The other day I got an e-mail from a Bay Area guy who works for Zamberlan, the Italian boot manufacturer. He wondered if I’d like to try out some Zamberlans and report the results here.

In the past I’ve declined offers of stuff in exchange for links/coverage. Made me feel all pure-of-heart, you know, but the main thing was keeping it simple. Commerce would be just one more blog-related thing I’d be doing instead of hiking.

I decided to take up the guy’s offer, though, because I like the Zamberlan story: An Italian guy who repairs shoes for a living after World War I decides to start making boots for hiking in the hills nearby. After awhile he earns a rep for making great shoes and pretty soon he’s got a good business going. Seventy years later the Zamberlan family is still building boots at the foot of the Piccole Dolomiti. The boots aren’t cheap by any stretch — the top-of-the-line models are in the $200 range — but the reviews on the company’s product pages are overwhelmingly positive.

I should be getting the Zamberlan samples in the next couple days, and reports on their prospects will show up after that. With any luck, they’ll fit, and with further good fortune, none of y’all will be rendered comatose by my accounts of trying them out.