For years, I have owned two pairs of hiking boots: an industrial boot able to carry me through 30 days in Alaska with a 60 pound pack and a light, day hiking boot with little ankle or knee support. Despite their respective advantages, they function in niche settings. The weight of the former discourages me from wearing them on a four-day, non-technical backpack, but the lack of support of the latter leaves me vulnerable to injuries while carrying a heavier pack. SALEWA, a outdoor gear company based in Italy, designed the ALP Trainer Mid Boots for the 2015 women’s Hiking and Trekking line as a mid-weight boot ideal for mixed mountain terrain.
The ALP Trainer Mid Boots are one of three boots in the women’s Hiking and Trekking line with ankle coverage. Of the three, SALEWA rated this boot best for mixed mountain terrain. The Vibram Hike Approach outsole, designed for optimal grip on a variety of surfaces, kept me balanced while running through mud slick from recent snowmelt. As someone with neither a wide nor narrow ankle, the boot held my ankle snug enough that it did not wobble in the mud, but the extra space around the top of my foot allowed for minute movements to compensate for the occasional grip failures.
I also tested the boots during a midnight hike up Crested Butte in Colorado with a 20 pound pack through a mixture of slushy and hard-pack snow. The outsole gripped well to both for the most part, but slipped more on the slush than the hard-pack and mud. The GORE-TEX lining on the outside of the boot prevented melted snow from penetrating the boot. Although great for sunny days hiking through grassy areas, the breathability of the ballistic mesh tongue did not provide an adequate buffer from the temperature of the snow.
On all the surfaces I tested the boots on, the Nubuk fabric on the exterior of the boot prevented any tearing. Nubuk feels and looks like suede, but is made from the outer hide, thus increasing its strength and thickness. TheALP Trainer Mid Boots have 1.6 mm of Nubuk around the ankle, shin and foot. The layer of Nubuk withstood contact with and pressure from rocks, sticks and trees.
These boots are great for hikes through non-technical terrain with mild weight loads in warmer conditions and can adapt to slick or dry terrain.
Date available: available now
Listed Weight: 515 grams
Materials: Vibram Hike Approach (outsole)
GORE-TEX Surround midsole (insole)
GORE-TEX Extended Comfort (lining)
Upper: Nubuk, Ballistic Mesh, highly wear-resistant fabric, protective rand
Size/Model tested: size 7, Venom/Bright Acqua
Sizes 3-9 (half sizes available)
Colors Available: Venom/Bright Acqua, Charcoal/Indio