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Salewa Mountain Trainer

photo: Salewa Mountain Trainer approach shoe


Price Current Retail: $99.99-$199.95
Historic Range: $43.00-$199.95
Reviewers Paid: $129.00
Price Historic Range: $58.03-$169.95


2 reviews
5-star:   1
4-star:   0
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

This is a robust, grippy, if heavy and stiff soled, shoe that is great for rocky off-track terrain with a backpack.


  • Grippy fantastic sole
  • Lighter than a boot but just as stiff and supportive for backpacking


  • Heavy for its type
  • Needs modification to efectively lock heel in place
  • Poor water drainage and resistance


This review is for the non-Goretex version, which is the same shoe as the Goretex model sans membrane.

I bought a pair last year and they are great for scrambling on talus slopes + general backpacking.


The shoe is suitable for those with a wider and low volume foot, which can be difficult to shop for. They are wider than the wide fit version of the Asolo Fugitive, for example, but just as stiff although they feel softer in the tread due to the softer rubber compound.

I have modified the shoe by drilling out a new lace hole further down the ‘Y’ section. This is so I could get an effective heel lock with the laces—to accommodate the stiff sole. Without this I was getting heel slippage as I couldn't tighten the lace tops without squeezing my forefoot. This is a problem with such a stiff sole and a shoe upper. Salewa should realize that you can't convert a boot into a shoe without modification.


Quite soft underfoot which belies the stiff sole. I wear mine with a 15kg pack with no issues except I now find the soles a little stiff after progressing to more flexible footwear over the last couple of years. They are designed for edging, via ferrata etc, so I can forgive them for being fit-for-purpose.

The sole grips very well, I think, and has good protection underfoot from rocks. I am happy bridging over rock points on talus slopes with a backpack, hopping across boulder fields etc with these shoes. The stiff sole can limit comfort over the day.

One problem with the stiff sole is that the platform can lever your ankle suddenly when mis-stepping on loose terrain, walking laterally across slopes or on rock points—always a problem with stiff footwear as proprioception is reduced and lever moment is increased.


I wear these with a 15kg backpack off track and on rocky terrain. No problems there.

Water Resistance

Nil really, once water gets above the ankle.  Heavy and stays wet once soaked. Does not let water drain. Limits applicability of shoe in my opinion.


Traction is excellent on all surfaces. This is a real highlight of the shoe.

Temp Control

Not a feature of this shoe. Only tested from freezing to around 30 degrees celcius. 

Ease of Use

Some flaws with getting an effective heel lock—as above.


Unusual seeing such a formidably protective sole and upper on a shoe. I really think this replaces a boot for those who don't want a redundant upper.  

Construction & Durability:

Good thus far. Have taken it off track, the rubber rand and sole and upper are very robust. It's a tank.


Off track on granite slabs, talus, scrub, and wet, boggy mountainous country. With jeans at the pub.


If I continue to use these shoes for all my backpacking (I pretty much use them for scrambling routes now) I will drill some drain holes through the leather as well as they do not drain well after creek crossings. The leather also soaks up plenty of water making a heavy shoe even heavier.

It also needs a better lacing system to accommodate the stiff sole with a low upper. As it stands I could not tighten the laces over the top lace holes to prevent heel slippage without really uncomfortably squeezing the lower shoe. A hiking type shoe should accommodate a looser lower (if desired) and an upper heel lock. The boot version obviously accommodates this as it has more lace holes in the upper to accomplish a heel lock.

If they produced this shoe with a ballistic nylon hybrid upper as well, it would be an ideal backpacking shoe for rocky off-track terrain.

As it stands these shoes are limited to mountain walks in dryish conditions—not because I am afraid to get my feet wet—but because these shoes stay pretty wet and heavy when they invariably get damp.


Welcome to Trailspace, Sean! Thanks for sharing such a helpful review of your Salewas. Do you have nay pictures of your pair you'd be willing to share in your review? I'd be curious to see the mods you made too.

6 years ago
Sean Parker

Done, you should be able to see the loop I've created by drilling a lace hole. It's worked well.

6 years ago

Thanks, Sean!

6 years ago

Great first review!

6 years ago
Phil Smith

Great review, Sean, and I have a question for you (or anyone else who can answer it.) What's the boot that this is basically a cut down version of? My wide Fugitives fit if I wear light socks, but are a little tight when it gets cold and I want to wear heavier socks. If these are a little wider than the Asolos the boots might be great for me.

6 years ago

Hey Phil, Salewa also makes a Mountain Trainer Mid GTX boot:

6 years ago
Phil Smith

Thanks, Alicia, I just bought another pair of Fugitives this morning but I'll definitely try the Salewas on next time I'm in REI.

6 years ago
Phil Smith

BTW, Alicia, you wouldn't happen to be the Alicia I heard about in a radio commercial climbing Katahdin & biking 300 miles to raise money for the Maine Chance Resort renovation, would you?

6 years ago
Sean Parker

Hi Phil. the mountain trainer boot is definitely wider in the forefoot than a wide fugitive. The 'ride' is much more forgiving - you can compress thte midsole quite easily with your fingers - amazing for a stiff soled boot to have such a forgiving tread.

6 years ago

Hey Phil, I'm not that Alicia, though coincidentally I live in the same town as the former Maine Chance Resort and know of it well. Our family is involved in some of the other fundraisers to benefit the Travis Mills Foundation Maine Chance Retreat for wounded veterans and their families.

6 years ago
Phil Smith

Thanks, Sean. Do the Mountain Trainers have regular and wide widths? It looks like I'm going to have to order a pair because nobody has them in stock within 100 miles.

5 years ago
Sean Parker

So far as i am aware they only come in a standard width. The standard width feels wider in the forefoot than the Asolo fugitive wide, but I wouldn't call it a particularly wide shoe.

5 years ago
Phil Smith

I ordered a pair of Mountain Trainers a couple weeks ago and have worn them on 2 hikes so far. So far I'm having the same problem you did, with the shoe not locking my heel in place. I think in my case it's because my Superfeet Carbon insoles raise my heels just a little too far for the heel counter to hold them in place, but they might be 1/2 size too big as well - I can just slip my finger between my heel and the shoe. So I think I'll order a pair 1/2 size smaller and see. If that's not it then I'll have to see if someone makes insoles that don't take up so much room in the heel. But as far as performance I love them, excellent grip on rock and dirt and the midsole is stiff enough to step on knife-edged or pointed rocks without discomfort. If only they were another 1/2" higher all around instead of being cut like running shoes.

4 years ago
Sean Parker

Hi Phil, i started using them with superfeet black but took them out. The stock innersoles work fine for me.

4 years ago

I have been forever looking for a hiking boot modeled after the vintage light, split-grain Austrian kletterboot. Sometimes change should be questioned.

I have been hiking this season in Lowa boots and Merrell Moabs depending upon the terrain. I prefer the boot's stiffer sole on steeper hikes and ascents with snow encounters, but have issues with poor ankle flex in the boot on descent. 

I was headed to Aspen for a couple days and was desperate to find suitable footwear for the steep peak trails out of Maroon Lake TH. After a couple hours of internet searching the night before, I decided upon the Salewa MT, which I purchased at a local retailer first thing the next morning. The size 9.5 fit my 9.5 size foot perfectly. I returned home to quickly break the shoes in during a pre-departure hillside lawn-mowing exercise. 

After three days in these shoes I can favorably report that the stiff sole stands strongly on small edges, kicks steps across low angle snow, and holds securely on high angle trails and talus hopping.  No blisters and no signs of abnormal wear.  The low cut allows full ankle flex, making steep descents more like a ballet than a gorilla dance. The Salewa MT is light, tight and overall an awesome piece of mountain footwear. 

This German (made in Vietnam) technical hiking shoe ist Vunderbarr!!

Price Paid: $129

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