For a boot that can handle any terrain, a wide temperature range, and feel great on your feet, the Salomon X Ultra's are very difficult to beat.
The X Ultra 3 scored highly in the comfort metric (especially after breaking them in!). If we had to choose a boot to wear for long days, it would be the X Ultra 3 Mid, because they provide the comfort of a burlier boot, while also remaining breathable and light on the foot. Weight is essential for comfort, as you end up having to lift extra weight each time you step with a more massive boot. Though the mega-cushioned HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra might have an edge in footbed comfort, these boots have a more full range of application.
These boots do seem to run big in comparison the X Ultra 2. This may also be because the boots are slightly sturdier than the previous model, making them feel bigger. We suggest trying them on before buying a pair (or purchasing from a retailer that allows returns). The same size boot in the 2 and 3 version of the X Ultra feel quite differently; the X Ultra 3 Mid provides more support underfoot and more stability in the ankle. This makes them a good option for longer trips, especially when carrying heavy loads, an improvement upon the previous iteration.
We like the X Ultra Mid 3 because of their breathability in warm conditions. This makes them a great option for the desert, while their water resistance also helps get through wet conditions with ease.
These boots provide plenty of support for long days on the trail. The X Ultra 3 Mid is a step up from the previous model when it comes to support and padding. The EVA midsole provides support under the arch of the foot, while Solomon's Advanced Chassis stabilize each step. The boots come up fairly high around the ankle, similar in design to the La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX. Both of these boots provide ankle stabilization and padding.
The only drawback here is that the padding around the ankles doesn't let the laces snug up as tightly as other models in our test group. The ankle padding makes these boots comfortable, but we found ourselves having to stop and re-tighten the laces at times because of all the excess padding.
The lacing system on the Salomon X Ultra makes them easy to adjust, depending on the thickness of your sock or the width of your feet.
The X Ultra Mid 3 weighs in at 1.83 pounds. This surprised us as they weigh 0.2 pounds more than the Salomon X Ultra 2. On our feet, this weight difference was negligible, but for those counting the ounces, it matters! The HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra, the runner-up for our Editors' Choice Award, weighs nearly the same as the X Ultra 3 but feel much bulkier due to their super thick, cushioned soles. The HOKA weighs .32 ounces more than the Salomon's.
The High Traction Contragrip sole is a grippy one. These soles have deeper lug depths and a more aggressive tread pattern than the X Ultra 2. Both models use Contragrip rubber, but the High Traction on the new model makes a noticeable difference. The Advanced Chassis also adds to the overall stability of the boot. These provide support in the heel and help you maintain traction, especially when going down steep, loose terrain.
For the vast majority of users, the X Ultra 3 provides plenty of traction. If you need even more purchase, the La Sportiva Nucleo High performed a touch better than the Salomon's in this metric. Most hikers, though, won't need or notice a big difference.
The X Ultra 3's have surprisingly good traction on the slick, mossy boulders around Yosemite Valley.
The X Ultra Mid 3 is an incredibly water-resistant model, and we were impressed by their performance in wet conditions. Somehow Salomon nailed the combination of mesh, leather, and GORE-TEX liner to create the most breathable and waterproof boot we reviewed. These shoes will shed water, even after being completely immersed for several minutes!
The tongue is connected to the boot with a lightweight, water-resistant membrane, keeping this gap sealed in wet conditions. The X Ultra Mid 3 are comparable in this metric to boots with a more durable leather upper, like the Lowa Renegade and Oboz Bridger BDry. We were struck by Salomon's ability to combine lightweight design with reliable water protection in this boot.
The PU-Coated leather and synthetic mesh that make up the uppers of these boots provide plenty of protection from the wear and tear of trail use. The toe box has a large-but-not-bulky protective rubber cap, as does the heel, which protects the foot. The thicker, more durable sole that the X Ultra 3 Mid inspires confidence that these have many trail miles ahead of them.
This model is nearly on par with the Lowa Renegade GTX, the most robust boot we reviewed, as a burly boot fit for any conditions. The thoughtful combination of leather and mesh make the X Ultra durable, yet breathable. Unlike the Oboz Bridger Mid BDry, the X Ultra is fit for warm conditions, while still providing long-term protection from the elements.
Walkin' the line in the X Ultra 3s.
It's tougher to say which application these boots aren't prepared for. The X Ultra Mid 3 combines the breathability of a lightweight boot, like the Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi, with the protection and durability of a leather boot, like the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid. These boots are versatile, making them a good option for both backpacking and day trips. For all-around adventures that require a boot, these Salomon's are the first pair we want to be tied to our feet.
We are stoked on the overall performance of the X Ultra 3's, especially concerning comfort and stability. They also feel light on our feet, which helps negotiate talus.
Sold for $165, the X Ultra Mid 3 lies in the middle of the road concerning price. Because they are well made and durable, these boots are a good choice for a boot that will last a long time and perform well in many conditions. We appreciate the reasonable price tag on these durable, burly boots, especially in our favorite model overall. For comparison, the other contenders for our Editor's Choice award, like the Renegade, the Tor Ultra, or the Quest 4D 3 GTX, all cost $230. This is $65 more than the X Ultra while lacking the versatile utility.
The aggressive tread pattern of the X Ultra Mid 3 makes them a great option for rugged terrain, from loose rocks to scree to boulder hopping.
Salomon has made a boot that impressed us with its durability, water resistance, and comfort. The X Ultra Mid 3 is well-padded, easy to break in, and provides more traction and stability than its predecessor. We are impressed with how these boots performed in all types of terrain, especially loose rock and steep scree, where we were able to maintain traction and stay on our feet with ease. Their ability to allow freedom of movement, while still providing the ankle support that is a staple feature of a hiking boot, makes the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX our Editors' Choice Award winner.
These boots styled all of our rating metrics, from comfort to support to water resistance.