The perfect all-mountain boot if you like to hike in all kinds of terrain – but at a stiff price point.
A wear-anywhere boot
Too technical and pricy for more casual walkers
Wider fit may not suit narrow feet
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The Scarpa Zodiac is that holy grail, a tall trail boot that doesn’t come with the weight or lack of flexibility of a more mountain-focused design, and it's one of the best women's hiking boots we've tested.
Lightweight and athletic enough to go trekking and backpacking but waterproof and sturdy enough to inspire confidence on the mountains, scrambling or even on Via Ferrata routes, this is a brilliant boot to invest in if you want a great hiking boot to progress higher into the hills with.
Scarpa’s ‘sock fit’ technology makes the boot fit snugly to your foot with no bunching around the tongue, and the supple suede outer is tough but still flexible, and moulds nicely to your foot.
The tried-and-trusted combo of Gore-Tex’s breathable and waterproof membrane coupled with reliably sticky Vibram soles means you can hike confidently on varied trails and hold your own on wet, slippy surfaces. If you’re getting serious about your walking adventures, these are worth the spend.
• RRP: $269 (US) / £200 (UK)
• Weight (per boot): 545g/1lb 3.2oz
• Materials used: 1.8mm Perwanger suede leather upper; 2-layer Gore-Tex waterproof lining; Vibram Drumlin
• Colours: Shark and orange
• Compatibility: An all-mountain winner - tough enough for mountain routes or scrambling but relaxed and light enough to wear on more casual hikes down in the valley
In the field
We really enjoyed testing out these wear-anywhere boots – they might look a bit excessive on a casual coastal walk, but let them turn heads. Take them anywhere else and they’re a joy to hike in, gripping to any surfaces and making tough mountain trails up to scree-covered summits easy.
The high, narrow cuffs give great confidence even when you’re on tricky terrain – if you’re progressing into easy scrambles, these boots are ready to come with you. That stability and ankle support is also brilliant if you’re carrying the weight of a heavy backpack on multi-day treks.
The Zodiacs are also warm enough to withstand the winter – we’ve even walked in them in snow. The only places we wouldn’t take the Zodiac Plus would be casual summer walks, when they’d be too stiff and heavy, or travelling, when they’d be too bulky to be portable.
If you’re getting serious about your walking adventures and want just one pair of boots to wear in all terrain, these are definitely worth the spend.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.