Since we don’t live in an area that’s really conducive to long-distance hiking (the Ice Age Trail a notable example, but that’s also some distance away), light and fast is the way to go. Salewa’s Ultra Flex Mid GTX shoes really fit the bill (a great sample to receive for testing!).
Wonder what Salewa means? Saddler and Leather Wares = SA (Sattler / Saddler) LE (Leder / Leather) WA (Waren / Wares). Now you know. I’ll admit that Salewa hasn’t always been on my radar – I’d heard of them, but they seemed like an esoteric German brand and weren’t seen very often in the U.S. In 2007, a branch of the business was established in Boulder, CO to amp up their US presence. They are now headquartered in Bolzano, Italy.
The Ultra Flex Mid GTX is a men’s waterproof, breathable mid-cut shoe designed for speed hiking and, if you have the need, high-intensity mountain training.
MICHELIN®’s technical performance outsole is a special rubber compound with grooves for outstanding traction and stability over hard and uneven terrain. The GORE-TEX® construction keeps things dry in wet and muddy conditions.
These shoes are surprisingly lightweight (1 pound 15 ounces for my Men’s size 13) and the mid-cut upper (vegan!) provides good support. The Ultra Flex Mid GTX were comfortable straight out of the box, which is always a good sign.
Salewa’s Alpine Fit Guarantee: free from quality and manufacturing defects for 2 years and, if you use your shoes for appropriate activities, lace them properly and use quality socks, they will be 100% Blisterfree (wow).
I wore these shoes for a few hours at my son’s wrestling meet, for camping (easy on and off for a higher cut shoe), and hiking several times. Out of the box and at all times I wore them, they remained comfortable and made me happy to wear them.
The tag on the Ultra Flex Mid GTX indicates that it was manufactured in Vietnam; not sure whether that’s the case for all Salewa boots and shoes.
Cons: I’m not a fan of the quick pull lacing system or the relatively narrow toe box, though neither is deal killer for me. Though a touch narrow for my wider feet, they stayed comfortable even for longer stretches. If they came out with a wide, this would be an amazing shoe for the bigger guys with wider feet.
Also check out my review of the Salewa Pedroc Alpha Jacket.