Why we like it Get excellent protection in a nimble package that excels at climbing.
Protection The ripstop nylon uppers, rubber toe bumper, and rand made of Kevlar—which is lighter and more durable than rubber—weathered repeated beatings. A PU framework crisscrosses the upper, giving it a tight, protective structure. The combination of construction and materials armors your foot and makes the Firetail exceptionally durable for the weight.
Support Much like a typical approach shoe, the lacing runs all the way down the toebox to dial in the fit for edging, but the Firetail is much more than an approach shoe. The EVA midsole has a full-length nylon and fiberglass plate that ably supported our 160-pound tester and his 35-pound pack. The plastic-and-wire heel cage wraps the ankle and midfoot securely into the lacing system, while lace hooks at the ankle help lock the heel in.
Traction The grippy rubber outsole has broad, diamond-shaped lugs on the perimeter for increased contact area while climbing and smearing, and small, donut-shaped lugs down the middle for reliable traction on mud, gravel, and rock. This combo helped one tester travel cross-country and explore climbing routes in Idaho’s Castle Rocks State Park. “I climbed up to 5.7 before small edges in the rock required me to switch to my dedicated climbing shoes,” he says.
Fit The Firetail comes with two sets of thin insoles that nest together and let testers customize the fit by using one or both of them. “I like how the top one wraps around my arch and the sides of my feet, slightly narrowing the width,” one tester says. A microfiber tongue and Lycra lining were soft and smooth against testers’ socks. Salewa even offers a blister-free guarantee; return them within two weeks if they rub you the wrong way.
$149; 1 lb. 13 oz.; m’s 7-13, w’s 6-11; salewa.us