Hiking shoes should be pliable, flexible trainers for lightweight summer ambles through to full-on stiff approach shoes and the Zamberlan Circe GTX Low sits towards the upper end, lurking around the well-loaded hiking zone. They’re not the lightest, but the build is sturdy, plush and well-made, using loads of high-quality elements and the overall impression is reassuringly solid.

Lara Dunn’s Highly Recommended

They’re not cheap and they are quite weighty but these are a good looking, comfortable and effective alternative to boots for a lot of walks.
  • Supportive
  • Cushioned
  • Sturdy
  • Weighty
  • Expensive
Quick specs
Price: £210
Weight: 756g (for size 39)
Materials: Microfibre upper, Gore-Tex lining, EVA midsole, Vibram Megagrip outsole
Features: Asymmetric protective toe bumper, Gore-Tex lining, female specific design
Sizes: UK4-UK9 / EU37-43 (including half sizes)
Women’s/Men’s Version: Women’s (no men’s direct equivalent available)

Built on a female-specific, the fit is fine-tuned for the average female foot, narrower at the heel than a men’s, and certainly comfortable straight from the box. The addition of half EU sizes is welcome, giving plenty of scope to get just the right fit, and these size up just as described. The cushioning at the ankle and underfoot is ample and ideal for long hikes even with a loaded pack, and the feel is really reminiscent of a pair of hiking boots rather than a pair of trainers. With the exception of the lack of ankle support of a shoe, these are well capable of all but the gnarliest of walks and have given a comfortable and supportive ride right from the word go, the best on test in terms of that sheer level of performance.

The Vibram outsole on the Zamberlan Circe GTX is grippy and well-capable on a variety of surfaces, wet and dry. Equally, the suede effect microfibre upper, equipped with Gore-Tex membrane makes light work of wet and muddy conditions, although as these come in such an attractive colour, it feels a shame when they inevitably turn brownish. Having a Gore-Tex membrane does mean that they run on the warmer side, so might not be optimal for hot summer hikes, but for most conditions they’re breathable enough to not make feet too sweaty. The protective asymmetric toe bumper (think climbing shoe styling) does a great job on rockier ground and is even up to a bit of scrambling.

They’re not cheap and they are quite weighty but these are a good looking, comfortable and effective alternative to boots for a lot of walks.

Written and tested by Lara Dunn

Lara usually takes a size UK5.5/6 or EU38.5/39 depending on fit/shape/purpose of footwear. She does find that heel lift can often be a problem due to particularly narrow heels. This shoe was mostly tested on short and longer day walks in the Malvern Hills during an unusually wet autumn and winter, with additional forays to the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains, with and without a rucksack.