Salewa Firetail 3 GTX Approach Shoe

7.9 score
[Editors rating (7.9) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = ( score (7.9)/10

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Editor rating: 7.9 / 10
User's rating: based on 1 user ratings
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Salewa Firetail 3 GTX Approach Shoe Review Facts

The Salewa Men’s Firetail 3 GTX Approach Shoe is excellent for alpinists, hikers, and mountain climbers because of its feature of the Megagrip compound for superb traction. This sticky substance in the soles makes for a great climbing shoe that will not slip on any surface no matter how slick it is. It has a climbing lacing structure, underfoot cushioning, and the 3F System joined to the lacing. This ideal lacing method from the toe to the ankle allows you to tighten the shoe to the perfect fit. The 3F System that connects to the lacing in the ankle gives added heel and ankle support when it is needed. The underfoot cushioning is provided by the Orthrolite footbed and is enhanced with the Gore-Tex Comfort lining. It will help avoid moisture in the shoe by wicking it away. This shoe is weather-resistant and waterproof to the point that it cannot be submerged. It can take small puddles and creeks and still keep the feet dry but will be hard to dry out if it is used to cross rivers. It will still possess the great grip and traction but will be uncomfortably wet and soggy. For the agility of a mountain goat, they are marvelous and swift. Let’s take a closer look at some features of the Firetail 3 to see if it is the perfect shoe for you.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Lining is comfortable, breathable, and waterproof
  • Features the Ortholite footbed and Megagrip compound
  • Has the 3F System for back foot support
  • Is weatherproof and semi-waterproof Includes the climbing lacing system
  • Perfect for climbers, alpinists, and hikers
  • Laces do not last long because they are sleeved; must be replaced in a few months Insoles are not the best for cushioning; some users replaced them


When you are on your feet in some of the most rugged country possible, you want to make sure your feet are as comfortable as possible. After all, they are the body parts making your adventures achievable. Comfortable feet will take you much farther and faster than ones that hurt and ache. The Firetail 3 for men is a very comfortable shoe with a toe box that is more rounded and larger than competitor approach shoes. This will give you the room for flexing the toes and moving them as you need to. Some would think that sliding in such a large toe box would be a problem, but sliding is not an issue with he Firetail 3. Offered in a black or blue model, it has climbing lacing that goes down to the toes to ensure accurate adjustments. The lacing system is usual for approach shoes in that they go from the ankle to the toes. However, it permits for fine tuning in the laces and adjustments for the perfect fit. Another point of comfort with these incredible shoes is the Ortholite footbed. It will prevent moisture build up by wicking it away to ensure your feet stay cool. What could be more comfortable when you are roughing it in some of the toughest surroundings. These are lightweight and can be carried in a pack or on a harness comfortably. So, whether you carry them for the roughest spots or wear them for the whole adventure, these are some of the most comfortable shoes you will find for climbing and hiking.


The Firetail 3 was tested in the San Juan Mountains rocky terrain and the wild wet environment of Alaska to discover its durability and endurance to the outdoor elements and ground surfaces encountered. It did well and is a valued shoe for alpinists and climbers. Hailed for its endurance to abuse and ruggedness this shoe can take long-term punishments in many weather types and is even weather-resistant and semi-waterproof. It beats competitor models in price, durability, endurance, weight, waterproofness, and grip because of its design and function abilities.

Ground Feel

The ground feel is incredible with these shoes because of the ideal traction. Megagrip compound is a sticky durable high-performance rubber compound used in rock shoes because there is 25% additional traction. You will certainly need this depending on the ground surfaces you intend to cover. The rockier the better with these shoes from Salewa. The larger toe box will help you feel secure as you make your way through steep terrain and allows better capabilities in edging. This is because of the smooth areas of the toe section on the exterior and interior. The climbing lacing can also help with the ground feel of the shoe because it can be tightened to give the foot security if needed.


The 3F System in these great shoes gives added heel and ankle support to the foot by joining the lacing area. When the ankle is flexed this extra lacing along the ankle is supportive as a reinforcement, especially if the feet are tired and have been on the go all day. It is just a little extra feature that the manufacturer felt would give the ankles the added bracing needed in certain circumstances. There is a pull-tab on the heel for ease in putting it on. The shaft is low-top from the arch giving a mid-foot or forefront strike when the foot lands, which is very important in rocky or craggy areas. The Firetail 3 gives great support for people with arches that are high, and the underfoot cushioning is great for decreasing foot fatigue. As you can see, several ideal characteristics were designed into these approach shoes to make it as supportive and comfortable as possible. Remember, this is a tough shoe that can take much abuse from many types of terrain, so you can put it through the toughest territory you know to witness its good per performance.

Key Features

-Weatherproof and waterproof to the extent that it cannot be submerged
-Has climbing lacing system that goes from ankle to toe for flexibility
-Durable and tough for rugged environments and variable ground surfaces
-Perfect for climbers, alpinists, and hikers for the superb traction
-Has a Gore-Tex lining for the best comfort and moisture wicking
-Includes high arch support for those that need the extra reinforcement
-Features underfoot cushioning for comfort and ground feel
-Has the 3F System in the lacing for added support and stamina
-The shaft is low-top from the arch to provide a mid-foot or forefront strike
-Contains the Megagrip compound for superb traction and ground feel


This product from Salewa is waterproof for shallow water, such as creeks but not for crossing rivers. When it is drenched, it holds in water uncomfortably and takes a long time to dry out completely. If you don’t mind wearing a wet shoe, this one will still hold that fantastic grip ability even soaked through and through. It does repel water though, to an extent. The lightweight material of the upper helps it eliminate moisture from sweat and the inner sole padding is moisture-wicking to help keep the feet as dry as possible. This model of shoe has a Gore-Tex liner that makes it waterproof. It is one of the few offered approach shoes online with this incredible feature. The stability of such a shoe is increased because of its durability to water and moisture. It makes the user more stable and able to perform well in the chosen environment also.


The Firetail 3 permits optimal comfort, enhanced foot control, and stability in its design and form. Having excellent foot control is very important for hiking and climbing that requires the user to be surefooted and agile in some of the most precarious situations and on some unstable ground surfaces. The incredible traction of the sole grips to the slickest of ground surfaces because it is made for difficult rocky paths. The Firetail 3 features a Vibram Reptail Sticky Sole and Megagrip compound that will not fail you on slick surfaces and give you the best grip possible. It is this superb traction that makes this shoe so valued as an alpine, hiking, climbing, and approach shoe. It is one of the best on the market for such dependable grip and grab.


The upper section of the Firetail 3 offers breathable and waterproof protection, as it is coated fabric and breathable textile and mesh materials. Users claim that it will not retain moisture from perspiration, but if the shoe is soaked, it takes a long time to dry out. The marvelous shoe will, however, remain dry on the inside if just crossing a creek or stepping in puddles of water. Sizing is not much of a problem with this great model because of the flexibility of the lacing. Since the laces go from the ankle all the way to the toe, you can customize the size, especially if the shoe is a bit large on the foot. The laces can be tightened to take up the slack and make the shoe fit like a glove. Customers found that the Firetail 3 is true to size, so you can order the exact shoe size you wear in a regular shoe and have a great fit. If you are more comfortable in a larger shoe because you are in-between sizes, then try to go a size larger. You can always take up the difference in the laces.


Used for scrambles, hiking, alpine climbing, and approach activities the Firetail 3 is custom-made for rugged use and outdoor adventures. It is a high-tech low-cut approach shoe that is motivated by sports of action and provides marvelous climbing performance. The Salewa company has a devoted following from climbers and alpine enthusiasts for their well-designed and comfortable shoes for their rugged activities. The superb traction, comfort under pressure, and durability of the shoe make it perfect for tackling such rugged environments and activities. The outdoor enthusiast can only perform as well outdoors as his or her equipment will let them. These impressive shoes are high-performance and ready to tackle the harshest ground surfaces and mountainous regions you like to explore.

The Bottom Line

We think the Firetail 3 is an exceptional shoe for climbers, alpinists, and hikers. Anyone who needs a flexible shoe with plenty of traction and ground feel needs to have this shoe. It is long-lasting, rugged, and has the stability to see you through some of the toughest environments that Mother Nature has to offer. We went over the many wonderful qualities of this approach shoe, but we would like to touch on them again. It is an incredible outdoor shoe that merits the mentioning of its strong points once again. The 3F System attached to the climbing lacing gives added heel and ankle support when you need it most. It is the different colored lacing you see along the ankle of the shoe. the climbing lacing gives the user the freedom and flexibility to form fit the shoe to their foot because the laces go from ankle to toe. Even if the shoe is a bit large, this is not a problem because the slack can be taken up in the lacing. The sticky and durable Megagrip compound that makes this extraordinary footwear so valued gives the Firetail its grip and traction superpowers. With the Ortholite footbed and the underfoot cushioning it provides, the tired and aching foot that has been at work all day will not feel all of the pain that it might feel with competitor shoes. Moisture collecting in the shoe will also not be an issue with this foot lining. Although the Firetail is not completely waterproof, it is waterproof in the sense that you can go through shallow water and still keep your feet dry and comfy. They are weatherproof, so if it is raining, you will remain dry. They do repel water and will keep the feet as dry as possible with the breathable and lightweight materials of the upper. For all of its good points, this is a fantastic outdoor shoe that should be in your stash of gear for those rugged mountainous excursions.