Gear Review: Mammut Alnasca Knit Low GTX shoe

RRP: £149
Weight: 330g (Women’s size 5.5)

The first thing you notice about this approach shoe is the snug fit. The inner is made from an almost seamless 3D-knitted stretchy “sock” – luckily there are pull ties to help ease them on. I’ve been testing them both on easier day walks and tougher hill-walks for the last few months. So far the sock design seems to prevent any rubbing where the toe flexes – something that often causes a problem with walking shoes.

Initially I felt the fit was on the narrow side but, having adjusted the low-profile laces to their maximum and worn them for extended days, I think they can be made to comfortably fit all but those with the widest feet. The insole is removable but there’s no a lot of extra height in the shoe so those wanting to fit a larger insole such as Supafeet may need to go up a size. I found the heel grip to be excellent, with enough room in the toe box. I take a size 5 in normal footwear and was testing these in a 5.5. The lacing is straightforward and holds in place well, with additional stability provided by side stays attached to the lacing system, making the shoe fit closer and move with the foot without feeling overly rigid.

There is a high rand running all the way round the outside. It’s extra thick at the toe and heel and has done a good job at repelling scrapes and bashes from rocks; it should help the shoes to last longer. 

The Gore-Tex membrane linings so far haven’t suffered any failure due to abrasion – I usually find such waterproof linings to leak fairly quickly. This may be due to the fact that its very hard for little bits of grit to enter the shoe due to the relatively tight fitting of the “sock” around the ankle cuff and perhaps also because there are less points in the design of the tongue where wear can take place. However, as with most lined shoes I found these hot in warm weather and, despite the low cut and manufacturers claim that they are designed to vent well, I’d rank these on the warm side and keep them for cooler days.

The sole is made by Michelin from a rubber blend that gives good grip on dry rock. The sole is very flexible and feels quite soft – the shoes are comfortable for walks on hard ground, though the uppers will wear more quickly if worn in rocky conditions all the time. Perfect for scrambling and hill paths, for wet grass and steep boggy ground I’d prefer something with deeper cleats. Mammut is marketing these shoes for scrambling, via ferrata and general walking and in my experience they’ve proved super comfortable, if a little warm, and would be a good choice for three season use.

Due to the rubbery/plastic outer the shoe has proved very resistant to staining and visible wear and tear on the upper. They still look decent for heading into town after a walk and haven’t picked up any lingering odours yet either. Available in sizes 4.5 to 7.5 for women and 6.5 to 13 for men and in two different colours.

Pros: Snug fitting sock design, high rand, sole grips well on rock, available in half sizes

Cons: Hot in warm weather, durability of flexible sole 

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