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rated 5 of 5 stars

The Arete GTX has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best backpacking boots for 2024.

photo: EMS Arete GTX backpacking boot

EMS Arete GTX—Made by Zamberlan for EMS in 2004 and 2005.


  • Perwanger one-piece main construction
  • Incredible build quality
  • Superior ankle protection
  • The Best Vibram soles ever produced—Vibram Vertige


  • Heavy—6 lbs for the pair, but worth their weight


A rare and awesome hardcore hiking and mountaineering boot. Gore-tex lined.

The fit is perfect for my size 11 (45) normal width feet. I have purchased two pairs on Ebay through the years and they are often mis-advertised and usually quite reasonable. These were about $250 when new 15 years ago.

I have owned many similar boots in the past, La Sportiva Glaciers, Asolo, Vasque, Lowa, etc.

The EMS Arete GTX is without question the best boot of this type I have ever purchased for any price.


Cold, hot, wet, dry, rocks, swamp, etc. These boots perform and spray off to look like new.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $65

I wanted a heartier boot than my last pair (Asolos from 1998-2006). I also wanted the ability to step into crampons for winter trips. Boy did I get it.

I almost baulked at the purchase and went with a "softer" boot for comfort. Don't be scared at the out of box "ski boot" feel. Given the love and attention of a good couple good Snow Seal Massages, continual wear, and stretching, these boots began to loosen after a week.

Three weeks in and I'm confident to ascend. I'll retract as necessary if further tests prove contrary.

Materials: Stiff Italian Leather/Gore-Tex Lined- Heavy Vibram Tread
Use: All hiking, My boot is my boot.
Break-in Period: Wore Everyday. As slippers, work shoes, Hospital Clogs, and day hikers for three weeks in preparation for Three Days in Presidentials
Weight: Boulder Like, maybe 8 lbs.
Price Paid: $225

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Price Historic Range: $225.00
Reviewers Paid: $65.00-$225.00
Price Historic Range: $225.00

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