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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Garmont Zenith Mid Boots > Test Report by Ryan Lane Christensen

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Zenith Mid GTX
Hiking Boots

Test Series by
Ryan Christensen

Last Update -October 9, 2012

Zenith Mid GTX


April 24, 2012
August 21, 2012
Oct 9, 2012

April 24, 2012

Reviewer Information Backpacking Background
Name:  Ryan L. Christensen
Age:  47
Gender:  Male
Height:  6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:  235 lb (107 kg)
Email:  bigdawgryan(at)yahoo(dot)com
City, State, Country:   Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

I began backpacking at twelve, continuing until 25. After an extended hiatus, due in part to a bad back, I resumed cycling, hiking, and backpacking several years ago. I also began snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. I share my love for backpacking and these sports with my children. I am a midweight backpacker, but carry a full array of necessary gear.

Product Information:

Information in the table below came from Garmont's website and product labeling.

Zenith Mid GTX boots
Manufacturer: Garmont
Manufacturer website:
Place of Manufacture: China
Year Manufactured: 2012
Materials: Upper: 1.6mm water repellent nubuck;
breathable, abrasion resistant mesh
Liner: GORE-TEX XCR (Extended Comfort Range)
Midsole: Perimeter: PU (PolyUrethane)
Core: EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) and
Spine: TPU (Thermoplastic PolyUrethane)
Outsole: Vibram Q768
Sizes Available: UK men's 6 - 13+, half sizes available
(US men's 8.5 - 14)

Limited Warranty

Garmont warrantees its footwear for one year

$159.95 U.S.

Product Specifications
Manufacturer's Specifications  
Listed Weight:
(1/2 pair; size 8 UK)
550 g (19.4 oz)
Tester's Actual Measurements  
Height: 6.5 in (16.51 cm)
(UK 9.5 US 10.5)
1/2 pair: 21.15 oz (599.6 g)
full pair: 42.3 oz (1.2 kg)
Size & Color Tested UK 9.5 (US 10.5)

Product Description:

front view back view
outer view inner view

Clicking the "Products" link on reveals seven lines of footwear: Mountain, Approach, Backpacking, Trail Sport, Active Escape, Hunting Collection, and Winter Outdoor. The Zenith Mid GTX boots, hereafter referred to as "boots" are part of Garmont's Trail Sport line. However, lists Garmont's seven product lines slightly differently: Amica, Zenith, Trail Sport, Backpacking, Approach, Trail Running, and Winter; Zenith is listed as its own line. Although the boots are found in different locations on the two sites, this did not produce any undue confusion or difficulty for me.

The Zenith Mid GTX is a stylish, mid-cut, GORE-TEX lined hiking boot. They came with three tags attached to one of the boots: one tag had the name, size, and color of the boots; another briefly described Garmont's Anatomically Directed Design (ADD) in five languages: English, Italian, Japanese, French, and German; and the third had the GORE-TEX name and logo along with its guarantee to "keep you dry." From the bottom of the sole, to the highest point on the collar, these boots stand approximately 6.5 in (16.51 cm) tall; approximately 0.5 in (1.3 cm) taller than other mid-cut boots I own.insoles

The uppers consist primarily of a nubuck exo-skeleton. There is also a synthetic mesh material in the toe box, around the ankle and most of the gusset. These boots also have a GORE-TEX® XCR (Extended Comfort Range) liner. According to GORE-TEX, XCR uses new and improved membranes and lamination techniques that are 25% less resistant to moisture vapor transmission than classic GORE-TEX. Therefore, XCR is much less resistant to passing water vapor through the fabric to the outside. However, this superior breathability does not sacrifice waterproofness, as the XCR carries an extreme wet-weather rating.

The gusset is attached to the collar approximately 1.5 in (3.8 cm) down from the top of the collar. The gusset is primarily synthetic mesh material with a triangular-shaped suede patch on the outer side. The gusset is padded around the ankle and has a GORE-TEX membrane. The gusset has two loops to pass the laces through. The inner edge of the collar is taller than the outer edge. It also has both suede leather and synthetic mesh on the outside. There is a rubber toe rand and a toe bumper at the front of the boot for added toe protection. On the back of the boot, there is a webbing pull-tab that is approximately 0.5 in (1.27 cm) in width and 1.25 in (3.2 cm) in length. The lacing system consists of a mix of tape webbing, metal D-ring, and cinch hooks. The laces are a semi-flat, woven material.

The footbeds (photo above right) are approximately 0.25 in (0.635 cm) thick molded material. The topside is covered with a fabric of some sort with Garmont and Comfort Climate System (CCS) on it. The footbed has raised sides beginning in the arch area and extending to the back of the heel to form a heel cup.

outsoles The outsoles (photo on right) are Vibram Q768. Key features of this sole are semi blocked heel lugs which Vibram says are for braking and deceleration, and perimeter lugs which Vibram says are for stability. The tread design is fairly aggressive, and is approximately 0.25 in (0.635 cm) deep. The midsole is comprised of a PolyUrethane (PU) perimeter, an Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) core, and a Thermoplastic PolyUrethane (TPU) spine. The integration of these three components is intended to provide stability, shock attenuation, and support.

Garmont claims its Anatomically Directed Design (ADD) encourages the foot to utilize its own natural ability to:

  • stabilize
  • absorb shock
  • propel with efficiency

Detailed information about the specifics of Garmont's Anatomically Directed Design is available on the company's website. It appears Garmont has put a lot of thought and design engineering into its ADD components with the intent to provide greater comfort and stability to the wearer. The idea of increased comfort and fewer ankle sprains is very appealing, especially to me, as I have weak ankles due to the numerous sprains suffered while playing American football and basketball. I am excited to test these boots to see whether Garmont's ADD provides noticeable benefits to me. Testing over the next four months should let me know.

Initial Impression:

Right out of the box, I was impressed with the overall appearance of these boots, especially the aggressive outsoles. They felt on par weight wise with other suede/synthetic mid-cut boots I own. After removing the boots from their cardboard box, I thoroughly inspected them inside and out. I found a little fraying of the synthetic mesh material on one of the gussets--I'll watch this through the test series to see if worsens. Moving on, I could find no other noticeable flaws. These Italian-designed boots appear to be constructed of high quality materials and workmanship.

Initial Testing:

Finished inspecting the boots, I donned them over my cotton low-cut socks. Using the webbing pull tab at the back of the collar, which readily fit my finger, I easily pulled the boots on. Lacing them up and tying them was quick and easy. I like cinch hooks for quick lacing; these boots have two pair on the collar. Once on my feet, I quickly noticed the fit of the boots in the toe box is a slightly tighter and shorter than other similarly sized boots I own. I do not know whether the tighter fit is a sizing issue (their UK 9.5 = US 10.5 vs. UK 10 = US 10.5) or if it is due to the last used in making the boots. I do know however the fit of these boots feels smaller in the toe box than similarly sized boots I own and wear regularly. Maybe after a break-in period they will feel differently. Overall, they were comfortable on my feet as I walked briefly around my home. I especially liked how they felt in the heel. It felt as if the boots were cradling my heels. The boots were also quite comfortable around my ankles. I am keen to see how their tighter fit treats my feet and can hardly wait to get them on the trail to find out. I will report on the fit, performance, and durability in subsequent reports.

Initial Pros:

Initial Cons:

  • Style
  • Quality
  • Toe Rand
  • Aggressive Tread
  • Padded Gusset
  • Padded Collar
  • Good-sized Pull Tab
  • Two Cinch Hooks on Collar
  • fit seems smaller than other US 10.5 boots I own

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August 21, 2012


I have worn the boots approximately twenty-five days, including one two-night and two overnight backpacking trips, and two extended camping trips. The boots have performed well thus far.

Likes Thus Far Dislikes Thus Far
  • remain the same as my initial likes
  • none thus far

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

I wore the boots for ten consecutive days while serving as the course director for Cedar Badge National Youth Leadership Training. This Boy Scouts of America (BSA) course is held at Treasure Mountain Scout Camp, which is located at the base of the Teton Mountains in Wyoming, approximately 10 mi (16 km) east of Driggs, Idaho at an elevation of approximately 6,500 ft (2,000 m). High temperatures were in the upper 90s F (35 - 37 C). I believe the overnight low temperatures were in the upper 30s F (2 - 4 C). I wore the shoes 18+ hours a day while walking trails.

I wore the boots on an a two-night backpack trip into Alaska Basin/Devil's Staircase via Teton Canyon, which is approximately 15 miles (22 m) east of Driggs, Idaho. The trailhead is on the western side of the Tetons.

I wore the boots while helping a youth group rappel at Heise Rock in Kelly Canyon, which is located 26 miles (42 km) northeast of Idaho Falls, in the Targhee National Forest. The area of Kelly Canyon where we were rappelling sits at an elevation of approximately 5,300 ft (1,600 m).

I wore the boots for four consecutive days on our BSA Varsity Scout/Venturing High Adventure to Bear Lake which straddles the Idaho/Utah border. There was a significant rainstorm our first afternoon.

I wore the boots on an overnight backpack trip in Island Park, located between Ashton, Idaho and West Yellowstone, Montana. Island Parks is approximately 6,500 ft (2,000 m) above sea level.

I wore the boots on an overnight backpack trip to the Menan Buttes, located approximately 38 mi (61 km) northeast of Idaho Falls. The North Menan Butte is designated as a National Natural Landmark.


Throughout the test series, the boots have performed very well. They have been very comfortable to wear. The boots have kept my feet dry and blister-free thus far. Additionally, even wearing the boots nearly every day, they have not retained any malodor.

Initially, I was concerned that the fit of these boots might cause me some issues. However, after wearing them for more than twenty-five days, including three backpacking trips, two extended camping trips, and a rappelling outing. I am quite pleased with how well the boots fit my feet. They hold my feet snug and provide great support. The boots have been quite comfortable; I have yet to get a blister, but have not hiked extended distances in the boots. I typically wear third-party insoles. I have yet to try them in these boots, but may do so during the remainder of the test series.

The boots have provided good traction. The boots provided great traction while ascending and descending the steep incline/decline to/from Chief's Rock at Treasure Mountain Scout Camp. The only time I experienced any issues with grip has been on wet rock. This occurred primarily on the rappelling outing in June. It rained rather hard for a period of time. The traction was less than ideal when climbing the wet rocks to assist the rappellers after the rain. I also experienced some traction problems on wet rocks when we explored the Minnetonka Cave during our High Adventure in August. Dripping water made some areas in the cave rather slick. Although I did not fall, I slipped a few times, especially on our decent into the cave. I expect traction problems on wet rocks and do not fault the boots in that regard.

The GORE-TEX liner kept my feet dry on the rappelling outing as well as on our BSA High Adventure in August where we had a significant downpour our first afternoon. The boots are holding up well. I have not noticed any issues with stitching, materials, or other durability issues thus far.

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October 9, 2012


During the test series, I have worn the boots approximately forty days. The boots have performed well.

Likes Dislikes
  • Style
  • Quality
  • Toe Rand
  • Aggressive Tread
  • Padded Gusset
  • Padded Collar
  • Good-sized Pull Tab
  • Two Cinch Hooks on Collar
  • none

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

I wore the boots eleven different days to work, walking around my neighborhood and local foot hills.

I wore the boots on an overnight backpacking trip in the Kelly Canyon Nordic Area, which is located 26 miles (42 km) northeast of Idaho Falls, in the Targhee National Forest. The Nordic Area starts at an elevation of approximately 5,900 ft (1,798 m) and reaches elevations of 6,700 ft (2,042 m).

I wore them on an overnight backpacking trip in Island Park, which is located between Ashton, Idaho and West Yellowstone, Montana. Island Park is approximately 6,500 ft (1,981 m) above sea level.


As has been my experience with other Italian-designed boots, the Garmont Zenith boots have performed well. I wore them an additional 15 days since submitting my Field Report. I generally use third-party insoles in my boots, but I have not done so with these boots. The boots have been and remain comfortable, holding my feet snugly in place.

The boots remain completely waterproof. The GORE-TEX liner kept my feet nice and dry in puddled water. Wearing one pair of medium-weight merino wool socks has been sufficient with these boots. No blisters to report this test.

The boots provided good traction on the inclines and talus. The only issue I have had with traction was on wet rock, as noted in my Field Report. The soles remain in really great shape.

The uppers have been great in the rain and mud. Even after walking through dew and even puddled water, the resulting discoloration has been minimal. The seams remain tight, with no loose or fraying threads. The uppers have held up well walking through the sage brush and other brush, especially on my outing in Island Park. There are no tears in the mesh or even significant scuffing of the leather.

Although I have not had the opportunity to wear these boots in snow, I look forward to wearing them in the snow in the not too distant future, as we move into late fall and winter. I also look forward to wearing them snowshoeing.


I like how these boots feel on my feet and how they perform. I will wear these boots until they die. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a moderately priced Gore-Tex hiking boot.

This concludes my Garmont Zenith GTX boot Test Series. Thanks to Garmont and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test these boots.
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