Explicitly designed for early-season archery, the Zamberlan 1214 Lynx boots were right up my alley. My old Danners had served me well, but they were beginning to fall apart at the seams, and I was long overdue for new pair of boots. Because when your feet meet the earth, you’d better have a rock-solid boot to keep you grounded.
So, I began searching for a boot with excellent ankle support for the times I spend chasing elk and deer around Colorado’s deep timbers. I also needed a boot that was stable enough for scrambling up rocky mountainsides, breathable enough to keep my feet ventilated on hot September afternoons, yet warm enough to extend into later seasons.
I needed a waterproof boot that could handle sloshing through muddy puddles, cold downpours in the high country, and early-season snowstorms.
In other words, I was looking for a high-end do-it-all boot that suits my run-and-gun backcountry archery hunting style. Not too much to ask for, right?
After wracking my brain and scanning through products, I arrived at the Zamberlan 1214 Lynx, pulled the trigger, and added them to my hunting checklist.
But could my new boots keep up with my high-intensity style of backcountry hunting? Could they keep my feet warm and dry in the wilderness? Would they be worth the significant investment?
My initial impressions are in. Keep reading for my top-to-bottom review of the Zamberlan 1214 Lynx archery hunting boots.
Zamberlan 1214 Lynx Archery Hunting Boots
Features & Specs
- Height: High-mid
- Weight: ~ 2.1 pounds a boot
- Upper Material: Full-grain camo-patterned Italian leather
- Outsole: Camouflaged Zamberlan Vibram 3D
- Insulation: Uninsulated
- Waterproofing: GORE-TEX Performance Comfort Membrane
Where & How I’ve Tested These Boots
My Lynxs are a relatively new purchase, so I haven’t put loads of miles on them… yet. To be transparent: I don’t have multiple seasons under my belt with these boots, but I have zero doubt I’ll wear them for years to come.
My first experience wearing them was during an early-winter Colorado cold snap with temperatures of -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Eager to break the boots in for an upcoming hunt, I laced up my new Lynxs and took them out into some of the coldest weather I’ve experienced. They’re uninsulated, so I was a little wary that my feet would get chilly. But this was my time to break them in, and break them in I would.
Next, the real test came around. I hopped in the car, drove 15 hours, and embarked on a January coues deer hunting trip in Southern Arizona. Temperatures dropped into the 40s and 30s, and a steady rain fell from above. High winds pestered us as we glassed for deer. My trip to Arizona was a great test for the boots.
Without getting too specific and spoiling the rest of this review, know this: these boots exceeded my expectations.
Comfort & Fit
Upon opening up my new Lynxs and lacing them up, my first impression was that I ordered the perfect fit. No pressure points, unnecessary wiggle room, or rubbing whatsoever. These boots run true to size, but I recommend checking out Zamberlan’s handy sizing chart before pulling the trigger.
I opted for a pair with the traditional lacing system instead of the pull-and-cinch BOA lacing system. I’ve tried BOA lacing before on a pair of hiking boots, but it just wasn’t for me. Call me old-fashioned, but the tradition of lacing up your boots the morning before a hunt really gets the juices flowing. You know what I mean?
Break-in time? What’s that?
I chose to “break in” my Lynxs on my daily walks around town. No matter how long I walked, I never felt soreness, hot spots, or awkward pressure points anywhere on my feet. The leather was a touch stiff to begin, sure, but it loosened up in a hurry.
During my coues deer trip in Arizona, the comfort I felt around town extended to the field. My feet didn’t slide around inside my boots, and my ankles felt sturdy and stable during uphill trudges and quick scrambles downhill. No blisters, hot spots, achy feet, pinching, overheating, or sweaty feet, either.
These are the most comfortable hunting boots I’ve ever laced up, and it’s not even close.
Tread & Traction
Every time I laced up my boots, I was eager to put their beefy camouflaged Vibram 3D outsoles to the test. Yes, even the soles are camo.
(I’m not entirely sure how necessary camo soles are, but hey… we archery hunters need all the help we can get. Sign me up.)
As mentioned earlier, my first time testing these boots was on Denver’s snow and ice-packed sidewalks in frigid temperatures. A cold front rolled in from Canada, coated the city in snow, and dropped the mercury down to -10 degrees. It was brutally cold and icy, the perfect environment to test their tread.
My 1214s were ultra-grippy and stable on the sidewalks. No slips, falls, or unsure footing. No, I didn’t get to test out any significant elevation gain or loss in the snow and ice, but my boots had passed the first test. I couldn’t wait to see how they performed in the field.
The next test I put my boots through was a coues deer hunting trip outside the small town of Safford, Arizona. Most of our hunt was on relatively flat ground, but we did have our fair share of uphill marches and slow descents on loose, gravelly earth. As expected, these boots ate the earth up and stood steady no matter what I put in front of them.
I’ll put these boots through their biggest test yet during my upcoming season bow hunting elk in the high elevations and rugged Rocky Mountains of Southern Colorado. I can’t tell the future, but I also have a sneaking suspicion they’ll kick ass out there. I’ll be sure to update this post once I have more feedback.
Pro Tip: If you ever have the privilege of wearing your Lynx’s soles out, keep in mind that they’re resoleable. Reach out to one of Zamberlan’s hand-picked cobblers when the time comes; they’ll get you fixed up.
If you’ve been wondering how warm these boots kept my feet in sub-zero temperatures, I’ll end the suspense now. My feet stayed warm, toasty, and completely unfrozen the entire time! Crazy, considering they’re uninsulated.
Sure, I was continuously walking and moving around town, which kept the blood in my feet pumping and circulating during these bone-chilling conditions. But I was completely taken aback that I never felt a tinge of the bitter winter seep through my boots. Not even once. And I tested them out multiple times for hours on end.
That said, I’m not sure your feet would feel warm and toasty if you wore them while sitting still in a Wisconsin tree stand in below-freezing temps. They were built for archery season, after all. For all your late-season endeavors, opt for a boot with more insulation, like the LaCrosse Cold Snap.
I’m not a late-season tree stand hunter, though. That’s why I wear uninsulated boots.
Nothing can take my mind off the hunt quite like sweaty, clammy, and uncomfortable feet. Nothing can facilitate blisters much quicker, either. That’s why my archery boots must breathe well and keep my feet from sweating too much. Consistently sweaty feet are an absolute deal-breaker for me.
While chasing coues deer in Arizona, I hunted in weather that ranged from 30 degrees to 60 degrees, and my feet were dry the entire time. These boots do an excellent job of venting heat and moisture created while hiking. I was worried that the GORE-TEX membrane might overheat my feet, but whenever I’d pull off my Lynxs after a long day in the field, my feet were always warm and dry.
I also suspect my ultra-breathable and moisture-wicking merino wool socks had something to do with keeping my feet in good shape. Socks are a big piece of the puzzle, after all, so match yourself up with the perfect pair if you want to do your boots justice. Check out our post on the best hunting socks of 2023 to find your match.
It was a heck of a pleasant surprise to find a boot that can keep my feet warm and toasty in sub-zero temperatures but also breathes well enough to keep my feet from sweating during the warmer temperatures of archery season.
I haven’t yet tested these out in hot (think 75+ degrees) weather, but I’ll most certainly have the chance during my archery elk hunting trip this fall. Check back for updates in October.
I haven’t had the chance to beat my Lynxs up yet, so I’ll keep this section short and sweet. I need to put more miles on them before I can speak on their long-term durability.
They’ve held up incredibly well during my light use around town and in the field. The laces are in great shape, there’s no frayed stitching to speak of, and the soles look as good as the day I got them. Sure, the leather has some scuffs and scrapes, but that’s bound to happen with any boot.
I’ll apply some boot wax to keep the leather soft and look good as they age. The puppies are an investment, so you bet your ass I’ll care for them properly to extend their life and prevent the leather from drying out and cracking.
Check back to this review in late-2023 after I’ve had the chance to really put these through the paces. I’ll report back after a few weeks of bow hunting in Colorado, another season of Arizona coues deer hunting, and possibly even some mid-to-late-season rifle hunting.
Judging by their flawless Italian leather, quality materials, and top-notch engineering, I have a great feeling they’ll still be in tip-top shape.
There’s no way around it: a high-end pair of hunting boots like the Lynxs will ring in at a high-end price. These boots are high-end in every sense of the word, so don’t expect to pay mid-range prices.
But at $420 a pair, these actually ring in a hair cheaper than some of the industry’s most well-known brands — think Crispi, Kennetrek, Schnees, etc. When stacked up against this competition, you might even be able to consider these, day I say… a bargain?
My Zamberlans are an investment that will last for YEARS, and, in my eyes, they’re worth every penny.
Grab Some Socks With Your Boots
As I mentioned earlier, getting your hunting socks right is essential to keeping your feet in good shape while you trudge through the field. I’ve hiked and backpacked before with cheap and ill-fitting socks and have regretted it every time. Excess sweat, combined with socks rubbing on your feet, is a recipe for blisters. Trust me.
Blisters will derail a backcountry hunt in a hurry.
When searching for a pair of socks, take the following into account:
- Breathability of your boots
- Expected temperatures outside
- Do your feet run hot or cold?
I usually run with Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks but ordered a pair of Zamberlans Forest Hiking Socks along with my boots and gave them a shot. I was pretty impressed. They were outstanding at venting heat and wicking moisture. Five stars!
The Final Verdict
If you haven’t figured it out by this point in the review: I’m thoroughly impressed in all facets with my Zamberlan 1214 Lynx archery hunting boots. They’re the best hunting boots I’ve ever owned, and I recommend them wholeheartedly to bow hunters like me.
It’s true that I’ve only had them for one season and haven’t beaten them up enough to give you my long-term take, but I have a great feeling they’ll perform for a good long time. If my experience cruising around town in sub-zero temperatures and coues deer hunting in harsh conditions is a sign of things to come, I’ll be wearing these boots well into the 2030s.
When considering the comfort, fit, tread, warmth, breathability, and durability of the 1214 Lynx boots, I believe these bad boys are worth every penny. They keep my feet snug, stable, and dry, and my mind focused directly on the hunt. That’s all I can ask for.
Cheers, and happy hunting!
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Last Updated on August 15, 2023