The Salomon S/LAB MTN SUMMIT is produced in sizes from 22.5 to 30.5 so at this year's test we decided to try-out the unisex gender bender with both our women's and men's test teams. Results were similar for both camps, with a resounding and unanimous thumbs up for the boot's light weight and massively smooth hiking range of motion that made our testers want to trek just a little bit further for another untracked lap.
The boot's closure system is unique and required a little extra time to sort out for testers brand new to the S/LAB MTN SUMMIT's entry protocols. The lower BOA reel rides on a gliding plastic carriage that sits over the midfoot and connects into the instep area "ankle strap," which provides for a lightweight and positive clamp down over the top of the foot. Testers found that pulling a little extra slack out of the BOA reel helped them navigate the snug boot throat and load into the minimalist lower boot. The upper cuff is closed-up via a wide pulley-style Velcro power strap plus a narrower velcro mini power strap above it. Testers were split about all that Velcro, with some liking the infinite micro adjustments found with the Velcro-set pulley tension and others wondering when the hook and loop might give up on its gription.
Our women's test team found that the fit in the lower boot offered a lot of vertical movement in the toebox, which made for warm and comfy toes while hiking but a bit of loss of fore-aft control as the toes often went seeking the ceiling to help maintain a balanced position. Testers thought the BOA and ankle strap controlled the midfoot well, though testers with bony, high arched feet found it overly aggressive there. Testers said that the instep, heel and ankle zones offered more mediumish fit tension levels.
Testers found the cuff a touch low and upright in stance angle, which they liked for comfortable hiking and skinning but found that it made maintaining a centered position in challenging snow conditions a bit tricky. They liked this set-up for touring to untracked pow stashes--which is the point of this lightweight goods-access unit, anyway, they suggested.
“It feels like air on the foot--so light. For pure touring on deep, soft pow, this boot will win. The uphill options are wide open and its range of motion is so free, it is awesome.” -- Sam Tischendorf
“Insane range of motion in hike mode, and the forefoot stays locked in place. The BOA and instep belt tighten things down ok. Its range of motion in hike mode is its best quality, but it skis strong too.” -- Emily Poore
“This boot feels over-engineered--lots of parts and buckles criss-crossing and tweaking. I am not smart enough for this boot. It was not a great parking lot put-on experience--I grunted and swore my way in with the BOA completely undone. The instep was absolutely crushed down, and it feels like you’re missing connection along the tongue. In heavy snow, I struggled with feeling like I was going to topple over the cuff.” -- Sam Tischendorf
“Tons of up and down movement in the toebox. It's more snug through the midfoot but loose in heel and instep. The BOA and instep strap don't do much for heel and toebox tightening.” -- Emily Poore