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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Approach and trail running shoes...Salewa?

As I get back outdoors the gear I am using comes to my mind.  Thought along with the previous training thoughts I add some comments on shoes.  And one shoe in particular.  Where I live here on the west side of the Cascades you can generally run trails for 10 months of the year with little heartache.  Some do it year around.  But not me.  We do get a lot of rain and mud however.  But that can happen any time of year.

I use a a combination of protective socks ( ) and differing shoes to protect my feet depending on the conditions and weather.  I hate cold feet.

I have a couple of friends that make fun of running shoes.  We have a long granite ridge traverse in the Selkirks that we do in the summer.

Running shoes without sticky rubber can turn that outing into a "run away" mission if you aren't careful.  Adding the protection of a good approach shoe for that kind of adventure is just common sense.  A hard lesson learned on my first attempt at the traverse.

My Garmont and Selewa approach shoes are  better compared to low top lwt boots than my Nike Free running shoes.  But they are the appropriate shoe for the Selkirks in comparison to my Brooks Cascadia.

The new to me Salewa Firetail GTX (bottom right) seems to be a unique blend of technology and construction that is a good match to my own needs.  I have yet to have cold feet in these no matter the conditions an only regular socks. 

Here is the Salewa company line on these:

"The Salewa Men’s Firetail GTX Hiking Shoe represents an evolutionary step forward, the missing link between a technical approach shoe and a lightweight trail runner. Specially-designed Vibram outsoles, climbing lacing, protective rands, and a customizable fit enable the state-of-the-art Firetail to handle approaches and descents on the most technical trails with ease and, thanks to the Gore-Tex insert, in any weather."

•Gore-Tex insert keeps your feet bone-dry on rainy days in the backcountry

•3F System distributes the lacing power over the whole foot for unmatched heel retention, so you enjoy a friction-free, blister-free precision fit as well as excellent ankle support

•EVA midsole and PU Shock Absorber cushion your foot on descents, and the Multi- Fit Footbed allows you to adjust the volume of the footbed in the shoe for a perfect fit

•All-around aramidic fiber and rubber rand protects the shoe from impact and abrasion and provides grip when you climb

•Climbing-style lacing extends further towards the front to allow you to dial in your fit

•Proprietary Salewa Vibram Approach outsole provides maximum grip and edging on rocks and helps you put on the brakes on steep descents

•Armored mesh protects the shoe against abrasion while enhancing breathability on hot summer hikes

There are a gazillion different running /approach and trail shoes available.   Everyone has their own favorites and styles.  So it is a tough market for them and good for us as consumers.   The Salewa version was a new one for me as were the Garmonts previous.  I'd rather use a running shoe to be honest and a light weight one at that.  But for my own use the Salewa has come up with a good combo of protection, additional ankle support, sticky rubber, excellent fit and may be a link between a "heavier technical approach shoe and a not so lightweight trail runner".   It is worth a second look if you require something similar for those full on, long days in the mountains.

Salewa Firetail GTX Hiking Shoe


xhen said...

You posted a link to sealskinz in regard to socks. I've used their gloves before, but never considered socks for this realm, in regard to keeping feet dry. So now I'm curious. Are they breathable? How do they deal with sweat? Work well? Worth it? I mean obviously, I don't think you'd use something that didn't work, but I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on it--as I might check it out myself.

alpinekoarl said...

I also thought that it would make a great training shoe, but in my opinion the heel is a misconstruction. It's just too high what makes descending a real pain.. :(

Dane said...

xhen? I use the sealskinz to keep my feat warm running in ice cold water that we often get running down the trails here. They are more akin to a creek bed than a trail at times. So it can be really miserable. Feet sweat a bit in them but they do keep me warm and mostly dry.

Thought about using them in my mtn boots a few times but haven't as they are pretty thick and a little funky on the cut. Great to run in though, my wife and I both use them. Worth the price I think and they seem to last almost for ever.

Anonymous said...

I'll obivously have to induct you into the ways of FiveTen running shoes - might not be the most durable but they sure as hell stick. I've used Sealskins MTB'ing and like them, just too bulky for the rest - what's wrong with bread bags?

AlanL said...

Interesting. I find myself using lighter and lighter shoes for most summer stuff: a pair of trail running shoes from Inov-8 (British company who originally made their name with fell running shoes) for most hiking; Merrell Trail Gloves - even lighter - for carrying on long rock routes.

For ridge traverses or anything else where I'm expecting a lot of rock I have a pair of 5.10 approach shoes, but they're heavy, clunky and uncomfortable compared to the Inov-8s or the Merrells. Something lighter but with a decent level of performance on rock would be quite appealing.

Anonymous said...

i'm eyeing La Sportiva Ganda Guides instead. been carpet-testing Ganda - fits me great, and it even has some ankle support (surprised me).

marcello said...

I have a pair and love them! They are very durable, but the rubber wears a little quickly.

underbelly said...

I learned about the Seal Skinz from ultra-runner friends years back and have used them quite a bit. I'm on the fence about their utility.

They do keep water out, but I don't find them particularly breathable or fast-drying.

When using them with lightweight trail runners on various North American death marches, my feet get sweaty. I suspect I'd end the day with drier feet if I just used regular socks (lightweight Bridgedales are my favorite).

Even when I clomp through streams and slush, soaking both shoe and sock, my feet tend to dry pretty quickly in running shoe/light sock combo. With the Seal Skinz I always finish the day with damp feet.

Maybe one day I'll wear mismatched socks and see which foot does better.

sibudy said...

My fifth pair of Salomon Speedcross. Absolutely swear by them. When I run trail I typically run around 20 miles, sometimes more.