Low profile, snowshoe friendly winter trekking boot
A very nice winter boot, “snow not required.” In addition to its snow-specific functionality, Salewa’s Snow Trainer INS.GTX model is almost purpose-built for the kind of cold but not frigid winter conditions where snowcover can be the exception rather than the rule.
The boot is relatively lightly insulated. The warmth is nice between about 40℉F and 25℉F at a moderate pace, or a few degrees colder while breaking trail. This is not a bad thing. There are not that many boots on the market that are warm enough but not too warm for that temperature range.
Additional design features
Some of the design features that are superfluous when used with snowshoes are true value added when used without.
- The cotton and Kevlar circles on the bottom of the outsole are completely out of action with snowshoe in place, but are free to fulfill their purpose while barebooting it.
- The design of the ankle allows for wonderful ankle motility. More, in fact, than will almost ever be needed while snowshoeing. If things are that steep, the snowshoes have come off!
- Gaiters are worn while snowshoeing both to keep snow and ice out of the boot and to keep the lower portions of the trousers from becoming sodden. The Snow Trainer’s integrated gaiter is too short to accomplish the latter. What it will do is lock out the litter, twigs, and mud typical of a winter hike in, say, Ohio or Arkansas.
One snowshoe-specific design feature which is appreciated is the inclusion of a notch at the rear of the boot to help keep the back strap of bindings in place.
Where does the Snow Trainer work best?
Just to be perfectly clear, this is a quality boot. But to be equally clear, this is not a boot for the deep cold. The addition of an aftermarket insole adds a few degrees of comfort, but if you are given to cold toes make sure you have another option in your quiver for days when the temps dip into the teens and below.
Concerns and commendations
If I have any particular concern about the Snow Trainer it would be the use of lace loops in the design. They are often the first non-repairable failure on any pair of footwear in which they are included.
Big points to the Snow Trainer from me for its relatively narrow heel fit and semi-rigid midsole. The former keeps my foot from moving around too awfully much, and the latter is especially appreciated by the muscles in my feet as the hours of a long day in the hills accumulate.
To learn more, including where to find the nearest Salewa retailer, check in at http://www.salewa.us/footwear/winter%20trekking.