Shoes. We have hundreds of them. At least Hubbie does, obviously a lady never discloses the extent of her own stash.
Footwear is kinda essential to travelling, and not having suitable shoes can certainly put a dampener on a trip. Hubbie dreads the moment when I reveal our latest travel destination because inevitably we’ll be zooming all over the place, doing and seeing as much as we can. This of course means packing several pairs of shoes. Comfy ones for walking around cities, sturdy ones for trekking, and sparkly ones for evenings out. We also often pack water sports shoes as Hubbie has an unfortunate tendency to attract all manner of dangerous sea critters. The poor boy thinks that marine life has it in for him and he may have a point, having once stepped on a spiny sea urchin whilst snorkelling in Thailand, just hours after being stung by invisible jellyfish.
Yet of course we can’t take all this footwear with us, and have to whittle our choices down to the bare minimum. Wouldn’t it be great if one pair of shoes fulfilled multiple roles?
Hubbie and I are both long standing fans of Salomon footwear for our outdoor adventures, having everything from hiking boots and Gore-tex approach shoes, to sandals and running shoes. It’s so important to get footwear right, as it really can make or break a trip! So when the guys at Millet Sports got in touch to see if we’d be interested in trying out the Salomon Techamphibian 3, we weren’t going to refuse!
The Salomon Techamphibian 3 shoe
Salomon describe the Techamphibian 3 as:
It’s a water shoe, it’s a technical trail shoe, it’s both.
It sounded ideal for activities that combine both land and water, but was it really possible for one pair of shoes to comfortably perform well in both wet and dry scenarios? Challenge accepted!
We could have waited until our forthcoming trip to explore the jungles and rivers of South America to put the Salomon Techamphibian 3 to the test, but since we have one of the world’s best natural playgrounds right on our doorstep, we decided we couldn’t wait. The Lake District National Park would be more than suitable to put our shoes through their paces.
The first thing we noticed was the high build quality of the Salomon Techamphibian 3 – something we have come to expect and appreciate from the brand. The sole is Salomon’s own ‘sipped contragrip’ which has been developed to give flawless protection…
…come rain, shine, asphalt or rock.
The sole works well in both wet and dry, hard or soft conditions underfoot, maintaining traction on slippery surfaces, even under water.
The upper is a combination of fast drying nylon mesh and a rubber toe cap, ideal for protection against toe stubbing whilst ghyll scrambling (that’s ‘gorge walking’ to non-Cumbrians!), coasteering or scrambling up a trail. The mesh is multi-functional. It allows water to drain away quickly, and also acts as an anti-debris barrier, giving the wearer confidence to use the shoe without worrying about getting muck or those annoying little stones trapped inside. We’ve all been there!
The moulded EVA midsole provides stability and cushioning and has all-important drainage ports to let water out. The neoprene and Lycra nylon lining provides comfort underfoot whilst also being quick drying. Hubbie hasn’t quite regressed to Velcro shoe fasteners, but he does like the Salomon quick lace system. It’s not just for kids! The Techamphibian goes even further however, with a quick release ‘breakaway’ lacing system making the shoe safer to use in the water environment in case the lace slips out of it’s storage pouch and becomes snagged on a rock.
To keep the shoe snug on your foot there is an easy to adjust heel strap, but if you want to use the shoe as more of a “slide on”, then the heel can be collapsed for customised wear.
First up we headed to Farlton Knott for a scramble. Technically not quite in the Lake District National Park, it’s only a short drive from our house and has some of the best preserved limestone pavement in the UK. A perfect place to try out our shoes on dry land. The tiered crags, loose screes and crazy paving of the hill mean that sturdy footwear with a good grip in all weather is a must.
Up on the limestone pavement, Hubbie turned into the proverbial sure-footed mountain goat, although perhaps lacking the thick head of hair! Despite all his leaping and bounding, the shoes remained snug on his feet thanks to the contragrip sole.
I on the other hand preferred to elegantly glide my way over the grykes (chasms) between the clints (limestone slabs). At least that’s what happened inside my head.
Whatever we looked like, neither of us felt our feet slip or slide inside the shoe thanks to the internal Sensifit wrapping securely around our feet.
Next we headed to Ullswater with the canoe. This is where you’ll find us most weekends when we’re not travelling – we’ve been paddling, camping and hiking here for years and it’s our favourite place in the whole of the Lakes. Depending on the time of year, our feet will be wrapped up snugly in wellies, or completely bare with just a pair of flip flops flung into the boat for portaging. However there are times when we want a bit more protection than a pair of flip-flops can offer, yet we don’t want our feet to be sweating away in our neoprene wet-shoes or wellies. So we were really excited to see how the Salomon Techamphibian 3 shoes fared.
The first test was getting the boat to the shoreline. If you know the area then you can avoid the pay and display car parks, but it usually means a scramble down to the water. It was good to test the grip on different terrain to Farlton Knott, although this time Hubbie had a 35 kg canoe on his shoulders (I did offer to help, but apparently it’s “easier” if he does it himself). Whilst I skipped along behind with the all important picnic, he walked the beast down to the water.
He found that his feet did slip a little bit in the shoes whilst walking downhill, but then with a dirty great big canoe balanced on his shoulders that was perhaps understandable. Importantly though, he still felt sure footed as he negotiated the tree roots and rocks down the banking.
Sitting in the boat, the shoes were actually more comfortable than we had been expecting, and finally came into their own when we started jumping on the various little islands in the middle of Ullswater. Usually a balancing act and a good deal of faith is required to hop onto dry land from a rocking canoe, but the soles of the Techamphibian 3 did us proud, offering superb grip on the slippery rocks, even those that were submerged under the water.
The water drained out quickly thanks to the mesh design, so our feet didn’t remain too wet for long.
Wanting to properly test the grip when wet, we headed to the river that feeds into Ullswater, knowing that it has several shallows where we would have to get out and walk. We weren’t disappointed – the shoes performed magnificently. Hubbie managed to portage the canoe with ease, walking confidently through the shallows over the rocky river bed. He did however find that in the water the heel strap had loosened off a little and had to be re-tightened.
Once back in the boat, our feet actually dried remarkably quickly through the mesh and we didn’t have cold feet for long.
At the end of the session, Hubbie hefted the canoe onto his shoulders and started marching back up to the car, with only slight protestations from me. Despite his shoes now being wet, and heading uphill negotiating tree roots and rocks, the shoes well matched what was being asked of them.
We loved the quality of the build, the comfort that you’d expect from a pair of Salomon shoes, and the fact that even when wet there was no loss of grip. The drainage feature allowed easy transition from water to land and the anti-debris mesh worked a treat.
We’re not sure how comfortable the collapsible heel would be over a long period of time, and it was a little concerning that the heel strap did work loose, which could be problematic if you’re out trail walking. Yet these shoes are really designed more for multi-activity sports, in and out of the water, so it’s unlikely you’d be hiking long distances in them. The shoes will be perfect for adventuring in hot destinations, but with the British weather being like it is, even in ‘summer’ it could be a bit cold for wearing the shoes in water for very long as they’re not insulated.
It is fair to say that we weren’t disappointed with the Salomon Techamphibian 3. They lived up to the claim of being a great all-round shoe with multiple features making them ideal for a wide range of activities. They will definitely have a permanent place in our kit bags for both adventure travelling and canoeing.
We each received a pair of Salomon Techamphibian 3 shoes from the lovely folks at Millet Sports for the purposes of this review. All words, photos and opinions remain our own, and we only accept complimentary products if they are something we would have been willing to use and purchase ourselves.