By our assessment, the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex is the best hiking boot available. This model builds on the success of the earlier Quest models, 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 is suitable for 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.Editor's Note: This review was updated on February 23, 2022 with added info on recommendations and product comparisons.
Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex Review
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
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Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex
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|Pros||Top-level hiking boot performance, excels in all metrics||Incredibly lightweight, comfortable||Well-cushioned, waterproof, durable||Good all around performance, lightweight, supportive and comfortable||Excellent waterproofing, deep lugs for solid traction, heel brake in outsole|
|Cons||Expensive, not as great for hot and dry climates||Less durable than heavier models, thin sole||Heavy for their height, feet get especially sweaty||Could be more breathable, not great traction on smooth rock||Average stability, difficult to lace up|
|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 trail||This mid-top hiking boot is ridiculously lightweight, though it offers excellent stability and traction for fast and light objectives||This affordable boot is super comfortable right out of the box and has the durability to go the distance||This boot brings a shoe-like comfort but with the support you would expect from a hiking boot||These high-ankle hiking boots are a great option for excellent waterproof protection in a relatively lightweight package|
|Rating Categories||Salomon Quest 4 Gor...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Merrell Moab 2 Mid...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||La Sportiva Nucleo...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Salomon Quest 4 Gor...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Merrell Moab 2 Mid...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||La Sportiva Nucleo...|
|Weight (per pair)||2.90 lbs (size 11)||1.85 lbs (size 11)||2.48 lbs (size 10.5)||2.28 lbs (size 11)||2.41 lbs (size 43.5 EU)|
|Boot Type||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot|
|Width Options||Regular||Regular||Regular and wide||Regular and wide||Regular and wide|
|Waterproof Lining||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex||M Select DRY||Gore-Tex||GORE-TEX Surround|
|Upper||Leather and nylon||PU coated leather||Suede leather, mesh||Waterproof PU coated leather||Nubuck leather|
|Last Board/Shank||4D Chassis||Molded shank||Nylon arch shank||Molded shank||Tempo|
|Midsole||EnergyCell||SensiFit||EVA||Injected EVA||Compression molded EVA|
|Sole||Contagrip||Contagrip||Vibram TC5+ rubber||Non-marking ContaGrip||Vibram Nano XS-Trek rubber compound|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This top-tier boot is by far the best 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.
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.
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 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 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 provide 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.
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 deep-set chevron-shaped lug pattern offers great grip on the uphill and braking abilities when descending steep trails.
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.
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.
The Quest 4 Gore-Tex is the highest-rated hiking boot of our test group in the water-resistance metric. Simply put, it is the best choice for travel in wet weather climates. Using a Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable membrane, an industry-standard in wet weather footwear, these boots do a great job of 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.
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 breathes 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 if you plan to hike in these climates, there might be better choices for these specific applications.
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 is 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). 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.
Should You Buy the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex?
This is our top-performing hiking boot, excelling across our review metrics with high scores. We recommend it to frequent hikers seeking the best comfort and stability, to anyone hiking in wet weather environments, and to those who carry big backpacks.
What Other Hiking Boots Should You Consider?
Though this was our favorite boot in the review, there are other options worth checking out. Salomon's X Ultra Mid 4 GTX is another great contender that we love for its lightweight profile and overall performance. If you have a wide foot or are just seeking something a little friendlier on the wallet, we recommend the durable and trusty Keen Targhee II Mid.
— Ryan Huetter
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