of these on your local mountain, the Ice Tech is a minimalist competition ice boot that gets updated for this year. It's lighter and lower with a Cordura outer with foam insulation, carbon fibre mid-sole and the latest bolt-on competition crampon from Petzl. Zamberlan sells just 150 pairs of these per year, which tells you just how specialist they are.
All the above available from around September 2014 with current Zamberlan range at www.zamberlan.uk.com.