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Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex Review

The gold standard of what a great hiking boot should be, and we heartily recommend it for those seeking the best possible performance on and off the trail
Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex
Photo: Backcountry
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $230 List | $229.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Top-level hiking boot performance, excels in all metrics
Cons:  Expensive, not as great for hot and dry climates
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 21, 2021
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 17
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Stability - 20% 9
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 4
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

By our assessment, the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex is the best hiking boot available. This model builds on the success that earlier Quest models have enjoyed, with the addition of some notable new technologies that increase stability and comfort, as well as a weight savings of nearly half a pound. This boot can be taken on day hikes and easier trails, though it really shines for the backpackers who want the best support and stability they can find for hiking in challenging terrain or with heavy packs. With all the same performance in a lighter package, we find the Quest 4 Gore-Tex even more appealing than previous iterations and have no hesitation in giving it our highest praise.

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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
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Pros Top-level hiking boot performance, excels in all metricsBest choice for rock and snow travel, durable, breathes wellAmazing comfort, stable, great tractionIncredibly lightweight, comfortableGood value, extra toe protection, solid traction, out-of-the-box comfort
Cons Expensive, not as great for hot and dry climatesWider fit, not the best lace locking system, priceNot as capable in off-trail terrain, rockered sole feels unnatural at firstLess durable than heavier models, thin soleBelow average stability, not very durable, lacks good breathability
Bottom Line The gold standard of what a great hiking boot should be, and we heartily recommend it for those seeking the best possible performance on and off the trailFor rocky alpine approaches and moderate snow travel, this model is a lightweight mountain boot disguised as a hiking bootFeels like you are wearing pillows on your feet. With cushy soles and hi-cut protection, they are a great choice for those who value comfort on the trailThis mid-top hiking boot is ridiculously lightweight, though it offers excellent stability and traction for fast and light objectivesA solid hiker that features great comfort and toe protection in an inexpensive package
Rating Categories Salomon Quest 4 Gor... Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Hoka One One Kaha G... Salomon X Ultra Mid... Keen Targhee II Mid
Comfort (25%)
9.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Stability (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
4.0
5.0
6.0
9.0
7.0
Water Resistance (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
Specs Salomon Quest 4 Gor... Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Hoka One One Kaha G... Salomon X Ultra Mid... Keen Targhee II Mid
Weight per Pair (Size 11) 2.90 lbs 2.65 lbs 2.45 lbs 1.85 lbs 2.37 lbs
Boot Type Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Lightweight Hiker/Day Hiker
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular and Wide
Waterproof Lining Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Gore-Tex KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane
Upper Leather, nylon 1.8mm Suede Perwanger Leather PU coated leather Waterproof nubuck leather
Last Board/Shank 4D Chassis BZ last None Molded shank Torsion stability ESS shank
Midsole EnergyCell PU + 3D EVA-MP EVA SensiFit Dual density compression molded EVA
Sole Contagrip Vibram Drumlin / Mont Vibram MegaGrip Contagrip Non-marking rubber outsole

Our Analysis and Test Results

This top-tier boot is by far the best hiking boot for heading out onto the trails. Supremely comfortable, and offering the best ankle support of any boot we reviewed, this feature-laden model excels in all of our testing metrics.

Performance Comparison


Comfortable and secure, this boot has proven to be our favorite.
Comfortable and secure, this boot has proven to be our favorite.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Comfort


Comfort is one of the metrics on which the Quest 4 absolutely delivers. This boot is such a treat to slip into, thanks to the Ortholite Sockliner and the SensiFit technology that reduces the interior seams that often create points of pressure or friction and improve the breathability of the boot. This fits medium-volume feet best, though there is a decent amount of wiggle room in the toe box if your feet are wider or if you desire the extra room to wear liner socks. We found that these boots had virtually no break-in period thanks to the synthetic materials featured in the forefoot area.


The lacing system wraps all the way up past the ankle and uses lace locks to independently customize the fit of both the foot and ankle. One notable improvement to this model is the addition of the Active Support wings, which are straps of material that securely wrap around the foot when the laces are drawn tight, further creating an integrated fit between the foot and boot.

Quality lace locks keep the boot snugged up and comfortable. We had...
Quality lace locks keep the boot snugged up and comfortable. We had no issues with these loosening over our hikes.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Below the foot, the Quest 4 uses an EnergyCell EVA foam midsole that reduces the impact of foot strikes on rough trails. We felt more protected while wearing this boot than nearly any other model in challenging terrain.

Stability


Stability is the other metric that defines the Quest 4. As the tallest boot in our review, it also offers the most support and stability, making it an easy choice to single out as the best boot to wear on demanding hikes with heavy loads, or for those who require extra ankle support.


Extending up well past the ankle, the padded cuff wraps around the lower calf and hugs the ankle. The cuff is flexible enough that the range of motion is not negatively impacted, but when the laces are secured the additional compression results in more rigidity, thus giving more protection against rolled ankles.

The Quest 4 floats over rough and uneven terrain, normally awkward...
The Quest 4 floats over rough and uneven terrain, normally awkward to hike on but much less so with the above-average stability found in this boot.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

The basis for stability in this boot comes down to the ADV-C 4D Chassis, which imparts structure to the boot. This stabilizing insert was developed through biomechanical studies to give more support to the outer foot, and is designed to give support without reducing flexibility and to reduce the likelihood of ankle injuries. In our on-trail tests wearing moderate and heavy packs, the Quest 4 GTX stands out for its confidence-inspiring stability, a big reason why we recommend this model especially for backpacking applications.

Traction


Thanks to the aforementioned ADV-C Chassis that delivers the rigidity in off-camber terrain and scrambling up steeper slopes where a solid platform is needed, the Salomon Quest 4 does exceptionally well in demanding situations where traction is critical.


The outsole of this boot is made up of Salomon's proprietary Contagrip TA rubber compound. The TA blend is the most durable of all the different Contagrip formulas and is specifically developed to be the best at chewing up loose conditions. The lug pattern is comprised of deep-set chevron-shaped lugs that give great grip on the uphill while also offering braking abilities when descending steep trails.

The Contagrip TA rubber is firm and durable, great for longevity.
The Contagrip TA rubber is firm and durable, great for longevity.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Weight


When we pulled the new Quest 4 boots out of their box, we were quite surprised at how much lighter they felt when compared to the previous version. This updated boot has shed 0.4 pounds, coming in at only 2.9 pounds, which is a remarkable feat given that there was no discernible loss of performance.


Now, even at a sub-3 pound weight, these boots are still among the heaviest boots in our review, though we should put that weight in context. No other boot we tested comes close to offering the same stability and high-top support as these boots do. This is a boot that aspires to big hikes in terrain that other models will shy away from, and that is worth a small weight penalty.

These new boots shed almost a half a pound from the previous...
These new boots shed almost a half a pound from the previous iteration.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Water Resistance


The Quest 4 Gore-Tex is the highest-rated hiking boot in the water-resistance metric that we tested. Simply put, it is the best choice for travel in wet weather climates. Using a Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable membrane, which is an industry-standard in wet weather footwear, these boots do a great job at repelling water.


Boasting a 6-inch flood height, measured from the bottom of the sole to the top of the waterproof lining, we are more confident in these boots than any others when we have to ford small creeks, knowing that we have the extra protection against wet socks. We did not experience any leakage issues when testing these boots either in real-world testing or by doing a submersion test.

Not only do they feature a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, but the...
Not only do they feature a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, but the treated leather beads off water as well.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

The only issue worth noting as it relates to the higher-than-normal efficacy of this boot's water resistance is the implication that it has on its warm weather performance. The Gore-Tex does breathe as it is supposed to in most climates, but because the waterproof material extends so high, this is a pretty sweaty boot when worn in hot and dry environments like the desert. This isn't necessarily a point against the Quest 4, but rather a point that if you plan on hiking in these climates then there might be better choices for these specific applications.

The Quest 4 excels in all wet environments, from stream crossings to...
The Quest 4 excels in all wet environments, from stream crossings to muddy trails.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Durability


The Salomon Quest 4 proves to be durable in our use, and we did not note any issues during our testing. The upper material is a combination of nubuck leather, mesh, and textile, which is held together by quite a number of seams, so that should be something to keep an eye on, but despite rigorous use in rough terrain, we did not experience any premature wear.


The exterior of the upper's materials are treated with an additional waterproofing treatment to help keep shedding water off (even though there is an included Gore-Tex membrane, it won't work as well if the exterior material is wetted through), but this treatment will wear off over time requiring you to respray it on an annual basis to ensure that it keeps repelling water the same way that it did when the boots were brand new.

There are a lot of exposed seams on this boot, but so far the...
There are a lot of exposed seams on this boot, but so far the craftsmanship has held up.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Value


This is one of the more expensive boots featured in this review, though it also happens to be the best when it comes to performance in the most challenging terrain we would expect to use it in. It is a good value, even at the premium price, for those who hike frequently or head into challenging terrain.

Conclusion


The Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex hiking boot is our top-performing hiking boot, excelling across our review metrics with high scores. We recommend it to anyone who desires the best comfort and stability, to those hiking in wet weather environments, and to those who carry big backpacks.

Ryan Huetter