Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $150
Pros: Strong, burly, waterproof, great support.
Cons: Not breathable, too warm.
Best Uses: Heavier hiking loads, cross-over for hiking boot.
This shoe has been discontinued, we recommend the La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 and checking out our complete Hiking Shoe Review.
It was one of the burliest hiking shoes we reviewed and consequently best for heavier duty applications, such as hiking heavy loads or using the shoe for winter use. The shoe's higher than average ankle support left us feeling confident through technical, rock strewn trails, but was a little bit overkill for a casual walk in the woods or around town. For a lighter-duty shoe, check out the Keen Ambler or the North Face Hedgehog Guide.
The Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX was a standout in both our support and water resistance category, and scored well in the rest of the categories. While you shouldn't expect to be doing a trail run in these shoes or wearing them in a 100˚ plus environment, take a look at this shoe to take care of heavier loads or chundery trails.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
While the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX may be the second heaviest shoe we tested (Oboz Firebrand being the heaviest, and The North Face Hedgehog Guide being the lightest), you are getting a lot of shoe for 2.12 lbs per pair. Almost resembling a light duty backpacking boot, the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX has a ton of ankle support, an incredibly thick and grippy sole, and thick and supportive suede upper. With features that rival full backpacking boots (take a look at our favorites here), the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX is righteously heavy for its build, and fits a nice niche in this category.
The Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX has a great fit for our testers, with a snug, supportive fit that seemed to be very adjustable. The good folks at Salomon have blessed this shoe with yet another quality lacing system. Although the system was not fancy, we felt like we had great control over the tightness in different regions of the shoe based on how we laced it. On our first hike out of our backyards, we felt like the intensely treaded sole gave us some pressure points through the bottom of the shoe, but this feeling quickly went away as the footbed and the sole broke in to one another.
One word best described the support of the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX: bomber. Seemingly nothing could shake the shoe off of its sturdy roots, keeping our feet secure on even the most rooty, rocky, convoluted trails. As expected from its startlingly thick build, even carrying heavier pack weights for longer trips was a breeze with this shoe. We felt like the key to the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX's domination of this category was due to the suede upper, matched with a very thick sole that would flex consistently along the length of the shoe, rather than in a localized position like some of this shoe's weaker competition.
One look at the sole of the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX and you could easily guess how it did in this category. The aggressive, almost tire-like pattern of this shoe was great in muddy slogs and did great on rocks, but wasn't quite as stable on steep hardpack dirt as the Patagonia Drifter or the North Face Hedgehog Guide. The sole is built for deep purchase in loose conditions, and when the compound of Salomon's own brand of rubber was exposed directly to rocks, it held like a gecko on even the steepest shoreline rocks we could find.
With a build like an elephant and a pretty bulky appearance, the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX was far from the top in our versatility category, but it did not break the camel's proverbial back for us. Here at OutdoorGearLab, we feel like purchasing this shoe is a commitment to a use-specific shoe. That use: anything outside, on any trail, with any variation of weights. We feel like that is still an ample range of uses, but you still might get some comments at the office if you try to pull these off in a business situation, and you most likely won't be throwing them on to go for a trail run.
The Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX's suede upper had us imaging soaked, heavy shoes in a matter of seconds, literally until we put our feet in the water. Stunningly, the suede still has barely gotten dirty. The old outdoor world mantra says, "Outdoor gear comes in two ways: brand new or totally filthy." But the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX seems to have broken that old adage with its water/dirt/mud-shedding suede uppers.
The durability of the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX seems on par with its competition, with reasonably reinforced features and a sole that is thick enough to prevent wearing through in a season. Salomon's apparent dedication to the waterproofing of this shoe seems to be permanent, rather than a quick dump in a DWR bath like some other shoes.
The Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX is best for heavier loads and heavier trails, though it is not limited to these applications. Take a look at this shoe if you want a shoe on the backpacking boot side of the spectrum, rather than a glorified trail runner.
As was mentioned previously in the weight category, the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX is a lot of shoe. Paying a premium for this shoe seems to be justifiable, especially when comparing it to a backpacking boot.
The Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX is sturdier, stronger, and built like a truck, while some of the competition more resembles a golf cart. We loved this shoe for longer treks with heavier packs, and were blown away with the water resistance and the support of the shoe. However, if you are looking for a lighter shoe, this may not be your best option; instead take a look at the North Face Hedgehog Guide or the Keen Ambler.
— Tommy Penick
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Most recent review: June 28, 2013
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