Salewa Wildfire GTX
Grip like no other shoe I've owned. A touch narrow, but still very comfy, and did I mention grip?
- Comfortable footbed
- Super-comfortable tongue
- A bit narrow
- Ankle cup can rub bottom of ankle bone
- Weird bottom lace configuration
A review in two parts
Part 1 - My review after the first day:
I just received these in the mail and put them on. They are very comfortable and very true to size. I always wear a EUR 43 (I've given up on US sizes) and these fit me perfectly (US size 10 in this case).
They are darker black than I expected from the photo where they look more grey—but they are still pretty sharp looking. The red laces really pop nicely. The cloth is grey; but the black trim really dominates the appearance.
The tongue is very comfortable. It's a little odd looking before you put it on but feels really nicely on my foot.
The toe cap is really nice and solid. I'm pretty hopeful it will hold up well on the trail and the disc golf course. It is a little odd when you're looking straight down on it because it sort of covers just half of the top of the shoe.
The grip seems pretty good. I walked around on some marble tile and they grip pretty well. I'm hopefully that translates well to slicker rocks on the trail.
Part 2 - One month in
After having worn these on very loose soil on really steep embankments, on wet rocks and crags, and a variety of surfaces in between I can say these have the best grip of any shoe I've ever worn. I have never felt more confident on the trail than I do in these shoes.
On the flip side they are a tiny bit narrow. Not as an narrow as say an Adidas shoe, but narrow enough that my right foot notices it if I'm sitting still for a while. I imagine that will loosen up over time but for now it it's an issue if I wear them to work.
The ankle area is a little high too so the curvy bit that swoops under my ankle bone tends to annoy my left ankle when my left foot is on the high side on a trail. Not enough to get me to not wear them (that grip!) but a long day of walking on uneven terrain could really cause my ankle some grief.
The lacing system is a little different than other shoes and that first lace at the bottom, if it isn't tight enough, can catch loose sticks. So make sure you snug that one in place even if you want the rest of the shoe laced a little loosely.
Even with the niggles I have I'd buy these again. They are the first Salewa shoes I've owned but I'm blown away by the grip. The shoe is also great quality and the water proof is, so far, truly proof (I know it's Gore-Tex but I seem to have hit-or-miss Gore-Tex experiences). I'm very happy with this purchase and have recommended them, in person, to others.
I wear them disc golfing as well and they are great shoes for all the different elements you might find on the course.
I don't know what they put in the "Pomoca Speed MTN rubber compound" sole, but I feel like a mountain goat when I'm wearing them.
Here is a good view of the tread on these beasts:
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $169
The company offers a "no blisters" promise that they will NOT honor.
- Poor Customer Support from Salewa
- Narrow toe box promotes rubbing and heat which leads to blisters.
The toe box on this shoe is extremely narrow. Wearing the shoes on a hike of any meaningful distance has resulted in large blisters under several toes on each foot.
I am not prone to blisters and I wear proper liners and hiking socks. I would not consider this a big deal if Salewa would stand behind their "no blisters" promise and allow me to return the shoes. But they will not work with me, or even respond to my inquiries. Most concerning is the complete lack of integrity that they have demonstrated by deleting the 1-star review that I left on their website.
From their product reviews, it looks like they have many happy customers, which is an illusion that they have manufactured by deleting the bad reviews. Don't trust this company.
This is the first time that I have been so dissatisfied with a company that I bothered to write a review.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $179
This shoe is everything you want it to be, plus a little more. The fit is great and it's very comfortable. Like hiking on clouds. The shoe is also very multifunctional as it can be used for major backpacking trips to day trips to just wearing it around with a pair of jeans.
- Overall look
I love this shoe. I have had it now for about a month and it's everything I hoped it would be when I ordered them. From the minute I put them on they felt like they were made for my foot. I have taken them out on several hiking trips now and they never cease to amaze me. I have gone from the Merrell Moabs, which I thought were going to be the most comfortable hiking shoe I ever owned, until I got my pair of Wildfires.
They required no break-in time, which is a guarantee from Salewa. If you receive a blister they will refund you. The technology they put into the lacing system and overall shape of the shoe is on point. I have the GTX so they have the Goretex lining. Still breathable and my feet do not overheat.
I would highly recommend these to anyone looking for a nice sturdy shoe with a sharp look.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $160
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