Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex Review
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Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex
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|Pros||Excellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, support||Super comfortable, durable, stable||Supportive, great traction, lightweight||Excellent comfort and traction, waterproof||Wide and roomy fit, great traction, lightweight|
|Cons||Cuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favorite||Not great for off-trail, average traction||Stiff, lacing is hard to tighten||Expensive, not the most durable||Some comfort issues, less durable|
|Bottom Line||This is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking trips||These super plush hiking shoes feel like you are walking on clouds, perfect for long days on hard surfaces||This is a burly hiking shoe capable of getting off the trail and onto rugged terrain||A versatile hiking shoe built with the comfort and agility of a running shoe at an unbeatable price||This cushioned shoe is light and nimble, and offers great traction at a bargain price|
|Rating Categories||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Hoka Anacapa Low GTX||Salewa Mountain Tra...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||Columbia Facet 75 O...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Hoka Anacapa Low GTX||Salewa Mountain Tra...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||Columbia Facet 75 O...|
|Weight (per pair)||1.76 lbs (size 11)||1.79 lbs (size 11)||2.16 lbs (size 11)||2.06 lbs (size 11)||1.86 lbs (size 11)|
|Upper||Synthetic, textile||Nubuck leather, GTX Textile||Synthetic||Abrasion-resistant mesh||Mesh|
|Lining||Gore-Tex membrane||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex Extended Comfort||Gore-Tex Surround||OutDry|
|Flood Level||3.25 in||3.0 in||3.5 in||4.75 in||3.0 in|
|Last Board/Shank||ADV-C chassis||Not specified||Nylon||Molded EVA||Not specified|
|Midsole||EnergyCell||Compressed EVA||EVA||5mm Ortholite Insole, Compression Molded EVA, TPU inserts||Techlite PLUSH|
|Outsole||Contagrip MA rubber||Vibram MegaGrip||Pomoca MTN trainer Lite||Vibram XS Trek with Impact Brake System||Adapt Trax|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Our review team tested these shoes in a range of conditions, from the Sierra Nevada to Death Valley's canyons to the mucky trails of the Pacific Northwest. The shoes are rich with innovative features. The stability gained from the ADV-C Chassis and the snug Active Support system makes this shoe very supportive. Its unique lacing system stows away, leaving a clean look and removing the potential to trip on laces.
Thanks to several advancements in their hiking shoe technology, this is an incredibly comfortable shoe. Slipping into these shoes is easy, thanks to how wide the gusseted tongue can open up. Once inside, the Ortholite Sockliner adapts to the contours of your foot, diminishing any feeling of the inner seams or stitching, and cradles the foot without smothering it.
The Quicklace lacing system, long a standard feature found on Salomon shoes, snugly secures the foot in place. Though it is a bit of an acquired taste, with some loving it and others feeling a bit more lukewarm towards it, it does its job and then stows away neatly inside the tongue pouch, making the lacing very streamlined. Our testers are fans of this lacing system. They are quick and convenient. If you need to remove pebbles or sand from your shoes or crawl in and out of a tent, having these shoes on and off in seconds is pretty great, instead of spending time tying and untying traditional laces. We've tested many pairs of the X Ultra with this lacing system in the past and only had one break due to a chew-happy puppy. We tied a knot in the lacing system and have continued using the shoe for over a year now. If the plastic lock on the laces were to break, though, it would be more difficult to field repair, but we see this as unlikely to occur and has not been an issue in our experience.
When the laces are snugged up, side panels are pulled into place around the foot, providing a secure fit from the midfoot down to the toe. A molded toe cap keeps you from inadvertently stubbing your toe on a rock or a tree root (though it won't keep you from tripping on it in the first place). The only issue regarding comfort we had was due to the height of the ankle cuff. It is barely higher than a standard low-cut cuff, so we had a bit of rubbing that was solved by just wearing a thinner sock.
As mentioned above, adding some new and innovative technologies has allowed Salomon to continue providing top-level support even while shaving weight. The ADV-C Chassis is the platform upon which this shoe is built, and it is evident from the first steps in this shoe that there is much more support and structure than found in your average hiking shoe. Stiffer than the majority of its competition, this is a shoe that will provide the right kind of support for trips where you might be carrying a heavier backpack.
In addition to the stiffer shank, there is also a comfortable EnergyCell EVA foam midsole, providing additional support and foot comfort from the rigors of long days on the trail. A new addition to this model is the Active Support side wings, which are panels of material that wrap securely around the foot when the lacing system is engaged, making the interface between the foot and the footwear much less perceptible.
The outsole comprises a Contagrip MA rubber compound, a Salomon proprietary blend. The MA format falls in the middle when it comes to stickiness and durability, making it a great choice for this all-around hiking shoe that will likely have to tackle a variety of terrain types but also last for longer than just a couple of hikes. The rubber is soft enough that we found confidence smearing on slabs of smooth volcanic tuff and durable enough that we could kick steps into looser surfaces.
The Chevron lug pattern gives great gripping power when charging uphill and slows you down as you are braking your way down steeper descents. The lugs are sharp and well-defined, are deep enough to dig into soft slopes, but are spread out enough that getting caked with mud and snow is less of a concern.
Other shoes with less pronounced lug patterns with more surface area contact proved to be better at pure rock climbing, but these still did surprisingly well in advanced-level scrambling.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX uses a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane to keep water from seeping through and getting your feet wet. The flood height of these shoes is 3.25 inches, which is average for a low-top shoe. We had no issues with the waterproof lining failing during our testing period, as long as we kept from trying to walk through streams that were too deep for the flood level protection.
The upper material is treated with an additional water repellent coating, which will help shed water before it can soak in and impact the Gore-Tex's ability to allow perspiration from inside the foot to escape.
We were astonished to put these on our scale and see that they only weigh 1.76 pounds for a pair of size 11 US. Nearly a quarter of a pound lighter than their above-average predecessor, this new and improved model is among the lightest hiking shoes on the market. Yet, they do not have nearly the same diminished support or stability that is so often in these lighter-weight shoes.
This weight will have noticeable impacts on your day-to-day fatigue, as you won't be picking up any extra weight on each footstep. How did Salomon achieve this crazy drop in weight with the X Ultra 4 GTX? The EnergyCell foam EVA midsole is a place to drop a lot of weight, and the shank used, an ADV-C chassis is much slimmer than other thicker TPU shanks that impart structure and stability to a hiking shoe.
There are a lot of lightweight synthetic materials used in constructing the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX, so that is going to be an obvious point of concern when considering long-term durability. Still, during our testing period, we have experienced no issues.
Most of the seams that connect the upper's materials are welded rather than sewn, which should help stave off premature wear.
Should You Buy the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex?
It is hard to think of another shoe that could provide the same high-level performance across all the testing metrics that the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex does. Comfortable and user-friendly as a day hiking shoe, it is also supportive and dependable on longer trips where a range of conditions may be encountered. This, in our minds, is the epitome of what a hiking shoe should be, and we feel strongly that you can't do much better than this all-arounder. This is not the most expensive shoe in our review by a long shot, though it is the top scorer. This tells us that this shoe is a screaming deal, and we think the value provided by its proven performance is one of the best in this review.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
It is hard to beat the X Ultra 4. However, if your main goal is comfort, then the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX is the highest-ranking option for comfort and one of the highest-ranking shoes overall. It is a comfortable shoe with great support and better water resistance. If your budget is smaller, the Columbia Facet 75 Outdry is one to consider as it performed at least average in every metric and can save you some money for snacks.
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