Site Loader

Salewa range of shoes covers all mountain activities. Some of their models though are versatile enough to serve for different purposes. They might not be drastically different, but still, you may expect to use your shoes for more than one very specific purpose.

Dropline are speed-hiking shoes that cen very well be used for normal hiking. While both seem to be almost the same there are a few key differences. Speed hiking is close to trail running, with very minimal weight which is kind of opposed to hiking where you usually do not aim for speed and carry much more load on your back. The design of the shoes for both has somewhat different goals then but I believe they managed to find a solution.

These have definitely a trail running type upsole. It is not about the great contrasting color but about the lugs shape and placement – mostly about how much space there is between them. It is essential so mud and small rocks don’t build up in the sole – which would affect the grip. Some of the grip is provided by the very material it is made of. This one is made with compound manufactured by Pomoca – a swiss company that is most widely known for making touring ski skins – and is soft enough to give you all the friction you need on hard surfaces. It’s also durable so you don’t wear it down too fast but as with every shoe of this type, I would refrain from doing long miles of distance on tarmac in them.  It extends a little over the front of the toe box and quite a lot at the back of the shoe which is a little lifted – a detail borrowed from a running shoe design.

Next up is the midsole – and it is the biggest surprise when you put these shoes on – for me at least. There’s a ton of cushioning. Much more than you would expect but after just a few miles it turns out it is not more than you want. It is spot on. Salewa says the drop – difference between back and front of the shoe – is 6mm. However, this is measured between heel and ball of your foot. Further to the front the midsole it gets even thinner so your toes get a little less cushioning. It feels very spongy at first but as soon as you hit more rugged trail part you will appreciate it. The back part of the midsole is very stiff so you get good support when walking on uneven terrain and at the same time the front is much softer so the shoe bends easily with every step. Another thing that adds cushioning is the insole which is obviously the industry standard – Ortholite. This one is pretty thick – 4mm and it adds up to the midsole and upsole to ca.36mm stack at the heel.

The top is made with very tight woven mesh-like material – it is though very breathable and light. It’s a single piece which gives a more streamlined look to the construction and less seams also means much better durability since all connection points are always weaker than solid fabric. Toe box has some additional rubber protection – not as much as you would find in approach shoes but enough for most hiking trails.

Salewa uses their 3F system in this shoe – as in most of their footwear line. It is sort of a plastic cage that connects top lace point with heel and midsole. It gives very good hold of your ankle & heel area without having to lace the shoe with much force. The lacing does not go very deep itno the front of the shoe, it’s rather like in a pair of regular running shoes – gives a little more room for your toes to spread on landing when you’re moving fast. Lacing is connected to the sole through exashell – rubber/plastic layer molded onto the fabric. The fit is very snug. Almost too snug at first. You start to feel much more comfortable with it when you start moving since your foot does not move to the sides of the shoe almost at all. The heel is supported with semi rigid piece placed on the ouside of the shoe – the back is not very high and it’s cushioning and around the whole opening is definitely enough. A nice detail is the gaiter that covers top of the tongue. While a tongue connected directly to the top always leaves some space for dirt and mud to collect – this almost seals off the whole instep area.

Salewa claims the whole shoe construction is blister free. While I cannot guarantee you won’t get any blisters – I can tell you that I hiked – pretty hard – in these shoes well over 20 miles first day straight out of the box and had no issues at all. No blisters, no pain – and that’s really impressive for a new pair of shoes.