Salewa Raven 2 GTX
Salewa Raven 2 GTX Review Facts
There are plenty of mountaineering boots out there that will do the job of getting you up and down the mountain safely, with all of your toes intact. There are few, however, that can match the multi-system complexity of the Salewa Raven 2 GTX. The special material in the sole, the midsole and insole customization, the many facets of the upper that are engineered to work in harmony for your fit – these are all cohesively wrapped up in one comprehensive package. You will put these on and almost feel the mountain air around you, and you will think “Let’s go.”
Editor's Pros & Cons
-various systems cohesively engineered for comfort and stability
-customizable insole for different foot needs
-suede may require weatherproof treatment
The sole of the Raven 2 GTX is composed of several components. The Vibram Wrap-Thread-Combi (WTC) is a strong rubber material that assures traction and surefootedness while you are out in the air, rising to new heights. Additionally, it is compatible with crampons for kicking and climbing, or added traction across ice and hard-packed snow that requires more surety. The sole of this boot is sure to keep you sturdily protected.
The Salewa Raven 2 GTX is primarily a mountaineering boot. That means it is designed with ice, snow, and rocky terrain in mind. You may wear these while camping in the mountains and hiking around in the uneven rockiness, or you may want to add crampons and hick and climb your way to a new altitude; the choices are all yours. The rugged grip of these boots has even made them a favorite among arborists who are climbing from limb to limb for hours at a time every day at work; the possibilities are endless, and even if you opt for a nontraditional use of them, you may still find yourself ascending.
The purpose of an outsole made of such a grip-worthy material is for sure-footed steps. Another word for this is traction. The WTC sole is a strong, sure-fire way to maintain a strong grip between you and your terrain, keeping you protected and balanced on half-melted slippery slush or mud-covered rocky outcroppings. Just be aware of your surroundings at all times, because traction is not the only piece to the puzzle of your safety as you hike or climb.
The upper of the Salewa Raven 2 GTX is comprised of a collection of materials that are assembled to bring you a well-constructed boot with a lot of thought behind its engineered design. An abrasion-resistant fabric mesh, a microfiber layer, and 1.6mm of suede are all combined with a 360-degree full rubber rand for support, durability, and even a measure of warmth. The lining is waterproof, made of a material called GORE-TEX (GTX) which is where the boot gets part of its name. The midsole is Bilight TPU, and when combined with the Vibram WTC sole it creates a long-lasting cushion for your foot. This upper also has an anatomical cuff and overlapping tongue construction to keep your foot secure and covered. Another feature of the Raven mountaineering boot is the 3F system. The lacing of this boot is connected to a wire that wraps around the back of the boot at one eyelet, increasing the security of your shoe’s foot in a friction-free fit. This ingenuity was developed for the purposes of anatomic ankle support, flexibility, and a perfect fit. This connection point takes the place of one of the mid-range grommets or eyelets, right around the bend of the top of the boot. There is also a sewn-on loop on the tongue that the bootlace can be fed through, in order to keep the tongue from shifting out of alignment. It was unclear the tongue is gusseted in whole or in part, but the presence of this loop is to your advantage, so it is recommended that you utilize it.
Size & Weight
The sizing on the Raven 2 GTX, unlike some mountaineering boots, is mostly reported as being true to size. This may be partially due to the MFF or “multi-fit footbed” versatility of the interior of the boot. There are several combinations of insole system that are available for those who bear a wider or more narrow foot width than standard. The insole, comprised of Nylon and twenty-seven percent fiberglass, is adjustable to all three widths for the wearer’s maximum comfort. The boots themselves weigh a mere 750 grams, making them lightweight enough to be functional without being so fragile as to be bad for the job.
Airflow & Waterproofing
With so many mentions of rubber, it may come as a surprise to find that the Raven is actually a breathable boot with a waterproof lining, even with waterproof socks. The abrasion-resistant mesh fabric that makes up a portion of the upper is breathable and comfortable, so never fear – your feet will be comfortable and unstifled. Do not forget, however, that suede is a part of your boot’s upper, and may require weatherproofing separately in order to maintain quality and longevity of the product. Also, with so much mesh, microfiber, and flex material made into the upper, you may find that the outer portion of the boot is not waterproof. You may have a liner to protect your foot, but the footwear itself is not comprised entirely of moisture-wick materials. An additional feature of the CleanSport NXT antimicrobial treatment that prevents odor if you are taking these boots on a longer trek that requires going days (or weeks) without having a proper bath or shower. Just be aware that the CleanSport treatment may or may not be part of your purchase depending upon your retailer; read the fine print before purchasing if this is going to be a very important matter to you.
Comfort & Cushioning
In addition to a customizable insole system and 3F system, the Salewa Raven 2 GTX mountaineering boot also comes with an Alpine Fit 100% Blister-Free Guarantee. This is a very important feature, and not one that is found everywhere, so do your homework when shopping to be sure this guarantee is part of your purchase. The guarantee suggests that these boots, if purchased in the correct size, will be able to be worn all day long without gaining blisters on your feet. This is partially up to you, as the wearer, to be sure you are wearing them properly, adjusted correctly, and with the most efficient insole combination of the MFF system to maximize your chances of avoiding a blister, first. If you buy the wrong size and wear it incorrectly, you may just need to be corrected in terms of your fit and functionality.
When looking from the top down at your feet, you will notice that you may not be able to see the gripping soles of your boots, like some clunkier, broader-soled options. If you look form the side, you will not only see the sole’s traction-gripping Vibram, but also the wire that makes up the 3F system near the heel and ankle of the boot. There are rows of ridged flexibility on the side of the ankles, broken by up by the lines of the lace-affixing points, and then you can see the wrapping-around of the flex collar. These boots are incredibly multi-faceted when you look at them – some might even call them busy, depending upon the color of the boot. Without looking very hard, you can find this item in a blue and black color combination for men and women. If you look a little harder and widen the net of your search a little farther, you may find other color combinations like black and pink; these are harder to find, as they may have been special editions or limited releases. They are, however, usually discounted online because they are final sale. If you are not married to how your boot looks be sure to shop around a bit. You may find a great deal in your size that you can snap up, even if it doesn’t match your new coat and matching gloves or goggles.
Longevity & Overall Quality
With a blister-free guarantee and so many features helping it on the path of quality, the Raven 2 GTX is a boot that is all about longevity. Wearers who used them for daily work in less-than-comfortable conditions get a year out of them before they are completely worn out and need replacing; unless you intend to be a full-time lumberjack, these boots are almost guaranteed to last you for years to come. If you feel that you would be more comfortable purchasing a warranty, know that those last two years from most retailers. These boots are going to last you long enough to fall in love with them, plus mountains’ worth of treks before they need replacing. Just remember to take care of them, and that does not refer only to keeping good track of them before and after your trip – it also means weatherproofing them and cleaning them as required so that their life is extended to its full potential. If you weatherproof the suede but forget to maintain the laces, you may be halfway up a mountain trying to re-lace a boot with your spare set of laces…which you may not have even realized you needed to pack amongst your gear and rations. A little thing can cause a big problem if not handled, so be sure you are taking the utmost care of your boots when you are not wearing them.
Anything that is designed with protection of your foot in mind can be considered something of a safety feature, and the Raven has those in leaps and bounds. These boots are supportive, flexible, sturdy, functional, and are compatible with add-ons like crampons. Those experienced mountaineers among you will nod in agreement with the notion that crampons are almost non-negotiable for safety when setting off on a journey uphill. Still, they are not as safe as an anchor line or a flare gun, so bring along other safety measures as well on your trek.
The 3F system, the overlapping tongue, and the multi-fabric collar of this mountaineering boot have been touched on as forms of added flexibility for the wearer’s function. The one that has not been outright mentioned just yet is the flex collar; the top several inches of the back of the ankle are a softer, less stiff material that was designed to increase the range of motion of the wearer as they climbed over rocks and logs and up snowy ridges, hither and yon through the wilderness. Stiffer, strong-necked boots that go over the ankle are protective and wonderful, but if you need to hinge your ankle forward or backward a bit more than they allow for, you are out of luck. With the flex-collar of the Salewa Raven, this is no longer a problem. The wire that wraps around the back of the boot as a part of your 3F system ensures that your ankle is still supported, but the flex collar creates a level of comfortable range so as to make the trekking easier, no matter how minutely.
Support & Balance
As was mentioned, the 3F system and flex-collar along with the Vibram WTC sole are all part of the big picture of your boots. This comprehensive accumulation of comfort, sturdy construction, and lightweight durability are a pinnacle of all things supportive and balanced. If an arborist can use it to traverse tree limbs all day, then you can use it to traverse a mucky, half-melted trail or hike with confidence and peace of mind. Rest assured, the Salewa has you covered.
Calling a lacing system “3D” was perhaps an odd choice of name, but there is an explanation. The 3D lacing system of the Salewa Raven 2 GTX is essentially a breaking down of the lacing system into 3 sections to maximize your comfort and fit. The overlapping tongue at the base of the lacework will tighten across the top of the foot, of course, but be warned that this top of the boot is actually somewhat asymmetrical thanks to the overlap feature – this is not a factory defect, it is intended. Also note that the base of the boot has grommeted lacing holes. Next, with metal hook lacings as opposed to grommets, is the mid-range area. This portion of the boot, recall that by tightening the laces you will also be adding to the fit of your 3F system, so be sure to take both into account when tightening or otherwise adjusting this region of the lacework. Finally, the upper portion of the boot’s lacework, where the fit will matter because, if too tight, it might render your flex collar too close to your ankle, too restrictedly. Be sure you are tightening the laces to the correct level, so that you neither wear the boot too loose nor too tight, because you could wear out your flex collar before the rest of the boot if you cause it undue strain. If you receive a care guide with your purchase, consult it. Otherwise there are plenty of helpful tip videos and articles online to discuss how to wear your footwear to the correct tightness in order to avoid injury or undue wearing out of your gear.
Cost & Value
The standard edition of these particular boots range between $200 and $400 depending on a few factors. Your size may alter the price slightly – sorry to those of us with bigger feet, sometimes more materials are made to be paid for – but also the color selection you desire. If you are dead set on a certain aesthetic appearance and need a certain color boot to make that happen, you may be looking a little longer or paying a little more for your boots. However, if you happen across a discontinued color iteration and it happens to be your size, you might be finding a great deal. You also might have to forego certain things that are not always available in those instances, such as the CleanSport antimicrobial treatment or the blister free guarantee, or even the warranty. Be sure that the coloration is worth the abandonment of those valuable extra features before clicking ‘buy now’. These shoes are well worth the price, but if you are just starting out you will want all of the odds stacked in your favor.
-3F fit and flexibility system
-3D lacing system
-GTX waterproof lining
-multi-fabric upper for flexibility and support
-3D lacing system
-GTX waterproof lining
-multi-fabric upper for flexibility and support
Having complexity is not the same as being convoluted. There is a lot going on with the Salewa Raven 2 GTX, and if you were to be given a test on all of the systems in play, you would probably be a bit hard-pressed to get it all straight right away. The names of the systems or designed parameters are not the most important part, however. The most important part is getting your feet in the boots and figuring out if they are the shoes that are going to help you conquer the mountain.