Waterproof, blister-free, and durable hiking boots; what's not to love?
Living in Arizona, I hike pretty frequently and often undertake trails that are fairly technical, with decent amounts of scrambling and trail-finding throughout the hike. Arizona is home to tons of acres of backcountry for exploring, and having good shoes for any alpine climbing or alpine mountaineering is absolutely essential, so I was happy to test these Salewa Alp Trainers.
Hiking boots and mountaineering boots can be tricky, you want them to be lightweight enough not to weigh you down as you're trekking but have enough durability to last you for a while and make it through some serious hikes. These Salewa Alp Trainer 2 boots are awesome, and not just because they have yet to give me any blisters. For a waterproof hiking boot, they're incredibly lightweight and breathable, even in the summer heat of Arizona.
The Salewa Alp Trainer 2 hiking boots are designed for some serious alpine trekking, though I'm afraid I won't be able to test these out on some serious mountains for a while (don't worry, Dolomites, I'm coming for you one day). This modern, mid-cut hiking boot features a hardwearing, high-quality suede upper with robust stretch fabric inserts at the tongue and a waterproof (yet breathable) GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort liner.
While these hiking shoes aren't specifically designed for speed hiking, like the Ultra Flex or Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite models that Salewa makes, these are still light enough that you don't feel bogged down or like you're climbing a mountain with two bricks strapped to your feet. They come with a no-blister guarantee, which I was eager to test out and true to their word, I have yet to get a blister with these (a true rarity when breaking in hiking boots!).
The Vibram® outsole package provides some serious grip, which is especially useful on Arizona hikes where you're either dealing with loose scree or slippery rock for most of your hike. The waterproof GORE-TEX® liner also makes these a great candidate for adding crampons for some winter climbing or mountaineering.
I loved the climbing lacing, especially compared to traditional hiking boot laces that can easily become stiff or difficult to lace. These boots come with the trademarked 3F system that all Salewa shoes boast, intended to give better flexibility and support in the instep, heel, and toe areas. The midsole was durable enough that I didn't feel any of the sharp rocks underfoot, which is a huge issue during rocky hikes here. The mid-cut doesn't suffocate your ankles, either, which is something that I am super sensitive about. The soft Flex Collar offers support without feeling like your ankles are constricted and have no mobility.
The only complaint I have about these shoes is that I felt the insoles could have been a little more cushioned, though this may change with time as I use the boots more and as they adapt to my feet. I also loved the POMOCA soles found on other models, like the Salewa Wildfire Approach shoe and the Mountain Trainer Lite boots, because I find the grip to be unmatched on those, and it's especially good for scrambling and climbing. The Alp Trainer 2s don't have the POMOCA, though the outsoles are still grippy, and the Vibram works really well, too.
All in all, I love these shoes. The "no break-in" period places them way ahead of other hiking boots, and the waterproof GORE-TEX is handier than I can express, especially if you like hiking in all terrains. I'm excited to test them in snowy or wetter conditions and see how well the GORE-TEX holds up with long durations of water exposure and submersion. Until that point, however, I'm really satisfied with the quality of these boots, I don't doubt they'll hold up for many years.