Salewa Raven Combi GTX

Italian gear maker Salewa recently introduced some of its footwear to the North American market. The company, like a European fusion of Black Diamond and North Face, sells everything from climbing gear to jackets and tents. For now, only a few shoe models in the mountaineering and approach genre are being offered stateside.


Salewa’s Raven GTX Alpine Boot

For a recent Mount Rainier climb, I tested Salewa’s Raven Combi GTX boot. It is advertised as a lightweight alpine boot said to be “100% blister free.” For me, the claim was certainly true. Over the course of my trip, I logged around 12 miles in the boots on snow and trails and never experienced so much as a hot-spot.

The Ravens cost $289 and weigh about the same as your average trekking boot. On Rainier, lighter feet meant more precise movements and salvaged energy. Flexible, neoprene cuffs allowed a freedom of movement and keep out snow. Super trick, tiny cam-devices keep laces tight over the toe-box — a nice feature if you get on technical terrain. Crampon compatible and GORE-TEX lined, these boots are a great pick for spring and summer alpine ascents.

Any drawbacks? This is really a subjective argument, but on Rainier, my guides asked that I wear plastic boots once we reached the glacier. Their concern was that the Ravens were not insulated enough in the event that we had to spend time sitting still on the mountain (such as in an unexpected emergency). So, I wore the Ravens as far as I could and then switched to plastic boots for the glacier travel and the summit.

Looking back, I wish I had just insisted on wearing the Salewas, as I feel they would have been perfect. Alas…

Indeed, the big plastic boots the guides recommended were far from optimal. Within an hour or so, the Asolo AFS 8000 rental boots were dishing out hotspots that soon became blisters.

As soon as I got the chance, I switched back to the Salewas. It was like putting pillows on my feet by comparison to the bulky Asolos. The offending plastic boots strapped to my pack, I fell in line and hiked off the mountain, satisfied with a successful summit and much happier feet. For out-of-the-box comfort, these tough little alpine boots are going to be hard to top.

—T.C. Worley

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Posted by Asa - 07/14/2010 09:58 AM

These boot look really nice. I’ve summited Rainer twice, once in “regular” hiking boots similar to this one, and another time in rented plastic boots. I would definitely recommend going with boots like those reviewed here. They’re lighter, more comfortable, and more maneuverable.

Posted by Jeffrey Evans - 12/25/2010 01:53 AM

Largely based on this review, and the one in Backpapcker magazine I got these boots and I love them. Comfort right out of the box, and they have kept my feet warm and dry in knee deep snow.

Posted by J lau - 10/19/2012 10:46 AM

You should have stuck with the Salewa’s for the summit climb. I’ve now summited Rainier two times, once in the Asolo blue double boots and my last time in the Salewa Rapace which is lighter version of the Raven Combi’s. It might be that I have warm feet in general but I experienced very cold conditions, 10 degrees with a solid wind, and my feet by far were better off than my climbing partners both in warmth and comfort.
The no blister guarantee is pretty much true for my feet, sock depending. And having that much less weight on your feet the entire climb makes a huge difference. I would guess that the Ravens would do well on any summer route on a 14er and even do some technical climbing decently as well.

Posted by Jordan - 04/23/2013 01:41 PM

How would you rate this boot for climbing mont blanc obviously using winter socks plus neoprene socks ?? would it be cold on my feet ????

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