I Love These Boots
I have to say these are the most expensive boots I have ever purchased but the money spent was well worth it. These boots are super! There was no break-in time associated with them. The first time I took them out, I went on an 8.5 mile hike and did not have any issues. Since then I have hiked in them in the Wichita Mountains, Pecos Wilderness, Wheeler Peak Wilderness and White Mountains Wilderness. Conditions ranged from dry to mud to snow covered trails. Ankle support is excellent and the Vibram sole worked very well on muddy trail to snow covered talus enroute to Wheeler Peak. I can't get over how comfortable they are every time I put them on. Even with the Zamberlan insoles, they are still comfy. These boots are a little much for normal hiking, but, the protection they provide, especially in the ankle are, is superb. Backpacking with these ATV's will be easy and I have a little excursion planned for these in November in the Lincoln National Forest. Awesome boot. I noticed they run a little wide. I normally wear an 11 to 11.5 US, D width and I have a pair of Asolo FSN 95's in the wide width because the D width was too narrow. I got the Steeps in an 11.5 and they are very roomy. But, that's ok because it allows me to wear a much thicker trekking sock which adds to the comfort. I had a small issue with heel lift, but, now that the ankle area has "worn-in" a little more, coupled with a different lacing technique, I no longer have that issue. You won't be disappointed. Don't let the "steep" price deter you, you won't regret getting them. I have not had issues with the gortex membrane leaking.
I picked up a pair of these boots for my wife and was sufficiently impressed to pick up a pair for myself. I'm used to wearing slightly stiffer, slightly heavier boots for backpacking that I frequently wear on dayhikes also when hiking over rugged terrain in the Cascades, so these seem exceptionally easy to wear and very flexible. I can easily bend the toe back to where it can touch the laces. To me these boots are like a pair of big sneakers with great traction and waterproofness. They wouldn't be my first choice for backpacking or big stretches of snow traversing, but they are very easy to wear given the flexibility of the materials (even the vibram sole is an exceedingly soft mix) and feel good for trail hiking. A great boot to have, and very well made. I'm very impressed with the various boots Zamberlan offers. I find with the sizing, that it's easier to go by the European sizing if you can look up it's equivalent, at least in terms relative to other boot manufacturers, because the stated US size is really more of what other boot manufacturers list as a UK size (Lowa, La Sportiva, Scarpa, etc.).
These are the best made boots I've ever worn. They're comfortable right out of the box, they give plenty of support, they're easy to lace and they feel like they're going to last for years. I was concerned about two things: 1. The leather rather than rubber rand around the front. I don't think this will be an issue, all leather boots do fine sans-rubber toe guards. 2. The boots are just a tiny bit more spacious around my ankles than I'm used to, I thought they might be a bit loose. They're not, they fit perfectly and my heel stays down, my toes never get pushed up into the front and I've had no rubs. Whether the lighter sibling of these boots, the 540 Steep is a better choice is still up in the air, I'm trying them both and might end up keeping them both as other reviews here have.