Today we’re taking a look at the Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX. This is a waterproof, mid-weight backpacking and trekking boot which is available in a women’s version and a men’s version. Salewa has a fairly unique system which they call the “3F” system. It relates to flexibility, support and fit of the boot overall and a lot of this comes from a specific design they are using, which they call the “Salewa Y“. You’ll see that Y shape here on the side of this boot, the Mountain trainer Mid GTX. You will also find it on all of the other footwear that they produce in their hiking and approach line. So those three things, the flexibility, the support and the fit, comes from this sort of a design and let’s cover what those things are. Support is coming from the reinforcement of this material that’s tied into the lace system, here. What that’s doing, when you pull the laces in, it’s taking the tension from the laces, and the force, and spreading it across the whole of the foot instead of just the top of the foot where the laces are. So, you get good support and it allows a level a flexibility instead of pining the foot into that part of the shoe. The long branch of the Y here offers good heel control within the shoe without limiting freedom of movement in the rest of the shoe. You get great flexibility out of this design as well as control that is keeping the heel in the back of the boot. Another element to fit and comfort in that 3F System is going to be the extended lacing that comes down well over the top of the toe. This allows for a bit more customization for folks who have a wider foot or a narrower foot and gives you a bit more control over the height of the shoe and how it fits around you foot. The upper construction of the Mountain Trainer Mid GTX is full leather here and you do have some fabric construction here, through the tongue, for comfort. You’ve got a rubber rand that runs around the entire exterior of the boot against the sole. You’ve got good coverage in the back so you’re fully protected there. This is a sticky climbing rubber and where you see the logo, here, there is a different level of sticky rubber that is quite grippy. This is going to be excellent on rocky surfaces or for folks that intend to use this for alpine approach or via ferrata activities. Salewa puts a very well thought out outsole on the Mountain Trainer Mid GTX. It is a Vibram outsole made of hard rubber that’s very durable and has an interesting tread pattern here that offers some very deep lugs that are well set for braking on steep descents and rocky surfaces. You can even see here that they have built this traction pattern down to a very low profile within the arch of the foot. So if you do step on something with this section or are using rungs in a via ferrata climb or any sort of roots and rocks, you’ve got some traction under the arch of the foot in the midsole section. At the toe of the shoe you have what Salewa has labeled as the “climbing zone”. This is flat traction piece of outsole made from the same hard, Vibram rubber. This offers a flat area for you to toe on rocks, ledges, anything you want your shoe to get good contact with before you take that step and move upward on any sort of a climb. This boot has a gusseted tongue and you can see the fabric connecting the tongue to the boot but you get plenty of movement here and you’ve got a nice, wide opening to get your foot in there. You can see the three metal eyelets here that the laces lock into and this is that anchor point where tension is pulling on the Salewa Y and spreading that across the foot for good control and flexibility at the same time. A very unique feature to Salewa boots and shoes is their multi-fit foot bed system. This is a series of removable foot beds that you can replace with something else or use it in this format. Perhaps your foot is wider or has a higher volume or a super high arch and you feel like you do not have quite enough room in the shoe, you can remove a layer of that foot bed, leave it at home, and use just the top of the foot bed. It suitable to be used alone it is shaped and does have perforation to help the bottom of the foot breathe. Or if you have a narrow foot or you’re wearing a thinner sock in the summertime than you do in the winter and you’ve got extra room in there, you can use these two insole together and get a bit of extra support but mostly what this does is raises your foot up inside the boot just a bit to help control that internal volume and give you more of a custom fit and a better fit.
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