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Salomon Quest 4D II GTX Review

Salomon Quest 4D II GTX
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $230 List | $229.95 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Comfortable out of the box, fast and nimble, great stability, support, and water resistance
Cons:  Lots of seams to wear out, might be too aggressive for casual hikers
Bottom line:  Our Editors' Choice award winner is a very versatile boot that combines unsurpassed ankle and foot protection, stability, and water resistance with a comfortable design, without being too heavy.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Salomon

Our Verdict

The Salomon Quest 4D II GTX, our do-it-all Editors' Choice Award Winner, 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 covering 20 miles or more in a day.

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 one of our favorites, and the comfortable ankle collar gave us peace of mind when bombing down steep grades. This boot begs to be pushed to the limit, and it delivers time and time again.

The Salomon did not go unchallenged in our review, facing fierce competition from the previous Editors' Choice winner, the Vasque St. Elias GTX, as well as the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid. Both are excellent midweight hikers, with the Renegade weighing a few ounces less, and that St. Elias over-stepping the Salomon in durability. For more midweight hikers, and several lighweight models, be sure to check our complete review of Men's Hiking Boots.


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Editors' Choice Award
Our Editors' Choice award winner is a very versatile boot that combines unsurpassed ankle and foot protection, stability, and water resistance with a comfortable design, without being too heavy.
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This very lightweight model is best applied to day hiking with only a light pack, or none.

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Ross Robinson
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
November 27, 2016

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The $230 Salomon Quest 4D II GTX has earned our Editors' Choice Award, continuing to be a favorite of ours over several years of combined testing. We have always loved it for outstanding comfort and stability while moving fast in rough terrain, as well as some of its more subtle features. The unique raised heel design wants to push you forward faster and faster! It also has great breathability, and proved to be one of the most water resistant models in our review. All these qualities combine to make the Quest 4D II a very versatile, functional boot that overall performs better than the rest.

Performance Comparison


Seeing how the Quest 4D II GTX (shown in blue below) stacked up against the competition, it is clear to see why this product won our Editors' Choice award.


You can see its overall score relative to competing products above, and in the following sections, we detail why it scored as well as it did, by describing its performance point by point in the key performance metrics we tested.

Reviewer Ross Robinson rock hopping across a river that carved out the Colca Canyon in southern Peru  one of the deepest canyon systems in the world.
Reviewer Ross Robinson rock hopping across a river that carved out the Colca Canyon in southern Peru, one of the deepest canyon systems in the world.

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 slightly 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. This boot grabs onto your ankle and foot to give you very confident stability without sacrificing comfort.


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 in such a way that having them pop loose is out of the question, but the laces can still slide freely as your ankle flexes. Only the Arc'teryx Bora2 Mid has a similar lacing system, though we liked the Quest's a tad better.

 

This product was the most breathable of the midweight hikers. Its upper incorporates nylon mesh panels, which allow the GORE-TEX liner to breathe. Furthermore, the Ortholite insert is perforated up front, allowing air to circulate under the foot and through the toe box. 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 interested in extreme comfort and lightweight properties might be better served by the KEEN Targhee II Mid and HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit Mid WP . However, those seeking an aggressive midweight hiker will find the Quest super comfortable and highly supportive, even under the weight of heavy backpacks on rock-filled trails.

The Quest 4D II provides great comfort  regardless of the type of terrain underfoot.
The Quest 4D II provides great comfort, regardless of the type of terrain underfoot.

Stability


The 4D Advanced Chassis and a wide 4.625 inch forefoot provides the base that propelled this model to the top score for stability. Combine this foundation with the tallest ankle collar of the boots we measured (tied with the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid), 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.


Torsional stability is also a strong point of this product, which strikes a great balance of a flexible upper and a stiff, supportive outsole. The only midweight boot that provides a stiffer forefoot is the Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid GTX. How is it that a boot with this much support and stability can be so comfortable? Thank you Salomon!

The tall shaft and comfortable collar of the Salomon.
The tall shaft and comfortable collar of the Salomon.

Traction


The Salomon Quest 4D II scored at the top of the heap in our steep scree and gravel tests. The lugs of the proprietary ContraGrip sole ate this terrain up, and the stiff sole with thick and durable toe protection dug into scree easily.


This product also performed exceptionally well in mud and slushy snow, similar to the St. Elias. 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 rocks very well, it underperformed during our test on smooth, dry rock inclines. Overall, it received a high score for all-around traction, which certainly influenced our decision to award it our Editors' Choice. For supreme grip on rock, our Top Pick for Scrambling, the Asolo Jumla GV, has you covered.

Often find yourself getting slopping in mud and slush? If yes  you'll be pleased with the Quest 4D II's ability to keep you upright through it all.
Often find yourself getting slopping in mud and slush? If yes, you'll be pleased with the Quest 4D II's ability to keep you upright through it all.

Weight


This was the third-heaviest pair we reviewed, weighing in at 3.24 lbs. for a size 11.5 US. But it also has the tallest ankle collar, and overall is a formidably constructed boot. The Renegade matches the collar height of the Quest 4D II, but at a significantly lower weight.


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, 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.

Lace up these boots  and you're free to wander just about anywhere you wish to roam. Like through canyons and past waterfalls and over boulders and stuff.
Lace up these boots, and you're free to wander just about anywhere you wish to roam. Like through canyons and past waterfalls and over boulders and stuff.

Water Resistance


This model has one of the highest flood heights of all the hiking boots we tested, measuring 6.125 inches. It also beads water off, straight 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.


The Quest 4D II tied with the St. Elias and Lowa Renegade for the best score in this metric. The only drawback we found was that when we completely soaked this boot inside and out, it took approximately 27 hours to dry out in indirect sunlight, where the other two competitors above dried much faster.

If the only cross-able path is through the stream  the Quest 4D is your best bet to stay dry.
If the only cross-able path is through the stream, the Quest 4D is your best bet to stay dry.

Durability


We awarded this piece a seven for durability. Salomon uses a combination of nubuck leather and nylon mesh on the upper, and there are a lot of seams. These seams in the forefoot are weak points for wear as we saw happen in the Merrell Capra Venture Mid GTX, and eventually, the waterproof liner could be compromised here. That said, we were still satisfied with its durability.


After 3 months of use, these boots still looked and performed like new, except becoming even more comfortable after being broken-in. This is another product that will benefit from a liberal application of Seam Grip if you plan to beat them up off trail. The highest scorers in this category were the St. Elias and the Mountain Trainer.

The Salomon cruised through warm desert trails easily  with enough breathability to keep our toe box from turning into a sauna. This boot also held up very well throughout all our tests  showing virtually no signs of wear at the end of our trial.
The Salomon cruised through warm desert trails easily, with enough breathability to keep our toe box from turning into a sauna. This boot also held up very well throughout all our tests, showing virtually no signs of wear at the end of our trial.

Best Applications


This is the boot we liked especially 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 that you can take them day hiking as well. Sized appropriately for wearing a thick wool sock, it's a perfect snowshoeing boot too, and fits with strap-on crampons as well. Overall, we highly recommend this product for an expansive variety of applications in the backcountry.

No pack  light pack  medium pack  or heavy pack -- this pair of boots won't judge. They'll just keep on truckin'.
No pack, light pack, medium pack, or heavy pack -- this pair of boots won't judge. They'll just keep on truckin'.

Value


At $230, this model is reasonably priced. Its hi-tech design delivers top notch performance, although there are a few boots in this price range that will more than likely last longer, such as the St. Elias or the Mountain Trainer Mid. If you're looking for something much lighter and less expensive (but also less stable and supportive), lightweight hikers like the Targhee II and Tor Summit Mid WP are even more affordable.

Conclusion


If you want to get the highest performing hiking boot to handle whatever terrain you put in its path, this is the boot for you. It combines comfort, excellent stability, traction, and water resistance in a very agile and speedy package. Do your backpacking friends have trouble matching your pace? They'll never catch you in these fast movers! Come rain or shine, warm or cold temps, talus or mud, river crossing or dry desert, we think you'll love the all-around performance the Salomon Quest 4D II offers.

We like to hike in all kinds of environments and terrains  and the Salomon Quest was the most accommodating to our needs through it all. It is truly deserving of our Editors' Choice award.
We like to hike in all kinds of environments and terrains, and the Salomon Quest was the most accommodating to our needs through it all. It is truly deserving of our Editors' Choice award.
Ross Robinson and Brandon Lampley

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 11, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.6)

100% of 5 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
6 Total Ratings
5 star: 67%  (4)
4 star: 33%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Mar 11, 2017 - 11:25am
A Woman Afoot · Hiker · Warsaw, Poland
I have the female version of Salomon Quest 4D and absolutely love them! Most female hiking boots are too narrow, but those fit just perfectly. I hiked in boggy mess around Scotland, through rocks, pebbles, mud and roots in Spain… they supported me and my heavy (about 18kg) backpack beautifully. Soaked only when water went over the ankle or trickled down the leg in heavy rains. They dry quite long, indeed, but the other benefits out weight the small issues.

There are no other boots that would be that comfortable and supportive at the same time.


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 22, 2017 - 04:01pm
MishMash · Hiker · Surrey, England
I have had these for a few months, bought them as a heavier running mate to my Salomon Quest Prime GTX boots, The Quest Primes are excellent for lightweight boots but I wanted something a bit heavier duty for some serious footslogging later this year. The sizing is a bit weird. I take an 11 in the Quest Primes but a 12 in the 4D 2 GTX boots.

They are pretty comfy out the box but a few miles on them improved them to be like carpet slippers. One thing that is a bit annoying is the laces which seem heavily waxed and I find tend to slip until they are worn in. I put mine in for a few washes in the machine and that seemed to fix the problem.

I live in rural Surrey in the UK and we don't tend to have too much in the way of mountains or deserts round here but what we do have is lots of mud. Chalky mud, clay mud, peat mud, sandy mud and mud made from things I would rather not mention. Its also wet here and rains a lot (which is what makes for so much mud).
I have been walking the last few weeks in these boots and have had all kinds of mud both the mostly water and mostly mud types up to my ankles, and sometimes past my shins, but the boots have kept dry and warm throughout. They also buff up well even after having some serious abuse.

The big rubber toecap is brilliant for keeping the toes out of harms way on rocky areas and for saving you the odd stubbed toe when not looking where you are going but also protect the boot. My previous hikers had sued on the front and while it looked nice when new a few kneeling down moment and a few smacks against fallen trees and roots made the boots look shabby - call me shallow but I like to look good even on the trail.

Apart from the laces I have seen no downsides to the boots - they are a bit pricey but everything is this side of the pond but I definitely think you get what you pay for and I am not complaining about the quality. I would definitely buy again if I needed a new pair as they are pretty much perfect for day hikes at a fast pace which is pretty much what I do.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 1, 2017 - 03:40pm
Ming-Tzu · Hiker · Brooklyn
Two things:
  • There's a sale going on at Amazon for a specific size and color (e.g. size 10.5 in black), for $144. Amazing deal.
  • I have wide feet, with the widest part near the balls of my feet. When received, these boots were way too tight for my liking. However, I put in shoe trees overnight and the difference is night and day. It's still snug but very comfortable on my feet right now, and I can imagine it'll only get better with time (and continued usage of the shoe trees). So whoever has wide feet and need to stretch these out a bit, use SHOE TREES!!

On a side note, I love this site and have bought a great deal of items based your detailed reviews. Keep it up!!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 1, 2016 - 05:33pm
La-riv · Climber · UT
I have a variation of this shoe, the Salomon Quest Origins which I believe cost a little more but are way more attractive. The Origins are a gorgeous boot and their durability is legendary. I have noticed the traction on them to be on par with most other boots and shoes. The one drawback to this boot is that it tends to get very warm when hiking and stays that way. These boots really get your feet hot on extended hikes. If you don't need the ankle support I would recommend trying The North Face Ultra 109 GTX. They are much more breathable. However, for the durability, water resistance and look, the Origins can't be beat. I wear them primarily in the winter or when I plan on frequently wading through shallow streams.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 29, 2016 - 01:43pm
TJ F · Backpacker · California
I've worn a handful of the boots OGL reviewed and while fit is a totally personal thing, I know that I'll keep buying the Quest as long as they keep making them. I'm actually hunting for sales and will buy a couple of pairs for down the road. EASILY the best boot I've ever worn.

You're good to go right out of the box and the lacing system makes it feel like a custom fit every time you lace them up. Stable enough for backpacking with a big load but light enough to day hike in. Definitely doesn't feel like a 3 lb. boot.

I have seen some chipping away on the toe rand but it's minor. Sole provides excellent traction and underfoot protection and my feet have stayed dry in weather or crossings. But for me it's all about the comfort. Not one blister or hot spot and I've never felt that I need to rip them off my feet at the end of the day. Yeah…they're a little pricey but grab them on sale and it's a great investment. Stoked to finally find "my" boot. No need to go anywhere else.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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