Salewa Pro Gaiter Boots
Tester for this review: Chad Cochran
Item Tested: Salewa Pro Gaiter Boots
Testing Areas / conditions: Cordillera Real, Bolivia; Conditions included everything from gravel road to blue ice to snow
Approximate # Days tested: 20
Basic description of product: The Salewa Pro Gaiter Boot is a mountaineering boot that has an adjustable shank in the sole allowing it to be changed from a ¾ length shank to a full shank with the twisting of a bolt. Other features include integrated gaiter, front and rear bails, and fine adjusting lacing system on the inner boot.
Similar products that you have used: I’ve had my foot in everything from a summer alpine boot with a ¾ length shank to a double plastic boot.
Overall how was the performance of this product versus other similar products used? In the walking mode it was one of the most comfortable boots I’ve worn in the mountains, even more flexible then my summer boots with the ¾ length shank. When I switch them over to climb mode they felt stiff underfoot like some of my other ice climbing boots, giving my confidence to sit back on my heels and trust the boot wasn’t going to flex.
How was this products ease of use compared to other similar products? Because it was a little more involved then a single boot the lacing system took a little bit to get used to, but it worked very well. It was faster then any of my other double boots as I only had one thing to lace up and then just a zipper to close on the outside.
How does this products durability compare to other similar products? As far as the parts of the boot I didn’t see any flaws in the manufacturing. It hasn’t been used like some of my other boots have, so we’ll see what the future holds.
The one part that did wear out almost immediately was the bolt that changed the boot from walk to climb. The first time I went to switch the boots over I stripped the hex bolt with ease. I was able to get the boot into climb mode but that’s were it stayed for the rest of the trip.
[Edit: Salewa has changed the hex bolt to prevent the issue that Chad encountered while testing the boots.]
How does this products weight compare to other similar products? With the integrated gaiter it seemed lighter on my feet then any of my 4 season ice climbing boots and especially my double boots.
Do you feel that this product shows advancement in technology or is a step above competing products on the market? As long as the issue with the bolt gets addressed and fixed I think this is the next step in comfortable mountain footwear. I was able to comfortably walk a gravel road for several miles and then with the same boot kick away at some hard blue ice.
What are some changes that you would suggest to make this product better? I would suggest fixing the bolt maybe making it something a bit easier to adjust and with a multitude of tools not just the specialized allen wrench that came with the boots.
What are the key things that make this product great? The boots fit great right out of the box and could be adjusted tighter or looser with out my foot sliding around. The deep lugs on the bottom of the boot cave me great comfort on steep muddy slopes or that littered with pea gravel. My feet continued to stay dry throughout the trip whether I was walking through knee-deep snow or ankle deep creeks.
As a guide, what are the key factors that you take into consideration when choosing such a product? I look for something that is easy to maintain while out in the field. The products that I use should be easy to operate, durable, and versatile.
Final conclusion of product testing: I think the Salewa Pro Gaiter Boots are an amazing new option on the market for people to try. They fit my feet well and I have a little bit of a wide foot. They seem like they would adjust to accommodate most foot shapes. Beyond the great attributes the boot offers when looking at it, it feels great on the feet. When being able to switch between walk and climb one no longer needs to dread the approach or descent from a trip to the mountains. Nor do they need to fret about the need for a stiffer boot while climbing technical ground.
The one draw back to the design is the mechanism that allows one to switch the boot back and forth between walk and climb. The specialized tool to make the switch becomes priceless while in the backcountry with no other options to work the boot. I also had an issue with the bolt stripping causing me to keep my boots in climb mode for most of the trip. If this issue gets resolved I would be happy to nominate them for a guides choice award. But until then I can’t award the boots our stamp of approval.
Walking out to the Cordillera Real in Bolivia
A close up of the flex of the boots
Changing the boot over to climb and stripping it