Hands-on Gear Review

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Review

Editors' Choice Award
Price:  $230 List | $169.99 at REI
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable out of the box, fast and nimble, great stability, support, and water resistance
Cons:  Potential durability issues with many seams, not as good for warm or hot environments
Bottom line:  Our Editors Choice Award winner blends comfort, stability and traction in a boot that fits well right out of the box and provides top-notch performance.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight per Pair (size 11):  3.3 lbs
Boot Type:  Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot
Waterproof Lining:  Gore-Tex Performance Comfort
Manufacturer:   Salomon

Our Verdict

The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX, winner of our coveted Editors' Choice award, can do it all. Saloman has crafted a midweight hiking model that builds upon the successes of their popular trail runners but remains exceptionally comfortable and supportive, providing the ankle stability that backpackers and hikers expect. From the ground up, this is a high-performance contender, destined to tackle rough and uneven terrain with ease. The updated Contagrip sole provides excellent traction across a range of surfaces on and off the trail and the 4D Advanced Chassis gives foot support and superior torsional balance.

This award winner is best suited for rough trails and heavy loads, in a temperate or cool environment. Warm conditions are this boot's weakness, and on easy trails or with light packs many users will prefer a lighter boot, such as the Top Pick for Lightwight Hiking, the Hoka Tor Ultra Hi WP.


RELATED REVIEW: Best Hiking Boots for Men of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Ryan Huetter and Ross Robinson

Last Updated:
Friday
April 6, 2018

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The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX is an updated version of the venerable Quest 4D 2 and has earned our Editors' Choice Award again. Improvements to this new edition include a more capable sole with a lug pattern much more adept at controlling speed on descents and a more durable and lower profile ankle collar. These small updates build on an already thoroughly well-designed boot and give us even less hesitation in recommending this as our overall top performing hiking boot of 2018.

Performance Comparison


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, right out of the box. 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 Asolo Power Matic 200 GV has a similar lacing system, though we liked the Quest's a tad better.

One of the updates to the Quest 4D 3 GTX is the softer  more comfortable leather material around the ankle collar.
One of the updates to the Quest 4D 3 GTX is the softer, more comfortable leather material around the ankle collar.

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 excellent 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 Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX, Tor Ultra Hi WP, or KEEN Targhee II Mid. However, those seeking an aggressive midweight hiker will find the Quest sufficiently comfortable and highly supportive, even under the weight of heavy backpacks on rock-filled trails.

The Quest delivers nimble performance hopping from rock to rock.
The Quest delivers nimble performance hopping from rock to rock.

Stability


The 4D Advanced Chassis and a wide 4.5-inch forefoot provide 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 at 6.5 inches, 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 is comfortable but firm, and do not bite into the ankle as we found with the Adidas model.


Torsional stability is also a high 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 more rigid forefoot is the Scarpa Zodiac GTX, a light mountain boot disguised as a mid-weight hiker. How is it that a contender with this much support and stability can be so comfortable? Thank you, Salomon!

The high collar on this boot relays a lot of support and stability to the user.
The high collar on this boot relays a lot of support and stability to the user.

Traction


The Quest 4D 3 scored at the top of the heap in our steep scree and gravel tests. The lugs of the proprietary ContaGrip sole ate this terrain up, and the stiff sole with thick and durable toe protection dug into scree easily. This year's model has been updated with a heavier duty lug pattern that helps to slow speed down while descending steep trails, and also bites through mud and firm snow with more effectiveness.


This product also performed exceptionally well in mud and slushy snow, similar to the Tor Ultra Hi WP. 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 with lots of seasonal snow still lingering. While this hiker stuck to wet rocks very thoroughly, it underperformed during our test on smooth, dry rock inclines like found on well-worn hiking trails in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Overall, it received a high score for all-around traction, which undoubtedly influenced our decision to award it our Editors' Choice. For the ultimate grip on rock, our Top Pick for Scrambling, the Scarpa Zodiac GTX has you covered.

The Quest 4D has great traction on its own but also was one of our favorite shoes to pair with snowshoes  as they are a capable winter hiking boot as well.
The Quest 4D has great traction on its own but also was one of our favorite shoes to pair with snowshoes, as they are a capable winter hiking boot as well.

Weight


Weight was the fourth-heaviest pair we reviewed, weighing in at 3 lbs 4.6 oz. for a size 11 US. But it also has the tallest ankle collar, and overall is a formidably constructed boot. The Asolo comes in second in the collar height to the Quest 4D 2 but at a significantly heavier weight.


When considering the support and stability provided by the Quest 4D 2, 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 Salomon x Ultra Mid 3 GTX, the average backpacker isn't looking at covering 3,000 miles in four or five months. Most rough terrain backpackers 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 the second highest flood heights of all the hiking boots we tested, measuring 4.5 inches. This measurement is more than an inch lower than the Asolo, though the Salomon model has a much more comfortable ankle as a result. 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 3 tied with the Asolo Power Matic and Scarpa Zodiac for the best score in this metric. The only drawback we found was that when we ultimately 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.

Is this really the trail? The high collar and Gore-Tex membrane keep water out in wet or muddy conditions.
Is this really the trail? The high collar and Gore-Tex membrane keep water out in wet or muddy conditions.

Durability


We awarded this piece an eight 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 La Sportiva TRK GTX, and eventually, the waterproof liner could become compromised. That said, we were satisfied with its durability.


After three 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 Power Matic and the Zodiac.

Grit and gravel are no match for the durable outsole of the Quest  and we found the upper to resist wear and tear during our treks as well.
Grit and gravel are no match for the durable outsole of the Quest, and we found the upper to resist wear and tear during our treks as well.

Best Applications


We feel that the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX is the best overall boot for the backpacker who is going to be carrying a loaded pack over rough trails or in backcountry terrain, or for the hiker who desires extra support. The additional stability of this boot comes without a large weight penalty, so those who have been unfulfilled by lower cut hiking shoes may find this boot a perfect blend of comfort, support and on-trail performance. We recommend this boot for cool to mild environments where wet conditions may be encountered - dry and hot conditions might indicate a lighter boot without the waterproofing material.

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 contenders in this price range that will more than likely last longer, such as the Zodiac GTX. If you're looking for something much lighter and less expensive (but also less stable and supportive), lightweight hikers like the Best Bang for Buck Keen Targhee II is 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 3 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.
Ryan Huetter and Ross Robinson

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 6, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (4.0)

50% of 2 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 67%  (2)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 33%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Dec 8, 2017 - 08:37pm
J.E. · Other · Olympic Peninsula
I purchased a pair of the Salomon Quest 4D II boots (size 10.5 US M) at REI several months ago for hiking in the wet and dreary weather of Western Washington. Overall, I can see why so many people like these boots, yet there are some issues in my experience.


Copy to Copy Variation:

I've owned and tried on quite a few pairs of various Salomon shoes and boots. One thing that I always deal with is a poor consistency from copy to copy. The REI employee had to make lap after lap to the back room in order for me to find two boots that fit the same. One box would have a left boot with a tight forefoot, while the right boot would be fine. Another box would be the exact opposite with a left boot that was fine and a right boot that was tight. There was also a problem with the ankle eyelets being fine on one boot and then in a different position for the other boot. For people with very skinny feet all around, these alignment variations might not be an issue or even noticeable. My feet are a little wide around the ball of the foot, so even the smallest difference can make or break a good fit. Maybe keep this in mind when thinking about ordering online or even when going into a store to try them on. Always try different boxes of the same boot and size to see which ones fit best. For my Quest 4D II boots I have now, I had to take a left boot from one box and a right boot from another box. Luckily REI was cool with me doing this and went above and beyond to make my feet happy.


Waterproofing

Waterproofing was the main reason I purchased these boots. The area I hike in during the winter time for weight training is swampy and several of the trails are literally a stream for long stretches. So far, I am happy with the water resistance and the tall flood height. My feet have stayed dry beyond the usual sweat that builds from carrying a 50-70 pound pack up steep trails. The Quest 4D also has a nice layer of thin padding throughout the boot, which should aid in keeping the gore-tex liner from wearing out as fast as other boots which do not have such a lining. I've gone through many other pairs of lighter-duty GTX boots which leak water in a month or so. My theory is that silt and other forms of abrasive particles will work their way behind the outer fabric after stepping in muddy puddles. Over time, this debris will grind between the fabric and the gore-tex, which is very thin and not abrasion resistant at all. On a side note, Gore-Tex has an excellent warranty service and will replace or refund your boots if they are not abused or worn out.


Hiking Performance

This topic can be very subjective, so keep in mind that this is just my own preferences and demands shaping my opinion. I find that the outsole contact patch is super wide and soft. This can make for a bit of a struggle to keep the boots upright when side hilling on anything steep. Even with the supportive uppers, the foot bed wants to roll over far too much. While this width makes them a bit more stable on flat ground, it can work against you on uneven terrain. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I find that a normal or even slightly narrower outsole can make a boot more stable and less likely to roll the ankles when the uppers are as stiff as they are on the Quest boots. On rocky trails, these boots will want to constantly pitch and roll due to the leverage created by the sole sticking out far beyond the heel and forefoot. This in turn negates the stiff support of the upper part of the boot around the ankle. My pair of Salewa MS Firetail EVO mid boots have far less ankle support and stiffness, but they also don't want to roll over when the edge of the boot is placed on a pointy rock. They have far more leverage over keeping them from rolling side to side. For the Quest 4D boots, I think the wide outsole would work best in places where you have soft ground like sand, mud, and dirt. The extra surface area acts as sort of a snowshoe in a way and keeps the boots from sinking much. The extra surface area is also going to be nice for those who wear these boots for tasks where they will be standing around stationary on flat ground for hours a day.

Traction wise, I find the Quest 4D boots to be excellent for hiking on established trails. On wet roots and rocks, they are plenty grippy and I have yet to slip, even on the snotty roots we have in our area. We had some early-season snow in our area on Nov. 3rd which gave me a chance to test their winter traction. At lower elevations where there was a thin coating of snow on wet rocks, these boots were like wearing ice skates. The slipped all over, especially when it became difficult to see the rocks below the snow. The wide heel outsole was the worst, as it would catch onto roots and rocks, causing the boot to shift around far too much when applying pressure during the step. Once I got into the higher elevations and deeper snow, the traction and float was superb. In fact, probably the best I have ever used in the type of deep and wet snow we get here in Washington State. The snow cleared out of the tread perfectly on every step and the large surface area helped reduce post-holing.

On flat ground, I find the boots move very fast and smooth for being so heavy and sturdy. Sure, they are not as heavy as the Asolo Power Anchors, but still much heavier than other mid boots such as the Scarpa Zodiac Plus. My knees are not as strong as my feet and ankles, and they usually complain about heavy footwear after 5-8 miles. So far, the Quest 4D boots haven't been an issue in terms of weight like I had with a pair of Zamberlan Vioz GT boots before.

When going uphill on steep terrain, I find much of the support in the Quest 4D boots is wasted due to the softer forefoot around the toes. They just won't kick into loose dirt, scree, or mud like I would have thought. On the other hand, the flex helps a bit when going up mossy and wet rock slabs, which provides a larger contact patch when the boot in angled into the hill.

When going downhill, I have a serious issue with the high heel to toe drop. The heel to toe drop is 12mm, which is more than I would like even on a pair of running shoes. While this can be a benefit for flat ground and going uphill, they can make me suffer on steeper descents. The boots try to race me down the mountain and cause a lot of unneeded stress on my knees and muscles trying to counteract the forward motion. If I am carrying a small pack, it's not a big deal and I can speed up to compensate. When I have a 50-70 pound pack on, jogging along is not an option. These boots HATE going slow when pointed downhill. Additionally, the outsole sticks out a ways behind the heel, which creates a leverage point that I have to fight against in order to keep the boot from flopping over to the toes when I'm trying to surf down something steep and loose.

Durability

While the design of these boots seems to be quite durable, the execution and quality control are lacking. My left boot is now making a loud popping noise from the heel with every step. Upon closer inspection, the inner fabric and padding is cut too small and does not fill the entire heel space between the lining and the outer material of the heel cup. Since there is glue in this area to keep the fabric in place, it pushes together on one part of the step and then pulls apart on the other part of the step. It's like attaching and detaching a suction cup with every step. This isn't acceptable and drove me bonkers on my last hike.

Even though I haven't had any eyelets break, I do find it worrisome that Salomon decided to use plastic eyelets on the lower half of the boot. It doesn't take much searching online to find plenty of people who have had these fail without warning or abuse. Just one good knock from a root, rock, or crampon could cause these to crack and fail. Salomon makes a military version of the Quest 4D which does not have the plastic eyelets and instead uses leather loops. I would suggest buying the Salomon Quest 4D Forces model of this boot over the civilian model for this very reason. Sure it may weigh slightly more, but there is no acceptable reason to have such low quality eyelets on a heavy-duty boot.


Comfort

First of all, I have really strong feet and a high threshold for pain, likely due to decades of skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, parkour, mountain biking, and general foot abuse. I can usually wear just about anything and not complain about sore feet. I sometimes hike in my casual everyday shoes when weight training with a 50-70 pound pack for 6-12 miles on rocky trails. Overall, I find the Quest 4D boots to be very comfortable, especially after 30 miles of breaking them in. One thing I can't seem to figure out though, is that they kill my feet when I do any hike over 6 miles. I don't have any bad pressure points or hot spots, but my feet just ache like no other after several hours. I've tried different socks and different lacing schemes to no avail. Part of the problem is that I have to tighten the boots quite a bit in order to keep them from rolling over on rocky trails. On smooth ground I can leave them loose and more comfortable, but then, what is the point of having high-top boots other than extra waterproofing? I find this issue also strange considering I have a pair of stiff Salomon Malamute snowboarding boots that I tie down really tight and put them into a death-grip inside my bindings. I can even hike in them all day and not feel any discomfort. In fact, I often don't even want to take them off at the end of the day because they are like Valhalla for my feet. Just sublime. This is the main reason I will be returning them for a refund and will likely stick with the Scarpa Zodiac Plus boots instead.


Price to Value Ratio

In my general experience with Salomon hiking footwear, they are overpriced considering the quality control and country of origin. Salomon is charging Italian prices for Chinese quality. The true price and value of their boots is when they go on heavy discounts in the fall and winter of each year. The Quest 4D boots are a good bargain at $150-$170, but not so much at full retail of $230. Unless you really need to get a new pair in the summer or spring, it's best to wait until later in the off seasons when they ALWAYS go on sale. Even REI will discount them by $50 or more around Thanksgiving week.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
Snowboarder

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   Oct 24, 2017 - 09:46am
Z slice · Snowboarder · Newark
Easily the best boots I've ever owned.

Just finished the JMT in 14 days with these boots. Before the JMT, there was probably about 40 miles of break-in time. I had done the presidential traverse and a few day hikes.

I have the Origins version which a are a bit beefier due to the leather. No blisters or rolled ankles. The sole is not too rigid, but also feels like ample protection against sharp rock fields.

Definitely glad to have the Goretex on a few of the stream crossings and all of the snow fields.

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


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