After having destroyed my feet in the Ahnu Coburn boots I was determined to find a boot that would give my feet the support, love and care that they desperately needed. What I found was the Salewa Mtn Trainer Mid GTX.
Upper: 1.6 – 1.8 mm suede leather
Insole: nylon, mid – stiff
Liner: Gore – Tex Performance comfort
Protection: 360° rubber rand
Sole: Vibram Alpine Approach
3F System EVO
MMF+ (Multi Fit Footbed)
Blister free guarantee
Weight: 1lb 6oz/640g (per boot)
Comfort & support
My biggest concern when it comes to wearing lightweight boots or trainers while hiking is that they will lack the amount of ankle support I require as well as having paper – thin soles resulting in bruised feet. The Salewa Mtn Trainer Mid proves that this does not have to be the case. The 3F System EVO allows full flexibility of the foot while making sure that the heel cup stays tightly around your heel thanks to the external bands. I have to say though that during the day I would feel the heel cup loosing its grip as I was walking, creating slight friction between my heel and the inner lining. Nonetheless, this was not to any degree that created any discomfort or blisters, it is also a “problem” easily resolved by redoing your laces.
The lacing system is inspired by climbing shoes where it comes right down to your toes. This is said to help getting a better feel for the toe area when scrambling up the face of a hill/mountain. I can’t say that it made any difference personally, but it is a nice feature as it does make a tighter fit around your toes.
My concern regarding paper – thin soles were no issue with these boots, they proved to be rather stiff and sturdy providing great protection for the bottom of your feet. However, the traction and gripping ability of the sole is still an issue with Vibram soles.
The Vibram Alpine Approach sole is designed with technical hiking in mind, this is done by having a climbing zone directly underneath your toes without compromising on comfort. In dry conditions I found this to be a neat feature, but not something that blew me out of the water. In wet or damp conditions though I would feel that my feet would slide off rocks and boulders rather easily even though all my weight was put on the particular foot. Slipping and sliding on almost any wet surface seems to be the one thing Vibram really needs to work on.
The durability of the soles on the Salewa’s seems to be greater than the ones on my previous Crispi Skarven boots. They do show a bit of wear and tear, but nothing to the extent of the Crispi’s.
The inside of the boot has a Gore – TeX Performance membrane liner in order to keep your feet as dry as possible. The membrane liner does its job quite well as long as you don’t fully submerge your feet. If you do submerge your feet completely you will feel water starting to seep in around the lacing, in order to avoid this you can simply wear gaiters. However, I found that the laces themselves don’t handle gaiters very well; after only 10 days of wearing gaiters the laces are about to tear apart.
Not too much to say about this other than that the 360° rubber rand gives great protection for your feet from whatever you might kick your feet into.
I have always been a firm believer that if you want proper ankle support, complete protection rubber rand, proper waterproofness combined with solid comfort you’d best buy a heavy – duty leather boot. Now, after having used the Salewa Mtn Trainer Mid GTX I have had a slight change of heart. Coming in at around 1300g a pair (size 43) they are quite lightweight, yet comfortable, supportive and offer strong protection around the most exposed areas of your foot. I would like to see them with stronger laces to cope with the tension made by gaiters as well as soles that will provide proper grip and traction on wet surfaces, but other than that I find no other faults. These are strong contenders to full – on leather boots and I would recommend them to anyone not afraid of getting their feet slightly wet.