Salomon Amphib Bold - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Amphib Bold is a lightweight sneaker touted by Salomon as "a water shoe you can run in." We'd say it's more of a running shoe that can get wet. It is quite lightweight at 13 ounces, which we like. The mesh exterior provides great ventilation and dries quickly. Our testers were surprised at the relatively good traction, yet this was negated by a lack of versatility and a fit that left something to be desired.
While the Amphib Bold is lightweight and ventilates well, its biggest flaw was a poor fit and irritation on the skin when worn with bare feet. In the experience of our lear tester, when the single-lace pull was tightened, it only tightened around the arch and ball of the foot, leaving the heel loose. One shoe even came off entirely in a desperate bid to high-side a raft to prevent a flip (it was luckily retrieved at the bottom of the raft). It also ran at least a half-size too big, leaving a floppy toe box that presented somewhat of a tripping hazard. It didn't protect our feet from rocks and obstructions well with its light construction. It was necessary to wear socks with the Ampib Bolds, as the seams caused discomfort with bare feet.
A socked tester with narrow feet found the Amphib Bold mostly comfortable on a longer side hike and day on the river. It seems the shoe narrower feet better. Some people may be fine with the comfort of these shoes when wearing socks, but we place a lot of worth on an amphibious shoe being comfortable without socks. This model didn't quite hit the target in this metric.
Our testers were pleasantly surprised with the traction offered by the Amphib Bold. Salomon's Contagrip FD, with siped lugs, stuck well to rafts and wet rocks. We felt comfortable trusting the traction on a long scout mission, navigating a few wet logs and mossy rocks. The lugs dug into soft surfaces as well, performing with excellence on a steep, sandy approach to the river. The solid traction reinforces their application as a trail runner.
While the Amphib Bold is indeed a nice running shoe that can withstand water immersion, it seems to only fit a small subset of foot shapes and felt minimalist. On a run, our testers found they didn't quite have the arch strength to go long distances and adequately absorb the shock.
Worn with socks, it was a decent hiking shoe. Just make sure to size down at least a half size. They aren't our favorites for swimming, since one popped off while we were wearing them in the water, and aren't that comfy without socks.
For warmth on the water, the ability to add layers for different conditions is paramount. The Amphib Bold is adjustable enough to wear neoprene socks or a drysuit, but the fit around the heel was compromised when the shoe was tightened. The shape of the lacing made it so it cinches down only on the top of the foot. These wouldn't be the first choice for us when heading into cold water.
They would be a good choice for warm days since they ventilate well. They drained quickly given the mesh exterior. The upper materials dried rapidly.
Given how lightweight the Amphib Bold is, they showed only minimal signs of wear. Yet the mesh uppers probably couldn't withstand sharp sticks or rocks. It's unlikely the rubber toebox would take more scuffing against rocks or months of being jammed under a raft thwart.
Given that we think the Amphib Bold is more of a running than water shoe, they are more sensitive than we initially thought they would be. We were able to feel unseen rocks and obstructions under the water, navigating the shallows confidently. They lacked in their ability to flex around objects, however, due to their deep lugs and perforated grooves on the outsole.
Our testers found the Amphib Bold a bit overpriced. While they are more durable than other products tested and have a sporty look that will likely appeal to many, their lack of versatility in varying conditions and general poor fit. Yet if you are a runner with narrow, strong feet who plans to smash through creeks and puddles on your missions, they might be worth the extra bucks.
While quite durable, the Salomon Amphib Bold - Women's seem to fit only a narrow range of foot shapes. Because of their poor fit, it was difficult to add warm layers without compromising their comfort and general risk of them coming off entirely. They would be a great option for trail runners whose feet fit within the niche shape the shoe offers. For purely a water shoe, they come up somewhat short.
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