Dan has been testing… Salewa Mountain Trainer
The Salewa mountain trainer is a technical approach shoe, ideal for via Ferrara, scrambles and light trekking. I have now been using a pair of the Mountain Trainers for the last 5 months continuously and have been very impressed. They are a smart looking pair of shoes and I like the yellow colour a lot!
They use Salewa’s 3F lacing system which they say is designed to spread the lacing force over the whole foot. This system works very well, holding my very narrow heels and slim feet in place. They are on the narrower fitting side and the sizing also seems to come come up well against my other shoes (size 41). The Mountain trainer is supposed to have a climbing shoe style lacing system that laces low on the toe box but I find when I am climbing I get too much movement in the forefoot. I think that the laces would be better lowered further down the toe box to get the fit described by Salewa.
I have used them on a variety of terrain, from steep rock staircases and scree on the Amalfi Coast to tricky crag approaches and tough paths in the Chamonix valley as well as days bimbling around town. The Vibram Mulaz sole unit performs well on all terrain, the front climbing zone is very useful when scrambling or on easy climbs and the aggressive lug pattern on the rest of the sole grips well. At 510 grams (UK 8) they are light enough to clip on to a harness when climbing easier routes to be used when descending. The pull tabs are big enough for a karabiner.
The rubber rand at the front has worn very quickly and right through to the inner which is not ideal, the toe box protrudes slightly from the front of the sole meaning that it takes the brunt whilst climbing or scrambling. They are slightly harder underfoot than I would have liked but they seem to be softening the more I use them, however the stiffness of shoes means that they are fantastic to use on looser ground. They are super comfy and stable, even when carrying a heavy climbing sack or on the walk up to a bivvi. My feet don’t seem to overheat, even when I have been out in Amalfi sunshine at 35°C plus!
I brought this shoe to replace a pair of La Sportiva B5 approach shoes which I loved. The B5 was aimed more at Via Ferrata and climbing than walking and they proved excellent for this – the Salewa Mountain Trainer with its more rugged sole seems to have been designed for the walking approach which is exactly why I bought them and the are excellent for this. The only let down is niggle with the randing – otherwise, they are a very comfortable and versatile pair of shoes.
The price tag packs a bit of a punch at 129€/£112 – but this is about standard for a technical approach shoe.
Upper: 1.6-1.8 Suede with 360˚ Sticky Rubber Rand
Lining: Mesh Lining
Sole Unit: Vibram® Mulaz
Weight: 510 grams (UK8)
Sizing UK: 6 to 13 (inc. half sizes)