A legendary Slovenian sports & hiking shoes manufacturer Alpina has an interesting path behind them, with many ups and downs. In the past few years they have made strong efforts to freshen up the existing designs, thus making their products interesting to the modern day user. Sadly, the quality of the brand has dropped quite a bit, after moving a part of the manufacturing to China, becoming the major issue with Alpina brand. Last year, however, the new collection has seen the light of day, named Alpina BREEZE, so we went into the store and grabbed a pair to see what’s what…

The shoes were tested mostly on forest trails with rocky sections (hills and mountains, some macadam and asphalt as well) in autumn / winter conditions.

The Breeze collection features 3 models: R-MID, X-MID and LOW. The first two are half-ankle hiking shoes while the last is, obviously, a low hiking shoe. Price drops somewhat along this line, as well. They all feature the same design that, in our eyes at least, looks like the look of some futuristic prototype. Hectagon, or perhaps rhombus, is the prevailing shape of this designs, nicely complemented by the prominent Vibram outsole and underlined with colour combinations like grey-blue, green-black-white or even pink. Colour schemes vary from model to model. However, all models have an insole made out of Ortholite foam and Vibram outsole (XStrek for LOW and Megagrip for others). The most expensive model R-MID is equipped with eVent membrane, while the other two models feature a bit cheaper Alpitex membrane. R-MID also features a lace system similar to »QuickLace«, while other models use normal laces.

Fit & Finish

Design of the Alpina Breeze line is superb in our mind, and so is the fit of the shoe itself

Seriously one of the most comfortable hiking shoes we have ever wore.

— Slovenia Outdoor, Slovenia

Faced with those choices we found ourself standing in front of the shelf, trying to decide which one to take with us. LOW falls out of the equation almost immediately, as we rarely use low hiking shoes (we prefer trail running shoes for fast visits into the great outdoors). So, half ankle it is, but which one? Of course we go for the more expensive R-MID version at first, since it has a better membrane and looks quite nice in green with blue highlights. The box was already in our hands, when reason prevailed and made us put them on for a try. Immediately a possible problem occurs. The lace system has two reinforcements, placed right where the »foot-toe« bend is. And when you walk, the material here squeezes and pushes into your feet. A rather uncomfortable feeling and a very likely durability issue – possible tears. So we walked from the store with X-MID model. Colour? In the end, grey won the match, as to us it looks the best fit for the shoe design (as mentioned, X-MID and R-MID do not have the same colour schemes available).

Alpina Breeze combine modern design with performance of fast and light trail shoe

Photo(s) by Peter Lenarčič


Just remarkable. Seriously one of the most comfortable hiking shoes we have ever wore. The author’s foot is on the wide side up front, and this shoe is just made for it. It is also light, only 350g, which adds to the feeling that you are wearing slippers, not rugged hiking shoes. Normal laces tight the shoe quite well and we didn’t miss the Quick Lace system.


On the trails?

Being light and tight (comfortably tight!) they feel fast and very manageable on all sorts of terrain. However, they are still a bit to hard for running on asphalt or hard surface for longer periods of time, for hiking they are perfect. They offer great feel and precision when placing your  foot right where you want, even on faster descends, when it is crucial to hit that spot of soil/rock that won’t slide. The Vibram Megagrip outsole proved to be good enough, inspiring confidence even in slippery conditions, as they held ground like Spartans did, back in the day. When you push it to hard, the slides are mostly controllable and »safe«. Grip on the rocks/roots is good, as the combination of outsole and fit makes wonders.

Alpina Breeze state, after a couple of months...

...of fast trekings in the mountains of New Zealand, Gran Canary islands and off course Slovenia.
Photos courtesy of Melita Brajkovec


We didn’t wore the Alpina’s BREEZE long & hard enough to give you the right answer to this one. We, however, do have some friends, that abused them (X-MID as well) in Slovenian mountains, Gran Canaria mountains and New Zealand mountains on fast trekings (so pretty hard wear in the last months) and their report on durability is good. No visual damage so far, the stitching and glue held up nicely (check the photos bellow, sent just for you right from New Zealand, courtesy of Melita Brajkovec)



Well, it looks like Alpina has made it back with its BREEZE line. Hiking shoes that are comfortable, light and fast. And it seems, that they have also managed to sort out the quality control, so for now, it looks like the BREEZE products will stand the test of time (and abuse). If you are looking for a hiking shoe that you can use on your daily walks and weekend mountain/outdoor getaway (not climbing or serious mountaineering), Alpina BREEZE X-MID are definitely well worth checking out.