I tested the Salewa Firetail Evo on an overnight tramp on Mt Taranaki over rocky surfaces and uneven trail and on both moderate and well-formed trails in the Coromandel.
I usually prefer the ankle support of a boot and the higher cut that doesn’t let water and debris in so easily, among other things. So it’s an accolade to the Firetail Evo that I thought it a worthy replacement for my boots, albeit in certain conditions.
The shoe performed well on easier, well-benched and groomed trails. If you’re the kind of person who finds tramping boots cumbersome, and you prefer to stick mostly to the trail, you’ll love them.
The Vibram sole is super sticky and much grippier on slippery surfaces than I expected at first glance, and the firm full length rand gives it a robust feel and protects the uppers from scrapes.
The Firetail Evo is designated as a hiking and approach shoe and is fitted with climbing know-how and technology. First is the 3F system, which is the wire that wraps from the arch to the laces and around the heel. The idea is to give support to the ankle while still allowing freedom of movement. There’s also odour control, climbing lacing and a ‘multi-fit footbed’, which means you can customise the fit by adding or removing a layer of the innersole.
The shoe is also guaranteed to be 100 per cent blister-free, and I can certainly attest to that. It was comfortable without any hot spots and easy to wear right out of the box.
Weighing 750g (m: 830g), many lightweight or on-track trampers will want to opt for this for comfort’s sake.
– Hazel Phillips