Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Well-fitting, great support, light.
Cons: Slow to dry, weird foot angle.
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, "fastpacking."
We loved the Salomon Quest 4D GTX. It's a no-nonsense, no-frills sort of boot. From the aggressive sole to the lacing brackets (the best we've seen) to the lightly padded tongue, it seems that every component has been engineered perfectly for bust-ass hiking and backpacking.
While it might have been our favorite synthetic option, it wasn't our favorite boot, or the best value. Our favorite overall is the Asolo Power Matic, which is more durable, more waterproof, and all-around burlier. We believe that the La Sportiva Eco was the best value. Exceptionally comfortable and durable, the La Sportiva Eco retails for $40-60 less than the Salomon Quest.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The 4D GTX is one of the best fitting boots we tested. It has a marvelously snug toe box, a well-cradled heel cup, and the most perfectly designed lace brackets we've come across. This is designed to hug your foot like a terrified Koala on a gum tree in a lightning storm. It's light and surprisingly minimalist; Salomon cuts down on the bulky padding that usually makes synthetic hikers difficult to tighten. This makes it much more secure than comparable boots like the Asolo Fugitive. And because of the light toe-box, the Quest flexes effortlessly, as if it's begging you to break into a run. The Quest's no-frills, no-nonsense attitude gives it the feel of a combat boot. Every component feels aggressive, from the angular lugs on the sole to the toothed brackets. Like a panther that you walk on. These are not the sort one would want to disappoint. When you're wearing them, being awesome is compulsory.
One of the first things we noticed about the Quest was a rather peculiar angle in the footbed. The heel is a bit higher than the toes, and the insole is slightly higher than the outsole. The result is noticeable only when motionless, and actually encourages a more aggressive stride, but it could become rather bothersome for anyone with sensitive knees, orthotics, or who plans on standing around a lot.
Like we said. The Quests have certain expectations. The Quests don't ventilate particularly well in hot weather, although they do better than their heavier leather counterparts. They also take an unusually long time to dry, so either take them off for creek crossings or buy a pair of Moab Ventilators.
The Quest's design is supposedly based on Salomon's trail running shoes, and it shows in the performance. They encourage you to move aggressively, making them perfect for fast-paced backpacking. They are great for ultralight backpacking in early spring, over talus, in adverse conditions, or anytime you want something a bit heavier or better insulated than a light hiker.
One of our biggest problems with synthetic boots is one particular seam along the inside ball of the foot. Because of the way the foot flexes, this seam is inevitably the first point of failure. The design of the Quest has partially eliminated this problem. While we haven't driven the boot to failure yet, we imagine that the design tweak will significantly increase its longevity. That said, the La Sportiva Eco is another exceptional, durable synthetic option that sells for $50 less.
— Atherton Phleger
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: June 24, 2012
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