Salewa's New 2015 Gear Revealed!
We popped over to sunny Tideswell in the Peak District the other day to catch up with Salewa and see what's new from the brand based in the Italian southern Tyrol.
The Salewa name will almost certainly be familiar to outdoor folk of a certain age, probably as a manufacturer of mountaineering hardware and it celebrates its 90th birthday in 2016, but it was absent from the UK for over ten years so for younger readers, the name might be a lesser known one.
For 2015 the whole Salewa universe is getting an overhaul with a new, more contemporary logo, a clothing and equipment range which is around 90% new and, coming shortly, a brand new website, so what's new with the brand? Here's a quick run through some of its top new products.
The spring 2015 stuff will be in the shops around February/March 2015 - the outdoor industry has an odd sense of seasonable timing - while the winter 2015 kit we've also covered briefly, will be out in late summer, so think August/September.
Wildfire Pro Approach Shoe - Spring 2015
Approach shoes are funny things ranging all the way from glorified trainers with outdoor styling through to super-techncal designs which are close to being rock boots in their own right, but hopeless for walking in as a result
The new Salewa Wildfire Pro looks like it might just be a happy medium. The fit owes quite a lot to rock boots, says Salewa, with a close-fitting heel, wrap-around tongue and a lacing system that goes way down low to the toe in a rock boot style for a more precise fit. There's a rock-stye rubber toe rand too, hello cracks...
Underfoot there's an outsole made from the latest version of Vibram's Megagrip rubber, which is claimed to be 25% stickier than before and includes a de rigeur blocked-out 'climbing' zone. A quick fondle of the shoe suggests that while there's plenty of cushioning in the heel area for comfortable walk-ins, the forefoot zone is significantly honed down for better feel on rock and less rolling on holds.
The Salewa blurb claims it 'hikes like a boot, runs with ease and climbs like a pro'. We don't know about the running bit, but it certainly looks like it might make a decent fist of handling in a combination of mountain walk-ins and scrambles or easy climbs.
Available shortly, it'll sell for £125 in plan leather and micro fibre uppers or £160 with a waterproof Gore-Tex liner.
Apex 22 Pack - Spring 2015
The new Apex 22 is a sleek, lightweight, minimalist alpine pack that fits closely and has a V-shaped profile to allow easier access to gear racked on your harness. It features a simple flexible plate to give some internal support and stiffening, but you can pop it out and leave it at home to reduce weight from 580g to 480g.
Other stuff includes simple compression straps, a zip-opening direct into the main body - no lid - and a simple ice-axe attachment system with a single central head anchor and twin shaft straps. Uncomplicated, light and claimed to be tough too - it'll sell for £85 this spring.
Quick Screw - Now!
We've chucked this in although it's out already because it's one of the neatest ice screws we've seen. Why? Scews with ratchets in place are nothing new - Black Diamond and Grivel have had them for years now - but the Salewa version has a neat, insulated head for easy starting - fits into the palm of the hand nicely - and an integral tip-protector which in conjunction with a sliding quickdraw and wire-gate carabiner, should make racking really straightforward with no fancy system required.
The tip protector can be left in place until you need to place the screw reducing abrasion to clothing form the teeth and meaning you can't lose it.
The biner is colour coded to match the different lengths available - 130mm, 160mm and 190mm - and it's priced at £70, £75 or £80 respectively based on length. Expensive, but promising. We have one to try out.
Speed Ascent Shoe - Spring 2015
'Speed hiking' is an alpine sort of concept, but the fast and light ethos might just work over here too. The new Speed Ascent shoe - main picture above - is a pretty radical looking thing in the flesh: the toe is curved upwards aggressively like a upturned snout and the whole shoe has a really defined rocker curve designed to propel you forward.
It's called the 'Rolling Gait System' and was developed in conjunction with Vibram to give more ground contact particularly on ascents and descents - not sure how it'll feel on the flat, but it'll be interesting to find out. The fit is close and 'alpine' for better precision
Other features include a speed-lacing system which can also utilise an additional lower row of lace anchoring loops to give a more customised fit. There's also something called 'Take Off Technology', which we assume is all about that snout...
So there you go, more rolling along from your fast hiking shoe. In Gore-Tex version at £125 and non-Gore-Tex for £110.
Alp Flow GTS Gore-Tex Surround Walking Boot - Spring 2015
Also on the footwear front, we had a quick look at the Salewa take on the new Gore-Tex Surround footwear technology, which aims to create a more breathable summer shoe system using mesh and ventilation channels to up breathability.
There's a bunch of Surround out there this spring, but the Salewa version is the most walking boot like manifestation we've seen so far - mostly the technology seems to have been used in lightweight shoes and mids. Interesting.
It's called the Alp Flow GTX and is available this spring priced at £185.
Pedroc Hybrid Jacket - Spring 2015
This looks like an interesting option on changeable, showery mountain days when you need some rain protection, but a full waterproof shell is overkill. It's a clever design which uses waterproof fabric for the shoulders hood and outer sleeves, but a water-resistant, lightweight stretch fabric elsewhere.
Should work for running, biking, light hiking, adventure racing - anywhere you need a combination of weather protection, breathability for minimal overheating and light weight. Looks very neat in the flesh and will sell for £160.
Ortler Hybrid Jacket - Spring 2015
Finally from the spring 2015 range, the Ortler Hybrid Jacket is a mountaineering top which like the Pedroc uses a hybrid construction. In this case there's a mix of Primaloft synthetic insulation on the hood, shoulders and most of the torso, but more breathable 'Dura-Stretch' soft shell fabric on the arms and sides of the trunk.
The idea is a 'warm enough' jacket for mountain conditions, that's still breathable enough to move in and use as a mid-layer without too much bulk. It's a bit of a favourite of Salewa UK's man Ben, and like the Ortler, looks like an interesting bit of kit.
Gore's New Gore-Tex C-Knit - Autumn 2015
One really interesting early technology from the autumn is something called Gore-Tex C-Knit. It's a completely waterproof fabric that falls somewhere between Gore-Tex Pro and Classic Gore-Tex. It's claimed to be 15% more breathable than Classic though not as breathable as Pro and around 10% lighter.
The big plus is that where Pro fabrics can feel a bit crisp-packety, the new C-Knit more pleasant, softer feel thanks to the use of a slightly heavier, but softer backer and soft-touch face fabrics. That backer is Nylon rather than the existing Polyester, so it should be tougher too.
The fabric's already been launched to the media on the far side of the Atlantic, at an event in Yosemite, but so far hasn't featured in Gore's European marketing drive. We guess that'll change shortly.
The jacket, by the way, felt nice and, as claimed, a fair bit softer than Gore-Tex Pro.
Also coming in the Autumn from the brand is something it's calling The Ewoolution - as in, you can't stop the children of… More later in the year, but it's all about using wool in modern semi-technical clothing and taps into Salewa's historical family connection with the wool industry.
We saw some pieces from the range and they look a bit different.
More about the brand and the current Salewa range at www.salewa.com