After a steady diet of rocks, roots, and climbing—with pack loads up to 55 pounds—the Mtn Trainer Mid earned top honors because of its unusually strong combination of protection, support, and nimbleness. “Boots with this much buttressing are usually way clunkier,” raves one tester.
The performance starts with a low-profile design, precise to-the-toe lacing, and a “climbing section” on the outsole. Under the forefoot, this smooth slab of rubber boosts smearing traction. The boot’s innards—a stiff, rockered sole with three-quarter-length polypropylene lasting board, and a Y-shaped overlay that snugs the heel in place from three directions—provided our test crew with impressive support, both under and around the entire foot.
One tester, a wilderness EMT, was on a night rescue in Joshua Tree National Park when he misjudged a big boulder hop and began sliding down a rock face with a heavy pack. “I thought I’d need a rescue myself, but then—in mid-slide—the two-inch-tall, sticky rubber rand grabbed the granite and helped me regain my balance,” he says. Testers hiking in wet conditions liked the slightly higher-than-average cuff and fully gusseted tongue, which together delivered the tallest waterproof protection among models in this test—enough to stay dry in a six-inch-deep stream.
Tradeoff: The stiffness and big-time support meant that testers were ready for camp shoes at the end of the day to soothe hard-working feet. Bonus: Salewa has a no-blister guarantee. If you get one within two weeks of purchase, you can exchange your boots or get a refund.
> Weight 3 lbs. 1 oz.
> Price $189
> Mens Sizes 6-13
> Womens Sizes 3-9