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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Zamberlan Crest or Rica GT > Test Report by Leesa Joiner

 155 Rica GT - Woman's Hiking Shoe
Test Series

Initial Report: August 23, 2008
Field Report: December 1, 2008
Long Term Report: January 30, 2009

Tester Information:
Name: Leesa Joiner
Age: 46
Location: Western Maine, USA
Height: 5'7" (1.7 m)
Weight: 155 (70 kg)

     My outdoor experiences include trips varying in length from one-day hikes to two-week trips.  Most involve my three children. While my style isn't as 'high adventure' as some, I do enjoy the time we spend outdoors.   My load used to be HEAVY - think pack mule.  Now that the kids carry their own gear, plus the two oldest help carry the food, etc, my load is lighter.  I go for durability over weight when selecting gear.
    While outdoors, I spend time hiking, geocaching, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and camping. I spend almost as much time outdoors during the winter as I do during the summer. 


Product Information:
Manufacturer: Zamberlan
Manufacturer's Website:
Year Manufactured: 2008
MSRP: $125.00 US
Measured Weight: 18 oz (510 g) size 9.5 (one shoe)
Advertised Weights:  16.76 oz (475 g) size 8 (one shoe)

Product Description:

From the Manufacturer: A low-cut hiking shoe built on a women's specific last using premium quality Hydrobloc™ treated water-resistant split-leather. The waterproof breathable GORE-TEX® membrane and gusseted-tongue construction keeps water out while still allowing your foot to expel moisture from within.

Upper:                     Hydrobloc™ Premium Split-leather/ Nylon Cordura®
Upper Protection:         Rubber reinforced toe-cap
Hardware:                 High Resistance Treatment
Lining:                      GORE-TEX®
Footbed:                   Zamberlan 3-Action Anatomic Footbed
Padding:                    Zamberlan Air System
Midsole/shank:             Zamberlan Modular Flex GT
Toe & Heel:                Thermoplastic
Sole:                        Zamberlan™ A.M.S. grip rubber sole

First Impressions:

The Zamberlan RICA GT is a low cut, women's specific hiking shoe.  It arrived looking as I expected from the company's web page.   The hikers are two-tone brown and black, made with Hydrobloc™ treated water-resistant split-leather.  The laces feed through reinforced, alternating offset fabric loops.  The tongue is cushioned on the top inside.  

I found the RICA to be very comfortable.  The V notch that is cut out of the top of the tongue, keeps the tongue from rubbing against my lower leg (where it meets my foot).  The back of the hiker also has a notch cut out, that keeps it from rubbing against my achilles tendon.  There is extra padding around the top of the shoe, that so far has kept it from rubbing uncomfortably.  

Having worn the RICA's for a few miles, I find them to be comfortable and they fit well.  I am looking forward to wearing them on many hikes, in many different locations and in different weather.  I am curious as to their ability to handle water, and how well they do on slippery surfaces.   The manufacturer's claim that they 'expel water from within' is interesting.  I am not sure if they mean water that comes in from the outside - such as from when I may step in a puddle, or if they mean perspiration.    Either one would be welcome.

Front view
The front toe box of the RICA is a reinforced rubber.

instep view
side view
 One of the interesting features of these hikers are the back and tongue loops.   The back loop makes sliding the hiker on much easier.  The front loop also serves the same purpose and allows  me to put the hiker on while standing up, without holding on to anything for support.  The lacing is easy to loosen and tighten, allowing for quick changes.   As seen in the pictures, the small black areas on the sides and back of the hikers are ventilation areas.     
bottom tread

The hikers appear to be well made, and are extremely comfortable.    The shoe is fairly rigid and provides adequate support but remains flexible enough to be comfortable.   The rubber tread on the bottom of the hikers is fairly aggressive.   The outside lugs are arranged diagonally around the outside of the sole, with the center lugs being in a more front to back arrangement (see picture).

Living in Maine, will give me the opportunity to test these hikers in a wide range of weather conditions.  Summer is just winding down as we head into my favorite outdoor season.   Fall is usually beautiful in Maine, with warm days and cool nights.  Novemember tends to be rainy, which will give me the opportunity to try out the 'Waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex' claims that the company makes.  In the coming 4 months I will be looking at issues related to comfort, waterproofness, traction and durability.   Please check back in approximately 2 months for my field report.

Field Report
December 1, 2008

Over the last two months, I have had the opportunity to wear the Zamberlans on numerous occaisions.  I've worn them on over 10 hikes.  3 of those were hikes of about 5 continous miles (8 K) each, others were somewhat longer but more broken up.  I've also worn them for short hikes in the 5000 acre wildlife management area behind my land, while walking the dogs, and around town.

The weather in northern New England has become much colder and wetter over the last two months.  Our night time temperatures are in the low 30s F (-1 C) and daytime temperatures range from 35 - 50 F (2 - 10 C).  I encountered rain on two hikes, thankfully both times were towards the end of the hike.  Many of the hikes were after rains that left the trails very wet and muddy. My hikes were all at elevations below 3000 ft. (1067 m) and covered some groomed trails, rocky pathways, and bushwacking through pine scrub areas.

I have found that the Zamberlans have provided my feet with very comfortable support, allowing me to walk farther than usual, without any discomfort.  The shoe offers firm support, with a high enough instep that it helps to hold my somewhat flat foot in the proper position for comfortable walking.  Even when walking for 6-7 hours a day, I end up with no hot spots or areas that rub uncomfortably on my foot.   The tongue of the shoe just barely touches the front of my ankle - but the V-notch cut out of the tongue keeps it from rubbing against my skin.  Another spot that sometimes causes problems for me in other hiking shoes, is the back of the ankle.  Again, the V-notch cut-out keeps it from rubbing uncomfortably against the back of my ankle.  

The soles show very little wear, which surprises me after wearing them so much.  I expected to see more wear than the slight wear on the inside edge, near the balls of my feet.  The wear is minimal, it is just enough to take the edge off of the outer tread.

While hiking Province Mountain in New Hampshire in early October, on a wet trail I managed to soak one of my feet. When I got back to the car almost 2 hours later, I found that my sock that had been soaked was almost dry.  The best part though was even though the temperatures were in the low 40s F (4 C), my feet were warm enough and comfortable.  I found that the shoe had enough air circulation, that it allowed my sock to dry almost completely. The inner part of the shoe was dry to the touch.

I did notice that the shoes, when wet on the inside, leech color onto my socks.  I wasn't too surprised when it happened when the shoes were new, but after weeks of wear, it was still happening.  It's not a big deal to me, since it is the marks aren't very dark, and doesn't show up on any colored socks, just my white ones.  

On a few trips, the trails were wet.  I was able to wear the Zamberlans while hiking over wet rocks, mud and fallen leaves.  I did well on all but the leaves.  The shoes had great gripping power on the rocks, and did fine on the mud. I really think wet leaves are almost impossible to avoid sliding on, no matter what I wear, especially when they stick to the bottom of my shoes.   My feet didn't get wet at any time from splashed water.   The water ran off the shoe quickly, without wetting out the shoe.

One a hike in southwestern Maine that involved climbing over a lot of branches and rocks, I was a little concerned that I might twist my ankle, since I am used to wearing high top hiking boots most of the time.  I was so pleasantly surprised - I did fine, and my ankles had enough support in the Zamberlans.  

One nice thing about these hikers, that is not always the case with my hiking shoes - they don't smell 'bad' after wearing them all day.  I can actually take them off, and leave them in my tent at night, without needing to increase the ventilation in the tent.  I'm sure there are others in my tent who appreciate that too.

As I started to write this report I noticed something unusual about the hikers.  They still look clean.  I've worn them in mud, they've been soaked, and they still look clean.   I'm not complaining at all, I love that I can wear them out and they still look good.  I'm not sure if the colors are what helps them look new, or if they just shed dirt easily.  I did take a medium bristle brush to one of them - and no dirt seemed to come off, and they both look the same after brushing one of them.   I would say this is a huge plus!

Of course, comfort and durability are most important -  and the Zamberlans are strong in both of those areas also. I am looking forward to continued testing of these hikers.  The next two months will allow me to try them out with snowshoes, and walking on frozen ground.  Check back in February for my long - term report.

Long Term Report
January 30, 2009

Over the last 2 months of testing, I have worn the Zamberlan 155 Rica GT hiking shoe on 5 hikes and a snowshoeing trip.  I have also worn them to and from work, around town, walking the dogs and while traveling.  The shoes have held up extremely well.  The tread is still almost as good as when I got them, the stitching is completely intact and the inner supports still firm.  The only sign of wear is dirt and fading on the outer, darker surfaces of the shoes.  

Wearing the shoes hiking has been a pleasant experience because they help keep my feet comfortable and dry even in snowy conditions.  My hikes have all been over snow packed trails. The temperatures ranged from 12 - 30 degrees F (-11 to -1 C). The terrain, while not too hilly or rough, was covered with packed snow that was slippery and had some rocks to navigate over. Each hike was about 4-5 m (6-8 km), and covered similar terrain.

The snowshoeing trip was an experiment to see if I could use the hiking shoes with snowshoes.  It worked well, mainly because the snow was hard packed.  That kept if from flying up, and me from sinking down into the snow. The shoes have enough substance to them, that I could tighten the bindings on the snowshoe and not have any problems with slippage of the bindings.  I haven't had the chance to try it on powdery snow, but I believe (from past experience) that the snow would get inside of the shoes.  Of course, the hiking shoes weren't designed for that purpose, so I wouldn't expect them to keep the snow out.  I'd love to try the high top hikers, because they may work better with the snowshoes.  

I also have worn them around town and while travelling.  For travelling, they work very well, they are easy to put on and take off, and are comfortable when running through airports. They look nice enough to wear with casual clothes which really increases the usefulness of the shoes.  

Overall, I am extremely impressed with the Zamberlan 155 Rica GT hiking shoes.  They fit well, were very comfortable, held up to miles of use, with little signs of wear.  What more could I ask for?  I will keep using these once spring arrives, they have plenty of life, and tread left on them.   Thank you to Zamberlan and for the opportunity to test these great hiking shoes.

Read more reviews of Zamberlan gear
Read more gear reviews by Leesa Joiner

Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Zamberlan Crest or Rica GT > Test Report by Leesa Joiner

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