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Salewa Alpenrose Ultra Mid GTX Review

This boot is designed for mountainous, technical terrain where lightweight and durable footwear is key.
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Price:  $190 List | $135.40 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Very water resistant, durable, incredibly lightweight, sleek design
Cons:  Problematic fit
Manufacturer:   Salewa
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 31, 2019
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 18
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Support - 20% 8
  • Weight - 15% 9
  • Traction - 15% 9
  • Water Resistance - 15% 10
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Salewa Alpenrose Ultra Mid GTX looks a lot like a high-tech approach shoe with its durable, waterproof upper and sleek design. These boots act like approach shoes too — they feel light on the foot, have sticky soles, and can hold their own on technical terrain. Though they are light and flexible, we had a few issues with the fit of the Alpenrose, so comfort ended up being our main complaint with these boots. The stiffness of the boot may have come into play with the discomfort we experienced. In all other metric comparisons, the Alpenrose rose to the top, especially in weight and water resistance.

We loved the innovative combination of low weight and technical prowess of the Alpenrose. Their design makes them great for long, rugged hikes in technical and mountainous terrain. If they fit your foot, these boots are an impressively lightweight addition to the evolution of hiking boots.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Very water resistant, durable, incredibly lightweight, sleek designGood traction, very comfortable, ankle padding, waterproofColor options, PU monowrap frame construction, narrow and wide fit options, seamless Gore-Tex liningLightweight, comfortable, break in easily, supportiveComfortable, stable, incredibly well-padded, low weight
Cons Problematic fitRuns big, excess padding in tongueNo arch support, expensive, bulky, heavyMinimalist design could result in durability issues, fairly costlyLack breathability, large sole, short collar
Bottom Line This boot is designed for mountainous, technical terrain where lightweight and durable footwear is key.It's difficult to find any short-comings in this fantastic product, which even comes at a fair price.Our award winner and Top Pick for Durability, these boots all-leather construction provides unbeatable protection and support reminiscent of a traditional leather hiking boot of days past.A lightweight, high-performance boot that excels on everything from long, technical trails to short jaunts.These boots are some of the most comfortable and supportive models we have tested, making them our Top Pick for Comfort.
Rating Categories Alpenrose Ultra Mid GTX X Ultra Mid 3 GTX Renegade GTX Mid Breeze LT GTX Sky Toa
Comfort (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
10
Support (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Weight (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
3
10
0
10
10
0
7
Traction (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
6
Durability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
Specs Alpenrose Ultra... X Ultra Mid 3 GTX Renegade GTX Mid Breeze LT GTX Sky Toa
Boot Type Lightweight/Midweight hiker Midweight hiker Midweight hiker Lightweight hiker Lightweight hiker
Weight Per Pair (Size 7.5, in lbs) 1.47 lbs 1.83 lbs 2.19 lbs 1.38 lbs 1.64 lbs
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Upper Breathable mesh/ coated fabric Suede leather, nylon Nubuck leather Microfiber mesh Synthetic
Heel height (mm) 32 mm 32 mm 34 mm - measured inside the boot – centre of the heel, including insole 29 mm 45 mm
Shaft height (mm) 127 mm 121 mm 140 mm - measured inside the boot to the highest shaft point, including insole 114 mm 102 mm
Midsole EVA Dual-density EVA DuraPU with MONOWRAP Frame Dual-density EVA Rangi
Sole Michelin rubber Contagrip rubber Vibram Evo rubber Vibram MegaGrip Vibram MegaGrip

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Salewa Alpenrose Ultra Mid GTX is a high-tech ankle-height boot that really shines in the durability, weight, and water resistance categories of our metric comparison.

Performance Comparison


The Alpenrose Ultra are sleek and low profile  which we loved.
The Alpenrose Ultra are sleek and low profile, which we loved.

Comfort


In this category, we had a hard time separating our personal experience from the actual quality of the Salewa Alpenrose Ultra Mid, so it's best to take our findings with a grain of salt. Initially, the Alpenrose felt fairly good on our lead tester's feet. The lacing system is easy to adjust, and the tongue is well padded. After only a few hours on the trail, the boots started pinching our ankle on the outside of the shoe along the seam of the tongue and the upper. No matter what adjustments we made with the laces and tongue, this pinching persisted every time we wore the Alpenrose. Overall, the boots fit fairly tight across the toe box for our wide-footed lead tester, something that didn't change as the boots broke in. Perhaps the stiff, impenetrable upper did not have enough give to adjust to different foot shapes, causing pain.

We definitely recommend trying these boots on in person before buying them - we had issues with the fit of the Alpenrose as pain appeared after only an hour or so in the boots.
We definitely recommend trying these boots on in person before buying them - we had issues with the fit of the Alpenrose as pain appeared after only an hour or so in the boots.

Support


As discussed above, the Alpenrose have a fairly stiff and sturdy upper for being such a lightweight shoe. This stiffness adds ankle support — almost to a fault for us, since our lead tester experienced pain when our foot flexed forward in these boots. If the Alpenrose fits your foot, though, the same features that caused discomfort for us could provide the right amount of support for you.

The 3F System provided support from the toe box to the ankle - making the Salewa's some of the stiffer boots in this review  especially relative to their weight.
The 3F System provided support from the toe box to the ankle - making the Salewa's some of the stiffer boots in this review, especially relative to their weight.

Salewa uses the 3F System to provide stability and support from the heel to the sole, to the ankle. This system is meant to connect the instep area to the sole and heel, holding the foot in a stable position on the trail. We found this to be helpful in keeping our heel in a stable position and providing support underfoot. Typically, a lightweight boot like the Alpenrose would feel floppy, but this boot felt more akin to the Lowa Renegade in terms of support.

Weight


It is here that the Salewa Alpenrose really shines. Our measured weight for these boots is 1 pound 7.5 ounces — ridiculously lightweight, especially for such a technical, well-designed boot. The only models that come close to the Alpenrose in weight do not provide the same level of durability and water resistance that the Alpenrose does.

Traction


We tested these boots in wet springtime conditions where slippery rocks and muddy hillsides were commonplace. The Salewa Alpenrose has outsoles that consist of angled lugs of varying sizes that create an intricate tread pattern. We found this design to be grippy on rock and gravel — in the way a gecko sticks to a window, these lugs spread out and find traction on anything! Though we typically gravitate toward Vibram soles, the Michelin rubber soles on the Alpenrose impressed us.

The Alpenrose have an aggressive lug pattern that provided traction even on these slippery marsh stones.
The Alpenrose have an aggressive lug pattern that provided traction even on these slippery marsh stones.

Water Resistance


You can almost tell by looking at them that the Alpenrose are going to be waterproof. The upper is a seamless combination of synthetic and mesh, which creates an impenetrable barrier between the foot and the outside world. The Alpenrose also has a Gore-Tex membrane to further provide protection from moisture and breathability. We had our feet fully submerged in running water in these boots and didn't feel a drop of moisture. These boots are synthetic and mesh with a Gore-Tex liner — making them waterproof and breathable, which is key.

The coated uppers and Gore-Tex membrane make the Alpenrose a top performer in water resistance and breathability.
The coated uppers and Gore-Tex membrane make the Alpenrose a top performer in water resistance and breathability.

Durability


Many of the same features that make the Salewa Alpenrose an incredibly waterproof boot also contribute to the boot's performance in terms of durability. The seamless construction used in the upper makes these boots look and feel like they are made from one single sheet of material, almost like a glove. Most of the upper employs a synthetic material that mimics leather with its smooth, abrasion-resistant feel.

The overall construction and materials used in the Alpenrose make them an impressive boot in terms of durability.
The overall construction and materials used in the Alpenrose make them an impressive boot in terms of durability.

The mesh comprising the other portion of the upper is very fine and tightly woven. Both the mesh and synthetic fabrics on the upper have a coating that creates a durable, uniform seal around the entire boot.

The Alpenrose are stable  durable  and water resistant. From the upper to the lacing system  these boots are thoughtful and well-made.
The Alpenrose are stable, durable, and water resistant. From the upper to the lacing system, these boots are thoughtful and well-made.

Value


With a price tag just shy of $200, the Salewa Alpenrose Ultra Mid are an investment. The boots combine tried and true technologies from Gore-Tex and Ortholite with innovations from Salewa to create a truly long-lasting, durable boot. If these puppies fit your foot shape, we'd say they are a worthwhile purchase. They are lightweight and durable, and they will perform well in a variety of situations.

Conclusion


We can completely get behind the concept and design of the Salewa Alpenrose Ultra Mid and were excited to see such a lightweight and technical boot on the market for women. That said, we were fairly disappointed with the actual fit of these boots for us, but our discomfort did not stop us from seeing the positive features in these boots. Their overall construction — which focused on durability, weight, and water resistance — was impressive in appearance and performance. As long as they fit, these boots are a great choice.


Jane Jackson