Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX Review: Very Comfortable

Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX

The Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite is a capable approach/hiking shoe hybrid with excellent design features and a comfortable ride on various trails. The fabric mesh uppers are well-padded and feature an excellent lacing system for fine-tuning the fit. The outsoles in the Pomoca compound are appropriate for bouldering and scaling rocks.

  • Price: $159
  • Weight: 18.55 ounces / 1.16 pounds / 525.9 grams (US 12 Men)
  • Waterproof: Yes (Goretex)
  • What’s Good: Approach/Hiking shoe hybrid with good comfort, traction, and protection performance. Italian styling and design.
  • What’s Bad: Heavier than comparable shoes. Some instability in the heel on uneven terrain.

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Table of Contents

  1. Comfort and Weight
  2. Protection
  3. Traction on the Trail
  4. Stability
  5. Overall Impressions

Comfort and Weight

Every year I do a round of testing on five excellent hiking shoes and pick the winner. The Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX was awarded the Most Comfortable shoe. Though it did not take first place for Best Overall Performance, it is still a great hiking shoe.

I hiked about 30 miles in these shoes over two months.

Check out my review of five excellent hiking shoes, including the Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX, and find out which shoe took top honors this year.

The uppers are a robust fabric that wears well and looks great. They are also very comfortable. The collar is also generously padded. I often wear these shoes to work on wet, rainy days in Tuscany.

I found the shoe a joy to hike in over various terrain and weather conditions. Even though it is a little heavy it does feel nimble and provides good connection with the trail.

This shoe is a ‘lite’ version of Salewa’s more rugged Mountain Trainer. I would say Salewa did not go light enough. These were the heaviest shoes I tested this year: 18.55 ounces / 1.16 pounds / 525.9 grams (US 12 Men).


Based in the South Tyrolean Dolomites in Northern Italy, Salewa lives and breaths mountains. The Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX provides good protection with its uppers and sole.

This year, my testing for protection consisted of time spent on trail and scampering off-trail. I also tested for impact protection of the soles.

The uppers on the Salewa Moutain Trainer Lite provide good protection. The fabric uppers are reinforced with a TPU film along the bottom edges. They also feature a toe cap for protection against stubbing your foot.

To test the impact protection of the soles, I run head-to-head tests. I put a different shoe on each foot and then stepped on a small stone to see which seemed to provide more resistance to impact.

All shoes in this testing provide good protection underfoot compared to regular street shoes. The test results provide protection information relative to the other shoes tested.

Protection Underfoot RankComments
1. Adidas Terrex Swift R3The hard rubber compound in the Continental outsoles is rigid but extremely protective. It might be overkill. A softer compound would provide more grip.
2. NorthFace Vectiv ExplorisThe second-place finish for these shoes has to do with the rocker sole design and its overall thickness, which exceeded other shoes tested.
3. Salomon X Ultra 4The Contagrip outsole provides good protection and will work on virtually all hiking scenarios
4. Salewa Mountain Trainer LiteThe Pomoca outsole will provide adequate protection for most hiking scenarios.
5. Merrell Moab 3The softer Vibram outsole has more give, which meant more pressure was applied to the bottom of my foot while testing.
Testing Results for Protection. Check out my overall review of all shoes tested.

Traction on the Trail

Salewa has a proprietary compound for its outsoles called Pomoca.

As the alpine/mountaineering heritage of the company would suggest, the Pomoca compound used in the Mountain Trainer Lite GTX is fairly hard, which works well for the rocky, mountainous terrain it was designed for. This means it will most likely not wear out very quickly.

My testing involved hiking and head-to-head testing against the four other shoes.

For traction on the trail, I noted how well they provided grip and traction on various terrains. They performed admirably even on wet stones.

Check out my article here for more information on how grip and traction interact in hiking footwear.

In the head-to-head testing, I put the Salewa on one foot, then a competitor on the other, and then scampered up a steep hill on loose dirt and debris, noting which shoe gave me better traction for moving up the hill.

Here are the results of traction testing.

  • Adidas Terrex Swift R3 provides superior traction on loose dirt and scored first place beating all four other shoes tested.
  • Salomon X Ultra 4 offers good traction on loose dirt and scored second place, beating all other shoes, losing only to the Adidas Terrex Swift R3.
  • Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite, NorthFace Vectiv Exploris, and the Merrell Moab 3 were indistinguishable. They all provide adequate traction on loose dirt.


In testing for stability, I found the Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX to lag behind a few of the other shoes I tested but still exhibited good stability.

My test method for stability was hiking on trails and scampering off-trail on side slopes and difficult terrain.

Occasionally, I did feel as if my heel might slip out of the side of the shoe. This was rare and happened while the shoe was in an unusual orientation on extreme terrain.

The 3F system connects the laces to the heel and midfoot. Other shoes tested provided better heal lock and stability. See the rest results below.

Stability RankComments
1. Salomon X Ultra 4Superior stability across all terrains is provided by the ACTIVESUPPORT system combined with excellent uppers, midsoles, and outsoles.
2. Adidas Terrex Swift R3Exceptional stability thanks to the ProModerator midsole system. More rigid than the X Ultra 4.
3. Salewa Mountain Trainer LiteHiking/Approach hybrid with a decent heel lock and average stability.
4. Merrell Moab 3Entry-level hiking shoes lacking robust, stability-enhancing design elements. Adequate stability for most hiking scenarios.
5. NorthFace Vectiv ExplorisRocker-style outsoles work well on flat terrain but introduce significant instability off-trail.
Testing Results for Stability. Check out my overall review of all shoes tested.

Overall Impressions

The Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX is designed for mountains and alpine approaches.

They offer appealing styling and very capable performance in various hiking conditions.

This ‘Lite’ version is meant to be a more nimble version of the Mountain Trainer hiking shoe by Salewa. With its high overall weight, The Mountain Trainer Lite GTX is heavier than other comparable hiking shoes, making it less nimble than it could be.

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