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March 2017 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Footwear / Approach shoes

Salewa Firetail 3 GTX



Our Rating:

This approach shoe from Salewa is designed for those trips where you might be scrambling up scree slopes, edging around rocks and boulder-hopping – think a summer climb of Ngauruhoe or Gertrude Saddle.

The sole is a Vibram Megagrip sticky rubber with a flat toe area and a low profile tread in the top half, which I found perfect for any rocky surface – wet or dry, the grip never relented. The heel area has deeper lugs to bite into dirt and provides good braking on descent.

The shoe has a secure, true-to-size fit. Lacing to the toe ensures the foot doesn’t move around on tricky terrain, and Salewa’s 3F system – a cord that runs from the top eyelet around the back of the shoe – locks the heel in place. This is reinforced with rubber inserts to create a stiff and supportive ankle area.

Mesh panels on the tongue, sides and heel help keep feet cool, and a Gore-Tex lining assists in wicking moisture. The coated fabric upper is double stitched and has a rough finish to withstand abrasion. A substantial toe rand offers further protection.

Overall, I found the shoe to be stable and well cushioned. It didn’t twist or threaten to turn an ankle, even though the midsole feels a little too flexible for an approach shoe, which requires stiffness here to provide good edging grip.

One drawback: while the outsole works great on rock and dry trail, the shallow forefoot lugs aren’t designed for muddy trails.

These shoes weigh 780g/pair and are worth considering for those dry trail trips, scree scrambling, or for rocky approaches.