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 found these boots to compare to the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 regarding their water resistance and overall breathability. We like the Salomon boots more for broader applications, but love the innovative combination of low weight and technical prowess of the Alpenrose.
Salewa Alpenrose Ultra Mid GTX Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Very water resistant, durable, incredibly lightweight, sleek design
Cons: Problematic fit
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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.
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 also had a difficult time breaking in the Ahnu Montara III, which also had a hard shape for wide footed folks.
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.
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 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.
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. The North Face Fastpack III comes close, with a weight of 1 pound 9.1 ounces, but they didn't perform as well as the Alpenrose in our other metrics. The Alpenrose felt more like the Renegade or the La Sportiva Nucleo High in terms of support but weigh around a half-pound less than these models.
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, like those found on the Ahnu Montara III or the La Sportiva Nucleo High, the Michelin rubber soles on the Alpenrose impressed us.
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. This performance was on par with the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3, which really wowed us with its water-resistant qualities. Both boots are synthetic and mesh with a Gore-Tex liner — making them waterproof and breathable, which is key.
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 mesh comprising the other portion of the upper is very fine and tightly woven. This material looks more like the woven upper on the North Face Fastpack III than a traditional mesh material seen on boots like the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 or the Vasque Breeze III. Additionally, both the mesh and synthetic fabrics have a coating that creates a durable, uniform seal around the entire boot.
These technical boots are best suited for experienced hikers looking for a lighter boot able to sustain long, rugged hikes. The Alpenrose is stable, durable, and incredibly water resistant, making it an ideal option for technical and mountainous terrain. The downside to these boots is their tight toe box and specific fit. As with any hiking footwear, we would advise anyone who is interested in this model to try them on in person before buying them to avoid hot spots like the ones we developed during testing. If they fit your foot, these boots are an impressively lightweight addition to the evolution of hiking boots.
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.
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