Zamberlan Salathé Trek GTX RR | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Zamberlan Salathé Trek GTX RR | Review

Our verdict on Zamberlan's alpine trekking boot, Salathé Trek GTX RR

I was impressed by this shoe from the moment I pulled it on. It feels well made, precise, reliable and made for the mountains.

The best way I’d describe this is it’s like an approach shoe blended with a hiking boot. That’s because it has a fairly narrow fit, lacing that extends right down to the toes and then the same kind of mid cut ankle you’d find on most three-season hiking boots.

Zamberlan say it’s designed for hiking, approach routes and via ferrata. I’d say that’s accurate. From my experience using the Salathé Trek, I’ve found it well-suited to steep hikes over rocky terrain. Using it in north Pembrokeshire, it felt right at home on the spiky porphyritic igneous rocks encountered on my climb up Carningli. I can see it being handy for parts of Snowdonia or the Scottish Highlands and it would definitely be right at home in the Alps.


I tried it in a UK 10, which is my usual size. The fit is very close and narrow at the toe – that’s to be expected from a pair of boots made for hikes that involve rocky ascents. Going half a size up would give a more relaxed fit, but if you’re after a boot with a bit more space then you’d probably be better off looking into a different model – something like the Aku Trekker Lite III or perhaps the Zamberlan Anabasis.

Will testing out the Zamberlan Salathé Trek GTX RR on the Pembrokeshire coast. Photos: Dave Macfarlane

Although it’s designed for trekking, I’d say it’s quite a technical fit and it could feel a little bit tiring to wear over long distances, particularly when your feet start to swell and splay.

Materials and Construction

The upper is made from a thick suede leather with small panels around the ankle made from a ballistic nylon. There’s a big PU rand that goes right around the base of the upper adding a great deal of protection to the materials and to your feet.

A waterproof membrane lines the upper, wrapping right around the foot by going through the tongue gusset. There’s a good amount of foam padding on the tongue and around the ankle.

Immediately underfoot there’s a removable insole. This has an ergonomic shaping and foam padding. The midsole has a double density molded EVA foam. This doesn’t feel particularly plush but I found that it does absorb shock well. There’s some form of plate or chassis within the midsole which creates a fair bit of rigidity. If I were to rate the rigidity out of 10 (1 being highly flexible 10 being very stiff) I’d say this is at about 7. The main flexibility is at the base of the toes while there’s just a touch of lateral torsion too.

The lug depth is 4mm – that’s fairly middle of the road – and there’s a slight heel brake which adds downhill reliability. The rubber compound is Vibram Megagrip so, as you’d expect, it grips well on a range of wet and dry surfaces. Megagrip is a solid performer but it does have its limitations on some wet rock. That tends to be the case with most rubber compounds.

The Zamberlan Salathé Trek GTX RR also comes with a RECCO reflector. This is designed to be picked up by mountain rescue teams that use RECCO detectors. In most cases, RECCO detectors are primarily used for post-avalanche recovery but they can also be used to detect hikers missing in dense bush or remote and rugged terrain.


I found the grip to be reliable on the range of surfaces I tested it on. I particularly liked how well it performed on rocky boulders and I liked the precision that the toe and heel had on ledges. The ankle felt comfortable and supportive and it came into play quite a lot as the sole footprint is quite narrow, making this less stable than some boots out there.

Given their solid build, it’s quite surprising how light these are (480g per boot). That certainly helps when wearing them over long distances.

The waterproofing was faultless and I didn’t have any issues in terms of breathability. I think the narrowness certainly helped on rocky ascents and short and sharp climbs but it’s not something I’d appreciate when hiking big distances – in other words, I wouldn’t want to wear this on a three-week long hike along the 268-mile Pennine Way but I think it’d be handy to have on a 24-hour attempt at the rocky, high-level Welsh 3000s route. I can also see it being useful for higher-level hut-to-hut treks in the Alps.

The Competition

I’ve really liked the Aku Trekker Lite III recently and I think that has many of the same qualities of this boot but with a slightly more comfortable fit that suits longer distances. If you want something even more technical than the Zamberlan Salathé Trek GTX RR I’d recommend looking at the Arc’teryx Acrux LT. Want something a bit cheaper? The Aku Trekker Lite III or Brandecosse Capriolo would be my suggestions there.


This is a technical, well-crafted boot that thrives in rocky environments. It just might be a little on the narrow side for some.

With the quality leather and the big PU rand, you get the sense that it’s a boot that’s built to last and you should be able to get it resoled (Vibram offer a service on their site) if the sole happens to wear out.

Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is also available in a low cut approach shoe style too.

What I liked: grip, build quality and durability
What I didn’t like: not great for big mileage, quite expensive

Zamberlan Salathé Trek GTX RR

Selected for the Outdoor 100 Sping/Summer 2024 guide
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