Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Overland Journal’s Gear 2022 Issue.
When it comes to running shoes, I’ve found considerable success and comfort with modern zero-drop designs. Because of that, I was a little hesitant to swap out my trusted trail runners for the Salewa Dropline, a neon-green trail option that looks like it was sent to me straight from the future. These super-cushioned above-the-angle shoes have a 6-millimeter drop from heel to toe and are designed for speed hiking in alpine terrain.
Upon lacing up the Dropline for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by the width of the shoe, which despite being labeled as standard, felt a bit wider than average. The knitted upper felt comfortable and sufficiently flexible. And despite looking overly complicated, the lacing system with speed hooks did a great job securing the shoes to my feet.
It was a first for me when I encountered multiple insoles included in the box with the Dropline. Salewa provides swappable heel supports, a low and high volume option to help customers achieve the best fit possible without needing to purchase aftermarket insoles. I opted for the slightly higher volume option, and so far, I have not felt the need to swap it out.
Unfortunately, the proprietary Ankle Protector System (APS), which Salewa specifically points to on its website, was uncomfortably stiff right out of the box. The good news was that the APS did seem to break in—eventually. I can’t yet say if it offers more protection than other above-the-ankle trail runners that I’ve tested. Additional miles on the trail will be required to test this feature further.
For jogging and hiking, I have found the Dropline to offer a similar amount of support to that of a hiking boot, but with the light weight of a trail shoe. The ankle support is excellent, but in off-camber terrain, the shoes’ higher stack height does make them a little bit more tippy and prone to rolling off of obstacles. However, the evenly-spaced grid of nobby lugs that make up the Pomoca soles key well into rock and dirt and feel stable under my feet. Come to think of it, I don’t remember a single instance of losing my footing on mild or semi-technical terrain while wearing the Dropline.
In my experience, these shoes performed best going uphill on packed dirt, sand, and decomposed rock trails. This is partly due to the elevated heel height but also because of its lightweight build. Although I generally used the Dropline for trail running and hiking, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them for fastpacking or ultralight backpacking with a sub-30-pound backpack. Overall, I’ve been very satisfied with this trail shoe.
$180 | salewa.com
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