The Salewa Ultra Train 2 shoes are a comfortable hiking and trail running shoe with good performance and quality, but slightly overhyped traction.
I am what you would probably call a gearhead, so when my trail running shoes had enough miles on them, I was excited to get a pair of the Salewa Ultra Train 2 shoes and give them a try. Over the past few seasons I've been using them extensively for both trail running and hiking, and I've enjoyed them quite a bit.I used to run trails exclusively in Saucony Peregrines, which have a lot of protection and some gentle cushion in the sole. I was glad that the Salewas also offer plenty of protection from sharp rocks and roots underfoot, which is important for the rocky hiking I often do in the northeast. They have enough cushion to be a comfortable ride while still letting you feel the ground a bit underneath you.
These characteristics make the Salewa Ultra Train 2 shoes good for both hiking and trail running. I like them for shorter or less technical hikes, as they are lighter and more breathable than boots, albeit without the ankle support of a mid cut boot. After a dozen or so hikes in them, they've become my go-to shoes for hiking.
They have a fun boa-style lacing system which I've found works pretty well. It's quick to put on and take off, and I've had no problems with it loosening over the course of a run, something other runners had noticed (of course, if it does loosen, it only takes a few seconds to fix it). The laces also tuck under an elastic "tongue" that keeps them out of the way. This is important because if you don't tuck them away they are trip hazards (speaking from experience...).
Of course, one of the most important characteristics of a shoe is the traction. Salewa claims they designed this shoe specifically for grip, with their Michelin OCX technical sole material, but I have found the shoe to be basically average in traction. It does have great traction in mud, thanks to the deep lug pattern on the sole. However, on steep rocks and roots, the traction was rather average. When those rocks and roots get wet the traction worsened (as expected). I don't see the traction as a major flaw for the Ultra Train 2 shoes, but they don't excel in this area either.
Lastly, in terms of durability, the soles and uppers have shown a totally reasonable amount of wear, and have held up to multiple seasons of abuse on the trails. The only troubling sign is that on both shoes, the bit of outsole rubber that comes up over the toe has started to peel off. So far, this hasn't affected the shoe's performance. Otherwise, the Ultra Train 2s are very durable and seem to be a good value for the mileage I've been able to get from them.
I have loved both trail running and hiking in these shoes. They are very comfortable for technical terrain and have enough support for long days. I highly recommend them as a versatile shoe well-suited to both hiking and trail running.
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