Model: Alp Flow Mid GTX
We put these boots on fat feet, skinny feet, and everything in between, and everyone said the same thing: “Like a glove.” The reasons? To-the-toe lacing lets us adjust volume as needed throughout the foot, the roomy toebox (way roomier than other Salewa’s we’ve tested) gave everyone plenty of wiggle room, and a special adaptive foam in the heel pocket conforms to all ankles and absorbs any excess space that can cause friction. Several of us stopped toting camp shoes because they seemed like dead weight when we had these on our feet. (Full disclosure: One tester out of 7 inexplicably got a heel blister.)
The soft EVA midsole is buttressed by a hard plastic insert that adds torsional stiffness. We carried packs weighing up to 50 pounds while sidehilling and off-trail hiking in the Sierra, and we never felt shaky.
The Alp Flow Mid uses Gore’s new Surround tech, but we were split on its success in this boot. The upper uses leather and lots of rubber, which may inhibit ventilation.
Hundreds of miles of hiking didn’t put a dent in them. One tester even rubbed the boot for 15 minutes on sharp limestone to see if he could rip off the rubber exoskeleton. No dice.