'As comfortable as Salomon's lightweight hiking boots, but with the lateral stiffness to stand on small edges while climbing or scrambling - genius! '
Outdoors Magic: Mix of flex and edging ability, comfort, Gore-Tex lining, locking lace-hook, reasonable durability, lockable lace hooks.
Outdoors Tragic: Not the most aggressive sole, not as tough as a full-weight leather mountain boot.
Outdoors Grabbit? Think of the XALP MID as a comfortable hiking boot with hidden super powers and you won't go far wrong. It's super comfortable when walking, but stick it on a technical scramble and it edges where normal hiking boots simply fold. Not as durable as a traditional leather mountain boot, but we've found it a brilliant all-round compromise that mixes all-day comfort and technical performance.
Lightweight approach and mountain boot / waterproof split-suede leather upper / gusseted tongue / protective toe and heel-cups / self-locking lace eyelets / molded EVA mid-sole / Ortholite sock liner / Mud Guard reinforcement to uppers / High Traction Contracgrip outsole / 3D Edging Chassic
Full Review Below
Salomon XALP MTN GTX | Performance
Salmon's XALP MTN is the milder-mannered alternative to the innovative S-LAB Carbon 2 GTX and uses similar chassis technology to combine walking comfort with impressive scrambling and mountaineering performance.
On the surface it's a lightweight leather trekking or hiking boot, albeit with some added reinforcement to the uppers and that's pretty much how it feels. Where it turns from Clark Kent into Superman however, is when you get onto a mountaineering or scrambling route, when suddenly you discover that edge on, the boot's sole is impressively rigid and you can happily stand on quite small edge holds.
It's all down to the hidden 3D Edging Chassic, a series of interlocking plates within the sole unit that flex longitudinally for walking comfort, but are still laterally sold and lock together under sideways loads.
It sounds unlikely, but it really does work and the boot perches happily on half-inch holds where conventional hikers simply flex and squirm. That makes it a brilliant scrambling companion, though you need to adjust your technique if you're used to using toe holds.
Comfort And Fit
Like we said, the boot is pretty close to being as comfortable for walking use as classic Salomon hiking boots like the well-regarded Quest. Fit is classic Salomon with good heel hold and a medium wide / volume forefoot.
There's plenty of internal padding, but not too much and the high ankle cut feels reassuringly protective, but not remotely restrictive. Looking lace-hooks at the ankle mean you can adjust lacing tension for the forefoot and ankle to suit preferences and precision.
Tough As Old Boots?
The X ALP MTN gets reinforced heel and toe caps plus an all-round 'Mud Guard' lightweight rand, but not surprisingly, a boot weighing less than 1300g per pair isn't going to be as tough as a full-on traditional leather mountain boot and we suspect the split suede leather upper will suffer with, for example, repeated kicking into crystalline snow.
The other compromise is with the High Traction Contragrip outsole, which is fairly lightly treaded. It works well on rock and has blocked out toe zones for technical use, but is less happy on really soft stuff. Not bad though.
Salomon XALP MTN GTX | Verdict
Until Salomon invented the 3D EDGING CHASSIS, you could choose either a boot that was comfortable for all-round walking or one that was stiff enough to perch confidently on narrow edge holds, but no both.
The X ALP MTN GTX and its close family have bust that orthodoxy apart. They're pretty much as comfortable for general walking as anything else out there - provided they fit your foot shape - but get onto moderately techy terrain like UK scrambles or easy mountain routes, and the stealth edging ability means no more struggling with folding mid-soles and confident progress as long as you adapt your footwork to suit.
All that makes them ideal if you're someone who likes to mix up long walk-ins and scrambles and wants a single boot to handle the whole shebang. They're happy with flexible crampons too and you get all the comfort and refinement you'd expect from a Salomon lightweight.