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Salewa Alpenrose 2 Mid GTX Review

A lightweight and durable boot designed for above-treeline travel
Salewa Alpenrose 2 Mid GTX
Photo: Salewa
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Price:  $190 List | $164.36 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Good traction, lightweight design, water resistant
Cons:  Lack support, narrow toe box
Manufacturer:   Salewa
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2021
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Support - 25% 4
  • Weight - 10% 8
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Salewa Alpenrose 2 Mid GTX boots come close to being the ultimate in mountain footwear. They are lightweight, breathable, durable, and have impressive traction. We found ourselves comfortably talus hopping and scrambling in these boots, almost as if they were an approach shoe instead of a hiking boot. That said, they, unfortunately, fell a bit short in terms of support. Specifically, under the forefoot, these boots felt like they had hardly any padding or cushion. This started to be an issue on longer days when our feet began hurting as the miles added up.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
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Star Rating
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Pros Good traction, lightweight design, water resistantComfortable, waterproof, breathable, durable, relatively lightweightComfortable, durable, very cushioned, stable, supportive, lightweightComfortable, lightweight, durable, inexpensiveLightweight, comfortable, break in easily, supportive
Cons Lack support, narrow toe boxBulky lacesExpensive, take some time to break in, can be warm on hot daysLacks support of larger, heavier bootsMinimalist design could result in durability issues, fairly costly
Bottom Line A lightweight and durable boot designed for above-treeline travelA boot that excels in all metrics, this model offers exceptional performance for a wide range of hiking utility at a reasonable priceWith thick foam soles and a durable leather upper, these boots stand out as the most supportive pair we've reviewedThese are the right choice for folks looking to save a bit of cash while still getting a top-tier hiking bootA low weight, high-performance boot that excels on long, technical trails and short jaunts, too
Rating Categories Salewa Alpenrose 2... Salomon X Ultra 4 M... Hoka One One Kaha G... Keen Targhee III Mid Vasque Breeze LT GTX
Comfort (25%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Support (25%)
4.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (10%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
10.0
Traction (15%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
Water Resistance (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Specs Salewa Alpenrose 2... Salomon X Ultra 4 M... Hoka One One Kaha G... Keen Targhee III Mid Vasque Breeze LT GTX
Weight Per Pair (Size 7.5, in lbs) 1.61 lbs 1.62 lbs 1.91 lbs 1.80 lbs 1.38 lbs
Upper Breathable mesh Synthetic, textile, rubber toecap Full-grain leather Oiled nubuck leather Microfiber mesh
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Water Resistant Membrane Gore-Tex Extended Comfort Gore-Tex eVent KEEN-Dry Gore-Tex Extended Comfort
Heel height (mm) 1.3 in 1.6 in 2.1 in 1.4 in 1.1 in
Shaft height (mm) 5.5 in 5.1 in 5.5 in 4.9 in 4.5 in
Midsole EVA molded OrthoLite sockliner EVA Dual Density EVA Dual-density EVA
Sole Pomoca Speed Hiking Contagrip rubber, chevron lugs Vibram MegaGrip Rubber Vibram MegaGrip

Our Analysis and Test Results

A boot that shines in lightweight durability, traction, and water resistance.

Performance Comparison


The Alpenrose felt good initially, but approaching the trailhead...
The Alpenrose felt good initially, but approaching the trailhead after a long day, our feet began to yearn for the car.
Photo: Alexa Flower

Comfort


The Alpenrose 2 Mid GTX is designed for lightweight mountain travel. They are very different from both the extra-cushioned, modern shoes in this review and the extra-stiff traditional designs we have tested. The Alpenrose is restrained in both cushion and stiffness, making it fall short when it comes to overall comfort.

A highly adjustable, super-light boot. The Alpenrose 2 seems made...
A highly adjustable, super-light boot. The Alpenrose 2 seems made for the alpine, though more support underfoot would increase comfort and stability in such an environment.
Photo: Alexa Flower

That said, we preferred it over the previous version of this model. This is mostly due to the upper, which is made from a softer, more forgiving fabric that contoured better to our foot shape over time. Though not as narrow as the previous version, we still found the Alpenrose 2 to squeeze our foot a bit in the forefoot. To remedy this, try ordering a size up if the width is a concern—from our experience, these boots run a little small.

Support


In this metric, we assess the level of stability and comfort the boots midsole and insole provide. We take into account ankle support and padding, midsole construction, and arch support. After a long day on the trail, it's clear which boots excel in this metric and which ones fall short. Unfortunately, the Salewa Alpenrose fell into the ladder category. The forefoot is extremely flexible, meaning that there's a lot of mobility when the foot flexes forward. This is a good thing in some situations, but in terms of underfoot support, it can lead to pain and discomfort over a long period. We also found that this flexion caused a pinch in the top of the boot, where the ankle and foot meet.

Here, we demonstrate the level of flex the forefoot has in these...
Here, we demonstrate the level of flex the forefoot has in these boots. We felt every little rock and pebble under the ball of our foot due to this flexible and soft outsole design.
Photo: Alexa Flower

We felt like the midsole and outsole of the Alpenrose were surprisingly thin, which resulted in us feeling every root and rock on the trail as it impacted the ball of our foot. This does not bode well for long-distance support and comfort. The original Alpenrose was very stiff underfoot. The Alpenrose 2 runs in the opposite direction with too much flexibility underfoot.

Weight


For a fully waterproof and durable boot with a Gore-Tex membrane, the Alpenrose 2 is an impressively lightweight boot (1.61 lbs, size 7.5 US Women's). It seems like a bit of support and stability underfoot were compromised in exchange for a lightweight design. If weight is a concern, especially in wet environments, these boots are a great option. They are among the lightest boots in this review and yet they remain competitive in both the traction and water resistance metrics.

Traction


The Pomoca S-Path outsole is designed with an aggressive lug pattern and impressively sticky rubber. We were impressed by the performance of the Alpenrose 2 when it came to off-trail travel and boulder hopping. These were some of the only boots that compared to an approach shoe on rocky terrain. The lugs and tread pattern provide traction on loose scree as well as granite slabs, where it really comes down to the friction provided by the sole's rubber compound.

The Pomoca rubber compound makes the Alpenrose a sticky, traction...
The Pomoca rubber compound makes the Alpenrose a sticky, traction machine.
Photo: Alexa Flower

Water Resistance


Much like our experience with the traction of these boots, the materials used in their construction make them a high performer in this metric as well. The mesh upper and Gore-Tex extended comfort membrane keep feet dry, even in wet springtime conditions. Our biggest hang-up in this metric was not with protection from moisture but in their ability to breathe in hot conditions. Perhaps it is due to their dark color, or maybe because the water-resistant barrier is so effective, but the Alpenrose 2 got very hot in warm conditions and our feet got very sweaty. Overall, their design lacked the breathability of some of the other mesh or synthetic models we've reviewed.

The Gore-Tex uppers kept our feet dry in spring conditions and...
The Gore-Tex uppers kept our feet dry in spring conditions and marshy creek crossings.
Photo: Alexa Flower

Durability


A reinforced lacing system and a durable, scratch-resistant upper make these boots a force when it comes to durability. Over the span of our testing period, we saw no evidence of wear on the upper nor on the soles of these shoes. Their lightweight construction is met with the use of substantial and user-approved materials, making the Alpenrose 2 a durable boot for rugged terrain.

Value


All the high-end materials and advanced design features that make the Salewa a lightweight, talus-hopping machine also make it an expensive model. The brand-name features from Gore-Tex, Pomoca, and Ortholite mean that the consumer is paying a little extra. If they fit, they could be a good investment, but their lightweight design felt like it sacrificed support and comfort a bit too much for our liking.

Reinforced eyelets and abrasion-resistant materials make the...
Reinforced eyelets and abrasion-resistant materials make the Alpenrose feel like a boot that will last a long time, despite its lightweight design.
Photo: Alexa Flower

Conclusion


With an impressive and thoughtful design, plus the use of trusted and high-performing materials, the Salewa Alpenrose 2 Mid GTX is a boot made for high performance in rugged terrain. That said, we were a bit disappointed by the lack of support underfoot and were not thrilled by the idea of wearing these boots for long days with heavy loads. While they excel in durability and traction, they fall short in comfort and support.

Jane Jackson