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Hands-on Gear Review
Salomon Ellipse GTX - Women's Review
Cons: Not very comfortable, no heel pull strap (for pulling shoes on)
Bottom line: Great shoe for people who like to move fast in the mountains without a heavy pack.
Sizes Available: 5-10
Upper: PU-coated leather and mesh
Moving fast and light through the backcountry is what the Ellipse GTX is designed to do, come rain or shine. It's an ideal peak bagging model but lacks the comfort and support desired by most when backpacking with a heavier pack. They are waterproof though, and the synthetic upper is slow to take on water. While we like these shoes for some applications, we preferred the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry - Women's for an all-around hiking shoe, and if you are looking for a lot of cushion underfoot, check out our Top Pick for Comfort, the Hoka One One Tor Summit WP - Women's.
RELATED REVIEW: The 11 Best Hiking Shoes for Women
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Salomon Ellipse GTX is made with a PU-coated leather and mesh upper, and a Gore-Tex waterproof liner. The sole is Salomon's non-marking Contagrip rubber.
We had a hard time getting a good fit in this shoe, which ultimately affected its comfort for us. We originally ordered it in a women's size 10, which ended up being too long. We sized down to a 9.5, which fit us better lengthwise but found the shoe really confining width wise with zero room for toe splay. Considering that we have narrow feet and usually have the opposite problem, we were surprised at how confining the interior of the shoe was. And as much as it was tight in the toe, we had some heel lift issues in the rear. This shoe was just not meant for our particular foot. But even putting all that aside and going purely on the comfort of the sole, we still found the Ellipse wanting. There is nowhere near the same amount of cushion in this shoe as the Hoka One One Tor Summit, and after trying and loving such a comfortable pair it left us wanting more out of the other models in this review.
These shoes offered adequate support, though the arch was slightly flat. As we mentioned above, we did have a bit of heel slipping as well. We did like the adjustability of the lacing system, however, you might have a hard time keeping the toe box loose while still tightening up the top. If so you can always pull the laces out and retie them skipping the first eyelets.
These shoes use Salomon's "Contagrip" rubber soles. The multi-directional lugs have some spacing for shedding mud and rocks, but the tread is not as thick or aggressive as some other models, like the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry or the Vasque Vasque Talus Trek Low UltraDry - Women's. The rubber is fairly sticky though, and the flexible toe allowed us to scramble around on steep slabs without fear of slipping.
At 1 pound 10 ounces, the Salomon Ellipse GTX was only an ounce heavier than the lightest shoe in this review, the Ahnu Sugarpine WP - Women's. If you're looking for a pair that won't weigh you down, these are a great choice.
Water beads off of the nylon mesh uppers that are overlaid with thermoplastic urethane (fancy plastic for added protection and durability). The textiles are water resistant and the waterproof Gore-Tex lining is like a waterproof bootie. While the upper resists saturation, the ankle is lower cut than some other models, like the Hoka One One and Oboz shoes that we tested. While it's not much (half an inch or so), sometimes that's all it takes for an errant splash to enter your shoe.
Lightweight construction often compromises the sturdiness of materials that make a hiking shoe durable, but that wasn't the case with this model. We bushwacked in these shoes through low, prickly bushes, and not a single mark was left on them. We wore them through streams and mud and dusty trails, and they continued to look practically new. The nylon mesh upper and abrasion resistant lining protects the shoes so that no matter how many times you take your shoes off, they lining doesn't pill or tear. A synthetic toe cap protects the toes but also protects the front of the shoe from wearing out, and after months of hiking, the soles look hardly worn.
These shoes are best for day hiking with a light pack or for those who like to move fast on the trail. While we don't feel like there was enough support and comfort to use the shoes for overnight trips with a heavy pack, they are still a great option for long day hikes.
Just a few years ago, this $120 shoe was one of the most expensive shoes that we tested. It's still $120, but a lot of other models have gotten more expensive, including our Best Buy winner, the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator - Women's. We even tested a $210 pair this year, the Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo Women's. Considering that you are getting a Gore-Tex-lined waterproof shoe for this price, we think it's a pretty good value overall.
While the Salomon Ellipse GTX has won our Editors' Choice award in past reviews, some of the newer options on the market have overshadowed it. We loved the comfort of the Hoka One One Tor Summit WP and preferred the support and traction of the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry, our new Editors' Choice award winner. The Ellipse is still a great option though, particularly for those that prefer a running shoe feel on the trail. They are also reasonably priced at only $120 for a Gore-Tex shoe.
— Cam McKenzie Ring
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