Salewa Wildfire Approach Shoes
If someone ever tells you to walk a day in their shoes, you should hope that they are wearing the Salewa Wildfires. If this is the case, I recommend walking, hiking and climbing in them because they excel in every category. I have had the luck of wearing the Salewa Wildfires for a couple of months now and they truly are the best approach shoes I have ever used.
Upon first look you will notice the Salewa "Y" wrapping around the back of the shoe and splitting around the top of the foot and under the arch. This feature helps to keep your foot positioned in the heel pocket where it belongs. When laced snugly the system if noticeable when on your toes on steep terrain. I never felt that my heel was coming up out of the shoe when climbing or scrambling in them.
The mesh outer provides good ventilation on warmer days and the EXA shell that wraps around the upper provided additional durability that is normally lost when mesh is used. A high rubber randed toe provided good grip and durability when the occasional foot jam was needed on class 4 or low class 5 approaches. Instead of using rubber to rand the rest of the shoe Salewa is using a lighter weight dotted randing that seems to be plenty durable and helps to keep the shoes light.
The Multi-Fit-Footbed (MFF) is a simple solution to change the fit of the shoe. While the footbeds don't provide a lot of support themselves, the shape of the shoes last helps to make up for that. The MFF is basically two different volume footbeds that velcro onto a universal center footbed section. One footbed has more volume along the edges providing a more snug fit, while the other has less volume for those who have larger volume feet, or if you just want a slightly looser fit.
The Vibram Tech Approach outsole is very sticky and has a very ingenious tread pattern. They felt grippy and nimble on everything from dirt trails to slabby sandstone. Under the toe the tread is smoother to allow for a good flat platform when climbing while the outer edges of the toe and forefoot have a dot tread pattern that grips well when on side-sloping terrain. The outside edge of the heel is smoother to allow for more surface area friction when descending slabby terrain while the inside edge of the heel has dot tread for better grip in loose dirt or scree.
From what I can tell the sizing runs about 1/2 size big. I normally wear a US 11.5 and an 11 is the perfect balance between comfort for hiking and snugness for more technical climbing and approach use. Even if you stick to your normal shoe size, there is enough adjustability in the to-the-toe lacing and the MFF system that you can make the fit work very easily. Because the Wildfire is available in Men's and Women's specific models, everyone can enjoy the great fit and awesome functionality!