Tuesday, 11 September 2018 23:10

Zamberlan 125 Intrepid RR: Tested & Reviewed

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The next shoe in our group test is the Zamberlan 125 Intrepid RR. This time I take out Italian designed and built approach shoes. Lets have a look at what makes them tick and how they performed.

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Zamberlan say:

Mountain approach shoe that has a suede upper with Hydrobloc treatment to enhance waterproofness. Rubber Reinforcement System on the toe and on the heel area to provide better protection. Double density moulded EVA midsole to provide cushioning and impact shock absorption. To toe lacing system for a more precise fitting and a better foot wrapping. Vibram Predator outsole for high traction and grip.


UPPER:                     Hydrobloc® Suede
LINING:                     Polyester
INSOLE:                    Nylon 3mm
MIDSOLE:                 Double Density Molded EVA
OUTSOLE:                Zamberlan® Vibram® Raptor
SIZE RANGE:           40-48 Half Sizes
WEIGHT (1/2 PAIR): 385 Gr (Misura/Size 42)
LAST:                        ZFR

What we think:

Having worn Zamberlan’s boots before I have was keen to see what they were like with a lower ankle coverage. Previous experience is a well fitted, well put together boot. If you read the literature on their website you will read all the technologies they have developed and patented to make the footwear they produce today.

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The Intrepid RR has all this technology and you can feel it. From what I can gather the 125 is the number used to identify the model so has no bearing on the specification. I did have to ask what the RR stood for though, it means Rubber Rand. Which is what you’d expect on a shoe of this type. It does exactly what it should, on a day scrambling it took a few knocks and scrapes which hardly even show.

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The lacing system down to the toe does allow the shoe to wrap around the foot, for reference I have quite a narrow foot and even at the laces tightest it still has plenty pull in to go. Following the first couple of trips out I did notice a little pain in the bridge of my foot. Since then I have allowed the laces out a little and haven’t experienced any further problems or the shoe being loose. Purely user error.

The patented Hydrobloc® on the suede gives the outer material its water resistance. I have noticed the water beading on the material when I was walking in rainy, damp conditions. There has been no sign of the material wetting out. The cuff does feel a little lower cat than most shoes I have come across, not by much though. It did lead to a little water ingress via the socks when in longer grass.

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That brings me on to the grip, the Vibram Raptor sole unit, as you can see from the picture, has a lower profile lug and a flatter toe section. The toe section is common for this type of approach shoe, sometimes called the climb zone. It allows a precise toe placement when scrambling, on the Intrepids this is very effective. I have used worse climbing shoes for edging and would have no issues taking these on a lower graded rock climbing route.

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The grip in general terrain, grass, scree, paths on the rest of the outsole is equally good. I pushed the limits on wet grass and although it wasn’t like glue it did inspire confidence. There was never any issues of grip.

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The Intrepid RR lives up to the Zamberlan tradition. The sole unit is thin so there is a bit of comfort lost but the balance of the precise nature of the grip achieved, the relatively light weight and the way the shoe wraps around the foot all the way to the toe means that from Spring to Autumn the Intrepid will allow you to get anywhere with confidence.

Look out for the overall scores from the Hiking/Approach Shoe group test at the end of the week.

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