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Salewa Mountain Trainer

rated 4.00 of 5 stars
photo: Salewa Mountain Trainer approach shoe

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

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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.


Fit

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.

Comfort

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.

Support

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

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.

Features

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.

Conditions

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

Opinion

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.

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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Specs

Men's
Price Current Retail: $164.96
Historic Range: $43.00-$199.95
Reviewers Paid: $129.00
Women's
Price Historic Range: $58.03-$169.95
Product Details from Salewa »

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