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Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns Review

zamberlan bunion
Overall
3.6
  • Comfort of fit
    (5)
  • Stability and precision
    (3.5)
  • Waterproofing
    (2)
  • Breathability
    (3.5)
  • Sole
    (4)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

Shoe specially designed for the female foot suffering from hallux valgus. Soft and flexible construction, seamless, suitable for hiking on paths and easy terrain. Design and materials devoted to wearing comfort, suffers limited water resistance due to the choice not to adopt a waterproof membrane.

Pros

  • Extra space in the toe area
  • No seams
  • Good ankle protection
  • Comfort

Cons

  • Reduced water resistance
  • Modest grip on muddy terrain

The Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Bunion are boots made by the Vicenza-based company with a specific last for people suffering from hallux valgus (bunion), like myself.

They are boots for easy hiking with medium-light loads on various terrains such as meadows, dirt roads, mountain trails and even rocky and scree slopes.

zamberlan bunion wns

Technical features of the Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns

  • Upper: Hydrobloc Nubuck Vesta Leather
  • Upper thickness: 1.6 mm -1.8 mm
  • Lining: Calf leather
  • Insole: Nylon 2mm + PE
  • Midsole: EVA Wedge
  • Tread: Vibram Pillow
  • Last: Zamberlan Bunion Fit WNS
  • Weight: 483 g (single shoe, size 39)
  • Manufacturer country: Italy
  • Manufacturer link

In English ‘bunion’ means – unpoetically – precisely ‘hallux valgus’, the problem that these boots promise to solve.

The Bunion version of the 321 New Trail Lite is not simply “wide” or one size larger, but is a model designed to offer more room, but only where needed, so that the big toe is not compressed.

The specific shape of the 'Bunion' model (source: Zamberlan)
The specific shape of the ‘Bunion’ model (source: Zamberlan)

Test mode

I tested the Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns this spring, mainly in rain, bad weather and the occasional sunny day.

The test was trails of difficulty T and E on varied terrain: grassland, mountain trails, scree and scree areas, white roads and asphalt.

The height differences covered ranged from 300 to 1000 metres, with altitudes ranging from 600 m to 2300 m above sea level.

Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns on-site test

First impressions

The Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns are a lightweight and simple boot with a somewhat vintage and aesthetically pleasing design.

The upper is made of a single piece of Nubuck leather, which is very pleasant to the touch and particularly soft.

They are flexible, but without overdoing it and making the foot lose its stability. They have a medium ankle height that offers good protection and support.

zamberlan bunion boots

Comfort and fit

The Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns are easy-to-wear boots: they have a set of D-hooks and two upper hooks with open grommets. This type of closure simplifies and speeds up adjustment.

The upper and lower hooks of the Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns.
The upper and lower hooks of the Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns.

The sole of the foot is wide and is designed specifically for people suffering from hallux valgus. In fact, an extra space has been designed for the big toe, which in this way is not compressed.

In addition, the particularly soft Nubuck leather lining does not compress and adapts well to the shape of the foot.

The upper is designed to be seamless, so there are no disturbing elements at the big toe, which is significantly more sensitive in valgus conditions.

The extra space of the big toe.
The extra space of the big toe

The foot inside the New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion is comfortable, the toes are free to move and have enough space.

From the very first fit the sensation is positive, there is no feeling of constriction on the big toe, the space dedicated to it is adequate without being excessive. The ankle is supported and well wrapped thanks to the shaped collar.

The only flaw, but not a dramatic one, concerns the laces: excessively long for my taste!

Walking behaviour

The walk is natural and relaxed, with a smooth, even roll.

The sole, which is soft but not too soft, performs well even on stony ground and cushions the uneven ground well under the sole of the foot. The EVA Wedge midsole provides support and cushioning on all terrain, even the most uneven.

walking with zamberlan bunion

The sole of Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns

The Vibram Pillow tread sole has good grip both uphill and downhill on mixed terrain, including rough ones.

On the other hand, it has limited grip on muddy terrain, where there is a risk of slipping when tackling steeper descents, particularly when tackled without poles. The slightly pronounced tread blocks and the overall design of the sole are evidently designed for use on dry terrain and in any case not too steep when wet.

vibram sole

Structure dedicated to hallux valgus

As I said, the ‘Bunions’ are a specifically shaped version for people suffering from hallux valgus. I therefore tried to find out how effective they can be by involving a person I trust in the test who has a bunion valgus problem that is much more severe than mine.
a person I trust with a hallux valgus problem that is much more severe than mine.

  • For those suffering from moderate to normal hallux valgus (as in my case), the effectiveness of the Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Bunion was very good. Usually I am forced to take an extra size to remedy my problem, whereas in this case I was able to wear my correct size.
  • For those who suffer from a severe form of hallux valgus (as in the case of the other person), however, the Bunions are only partially resolved. Although they proved to be very comfortable going uphill, when going downhill they could not solve the problem and the pain in the big toe area was felt.

In short, the Bunions prove to be excellent for those with a mild to moderate problem, but they cannot work miracles for those with an acute hallux valgus condition.

zamberlan bunion

Waterproofness and thermal insulation

From the point of view of thermal insulation, I was pleasantly impressed because, despite the cold days (temperature between 7/10 degrees), the calfskin upper was always a guarantee in terms of thermal insulation.

testing with zamberlan bunion with rain

On the other hand, as far as waterproofness is concerned, the Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Bunion showed some rather obvious limitations. After a few hours of walking in the rain (even not intense rain), water always infiltrated the upper.

However, this shortcoming has a precise explanation, linked to the choice of offering a specific last for hallux valgus. The application of a Gore-Tex membrane would have prevented effective shaping of the shoe in the hallux area. So Zamberlan opted for a soft water-repellent but not waterproof leather.

In short, it’s a shoe to wear when the weather forecast turns nice, a bit like trail or fast hiking shoes without a waterproof membrane.

zamberlan bunion test with rain

Sustainability of the Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns

The leather used by Zamberlan has the LWG certificate, which identifies the best environmental performance of the leather production facilities.

Fit

I tested the Zamberlan 321 New Trail Lite Evo Lth Bunion Wns in the same size as my foot. This choice was also shared by the other tester. In fact, this boot with a wide sole and extra space for the big toe is comfortable as it is and there is no need to buy it in a larger size.

testing the zamberlan bunion

Recommended for

For all women who, like me, suffer from hallux valgus and are fed up with having to buy shoes half or a size bigger. From this point of view, they are perfect for those who are starting to have difficulties with hallux valgus and/or are struggling with compromising on the area affected by valgus.

Their field of application is day hikes on trails of hiking difficulty, with mixed and even uneven ground, in low and medium mountain areas. They are best with light loads, because the upper is soft and the sole flexible.

Due to their construction philosophy, I would not recommend them for activities in uncertain weather or on particularly muddy terrain.

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