The Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid Gore-Tex is a burly boot that feels at home on rocky, technical terrain. It provides a lot of support and great protection but the tradeoff is all around comfort. The boot has a tight fit and would be well suited for narrow feet but can cause some discomfort after a few hours of use. While this boot is definitely a great choice for alpine adventures through rocky terrain, it is tailored for this specific use and therefore less suited as an all-around boot for a variety of easier trails.
Testers initially liked the feel of the Salewa MTN Trainer Mid GTX when first trying them on, but unfortunately, that was not the case at the conclusion of a 5-day backpacking trip. After a few hours of use, testers noticed that the MTN Trainer Mid GTX caused some significant rubbing on the back of the heel. These boots have a flex collar around the back of the boot made out of a synthetic fabric which is intended to provide extra comfort versus a full leather backing. However, testers were not impressed with the results, stating that the collar rubbed, feeling very uncomfortable. Salewa also uses a wire around the heel for added comfort and has a blister-free guarantee to go along with that. While testers never got blisters, there were numerous complaints about the narrow toe box which caused discomfort around the toes when wearing the boots all day long. The MTN Trainer Mid GTX was also the only boot in the test to come with two inserts for the insole to customize for either a narrow or medium fit. However, considering that the boot has a narrow fit, to begin with, testers didn’t find the insert much help to provide a more comfortable fit.
Support & Stability
The MTN Trainer Mid GTX earned high marks for support and stability for a multitude of reasons. This is a mid-cut boot that provides plenty of support around the ankles while not feeling overly restrictive. In addition, the entire boot is made of a rigid material with great lateral support so that testers never had any issues with twisting their ankles when hiking along rugged terrain. These boots have the tallest toe box of all the shoes in the test which had an unfortunate consequence of causing testers to trip over their boots more often than usual. However, this was considered to be a worthwhile sacrifice since, in the end, it provided good protection for the toes and front of the foot when scrambling through rocky terrain. One small area of improvement would be a wider outsole. This boot has the narrowest sole of all the boots tested and is especially noticeable compared to the Salomon Quest 4D 3 which has a very wide sole which helps support more weight when backpacking with heavy loads.
The Salewa MTN Trainer Mid GTX is intended as a summer alpine trekking boot and therefore it was no surprise that it has one of the most aggressive outsoles of the boots in this test. The sole is made out of Vibram rubber which is very sticky and helps maintain good traction in a variety of situations. The lugs on the sole are also very thick so that even if the rubber were to wear down quickly, there is a lot of tread to go through before it is completely worn out. Testers overall were impressed with the traction of the boot which was most noticeable when scrambling over rocks while on an approach to go rock climbing.
Salewa didn’t cut any corners when designing the protection for this shoe. The MTN Trainer Mid GTX feels like a burly shoe and has the stiffest outsole of all the boots in the test. The boot has a Gore-Tex lining that kept water and debris from ever entering the boot and the durable suede leather upper prevents any twigs or thorns from poking through. Testers were impressed with how protective the boot felt when hiking through rough terrain and had no issues with stubbed toes while scrambling over loose rocks or scree. Testers did think that the MTN Trainer Mid GTX was designed for rocky environments and therefore felt like overkill when hiking on more mellow trails.
The Mtn Trainer Mid GTX performed best on rocky terrain but the tradeoff is a heavier boot. At almost 3 pounds, it is the heaviest of all the boots tested and therefore scored a bit lower in this category. While the toe felt really well protected it also resulted in more frequent tripping because of the higher toe box. If using this boot for more intense trekking, then this added protection is probably worth the weight but for hiking through meadows and well-maintained trails this felt like more boot than necessary.
Testers all agreed the MTN Trainer GTX is best used for alpine trekking or rocky approaches rather than well-maintained hiking trails. This boot isn’t intended for actual mountaineering but is well suited for technical hiking or alpine approaches where precision and traction are a high priority. Since these are the heaviest boot in the test and have a narrow fit, they aren’t the best option for extended backpacking trips when having a comfortable boot is more important than technical ability.