It’s often lamented that ‘they don’t make things like they used to’ but when it comes to tramping boots my observation is that they continue to get better and better.
Case in point, the Salewa Mountain Trainer GTX, which fitted like a glove straight out of the box. These are lightweight (1280g; w: 1080g) boots that feel more like wearing shoes and are suited for everyday use through to tramping trips like the Travers-Sabine route in Nelson Lakes National Park. I can well imagine myself using these boots for everything but alpine trips.
Part of the secret to their fit is Salewa’s 3F system, which connects the lacing to the heel to allow forefoot flexibility while still feeling secure and supported. Normally I take this sort of marketing puffery with a grain of salt, but that cynicism drops away when something actually works. In addition, the lacing extends a long way down into the toe box, similar to the way climbing shoes lace up. This allows a nicer, more customisable fit.
For me, their performance took on an extra importance as I embarked on my first day trips after major ankle surgery and as I ambled up a couple of local hills the support gave me plenty of confidence.
Another nice touch with the design was the double layer insole that can be separated to further customise the fit of the boot.
The high rubber rand gives confidence to use the boot in the mountains (the Nelson Lakes mountains, not thrashing down a Mt Cook moraine) and the Vibram tread and rubber feels grippy and secure.
I couldn’t find anything to fault with the Mountain Trainer GTX – they are well worth a closer look.