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Hands-on Gear Review
Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX - Women's Review
Cons: Sizing runs big, flexible and soft sole doesn't provide support for long hikes, extra padding in tongue feels bulky
Bottom line: These well-padded, easily broken in boots are top notch in water resistance, making them a great all-season boot.
Year after year, Salomon provides the outdoor industry with well-made, comfortable hiking boots and shoes, and this season is no exception. The Salomon X Ultra Mid II Gore-Tex hiking boots are an all-around great shoe. They are exceptionally cushioned, required very little time to break in, and held up on the rough and varied trails where we did our testing. These boots received some of our highest scores during the rigorous testing period because they are a reliable choice for a hiking boot. There is nothing that makes them stand out per se, but they stand up to our winners in all categories. For lighter hiking needs, Salomon also makes a shoe version of the X Ultra Mid 2.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Boots for Women of 2018
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Salomon X Ultra Mid II is a very comfortable boot with an aggressive tread pattern and optimum water resistance, perfect for all-day hikes in wet conditions.
Upon sliding on the X Ultras for the first time, we noticed right away their luxurious padding around the ankle and heel. The Sensifit design incorporates extra padding and super-soft fabric specifically for a woman's foot. The majority of the padding is in the heel and ankle, not as much underfoot. A stiffer boot, like the OBoz Bridger Mid Bdry - Womens, provides more support in the sole, but can be more difficult to break in. The Ortholite sock liners and EVA molded heel cups also add cushion and support on the inside of the boot. Another boot that compared to the X Ultra in comfort was the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra - Women. We found these two boots to be the most comfortable on long days in the Yosemite heat.
The superior lacing system of the X Ultra provides plenty of support and adjustability in the ankle, while the moderately stiff soles provide support while still allowing for natural foot flex. Where the boot really shines is in its mid-height support and cushioning of the foot. The mesh and synthetic upper that is integrated into the lacing system made the boots fit well to our feet and snug up tight as we laced them. A similar lacing system can be found on the Lowa Renegade; both boots allow you to tighten the toe of the boot separately from the ankle. Not many boots compared to the supportive ankle and tongue of the Salomon, but one that came close was the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra, which seemed to mold to our ankles as we tightened the laces.
For their aggressive sole, extra padding, and water-resistant qualities, the X Ultra brings a lot to the trail without bringing the weight. At 1 lb 10 oz, they are comparable in weight to the Vasque Monolith - Womens and the Keen Targhee II Mid - Women's. They are light on the feet while still providing the support and comfort of a more heavy duty boot.
The moderately aggressive tread pattern provides enough traction to keep us on our feet on most rocky, sometimes polished, granite trails in Yosemite. The Contragrip rubber sticks to rock while the tread pattern sheds small pebbles and sticks, the way a good sole is supposed to. Boots with similar tread patterns are the Ahnu Montera, the Vasque Monolith, and the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's. LIke the Keen Targhee II, the additional rubber on the toe box adds protection, which is a plus.
Where the X Ultra really shines is in the boot's ability to breathe while still being incredibly waterproof. Many of the other waterproof Gore-Tex boots are based on a more traditional, leather hiking boot design, but the X Ultra has a lighter feel because of its mesh and leather upper. Few boots compared to the water-resistance and lightweight nature of the X Ultra. The Lowa Renegade and the OBoz Bridger BDry were as consistently waterproof, but heavier. Also, the gusseted tongue keeps water and other trail debris out of the X Ultra. For a boot that lies between the mostly leather Lowa's and Oboz and the mostly Gortex X-Ultra's, check out the La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX, which provided water resistance and breathability in an impressive combination of Gortex and leather.
After days and days on the trail, the X Ultras definitely did not look as tired as we did. We were pleasantly surprised by their ability to look fresh day after day on the trail. Comparable boots in terms of durability are the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's and the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra- Womens, both of which were incredibly durable as well. The X Ultra toe box, where those with wide feet see wear most frequently, is reinforced with leather that protects the areas most susceptible to wear.
The X Ultras are lightweight enough to be a great day hiking boot but are also durable and comfortable enough to be worn on multi-day backpacking trips with a heavy pack. The contragrip sole, protective rubber toe box, and Gore-Tex uppers make them a great three-season boot that can hold up on rough, muddy, wet terrain. We did notice that they run big, which should be considered when ordering these boots.
At around $165, the X Ultras are a midrange boot in terms of price. Boots that compare in price are the Ahnu Montara or the Oboz Bridger Mid BDry - Womens. Their durability and water resistance make them a boot that will last a long time, so they could be viewed as an investment.
On rough trails, or just on days walking around Yosemite Valley, we found the X Ultras to be a comfortable, durable boot that worked well in all conditions we encountered. The leather and mesh upper make the boots resistant to wear while still allowing the foot to breathe. The X Ultra is a good option for an all-weather hiking boot that is comfortable, waterproof, and breathable.
— Jane Jackson
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