The Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX is the latest edition of a long line of well-designed hiking boots, and we did not think there was much to improve on. We were wrong. The X Ultra 4 Mid proves to be even better than its predecessor while boasting impressive weight savings. The most noticeable technological improvement comes in the ActiveSupport straps which secure the foot into place when the laces are tied, making this a more stable shoe in off-trail situations. We love this boot and find ourselves using it as much as our low-cut trail runners as it weighs nearly the same but is much more comfortable and supportive when out pounding out miles.
Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 Gore-Tex Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Incredibly lightweight, comfortable
Cons: Less durable than heavier models, thin sole
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Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 Gore-Tex
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|$229.95 at Backcountry|
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|$164.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Incredibly lightweight, comfortable||Top-level hiking boot performance, excels in all metrics||Amazing comfort, stable, great traction||Good all around performance, lightweight, supportive and comfortable||Good value, extra toe protection, solid traction, out-of-the-box comfort|
|Cons||Less durable than heavier models, thin sole||Expensive, not as great for hot and dry climates||Not as capable in off-trail terrain, rockered sole feels unnatural at first||Could be more breathable, not great traction on smooth rock||Below average stability, not very durable, lacks good breathability|
|Bottom Line||This mid-top hiking boot is ridiculously lightweight, though it offers excellent stability and traction for fast and light objectives||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||Feels 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 trail||This boot brings the comfort that feels close to a shoe but adds in the support you would expect from a hiking boot, resulting in a capable, low-weight performer||A solid hiker that features great comfort and toe protection in an inexpensive package|
|Rating Categories||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Salomon Quest 4 Gor...||Hoka One One Kaha G...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Keen Targhee II Mid|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Salomon Quest 4 Gor...||Hoka One One Kaha G...||Salomon X Ultra Mid...||Keen Targhee II Mid|
|Weight per Pair (Size 11)||1.85 lbs||2.90 lbs||2.45 lbs||2.28 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 and Wide||Regular and Wide|
|Waterproof Lining||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex||KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane|
|Upper||PU coated leather||Leather, nylon||Leather||Waterproof PU coated leather||Waterproof nubuck leather|
|Last Board/Shank||Molded shank||4D Chassis||None||Molded shank||Torsion stability ESS shank|
|Midsole||SensiFit||EnergyCell||EVA||Injected EVA||Dual density compression molded EVA|
|Sole||Contagrip||Contagrip||Vibram MegaGrip||Non-marking ContaGrip||Non-marking rubber outsole|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX nearly levitates right out of the box, they are that light. Weighing only 1.85 pounds, these are lighter than most of the shoes we review in our Hiking Shoe category. These are such an improvement over the previous X Ultra 3 Mid GTX model that we have begun recommending the 4 over its predecessor for those looking to go faster and lighter.
The Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX is a very comfortable hiking boot and we have awarded it high marks for its instant foot-friendly comfort straight out of the box. The upper material, made from leather and textile materials, is very supple and easily conforms to the foot. The Ortholite footbed is of high quality, although we found that replacing it with our favorite Superfeet green insole we were able to get a bit more arch support and added stability (as is the case with nearly any hiking boot).
The lacing system in the mid-top version of the X Ultra 4 is standard, versus the speed lacing found on the low-top model. Thanks to the low-friction lacing eyelet on the ActiveSupport wing, these were still easily laced up with a single pull, securing the foot comfortably in place. We found the materials used around the ankle to be reasonably soft and did not experience any discomfort, though the ankle tab that makes it easier to pull the shoes on also allows for dirt and debris to get into the shoe since it makes the opening around the ankle wider. Those wearing pants won't find this nearly as much of a deal as those preferring shorts on the trail.
Surprisingly stable for its weight, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX uses a proprietary ADV-C Chassis Midsole. This boot is supportive without being as rigid as typical traditional hiking boots. This midsole keeps the foot from feeling most of the sharp impacts of rocks and roots on the trail, and the molded toe bumper cap keeps the toes from slamming into unseen objects when you find yourself gazing at the amazing views and not down at where you're walking. That said, this boot has less midsole cushioning than most other boots we tested, so expect to feel more of the trail in these boots than in a burlier pair of hiking boots. We feel that the sole is on par with that of a hiking shoe which is why we recommend it for lighter-weight adventures.
The ActiveSupport wings do a great job snugly wrapping around the midfoot, and we felt less likely to roll an ankle thanks to this added security. The mid-top cut, increasingly typical for a modern hiking boot that seeks to walk the line between old school high-top boots and the lower-cut hiking shoes, provides a cradle around the ankle and gives good stability while carrying a pack but still allowing for full flexion and motion.
The Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX has kept the noteworthy Contagrip rubber compound, which has proven to be adept at giving positive traction in all surface types and conditions. The rubber is soft and sticky enough to smear on dry rock, made even easier to do by the fact that the boot flexes with the foot to give as much surface area contact as possible, unlike stiffer boots that require lots of ankle flexion to walk on slabby terrain. In varied conditions that require more "bite," the lug pattern is aggressive enough to provide purchase in loose sand or wet mud.
Although the ADV-C Chassis is reasonably torsionally rigid, the one area these boots don't do as well is in steep edging. A stiffer boot is likely going to be much more effective balancing on a narrow ledge or kicking steps in hard snow than this boot.
We have to give credit where credit is due - the Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX immediately impressed us with a nearly half-pound reduction in weight from the previous model. While it is not the lightest hiking boot we feature in this review, it is certainly the most boot for the weight, surprising us at how supportive and comfortable it can be while remaining light and agile.
Weighing as much (or less) than many of the shoes we showcase in our Hiking Shoe Review, there is no excuse not to check these boots out since they can offer that much more ankle support. Especially for those who are accustomed to trail-runners and hiking shoes, there is virtually no weight penalty to these boots, making them a slam-dunk choice if you are going into technical off-trail terrain or carrying a heavy pack.
The Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX uses one of the best waterproof-breathable membranes to ensure that your feet stay dry on your hike. The Gore-Tex liner gives this boot a flood height of 4.5 inches, meaning that you can slosh your way through some pretty deep stream crossings without worrying that they will wet out. We stood for 5 minutes in a mountain stream, careful to keep the water below the flood level, and although our feet were ice cold we found no instances of leaking.
We are encouraged that the Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX, even in its pursuit of lightweight construction, still chose to use PU coated leather and textile materials for the upper, while many other competitors lighten their boots by opting for lots of exposed mesh. The leather is positioned where wear and tear are most likely to occur, with the textile material being used on the tongue and in the toe box.
There are a number of seams on this boot, which may require some maintenance if they start to separate, but in reality, we feel like this shoe is perfectly durable based on how lightweight it is. Heavier boots will likely be more durable, but that is the trade-off. If you want the latest and greatest, one of the lightest hiking boots on the market, and are totally fine if they start to show their age after a few hundred or so miles, then this boot is going to be just fine for a couple of seasons of serious use.
This boot is a great value. It gives a top-tier performance, is insanely light, and is really comfortable, and is a better boot than many which have heftier price tags.
We like this hiking boot. A lot. It has a lot to recommend - weigh savings on par with a pair of shoes, long-lasting comfort on the trail, fantastic lateral support, and traction—what's not to love? This is a great choice for the hiker that has been on the fence about whether to give up the support of a boot for the lighter weight and increased agility of a hiking shoe, since this boot gives you both with no drawbacks. Slip into the Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 GTX and watch the miles fly by.
— Ryan Huetter