We've been big fans of Salomon's Deemax series of waterproof soft shell boots for daily use and light hiking ever since they came out, most recently the current version 3.0, on sale now at REI Garage for $109.73, down from $170.00. The Deemax has a speed lace, which are those dental floss-like thin laces that cinch tight fast but can loosen just as fast. The Deemax also has a power strap like a ski boot, a rip-and-stick (aka hook-and-loop aka Velcro), which provides welcome stiffness and backup to the speed laces.
When the speed lace sawed through the upper fabric eyelet – a problem we had read about in various Salomon boot and shoes that use it, but over years of use never actually experienced – we looked around for a replacement and discovered that there was now another version of the boot, the Shelter. The Shelter differs from the Deemax in that it has a conventional thick lace with locking lugs at the top, a slightly shorter cuff and a somewhat cleaner design.
After a couple months of wear we're happy to report that the Shelter is an equally fantastic boot that addresses the speed lace weakness and looks even better for daily wear around town here in Anchorage, Alaska. It is rated to 14F degrees, an on-paper improvement to the Deemax's 20F rating, but our subjective impression is that they're about equally warm. We wear both of them down to zero degrees F for hours at a time outside with no hesitation.
The Shelter is a handsome boot that lives on our feet almost half the year, and we truly appreciate its warmth, waterproofing and traction in slick conditions. It breathes well enough that we leave it on our feet in the office for hours at a time. The Ice Grip soles are not magic on ice, but they perform at least as well as most rubber outsoles and are comfortable to boot. We still use our Deemax boots with just the strap for easy outdoor work like shoveling, chopping firewood and walking to the market. For everything else we use the Shelter, a great boot and now on sale at a great price.