The Salewa Blackbird EVO is a remarkable boot at a very reasonable price. It has Gore-Tex Duratherm inside, which offers extra insulation, making it warmer than any other boots in the same price bracket. The upper is synthetic with a leather overlay and there isn’t too much stitching, so it should be durable, but you also get a rubber rand that extends around the upper for extra protection. The ankle cuff has a neoprene section at the back to allow more freedom of movement, while preventing grit from entering the boot. The forward flex is perhaps slightly more restrictive than some more walking-orientated designs, and the toe feels slightly better for precise climbing than purely walking. Despite the Salewa Blackbird EVO being a good weight, some heavier boots feel very slightly more precise. However, under the foot there is a very aggressive Vibram sole unit with very deep, widely spaced lugs – and this is ideal on softer ground, but does raise the foot a little higher than some more precise-feeling options. All this adds up to a great boot for general winter mountain trips, with a slight bias towards mountaineering rather than walking. The price is superb for what you’re getting and it’s hard to justify paying more unless you want some very small improvements in performance.
Upper materials synthetic with 2.8mm Perwanger suede leather, Gore-Tex Duratherm insulation
Waterproof lining Gore-Tex
Sole unit Vibram Teton
Women’s sizes 3-9 plus medium or wide fittings
Men’s sizes 6-13 plus medium or wide fittings
Weight 2018g (pair, size 11)
The Salewa Blackbird EVO is a superbly priced boot that offers excellent all-round performance for winter mountain walking and mountaineering, with only small improvements available in higher-priced boots. It won Trail’s ‘Best Value’ award.
Review by Graham Thompson
Published in Trail magazine January 2014