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Problems with Salomon Alp-7 GTX boots

So anyway, here’s what happened to my new boots. In summary, be cautious before buying Salomon Alp 7 GTX boots, because in my opinion they aren’t that great. To be fair, my opinion’s probably been influenced by the problems I’ve had with getting them fixed under warranty.

This trip [1] was the first proper trip that I took them on. I had a couple of blisters by the end of it, but otherwise they were okay. On the following weekend though, I went for a daywalk over the Skyline Walkway [2], and by the end of it, I noticed that some glue was coming un-stuck around a seam in the rubber lining on the inside of the base of one of the boots. What was worse was that having come un-stuck, the loose bit of rubber was catching on the hook for the lace of the other boot, which made the problem even worse. On closer inspection, it also became apparent that a very similar seam on the outside of the other boot was also coming apart.

I took them back to the retailer on the following Monday who took a quick look and agreed about the problem, took some details, and arranged to get them fixed with an estimated time of about 5 days. This was a bit annoying to hear, because it’d mean I probably wouldn’t have them for my High Ridge trip the following weekend [3], but there wasn’t much option so I just lived with it. In the end, I waited two weeks without hearing anything, and it was only because I’d drowned my phone in the Rimutakas [4] that I went in again on Monday and asked to leave a different phone number, that I found out they’d just arrived. So essentially this flaw in the boots cost me two weekends of trips, pretty much so they could fly to Christchurch to get a dab of glue, then fly back.

I finally had them back again for the trip to the Pinnacles in the Aorangis [3], and they worked okay. As I was in the middle of the Lewis Pass trip the following weekend [5], though, I noticed that one of the seams had come apart again. So on Tuesday (Monday was a public holiday), I took them straight back to the retailer, wanting to get them fixed as quickly as possible, as I had another trip planned two weekends later. I was told that they were too damp though, and that the distributor in Christchurch would growl at them if they tried to send them back in that state. For as much as I don’t really blame the retailer, being told this was incredibly frustrating. I was basically being told that having used them for exactly the purpose for which they were marketed, and having them fail due to what seems increasingly like a design flaw, that the manufacturer wouldn’t fix them immediately. To add to this, nobody except me would probably count the extra four days that it took to properly dry them out.

I finally returned them on the next Saturday and asked for a refund, but I don’t think I’ll get it. Two weeks later, I’m still waiting to hear anything and I’m about to go overseas. For me at least, Salomon Alp 7 GTX boots have lasted an average of two weekend trips before needing to be returned for maintenance, and then I lose between two and three weekends. This is very very frustrating, and I’m regretting ever having bought them.

I’m not 100% sure if it’s because I’ve been walking up and down a lot of steep hills, or if it’s because they’re not really up to getting submerged and mudded up a lot on a weekend (after which I dry them out during the week). Both of these are common things in New Zealand’s back-country, and any boots sold here under the guise of “tramping boots” should be fine with that, but these ones don’t seem to have handled it very well. It’s possible I may have just been unlucky and ended up with a bad pair. My confidence in them is gone, though, and I wouldn’t buy the same pair again unless the glued seam problem is properly sorted.

17 Comments (Open | Close)

17 Comments To "Problems with Salomon Alp-7 GTX boots"

#1 Comment By Mike McGavin On 29 April, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

It’s Sunday 2 weeks later and I’m still waiting. 🙁

#2 Comment By Bill On 21 April, 2009 @ 4:40 am

I too have a Salomon boot problem. On one trip on 18.04.09 first the right boot sole came off gradually followed about an hour later by the other sole which sheared off without warning on Glyder Fawr, Snowdonia, North Wales. The boots are nubuck made in Morocco supplied by Ellis Brighams. Descending with a soft spongy sole layer was difficult. I contacted the retailer and the UK Salomon office and made zero progress with this fault which to me is not fit for purpose, be warned. The boots are a write off. I can supply photos, the boots have not had a hard life.

#3 Comment By Mike McGavin On 21 April, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

Hi Bill. Thanks for the thoughts. I still have these boots, but I only ever use them when I need crampon clips (which hasn’t been much lately). I’ve actually heard a couple of good things about Salomon climbing boots anecdotally, but I’ve never seen them. I guess I’ve kind of been put off buying Salomon boots in the future.

#4 Comment By Kate On 24 May, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

Agree with everything you say, Mike. Had similar set of problems, both with the product and getting repair/replacement, though nowhere near as severe.

1. Excellent transalpine hybrid – light enough to tramp in, but stiff enough for crampons.
2. Comfiest, softest, warmest boots ever owned.
3. Until the seams busted (which granted was only 2.5 years of moderate use), extraordinarily waterproof – able to nip across multiple streams, plod through snow for hours, and still have essentially dry feet at the end of the day.

Mine are now 3 years old and only good for the great pathway in the sky., but I love them enough to buy another pair. However, I found your post on my so-far fruitless internet search for Salomon Alp 7 stock in New Zealand, so I don’t even know if it’s possible any more!

#5 Comment By Mike McGavin On 25 May, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

Hi Kate. Thanks for the comment.

I have been wondering if I just had a dud pair, so it’s a shame to hear the seam problem isn’t just me. I guess mine are three years old now, they’ve only been glued back together however many times I mentioned in this post. I think my almost total lack of using them for anything has contributed to their long lastiness, however. I pull them out when I need to use crampons, but in retrospect I don’t really do much alpine stuff. A few months back I bought my second new pair of boots since deciding I didn’t want to use these ones any more. In hindsight they probably weren’t ideally suited to what I wanted to do, even if they hadn’t kept coming apart.

Salomon stuff is distributed out of Christchurch, I think, but I can’t remember who does it. They used to make it clear on their website who distributed in various countries, but now it just loops through to a confusing NZ website that’s nearly impossible to navigate. I tried a search for ‘boot’ and it popped up about a million results, nearly all of which looked like plastic ski boots. Maybe they’re slinking out of the heavy duty tramping/hiking market. After lots of random clicking in strange places, though, I found something that looks like [12], and it doesn’t include the Alp-7 GTX.

Have you tried any of the shops listed through the Find a Shop link [13]? If you get one that deals with the distributor, they’ll sometimes just order stuff in with their next shipment, especially if you know exactly what you want down to the size. (You might need to get the right shop assistant though.) Sometimes the NZ distributors still have bits left in their warehouses, even if it’s been discontinued.

#6 Comment By Simon Hathaway On 26 May, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

Hi mike,

I use Salomon boots, I can’t remember what they are called, bought them in the Uk, they are 3/4 season, I have worn them up to 4000 meteres in the Italian alps, no problems, until I came to live in New Zealand, the rand started to peel away, with no chance of getting them repaired I did a home made job with No Nails glue, it works a treat, the boots have to be dry though, I have found them to be very comfortable with only a slight niggle where the second to top eyelet seems to rub onto my foot if traversing steep slopes, this is on the left foot, I don’t know if I will get Saloman again when ready for a new pair, possibly Sportiva if they fit, my friends swear by them. I would demand a refund with yours, not fit for purpose.

#7 Comment By Mike McGavin On 26 May, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

Hi Simon. Yeah, NZ isn’t such a great place for good support, especially since so much manufacturing has gone overseas for economic reasons. Sometimes I try to by things manufactured in NZ even if it costs a little more, not specifically to support local businesses, but more because I like being able to actually talk to the people making things. A year or so ago, Earth Sea Sky came up to Wellington and ran their own clearence shop for a few weeks, which was awesome because I got to actually talk to a couple of the people directly involved in making things about the stuff they’re making. There was a time when you could ask a company like Macpac to make customisations to their gear, and they’d make you a special one for a small extra cost… that’d be tough today now that they order everything in bulk according to patterns sent to China. And now, since the rest of the world seems to have decided that people don’t want boots so much any more, it’s getting increasingly hard to find a range of decent boots on shelves, even though they’re typically far more suited to most NZ conditions than what seems to be replacing them.

For these Salomon boots I got to the point of being told by the Christchurch distributer (via the Wellington retailer) that they’d replace them if it happened again. Then I went overseas (not tramping) for a couple of months, and when I got back the retailer had gone out of business after 20 years of trading, which was both sad because it was a great shop, but also complicated things. I still have the boots in any case, but just don’t use them much at all. Maybe 3 or 4 times in the last couple of years.

Just gluing them up is probably the way to do it. I’ve taken boots into a shoe-repair place a couple of times in the past, and they can often just glue them up for a few dollars. For some reason most of my other pairs get eyelets pulling off quite often… maybe I pull my laces at bad angles. The guy was wary about expectations, given how boots sometimes get treated in ways that could affect the glue, plus tramping boots can get treated more roughly than regular shoes. He was fine once I accepted those points, though.

For my Salomon boots, the retailer suggested just sending them to their local guy when I took ’em back, who may well have been the same shoe repair shop down the road, and he probably would have done a good job too. In those instances though, I asked if they could send them back to the distributor in Christchurch because (without being mad at the distributor specifically) I really wanted to make sure they saw what was happening with them. Otherwise they’d probably never know.

#8 Comment By Tim Howell On 10 October, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

I’ve had two pairs of Salomon boots, ProTrek 7 where the rand came unstruck after minimal wear (couple of months max), these were exchange for a pair of Salomon Alp 7 GTX and have now had similar problems to Bill, where the sole surprisingly enough on the right boot is now falling off, only owned them for roughly 2 1/2 yrs. ( not exactly fit for purpose)

Think I’ll go back to Zamberlan, owned and wore a pair of them for 20 + yrs

#9 Comment By Mike McGavin On 11 October, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

I’ve noticed they don’t seem to be making Alp7-GTX models any more, unless it’s been replaced by something near-identical.

My boots normally last about 2 years which just goes with the way I use them (lots of wading through rivers, lots of scree, lots of mud, etc etc). I think it was much to do with the way these have been failing as anything else. ie. Not really wearing through so much as just coming apart.

#10 Comment By Alan Knowles On 2 January, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

I think the problem with Salamon boot soles separating from the uppers is across the range. It seems to be caused by the soft spongy layer between footbed and sole which absorbs water and breaks down. I have a top model (don’t know which) and they have been the most comfortable boot I have owned in more than 40 years, and because of this I have restricted their use for my more serious trips to make them last. But alas, after glueing the soles back on with Aquaseal (for repairing fishing waders) and sealing the fatigue holes in the uppers at the toe bend they won’t last much longer. The soles show minimal wear but the uppers are stuffed. My partner’s Salamon’s have suffered the same fate.
In my search for replacements I see the latest models also have the spongy layer which makes me reluctant to buy another pair. Oh that Lowa and Meindl made boots for the wide NZ foot.

#11 Comment By Mike McGavin On 5 January, 2011 @ 11:53 am

Hi Alan. Thanks for the input. Mine finally gave up a couple of weeks ago, both coming apart behind the heel — I really haven’t worn them much since I bought them, either, and like yours the soles are still quite good. I think the trigger with which they didn’t cope too well was constant climbing of a 40 degree slope (Mt Taranaki), and that would have put a lot of stress on the heels… if my ankles were anything to go by. Both went at the same time, which to me implies this is more than just bad luck. Oh well.

#12 Comment By simon sorenson On 25 May, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

Yes …unfortunately anything produced in China is a load of crap, makes the middlemen alot of money, but a makes for a frustrated consumer,and these boots arnt even cheap they are produced under a known brand name to help them sell…its all style and no substance.

Advice stick to the European made boots.

#13 Comment By Alan Bostock On 5 June, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

Hi fellow walker.

I was reading about your Salomon problems so thought I would join in …..
I have been looking around for a Salomon UK website with the head office details so I can talk to someone about what to do with my boots that are 2.5 years old, only walked maybe 200 miles in the UK rolling hills and the stitching has exploded leaving me with wet feet (we do not like wet feet).
I originally spoke to the outlet shop who told me I was outside the 2 year warranty for Salomon boots so I had to deal with the manufacturer. “Oh, can you help me with their phone number please?” “Sorry sir, we do not have one for Salomon, just for our suppliers and we can’t give that out.”
So here I am, have found a number of places I can try ringing bit nothing definitive saying this is who you need to speak with.
Do you have the inside track?

#14 Comment By Mike McGavin On 7 June, 2011 @ 10:48 am

G’day Alan. I’m afraid I couldn’t help you with the manufacturer. In NZ there was only ever an importer/distributor which handled any and all warranty claims via retailers all over the country on behalf of Salomon.

As for my boots, I retired them to being my alpine-only boots a while back. I took them out for the first time in a year back in December, [14]. I noticed when I was back that the heels on both boots had split horizontally! I guess they didn’t like the average 36 degree slope, which is amusing given you’d think with crampon clips that someone in the design team would’ve thought they might be used for that kind of thing. I’ve given up on them.

#15 Comment By Billy Davis On 17 December, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

I just wrote Salomon on a pair of Switchs I use when I visit my home in Snowshoe, WV. I rarely wear them as they are incredibly warm and my east coast climate just doesn’t drop that far often. However, they are awesome in the snow. So I went up to West Virginia and the slopes did not open so I took my 5 year old for a hike to on an established trail to a set of water falls. Important note is that she was wearing slip on Dora the Explorer boots(held up well). I just brought them up to give them a wipe down and oil and I noticed that the center eyelet has literally sawed through the leather. I will report back when I hear from them. I am interested to see how it turns out. I hope for the best as I have a ton of Salomon gear but this is the first pair of walking boots I have purchased. At this point in their life span it cost me about $4+ a day to wear them.

#16 Comment By Mike McGavin On 20 December, 2011 @ 12:50 am

Hi Billy. Thanks for the comment. For what it’s worth as I mentioned earlier, the anecdotes I heard from one or two people suggest that it was mostly hiking-style boots that Salomon wasn’t too good at. This was also a few years ago by the time of writing this comment, so they might even have improved by now if there were even the case, or maybe not given your experience. I can never be certain if I just ended up with a dud pair, but it really put me off buying another one given there are so many options to begin with and (at least where I am) very few people advocating for them. It’s so extremely frustrating when this kind of thing happens.

#17 Comment By Geraldine Keith On 23 March, 2015 @ 12:51 pm

I can relate to the problem above, while the boots are really comfortable they do have their problems, after 2 and a half years my boots which have had minimal wear is breaking up in the upper part of the boot (these are not leather boots) above the toes on both boots leaving a big gaping gap where you can see my socks. The sole at the tip of the boot is peeling away making it unsafe to wear as could catch on something. Disappointed to say the least as felt I should get a few more years out of them considering they were retailing at something like $450.