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Salewa Wildfire Edge Review

One of the most capable climbers in this review, and is a great shoe for technical hiking in dry conditions
salewa wildfire edge hiking shoes review
Credit: Backcountry
Price:  $170 List
Manufacturer:   Salewa
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 1, 2022
52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 15
  • Comfort - 25% 5.0
  • Support - 20% 5.0
  • Traction - 15% 9.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 1.0
  • Durability - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Salewa Wildfire Edge is a great hiking shoe to put on for scrambling in rocky terrain, and need the confidence that our foot will stay put on the rock. These are some of the most nimble shoes we reviewed and are akin to an approach shoe that is designed for climbing on technical routes. The low-top cut and the lack of waterproofing make them specialized for dry conditions and their stiff sole, which makes them excellent for edging, but it does put the performance in front of comfort. This is a niche shoe compared to the hiking shoe competition and is the best choice for a hiker or climber who wants to move freely on exposed routes.
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent traction
Breathable
REASONS TO AVOID
Not waterproof
Can feel uncomfortable
Editor's Note: We updated this review on November 1, 2022, to reassess our statements and add come commentary on weight.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Excellent traction, breathableExcellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, supportSuper comfortable, durable, stableSupportive, great traction, lightweightSupportive, versatile, well-cushioned
Cons Not waterproof, can feel uncomfortableCuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favoriteNot great for off-trail, average tractionStiff, lacing is hard to tightenAverage traction, regular width is relatively wide, hard to lace tightly
Bottom Line One of the most capable climbers in this review, and is a great shoe for technical hiking in dry conditionsThis is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking tripsThese super plush hiking shoes feel like you are walking on clouds, perfect for long days on hard surfacesThis is a burly hiking shoe capable of getting off the trail and onto rugged terrainA comfortable and versatile pair of budget-friendly hiking shoes with a casual look that's great for both the trail and the town
Rating Categories Salewa Wildfire Edge Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Salewa Mountain Tra... Columbia Facet 60 O...
Comfort (25%)
5.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
Support (20%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Traction (15%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
Water Resistance (15%)
1
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
Durability (10%)
5.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Salewa Wildfire Edge Salomon X Ultra 4 G... Hoka Anacapa Low GTX Salewa Mountain Tra... Columbia Facet 60 O...
Weight (per pair) 2.02 lbs (size 11) 1.76 lbs (size 11) 1.79 lbs (size 11) 2.16 lbs (size 11) 1.78 lbs (size 10.5)
Upper Suede, EXA Shell cage, microfiber Synthetic, textile Nubuck leather, GTX Textile Synthetic Seamless mesh
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Waterproof Lining None Gore-Tex membrane Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Extended Comfort OutDry
Flood Level 3 in 3.25 in 3 in 3.5 in 4.25 in
Last Board/Shank None ADV-C chassis Not specified Nylon Not specified
Midsole Multi Fit Footbed Plus EnergyCell Compressed EVA EVA Techlite+
Outsole POMOCA Speed Mtn Contagrip MA rubber Vibram MegaGrip Pomoca MTN trainer Lite Omni-Grip rubber

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Salewa Wildfire Edge is the shoe we grab when the terrain is going to get steep and technical. It has some of the grippiest rubber of any shoe in our review, it fits snug like a glove, and edges and smears as well as many climbing shoes.

Performance Comparison


salewa wildfire edge hiking shoes review - if you need high-performance traction on difficult rock routes, this...
If you need high-performance traction on difficult rock routes, this is a shoe to strongly consider.
Credit: Austin Kalb

Comfort


When it comes to comfort, this shoe gets edged out by the hiking shoe competition. We like many aspects of the shoe, such as the easy lacing system that allows for a snug fit when getting ready for a challenging climb. The innovative 3F system pulls the lacing around the back of the heel, making for an even more secure fit in the heel. The MFF+ (multi-fit footbed) is one of the nicer footbeds we have worn. The stiff sole that makes this shoe great for climbing also makes it one of the least comfortable shoes to wear for miles at a time. It does lessen the impact of sharp rocks jabbing through the sole, but it can feel clunky, and our feet felt fatigued at the end of a long day wearing these on the trail.

salewa wildfire edge hiking shoes review - ready to rock and roll! the wildfire edge is reasonably comfortable...
Ready to rock and roll! The Wildfire Edge is reasonably comfortable to hike in with, but once the objective is reached they really show their usefulness.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Support


These hiking shoes are supportive in some ways and quite unsupportive in others. The sole of the Wildfire Edge, which includes an Edging Plate in the insole for more stability, reduces the pain of feeling every single rock through the sole. The narrow sole makes these shoes nimble and responsive. However, this width, combined with the fact that these shoes are cut very low on the ankle, means that they will be more susceptible to rolling ankles than other more supportive shoes that have moderate ankle protection as well. We feel that these shoes are best for confident hikers and climbers who do not carry heavy loads.

salewa wildfire edge hiking shoes review - these hiking shoes are great for sprinting around in the mountains...
These hiking shoes are great for sprinting around in the mountains, but their low ankle height might make them less stable when carrying big backpacks.
Credit: Louie Allen

Traction


Traction is an area where these shoes prove themselves worthy. Using a Pomoca Speed Mtn outsole, these shoes have the stickiest rubber in any test shoes. This rubber grips incredibly well onto the rock, and the sole simultaneously can edge and smear thanks to the Edging Plate in the insole. The sole of the Wildfire Edge features relatively shallow lugs capable in moderately slippery conditions but are outmatched by mud and other trail conditions that require heavier-set lugs. We paired these shoes with a pair of microspike crampons to ascend a moderate snowfield, but that is at the edge of their comfort zone.

salewa wildfire edge hiking shoes review - the sole of the wildfire edge features some of the lowest profile...
The sole of the Wildfire Edge features some of the lowest profile lugs of any shoe, but it makes them very grippy on smooth rock.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Weight


These Salewa shoes weigh in at 2.02 pounds in US men's size 11. These are not the lightest shoes but are certainly not the heaviest. We find the weight worth the extra stability and climbing ability that they provide over models with less grippy soles.

salewa wildfire edge hiking shoes review - we verified the weight of these shoes, and they come in at a...
We verified the weight of these shoes, and they come in at a respectable 2.02 pounds.
Credit: Ryan Huetter


Water Resistance


Without a liner, this shoe is not waterproof, and it scores low in this metric. There are waterproof versions of this shoe available, however, if you know you need that capability.

Durability


These shoes can hold up to the standard rigors of life on the trail but may have some durability issues if used regularly in abrasive terrain. We used these shoes to climb Mount Whitney and numerous other routes in the Sierra Nevada and Red Rock Canyon and found the suede wearing out on the outer edge of the foot. The laces are quite thin, and the lacing eyelets are made from cord rather than metal, so with a lot of jamming into cracks, these will likely break and be unreplaceable. We feel that we could get one solid season of heavy use out of the Edge before they are worn out.

salewa wildfire edge hiking shoes review - the lacing system of these shoes prone to wear, and is one of their...
The lacing system of these shoes prone to wear, and is one of their weakest attributes.
Credit: Ryan Huetter

Should You Buy the Salewa Wildfire Edge?


This sticky rubber hiking shoe is one of our favorite shoes for traveling in complex technical terrain, as they climb as well as an approach shoe but can handle moderate approaches on the trail as well. The Wildfire Edge is a great shoe for the technical hiker, and the extra traction provides good value. That said, these are a niche pair of shoes that aren't as suitable for general hiking applications as many other shoes on the market. This makes them most valuable to a smaller group of people. It is best for those who anticipate mostly dry conditions and who require the best performance on steep and rocky terrain that they can find. Those who plan on sticking mostly to trails, who carry overnight packs, and who want the added protection from a waterproof liner can look to several other good options found in this review.

salewa wildfire edge hiking shoes review - while not designed for it, we put some microspike crampons on the...
While not designed for it, we put some microspike crampons on the Wildfires and used them to climb a moderate snow slope.
Credit: Matt Scott

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?


If you want the absolute best with good scores in every testing metric, then the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex is our favorite. This shoe brings comfort and traction to a supportive and water-resistant shoe and at a lower price point.

Ryan Huetter
 
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