Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review | Impressive Sub-16oz Zamberlan Hiking Boots

Looking for an ultralight hiking boot but don’t want to give up performance? Zamberlan Anabasis boots may be just what you are looking for. Zamberlan makes a wide range of boots from hiking boots to hunting boots, with low, mid, and high cuts, and the Zamberlan Anabasis is one of those boots that can be used for everything from your leisurely hikes to off-trail hunting trips if you want.

So, why did we want to do this Zamberlan Anabasis review? Even though we tend to have an eye towards boots primarily geared towards hiking through the mountains off the trail, we also spend A LOT of time training throughout the year, which oftentimes includes on-trail hiking with a lot of weight. So, finding a boot or shoe that can comfortably handle a lot of miles carrying a heavy load (65+ pounds) while still being rugged enough to take off-trail can be a challenge.

Looking for something different than the Zamberlan Anabasis? Check out our other boot reviews!

When I first saw the Zamberlan Anabasis boots, the mid-height, light weight, Vibram outsole, and Gore-Tex waterproofing were an intriguing combination of features that struck me as something to be used not only during summer training hikes but also as the kind of boot that could be used during early season archery hunts when temperatures are not yet dipping too low.

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

I am always skeptical when it comes to ultralight boots as you typically have to give up some performance, heavy load support, water resistance, durability, or comfort (or several of those things) to achieve the light weight. However, after putting many miles on these Zamberlan Anabasis boots (most of them with a heavy pack), I found there to be minimal compromises. These turned out to be a boot that I feel comfortable wearing not only on the trail for training hikes but also during the early season hunts.

Sizing Note – Zamberlan Hunting Boots

One thing to note if you are considering picking up some Zamberlan hunting boots is that they run about a half size big vs most of your other boots. For me, I typically wear a US men’s 11.5 in my boots and running shoe, but I had to go with a US men’s 11 in these Zamberlan boots. This was the same for the Baltoro Lite hunting boots I also tested this year, and Zamberlan will tell you that most folks find them to run big. Save yourself the headache of a return and bump down a half size.

The Testing – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

Here at Backwoods Pursuit we do our best to thoroughly test gear before we publish reviews, and that was no different for this Zamberlan Anabasis review. While these Anabasis boots are designed and marketed as more of a lightweight hiking boot rather than an off-trail hunting boot, I did a bit of both in them, along with a LOT of heavy pack hiking with loads typically in excess of 60 pounds.

On these hikes throughout the spring and summer, I took them through creeks, wet grassy terrain, up and down steep climbs, and put a lot of miles on these boots.

The Specs – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

If you are looking at the Zamberlan Anabasis boots, you are likely someone interested in their specs, and if you hike a lot, you probably know that lightweight footwear makes a HUGE difference. I have even heard it said that every pound on your boots/shoes is equivalent to having five pounds on your back. Now, I am not sure if that is true, but what I can say is that when I lace up ultralight boots vs heavy all-leather boots, fatigue comes much slower and agility is enhanced with ultralight boots.

Here are the specs and details that you get with the Zamberlan Anabasis boots:

Zamberlan Anabasis Boots
Weight (1 boot, US size 8 / EU size 42)15.87 oz
Height6 inch
WaterproofYes – Gore-Tex
InsulatedNo
Upper materialMicroFiber
MidsoleEVA
OutsoleVibram Junko
ResolableYes

Make sure to check out our other gear reviews and the Backwoods Pursuit YouTube Channel to help you decide what gear will help you stay out in the field longer!

What stood out to me in these specs is their incredibly light weight and relatively aggressive Vibram out sole. I figured that given their sub-1 lb weight they would not perform well while carrying any kind of load but that could not be further from the truth.

Craftsmanship/Build Quality – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

One of the things that immediately stood out to me when I was looking over the various pairs of Zamberlan Boots at last year’s Western Hunt Expo was the attention to detail and build quality. While to some degree boots are, well, just boots, and they are meant to be tortured, run through mud, creeks, snow, rocks, and otherwise brutal conditions, when you start with exceptionally fine craftsmanship, the end result is oftentimes a longer lasting, more comfortable boot.

One of the most unique things about the Zamberlan Anabasis is that they are made entirely of MicroFiber rather than your typical leather or Cordura materials. I was initially wary about durability as MicroFiber is not what comes to mind when I think of a tough boot. To my surprise, though, I had absolutely zero issues of any kind with durability, and they have held together exceptionally well.

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

Now, given their design, build, and my use of them being primarily focused on designated trails during training hikes with a heavy load, they did not take the same beating as the Zamberlan Baltoro Lite boots that I hiked and hunted with all fall (primarily off-trail busting through brush). However, I was still extremely impressed at the combination of build quality, durability, traction, and support that I got with the Anabasis boots.

Out Of The Box Comfort – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

With some boots you know you are going to have to give them a substantial break in period, but with lightweight hikers like this, I typically expect them to be ready to go from day one. True to form, the Zamberlan Anabasis boots fit like a glove right out of the box and did not require any break in time for me. Of course, the more miles I put on them, the more they formed to my foot, but that is to be expected.

I will say that it took a couple of hikes to figure out the most comfortable way to lace them up and the right tightness to use for this lacing system, but these Anabasis boots gave me nearly running shoe comfort from the start.

Lightweight vs Heavy Duty Boots

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

Arguments can certainly be made both directions when it comes to lightweight vs heavier full leather boots, but I have personally come to love lightweight boots and use them whenever possible. That being said, there are absolutely times when I grab those beefy, heavy, all leather boots.

LIGHTWEIGHT BOOTS – BEST USES

Within the lightweight boot category, I have found quite a wide variety of options, most of which suffer from sub-par durability and less than satisfactory waterproof performance. Unfortunately, that is just something most lightweight boot fans learn to live with. For this reason, I prefer to use lightweight mid-hiker style boots for my scouting trips and early season archery hunts as I typically do not encounter as much adverse weather or cold temperatures. Here are some of the pros and cons of lightweight boots:

  • Lighter weight
  • More flexible
  • More agile
  • Reduced fatigue (less weight)
  • Faster drying
  • More breathable
  • Less durable
  • Less waterproof

One of the downsides of these kinds of boots is that if you need to walk through heavy dew-covered vegetation, or if an unexpected storm rolls in, you might find yourself a bit wet. In these situations you may wish you had laced up your tall leather boots but it is too late to make the switch. That is just one of the risks associated with a minimalist approach and going with a lightweight boot.

That being said, if you select a quality pair of lightweight boots like these Zamberlan Anabasis, you will minimize that risk as they performed admirably.

HEAVYWEIGHT/LEATHER BOOTS – BEST USES

When it comes to handling harsh weather, a good pair of heavy duty leather boots is often times the right decision. Leather aids in keeping rain, snow, and cold out better than most synthetics, and as such, you will stay dry and comfortable longer which will keep you in the field. As mentioned before, you will pay the price in weight and agility, but I am more than willing to put up with that for warm, dry feet on a cold winter day. That is simply a no brainier. Another benefit of many leather boots is that you oftentimes have an insulated option for when temperatures really drop.

For experimentation sake, I tried a pair of synthetic “waterproof” boots on a cold, wet day of hunting in the rain and snow, and there simply is no comparison to a pair of quality waterproof leather boots. The leather boots kept my feet dry for days on end rather than being soaked on the first day with my lightweight synthetic boots, even though both had a Gore-Tex waterproof liner. The treated leather makes a big difference.

Based on my experience over the last 30 years of wearing all different kinds of footwear, here are some of the pros and cons of heavier leather boots:

  • Better durability
  • More waterproof
  • More rigidity
  • Better ankle support
  • Better with heavier loads
  • Warmer
  • Heavier
  • Less agile
  • More “clunky” feeling
  • Take longer to dry

Factory Insole Replacement – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

When doing a boot review, I always give the factory insoles a fair chance to perform before replacing them. And, while the ones that come with the Zamberalan Anabasis are not bad, after a couple trips the factory Zamberlan insoles just did not provide the comfort I was looking for.

With pretty much EVERY pair of boots I have ever worn I ended up replacing the insoles. Typically, I have gone with some old standbys and long time favorites: the SuperFeet Trailblazer Insoles. Over the last couples years, though, I gave the Sheep Feet custom orthotics a try, and man, what a difference! Those Super Feet are great for a budget-friendly option, but there was simply no comparison to these Sheep Feet custom orthotics. It is more money and a bit of a process to get Sheep Feet insoles but it is absolutely worth it as you get a fully-customized orthotic, made just for you, based on the imprint of your foot.

Sheep Feet sends you an impression box to take your foot imprint and then you mail it back to them (prepaid shipping provided). A few weeks later your custom-made orthotics show up. Now, I learned the hard way to ease your feet into using these. Given that your feet likely are not used to the kind of support they provide, start with shorter hikes or walks with the Sheep Feet, and transition your way into using them full time.

I failed to follow that process prior to taking them on a weekend hunting and backpacking trip, and I came home with sore arches. That was my fault as the instructions said to slowly transition into them but I rushed the process. Word to the wise, give yourself time for your feet to get used to them!

Stiffness & Support – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

Over the years I have gone back and forth between more flexible, lightweight boots and stiffer, more rugged boots. I even tested some lightweight boots that have a stiffer midsole like the Crispi Thor II boots last year (see that Crispi Thor II review here). Some love that stiffer feeling and some are opposed to it. I often find that more flexible boots come with the penalty of feeling more of the ground under your feet which can be unpleasant depending on the surface. However, the Zamberlan Anabasis was far better than others I have tried in the ultralight category. Flexibility without feeling every rock under your feet is a great combination that you get with the Anabasis.

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

These Zamberlan Anabasis boots fall into this flexible category, and I found them to be the perfect balance of flexibility and support for the hiking I did. I like to have the flexibility to be agile on the trail when needed, which the Anabasis provides in spades.

What I did not expect from the Zamberlan Anabasis was enough support to comfortably handle heavy loads on these hikes. However, not only did it handle these heavy pack hikes, it did so over and over throughout the entire summer without issue.

Another area of concern for a lot of folks is the amount of footbed cushion a boot/shoe provides. This can be particularly critical for high mileage hikes, heavy load hauling, people with nerve issues in their feet, or those who may have more of a propensity for getting sore spots underfoot.

Admittedly I do not have nerve issues in my feet and am not prone to underfoot soreness, so I may not be the best to assess this attribute, but I can say that I did not experience any issues whatsoever with the Zamberlan Anabasis boots, and if anything, I felt like they offered a generous amount of underfoot cushion, particularly for a lightweight hiker.

Lacing Eyelets – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

There are a few unique features in the lacing system of the Zamberlan Anabasis. First, you will notice that there is no deep set heel locking hook or loop like a lot of boots. I was fairly concerned about that when I first saw them and figured I would find my foot slipping into the toe box on steep descents. Those worries were put to rest, though, as the Zamberlan Anabasis kept my foot firmly locked into place on those steep downhill hikes, even with 65 pounds strapped to by pack.

Interestingly enough, I found it very easy to over-tighten the boots, even with the lack of a deep set ankle loop or hook, so I learned over time to resist the urge to apply more pressure than required.

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

Another somewhat unique feature of the lacing system is the soft MicroFiber lacing loops Zamberlan used rather than typical metal hooks and eyelets. Again, I was a bit worried about durability at first glance but they have held up great so far. Not only that but they are extremely comfortable.

Traction / Outsole – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

One of the things I LOVE about the Zamberlan Anabasis is their more aggressive Vibram outsole. Oftentimes with a lightweight hiker style of boot you are given a more shallow tread pattern that is not conducive to venturing off the trail. As you can see above, the Vibram Junko outsole with MegaGrip that Zamberlan puts on the Anabasis gives you a deeper tread and plenty of traction for both on and off-trail use.

Materials – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

One of the unique design features of the Zamberlan Anabasis boots is that they are made with MicroFiber rather than Cordura. I was extremely skeptical of this initially as I had limited experience with MicroFiber and could not attest to its durability. However, I have been nothing but impressed with how these boots have held up over the course of any entire spring and summer of hiking, mostly heavy loads.

Waterproof Testing – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

While these boots are not ones I would want to be using in really wet conditions, they did a great job of keeping me dry while hiking through wet grass, crossing creeks, and rainy conditions. If I was using these in a hunting situation where I needed to bust through wet brush off-trail, I would make sure to wear my First Lite Brambler Gaiters to keep the moisture from creeping down my socks into the boots and keep my pant legs dry.

After a Full Season’s Use – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Zamberlan Anabasis boots review

After using these for a full hiking season, they hardly look any worse for the wear. I was again surprised at how well they fared but I also didn’t do as much off-trail hiking as I do with my hunting boots.

Annual Care – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

One of the beautiful things about this MicroFiber material is that they require almost no annual maintenance to keep them looking great. Simply use some mild soap, water, and a soft brush to remove dirt and debris before storing for the offseason, and your Anabasis boots will be ready to go when it is time to hit the trail again.

What I liked – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

Overall, I walked away from the Zamberlan Anabasis boot review LOVING these boots. For my uses and purposes, they worked perfectly as my training hikers with the ability to crossover as a hunting boot for those who love an ultralight boot with more of a running shoe feel to them. Personally, I prefer a slightly more robust boot for hunting season, but I also would not hesitate to use these for early season archery hunting.

WHAT I LIKED

  • Lightweight (under 1 lb each)
  • Durable
  • Ultra-comfortable
  • Flexible but supportive
  • Great traction (Vibram outsole)

What I Didn’t Like – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

These was little to dislike about the Zamberlan Anabasis boots; however, there were a few minor things that I did not love. After playing with the lacing system a lot, I found it a bit challenging to get the upper section of the boot laced perfectly without the lower section (forefoot) being over-tightened.

The widest part of my foot usually felt slightly too snug, but if I loosened it enough to feel great, the upper portion felt slightly too loose. I attribute this mostly to the width of my foot; however, I also feel like a locking ankle hook that was set deeper may allow for independent adjustment of the upper and lower portions of the lacing to better accommodate various foot types.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

  • No ankle hook
  • Tight around lower foot

Conclusion – Zamberlan Anabasis Boot Review

The Zamberlan Anabasis hiking boots were more durable than I expected, extremely comfortable, handled heavy loads far better than I could have hoped, and performed well in moderately wet conditions. While they certainly will not be as durable as a full leather boot, you do not buy these boots expecting them to be. The price point is right in line with something like the Solomon Quest 4D GTX, but personally, I prefer these as they have been more durable and waterproof.

Buy the Zamberlan Anabasis

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