When you’re hiking, whether it’s just a day trip down the trail or through-hiking the Pacific Northwest Crest, you need to take care of your feet. There are all kinds of things you should be doing to take care of your feet on a hike, but the most important thing you could possibly do is get good hiking shoes. That’s when the Salewa Firetail Hiking EVO GTX Hiking Shoe comes in.
Hiking Shoes vs. Hiking Boots
For a long time, boots were the only option for hikers. And in many cases, they’re still the best option. On rough trails or wet terrain, boots will provide more support and have a better chance of keeping your feet dry. For a quick day hike though, or even a multi-day trek over well-maintained trails, hiking shoes are quickly becoming the footwear of choice.
Trail shoes are more comfortable than hiking boots, though that lack of stiffness can be a danger on rocky ground where the possibility of rolling your ankle is high. The lighter weight means it doesn’t take as much energy to keep your feet moving down the trail, however, and these make an excellent camp shoe-you won’t have that burning desire to rip them off as soon as you drop your back like you get with boots.
The Salewa Firetail EVO GTX
If you’ve decided that a hiking shoe will meet your needs, then you need to look at the Salewa Firetail. Coming in at just 15 oz per pair (for a men’s sized 9.5), the Firetail delivers it all in an attractive and lightweight package. During his expedition up Mount Everest Sir Edmund Hillary stated that it takes five times as much energy to move weight on your feet than weight on your back. He’s since been proven right, scientifically, which means shedding weight in your shoes is one of the best ways to keep your trail energy up. Of course, you can’t lose weight at the cost of durability, traction, support, and other important features, but with the Firetail, you don’t have to choose.
The Firetail is available in the GTX model, giving it a Gore-Tex insert that is guaranteed to keep your feet dry in any weather. While waterproofing is almost never a bad thing, Salewa is still selling the Firetail without the Gore-Tex, giving you more options. If you’re determined to avoid any wet trails and looking for ways to cut costs, foregoing the waterproofing will save you $30.00.
The Firetail also has the most unique lacing system I’ve ever seen on a shoe. The laces go the whole way down to the toe, climbing style, giving a customized fit and more security for steep approaches. The laces then run up the front of your foot and connect to steel-cable aramid fiber that wraps around your heel. This not only gives you the most customized fit of any lacing system out there, it also adds to your ankle support. A more precise fit, of course, means blister-free comfort, no matter how long you keep these puppies strapped on.
The midsole is the layer of the shoe that sits between the insole (what your foot actually touches) and the sole (the part that actually comes in contact with the ground). The midsole is responsible for most of the support that your shoe offers. The Firetail has an EVA midsole and a PU Shock Absorber to act extra cushioning on descents.
The insole of a shoe often isn’t the biggest concern when buying. After all, it’s easy enough to buy a replaceable insole if you don’t care for the factory installed one. With the Salewa Firetail, however, replacing the insole is not going to be an issue. Their revolutionary Mutli-Fit Footbed provides the most customized fit and the best comfort of any shoe ever made.
The sole of your shoe is what’s going to keep you from skidding off that wet rock on your way down the trail and the Salewa Firetail has got that covered with their Vibram Approach outsoles. This super sticky sole is guaranteed to keep you upright and marching along no matter what you’re standing on.
In addition to the waterproof Gore-Tex lining that is available on this shoe, it also comes with Silverized Fresh lining to help kill odors and keep your shoes stink-free. Even with the Gore-Tex, this lining is extremely breathable, keeping you comfortable on those hot summer hikes.
The upper exists to protect your feet, and the Firetail certainly does that. The seamless aramid upper is super abrasion resistant, keeping it looking good and performing well after countless miles. The upper is also resistant to mud stains, so go ahead and get dirty out on the trail. Once you get home and wipe your shoes off they’ll look as good as new.
Where the upper connects to the sole is always a weak spot on a shoe. With the Firetail’s 360 degree rubber rand, they’ve compensated for this. This complete protection helps prevent water from seeping in, protects against abrasion, and also holds the stitching in place to prevent tearing out.
The Salewa Firetail is a unique hiking shoe. Their 3F EVO will take a little getting used to, but the steel cables do their job. There is a little loss of freedom of movement due to this system, but it is well compensated for with extra stability and safety. And the flexibility is still miles ahead of a heavy hiking boot. If you’re looking for a hiking shoe that can do it all, you’re looking for the Salewa Firetail.