Yes, I know it is already backcountry winter for many WildSnowers. But some of us are still out there on foot enjoying the wild (though we might be dusting off the skis and digging out our gloves). I’ve been breaking in a new pair of Salewa women’s Mountain Trainer approach shoes this fall and I’ve loved their versatility. They have served me well across a variety of environments and activities in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I’ve foraged for mushrooms, canned 91 jars of apricot jam, scrambled to a crag, went backpacking and run a ridge line in them. I even put them up to the ultimate test on a trip to the Pacific Northwest and was impressed with my less-clumsy-than-normal ability to navigate over all the mossy rocks and logs.
The Mountain Trainers are stiffer than most approach shoes I’ve experienced. The Vibram® soul is extra thick and even offers a “climbing zone” towards the toe box. While scrambling on some dump truck size boulders outside Leadville, Colorado I felt just as sturdy going up as I did tip toeing my way down. The entire shoe is lined with an extra high full rubber rand which kept me carefree in the stream crossings and adds overall durability (though a bit of extra weight).
A somewhat unique feature of the Mountain Trainers is the “double” insoles. You can remove one layer of the insole if you need a little extra room for your foot. I tested this out by going halfsies on my left foot which is slightly larger and doubled up on my right foot. I didn’t notice much of a difference between my two feet but I’d call it an “added bonus” for the more technically minded folk out there that really want to dial in their fit.
Overall the shoes fit great and stood up well to just about everything I’ve been getting into outdoors. One drawback is that the extra firm sole might limit the comfort a bit as compared to a more flexible shoe. On the other hand, having some stiffness under the foot is a plus for off-trail roughness. On an overnight backpacking trip (8 miles) my feet developed some hot spots. Could have been a consequence of those red and white spotted mushrooms we found… but jury is out on that one!
Length-wise the Mountain Trainer fit runs a bit large. Women’s size 7 US weighed in at 430 grams. Salewa Mountain Trainers are available for men and women, and if you want them waterproof breathable, get the Gore-Tex lined GTX model. These are useful and practical shoes for the mountain lifestyle.Available for sale here.
(WildSnow.com Girl, Sarah Uhl, may not have been Rocky Mountain born but she has found her heart here. When she is not climbing mountains or foraging medicinal plants she welds words and mixes paint to tell stories of the beautywild.)