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Salomon Quest 4D II GTX Review

   
Top Pick Award

Hiking Boots - Men's

  • Currently 4.2/5
Overall avg rating 4.2 of 5 based on 7 reviews. Most recent review: July 17, 2015
Street Price:   Varies from $180 - $230 | Compare prices at 7 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable out of the box, makes you want to move fast, great stability and support
Cons:  Lots of seams to wear out, a little too burly and aggressive for casual hiking
Best Uses:  Fastpacking rough terrain, muddy and snowy spring trails, snowshoeing
User Rating:     
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  • 5
 (3.6 of 5) based on 6 reviews
Recommendations:  50% of reviewers (3/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Salomon
Review by: Brandon Lampley ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ May 22, 2015  
Overview
The Salomon Quest 4D II GTX, our Top Pick for Fastpacking, exemplifies the latest design innovations in hiking boots. Salomon has built a midweight hiking boot that remains true to the comfort and function of their award winning trail runners, while providing the support and ankle stability that hikers and backpackers expect from a boot. "Fastpacking" applies the modern alpinist's light and fast approach to backpacking. By carefully selecting the minimum amount of lightweight equipment necessary for self-sufficiency, fastpackers cover long distances quickly. Sometimes breaking into a run when terrain allows, they may cover 20 miles in a day, often many more. It's not uncommon to cover 150 miles in a week when fastpacking, a term used interchangeably with ultralight hiking.

From the ground up, this is a high-performance boot. Nimble enough for running, and stable enough for harsh terrain, it eats up the miles. The Contagrip sole provides excellent traction across a range of surfaces on the trail and off. The 4D Advanced Chassis gives foot support and great torsional stability. The uppers combine several materials that are flexible and supportive at the same time. The lacing system was our favorite, and the comfortable ankle collar gave us peace of mind when bombing down steep grades. Does it sound like we like this boot? WE LOVE IT!

New Review Update: May 2015
We were very excited when we learned that Salmon had released a new version of the Quest 4D! So excited that we immediately ordered it up and got to testing. The II met our expectations and continued this model's Top Pick winning streak. Read on to learn more about this hot new product!

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The recently updated Salomon Quest 4D II GTX has earned our Top Pick for Fastpacking three years running now. We have always loved it for comfort and stability while moving fast in rough terrain, and the subtle changes in the updated Quest maintain its performance. The unique raised heel design wants to push you forward faster and faster! The Vasque St. Elias GTX, our Editors' Choice winner, hit the ball out of the park as the perfect modern upgrade of the backpacking boot, and the Keen Targhee II Mid is unrivaled for comfort and affordability amongst lightweight hikers. That said, the Quest 4D II is the footwear you want if you're planning to sprint through rough terrain with your pack as fast as you can.

Performance Comparison


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The Salomon Quest is a top performer on rough, muddy, and snowy spring terrain. It is nimble and comfortable while providing the most ankle support for a boot its weight. Comanche Peak Wilderness, CO
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Comfort


Salomon's expertise designing burly trail running shoes has been translated into a boot that feels great on the foot. The first thing you'll notice when standing in this model is the slight raised heel design. It might take a minute to get used to, but feels great when crushing miles. The forefoot is nice and roomy, while the heel cup captures the ankle bones to Achilles well.

The ankle collar - one of the tallest of the hiking boots we tested - is surprisingly comfortable, and feels great snugged tight around the lower shin. It provides amazing ankle stability without the stiff feeling of traditional hiking boot designs.

This model's lacing system is perhaps the best we tested. Four lower eyelets allow you to custom fit the forefoot of the lower boot, which is very flexible. Folks with both a wide forefoot and a narrow forefoot praise the fit of the Quest's toe box. The middle eyelet has the best positive lock we tested, and its large radius makes it easy to use. Two upper eyelets complete the lacing system. The design of these upper eyelets is top notch; they capture the laces is such a way that having them pop loose is out of the question, but the laces can still slide freely as your ankle flexes.

This product was the next most breathable of the midweight hikers after the Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX. Its upper incorporates nylon mesh panels, which allow the GORE-TEX liner to breathe. Salomon footwear has a well-earned reputation for offering great water resistance while remaining breathable, and this model lives up to the expectations set by its trail runner cousins.

Hikers focused mainly on comfort should consider lightweight hikers, especially the Targhee II and Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid. However, those seeking an aggressive midweight hiker will find the Quest super comfortable and highly supportive.

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Taking a load off while overlooking Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Stability


The 4D Advanced Chassis provides the base that propelled this model to a top score for stability. Combine this foundation with one of the tallest ankle collar of the boots we measured, and it's no surprise that this boot earned the highest score for all-around stability. While wearing this hiker, we felt confident jumping around in the talus and moving fast over muddy trails full of roots. Moreover, the combination of materials Salomon uses for the ankle collar are comfortable but firm.

The sole at the forefoot fell right in the middle of width measurements. It seems that some manufacturers make up for lack of stability in the ankle collar with a wider forefoot; however, we think this model has struck a perfect balance. Torsional stability is also a strong point of this product. The only midweight boot that provides a stiffer forefoot is the Asolo Fugitive. The heavyweights, the Asolo Power Matic 200 and Scarpa Kinesis Pro, offer similar overall stability but are much heavier. How is it that a boot with this much support and stability can be so comfortable? Thank you Salomon!

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The Quest's 4D Advanced Chassis offers great support.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Traction


This was the best product we tested heading up and down steep, loose gravel. The lugs of the proprietary ContaGrip sole ate this terrain up. This product also performed exceptionally well in mud and slushy snow. We felt confident in its ability to keep us well-connected to the ground wandering around high in the mountains in the messy, early summer conditions. While this hiker stuck to wet granite well, it underperformed during our test on dry granite slabs. Overall, it received the highest score we awarded for all-around traction, which certainly influenced our decision to award it a Top Pick.

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Overall, this product provided excellent traction nearly everywhere we asked them to go. The one exception was smooth rock slabs, where the Contagrip sole was more likely to go slipping and sliding than our other award winners.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Weight


This was one of the heavier boots we reviewed; the updated II model is an ounce per boot heavier than the original. But it also has the tallest ankle collar, and overall is a formidably constructed boot.

The only other boots awarded a top score for stability (the Power Matic and Kinesis Pro) are nearly one pound heavier. When considering the support and stability provided by the Quest 4D II, it is quite light for what it delivers.

While it's true that many boot-wearing fastpackers on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails prefer featherweight models like the Targhee II or the Moab Ventilator, the average fastpacker isn't looking at covering 3,000 miles in four or five months. We think that most rough terrain fastpackers will benefit enough from the added ankle stability and forefoot support provided by the Quest that it's worth a bit of extra weight.

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Comparing the original Quest to the new II model. The changes are subtle... the new version has a more traditional ankle collar, originally there was a bit more forward lean and height to the heal.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Water Resistance


This model has one of the highest flood heights of all the hiking boots we tested, and it was one of the only ones we tested whose uppers beaded water right out of the box. Salomon uses the industry standard GORE-TEX Performance Comfort Footwear membrane in this liner. However, the upper's ability to bead water breaks down quickly though, and regular applications of a waterproofing treatment will keep the upper from soaking up water.

There are also tons of seams on the Quest, and it was one of the products that leaked just a little at the toe when we were splashing around in the lake. Due to its hybrid construction on the upper, this model breathes better than most of the similar midweight hikers. Overall, we awarded it an eight for water resistance.

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The Quest has excellent water resistant materials out of the box, but needs regular feeding to maintain it.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Durability


We awarded this piece a seven for durability. Salomon uses a combination of suede leather and nylon mesh on the upper, and there are a lot of seams. These seams in the forefoot are weak points for wear, and eventually the waterproof liner can be compromised here. That said, we were still satisfied with its durability. This is another product that will benefit from a liberal application of Seam Grip if you plan to beat them up off trail.

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There are a lot of seams and mixed materials in the upper of this boot. We found the durability acceptable but not outstanding.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Best Applications


This is the boot we chose for fastpacking trips in sloppy conditions, or over rough terrain, but it would be a great choice for any backpacking trip. This hefty boot is best used for carrying medium to heavy loads, but is comfortable enough you'll probably take them day hiking as well. Sized appropriately for wearing a thick wool sock, it's a perfect snowshoeing boot too. Overall, we highly recommend this product.

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This is an excellent boot for muddy or snowy trail conditions.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Value


At $230, this model is reasonably priced. It delivers great performance, but in this price range there are more durable boots. The Vasque St. Elias GTX, our Editors' Choice winner, provides the best bang for your buck amongst midweight hikers. If you're looking for something much lighter and less expensive (but less stable and supportive), lightweight hikers like the Targhee II and Moab Ventilator are even more affordable.

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Brandon tests our 2015 Top Pick for Fastpacking - the Salomon Quest 4D II in Boulder, CO.
Credit: Brandon Lampley

Conclusion


Buy this boot for fastpacking and backpacking in sloppy conditions or rough terrain. Do your backpacking friends have trouble matching your pace? They'll never catch you in these fast movers! Are you making the transition from running shoes to a hiking boot? The Quest will feel like a natural step up. We liked the updates that Salomon made in this updated midweight hiker and we loved the all-around performance it offers.

Other Versions


Quest 4D 2 GTX - Women's
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  • Women's version
  • Cost - $230 (Same as men's Quest 4D GTX)
  • Claimed weight - 2 lb 14 oz (7 oz less than men's Quest 4D GTX)

XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX
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  • Cost - $130 ($100 less than Quest 4D GTX)
  • Claimed Weight - 1 lb 9 oz (1 lb 12 oz less than Quest 4D GTX)
  • Low cut version shoe
  • Lightweight alternative
  • Gore-Tex

Quest Origins GTX
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  • Cost - $250 ($20 more than Quest 4D GTX)
  • Claimed Weight - 2 lb 13 oz (8 oz less than Quest 4D GTX)
  • Waterproof, Gore-Tex liner
  • Full-grain leather upper
  • Classic hiking boot style

Brandon Lampley

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 17, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.6)

50% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
6 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (3)
4 star: 17%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 33%  (2)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   May 22, 2015 - 06:08pm
SewellyMon · Climber · So Cal
I have bought 11 or 12 boots in the last decade trying to get the optimum ride for backpacking.

Salomon Quest 4D II GTX is the best boot I've ever owned by a large measure. Caveat- I am 57 and need a bit more ankle and foot support. Young dudes OK with low- top trail runners for everything. Not old guys.

Salomon Quest 4D II GTX is a tad heavy, so there are times I may opt for a lighter boot. I bought La Sportiva Core recently. Far lighter, but less boot. Still much better than the too-light Sportiva Xplorer (which I have) or the Gore-Tex version reviewed here - the Hyper. Both are flimsy under-foot for backpacking if you weigh a lot/ carry a lot.

I also have the Asolo Fugitive (ok- but not in the same league as the Salomon Quest) plus an all-leather Asolo which is old school burly that I'll save for lumberjacking, not backpacking.

Among my Imelda Marco's dozen includes a couple 5.10 Exum Guides. Very good boot, but cheap Korean construction that you've come to expect.

Also have a pair of Garmont Vetta Lite GTX- which look sexy and mountain-boot like in the pictures, but are as close to utter garbage as I've encountered in my holy grail of boots. I use them for gardening, and my feet complain all the while….

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 17, 2015 - 03:57pm
John L · Hiker · Denver, CO
I wanted to like these boots, I really did, but 10 miles, 5500 ft of vertical and 2 bloodied shins later it was time to trade em in and go back to tried and true Asolos.

I went to REI, got fitted for a few different boots for my skinny ankles and wide toe box, came home, did my research and checked reviews, narrowed it down, went back then walked around REI in the top 2 for a couple hours and decided change isn't always a bad thing. So I walked out with a shiny new pair of these boots. I took them on a few shorts hikes around the Rocky foothills and they were great. Summer rolled around so it was time to hit the first 14er of the season so up and back I went on Quandary. Through scrambling and snow fields these boots were everything they were cracked up to be. 1 week later, time to up the ante and hit Holy Cross. And that's where it all went wrong. I laced up in the morning and hit the trail, the whole time noticing some pinching but thinking they were just tight. When I get back to the car and take them off, bam, dollar coin sized raw skin and blood on both shins right above the foot. I don't know what did it, I tried to heal and wear them again, but the pressure point was obvious and eventually I traded them in for a pair of Asolo Avalons, gotta love REI return policy.

Listen, bottom line is, these boots work great for a ton of people, I'm just not one of those. When they didn't destroy my shins they were comfy, dry, sturdy, everything you'd want in a boot and that's why it's 2 stars, not 1. But because I did my homework and still came away bloodied, I can't recommend these boots.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 15, 2015 - 03:59am
Jayhiker · Hiker
I have about 700 miles in these boots including 500 on the Camino de Santiago. Great boot for the Camino where I carried about 10-12 Kilos. They are holding up very well with little visible wear and tear. Light enough, waterproof enough and good ankle stability. Breathable too. Best lacing locking system I have ever had. Highly recommended.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   May 26, 2015 - 01:32pm
SewellyMon · Climber · So Cal
Just had to re-chime in after reading the last 2 reviews saying this boot lacks traction off-trail.

Bottom line in life- Your Mileage May Vary.

But to speak to the boot's off-trail prowess. 1st day I bought them I went 2nd and 3rd classing up and down Crystal Crag above Mammoth Lakes. Not the best boot for free soloing, but on talus and 2nd class it immediately felt uber-secure. NO traction issues.

My last backpack trip featured extensive off-trail where I hopped from rock to snow patch back to rock, duff and dirt back to rock ad infinitum. Super secure. Any problems are a function of pilot error, not the boots.

I've a pretty good sense of what's sticky rubber, because I'm on my 2nd pair of 5.10 Exum Guides. A great boot, but not in the league of the Quest 4D.

Good luck in the search of the boot that works best. Lots of choices, and clearly one man's frog is another man's CinderBootFella…

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   May 26, 2015 - 07:32am
This is a Salomon product, and it feels like one. It's comfortable, high-tech, light enough. Loved it in deep snow, it kept my feet perfectly dry. But, like all Salomons, the traction isn't that great, and in that I disagree with the gearlab review and agree with the previous user review. All Salomons haven't got enough traction for wet rock or slickrock. I use them coz I'm prone to blisters, but because they don't have Vibram soles, I advise against them in off track terrain. They're great for regular tracks, but do not go close to waterfalls on wet rocks and stuff, they're definitely not made for that. Reviews should always mention this important fact.

Of course they're still better on wet rocks than let's say tennis shoes or budget hiking shoes, but they don't match a good Vibram sole that you can find on Zamberlan shoes for example. Why don't I use Zamberlan then ? Coz they're so uncomfortable, and I don't do much off track anyway. So for walking on signed alpine tracks, desert tracks, they're fine. On Utah wet slickrock ? You better be very careful. I did it, and used my hands and walking pole constantly. For those who know the Devil's Garden trail in Arches National Park, specifically the so called Primitive Trail, there were some very dangerous parts for me with Salomon soles. When you got a bit of sand on the rocks and a light drizzle, you better watch out, it's actually worse than a fully wet rock. But for a winter shoe I'd definitely recommend it, that's how I use it now. In summer walking, I use a low-cut pair.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   May 25, 2015 - 05:00pm
Bill Blackwell · Climber · SantaBarbara, CA
This SHOULD BE a 5 star boot!!!

I have never put on a boot that feels so heavy duty yet so lightweight. It almost feels like something out of a sci-fi novel. I really hope the rest of the industry gets onboard with this absolute breakthrough in boot construction.

The lacing system allows for fine tuning the foot and ankle independently of each other. It allows you to find the perfect compression on the foot and then adjust the ankle as needed for ascending/descending. Most impressive is it will hold the foot compression as you set it for the whole day.

The toe box allows for a feeling of space without being clumsy. Those needing to fill extra space will have no problem doing so with a thicker sock. This boot will probably change the way 50% of hikers will think about room for their little piggies. I initially wore double socks as I thought there was too much room up there, and would result in the toebox collapsing causing blisters. I started running a single pair of socks and was amazed the boot did not try to collapse around the toes.

The heel mold really works to help with the lift of your stride. I find myself moving faster by directing effort in different directions that I have ever used for walking before. It's really interesting.

Descending is really amazing! Under heavy loads the heel almost feels to splatter and spread over the terrain. The center of gravity seems so low and stable, and the shank is very insulating from sharp points of impact. This boot begs for you to strap on that old xternal frame behemoth and steel pole canvas tent, and why not the kerosene lantern and a cooler full of ice? Its a crazy stable sub 3 pound boot!

So why the 2 stars? The forefoot and toe traction is unsafe while ascending weathered sandstone and granite. I dont know why Salomon is using this compound. The lug pattern seems logical, so it must be the rubber. You do not feel confident getting out on a slab of any kind. These boots force you to stay in the soft/loose surfaces where the boot performs amazingly. This takes all of the gain away. It is absolutely a safety issue. I've had these release on me several times and slide right off the formation. Luckily I've not trusted them to any exposed areas as I would have gone right off. They release on moderate angle and there is not any chance of regaining friction. I initially suspected it was a newness issue that would improve as the top layer was worn away, but it has not improved at all. This is a safety issue that Solomon really needs to figure out.

Again this boot is the most comfortable, light, and supportive heavy-duty boot I've ever had the pleasure to put on. This is a winner for anyone who does not plan on ascending any moderate to steep BARE & DRY weathered sandstone or granite slabs. They are unsafely silck on these surfaces.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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