Salewa Mountain Trainer L ReviewApril 14, 2015
- Ultra high quality design and construction
- A Gore-Tex version of this shoe is available
- Shoes are burly enough for all classes of hiking and approaches
- Fit must be precise
- The most expensive of the test group
- Leather may be hot in warm and dry climates
- Probably overkill for casual hikes
The Salewa Mountain (or MTN) Trainer is an Italian-made hiking shoe, like the La Sportiva, featuring quality construction, fit, and performance as the top priorities. With Salewa, you get a precision yet slightly more forgiving fit. The upper is leather as well for awesome protection even when carrying heavy packs.
Salewa offers a “blister-free guarantee” through its retailers for the Salewa MTN Trainer. The MTN Trainer L features a leather liner (as opposed to the non-L version of the MTN Trainer) as a tribute to the way traditional hiking boots were made. This family of Salewa shoes all feature a wrap-around rubber rand, which in my experience has the perfect texture and suppleness compared to everything else out there. For support, Salewa uses its “3F System,” which pulls the heel and forefoot together, compounded by the full-front climbing shoe style lacing system.
The stability on the MTN Trainer is really second-to-none. They seem to have found a sweet spot between width and performance in foot placement, and the Vibram “alpine approach” outsole just glues your feet to the ground. The 3F system and the lacing system, along with the bomber leather upper, just add to this feeling of stability.
This is one of the top three protective shoes in the test group. Leather on the inside and out, the 360-degree rand, oversized rubber heel cup, toe bumper, cushioned Vibram sole, you really can’t beat it when it comes to the light hiking category, second only to Arc’teryx in feeling protected from rocks and other trail elements.
These aren’t the softest or most pliable of the bunch, but for me personally Salewa shoes just work. When you’re in them you’re feet are comfortable, in part just because they fit and perform so well. The MTN Trainers also have a wide toe box to complement the heel system, and you can lace them up just the way your feet like it, like a climbing shoe, which also adds to the comfort factor.
Construction on the MTN Trainer seems to be beyond reproach. In terms of shoe making, Salewa—like Ecco or La Sportiva—simply can’t be beat. From the Nubuk leather upper, the plush leather lining, the protective climbing rand encompassing the shoe, the gluing and the stitching, although traditional, is built to endure real use.
This is not the highest performing hiking shoe Salewa makes, but compared to the other brands in the test, it is very near the top of the performance spectrum. The fit, the materials, the versatility, all give the MTN Trainer the juice it needs to perform on any trail conditions. From running root-laden, rocky trails, to loose rock, scrambling, Class 4 climbing, walking with a pack, this shoe literally does it all, and looks good doing it.