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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Salewa Pro Gaiter Mountain boot?

This is a boot Salewa first showed at the summer OR show in 2011.  It still hasn't hit the dealers shelves yet but thought it worth mentioning some of the things I know about it from the samples I have.

The most obvious it this little guy and flex adjustment for the sole.

And a closer look at the internals that make it possible

With my friend Eric  giving us a tour of the boot at OR this summer.

What is missing here and easy to not see with all the new technology is the last and human engineering that has gone into this boot.  To be honest most climbers are not into fluff.  And it might be easy to pass off Salewa's newest technology as fluff in a hardcore mtn boot.

What impressed me even more (and surprised me as well) was the last (actually two lasts) of the new Salewa.

In long email conversations with one of Salewa's and Dynafit's boot designers, Federico Sbrissa it became clear as to why.

I easily saw the design, last and fit similarities to the new TLT5 Dynafit ski boots and the new Pro Gaiter from Salewa.  The emails back and forth to Federico Sbrissa just confirmed that guess on my part.
What I have here is the performance fit.  It is tight and form fitting.  I really like the fit but would prefer what I think will be a warmer boot the INSULATED PLUS FIT in this boot.  Only because I know something of the Dynafit/Salewa design  collaboration and trust the end results.  Only time will tell if I am right.

But if I am correct the Pro Gaiter might well end up being a dominate player in full on technical boots just as the TLT has become in BC and touring boots.  The TLT has done that so thoroughly that few are even in the same game right now.   Salewa is betting a lot on this new technology.

The new Pro Gaiter isn't the lightest "super gaiter" style boot out there with even more to come from the major players, new and old.  But if a boot truly fits well I am willing to give up a lot of things.  And I suspect this boot is going to fit my foot exceptionally well.   A few ounces being one of the things I am willing to accept for a perfect fit.

I am really looking forward to giving this boot and several others a real test.

A close up look at just two of the newest boots that will be available by early summer of 2012. 


Ian said...

How is the toebox compared to LS? Salewa shoes all seem to hit my two outside toes unless I go a size too large.

Bruno Schull said...

The Salewa Pro this really a problem that needs to be solved? Really? Really? Sure, walking in stiff boots kinda sucks, and climbing in soft boots is not ideal, but I can not help but think it is the product of 1) an engineer who thought it would just be cool, or 2) a marketing team who wanted boot may have an interesting last, fit, and other features that will make it work for some folks....but I can not get around the feeling that the whole adjustable sole feature would be extra weight and added complication/potential to fail/cost for little benefit. Surely some kind of wide carbon fiber sole reinforcement, perhaps honeycombed or hollow, to add stiffness and insulation, would be a far better design, and lead to an all around better boot. That said, any thoughts about the new Batura, or the boots from Zamberlan or Lowa, which look pretty cool? Also, I recently saw the Hagloff Grym. It's not a climbing/alpine boot, but it does seem to make use of some new materials with interesting all-around design. My favorite part is that the upper fabric is called "super fabric." Will make us super climbers? Ha, ha, ha. All the best-Bruno

Dane said...

New technology Bruno :) Sure there might be better ways but nice boot as Salewas first serious mtn boot.

Ian? Toe box? Compared to what LS? It is similar to a Batura. Seemed to be a fairly roomy toe box for me. Haven't used any of the Salewa shoes. Not sure they use the same designers for their shoes and boots? Be a good thing to know though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dane

The Salewa concept looks promising, with some refinement to work the quirks out of the boot I think it could be a contender on the US market.

I am wondering what your option of the new Boreal Stetind and Siula boots are?

Dane said...

I've not seen either Boreal model in person. Boreal certainly has the know how to make great boots. I'd really like to see them step up and be able to dominate the alpine market like they have in the past with rock shoes.

Ian said...

Compared to the Batura or Nepal. My only experience with Salewa is their approach shoes which I assume would be different than these boots.

Anonymous said...

Bruno, i have to disagree. There are many technical routes out there with really long approaches. If this Saleva technology works and is durable, i'd buy.

Anonym Astmatiker said...

I think many alpinists want a boot like this. Here in Norways lines by the road are the first to be climbed, but 2-6 hours of walking and you'll find endless unclimbed stuff. You just need to walk to find it.
I don't care if the fabric has a funny name as long as it works. Bruno is a funny name too ;-) hehe.

Bruno Schull said...

OK, I stand corrected: people do in fact want a alpine boot that can switch between soft walking and stiff climbing modes. I agree, in theory, it sounds like a good idea. However, I still think that, in practice, it will be hard to implement.

Thought experiment #1: Imagine that the new Salewa Pro Gaiter is the best boot on the market in terms of fit, warmth, breathability, durability, and so on. Now imagine the same boot in all respects, except that instead of the adjustable sole, it has some kind of light and simple carbon fiber sole, with a balance between flex and stiffness. Which boot do you think would be adopted by the climbing community? My bet is that the lighter and simpler boot would become very popular. My point is that the adjustable sole might not be as important as it seems.

Thought experiment #2: Imagine that you forget the key to your boot back at the car. Or loose it in the water, talus, snow, crevasse, boulder field. And what about water? It would be interesting to see what would happen if you put that boot in standing water, just enough to cover the sole, like walking in snow for a few hours. Would water get inside? At least as shown in the video, I really don't think you could adequately seal that system; I think the water would enter and fill up the spaces. Then you could take the boot out of the water, and let everything freeze solid. Would the cam still turn if it was frozen with ice? What if it got stuck on climb? What if it got stuck on walk? What if you repeated the water/freezing twenty times: would the sole delaminate?

Like I said, I’m not convinced. Of course, this is all pure speculation, as the boot is not yet out there in the world. Dane, do you have a functioning sample? Any inight?

Dane said...

Bruno, I did have a sample pair for a couple of months. One of one or two in the country. Fit should be incredible for my feet. May not be for yours. I generally prefer a lwt boot with less fuss but the technology is obviously coming. I like that Salewa is out there trying. Time will tell what we actually end up with and just how well it works.

nick said...

Dane -

I'm shopping for my first mountain /ice boot, and pretty much have it narrowed down to the nepal evo, batura, and/or phantom guide. I'm kind of neurotic when it comes to gear, and like to get the best bang for my buck. Given that they all fit, what would your input be for my best choice for Washington volcanoes/alpine ice, and ice cragging here and in Hyalite?

Thanks a ton for the blog by the way, it's been super helpful, and entertaining. It's an awesome resource for someone in my position, just breaking into the sport!

Dane said...

Hi Nick,
All of the boots you have listed are exceptional. Buy the pair that fit you the best.
Thanks..glad you are enjoying the blog!