It’s no secret that Salewa is my most favorite hiking shoe brand ever. When I saw that they made approach shoes, I had high hopes. With the ultimate comfortable fit and fun colors, I was pretty sure that Salewa would knock it right out of the park. The Firetail 3 arrived at my doorstep a few months ago and I put them to the test.
Designed for technical, rocky approaches, the Firetail 3 soles are constructed from Vibram Reptail with the Megagrip compound for ultimate stickiness. Like their other shoes, these also employ the climbing lacing system for dialing in that perfect fit. Salewa’s patented 3F System allows for support and flexibility. The upper and lining are constructed from a breathable mesh. The upper also contains a coated fabric for durability. Approximate weight for the pair is 345 grams or 12.17 oz.
The Firetail 3 have a fairly wide and roomy fit on my narrower feet. I prefer approach shoes with a much slimmer fit to better feel the rock with my foot. They are a tad bit bulky and aren’t something I would clip to my harness for walk offs, especially if chimneys are involved and I had slimmer options. These function better as a lightweight, low-cut, technical hiking shoe with climbing abilities for me. I’ve taken them on long approaches; they’re incredibly comfortable out of the box without needing a break in period.
The Vibram rubber is super sticky for walking on steep slab, stemming in chimneys or random rocks grouped together, or easy climbing routes when you’re too lazy to switch out of your shoes. Despite not being waterproof or designed for snow, the Firetail 3 kept my feet dry and weren’t even soaked through when hiking 3 miles in slushy then icy late afternoon, spring snow.
The Salewa Firetail 3 are a solid pair of approach shoes, but I like them even better as a hiking shoe that I can climb unexpected things in. I do have narrow feet, so if yours are wider, these may work better for you in terms of having a tighter fit.
This was sent to me for review.
All photos by Josh Ourada.