Salomon OUTline GTX - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Salomon OUTline GTX is a lightweight hiker with a Gore-TEX waterproof liner. While it is comfortable for mellow hikes, we found it lacking in the support and traction we prefer for anything long or on varied terrain.
We talk a lot about the importance of comfort in a hiking shoe, and this is because an uncomfortable shoe can ruin the whole outing. The Salomon OUTline is about average in the comfort metric. The cushion is not plush, but the model has even cushioning under the foot. The upper material is pliable and does not require breaking in, so if it feels good in the store, it will likely feel good after hiking many miles. However, the lacing does not allow room for higher volume feet, creating tightness across the top of the foot. Additionally, this shoe runs a little narrow in the toe box, so not great for a thicker hiking sock or for those who like some room to wiggle their toes.
The OUTline GTX utilizes the ever-popular Ortholite insole, which is relatively thin and does not give much cushion or support. Additionally, there is very little arch support in the midsole structure. If you replace the insole with an after-market insole, the low volume of the toe box might create a problem, so this shoe is going to be better for flat-footed hikers or those with low-volume feet.
One test we like to perform on hiking shoes is to twist them as if wringing the water out of a towel. If there is a lot of movement, the shoe is generally less supportive of the foot on uneven terrain. The OUTline allows for quite a bit more twist than most of the shoes we tested, making it responsive underfoot but less supportive for rugged hiking.
EVA midsoles are pleasant to walk on, as they are cushioned and responsive, but they can lose that cushioned feeling with a heavy load. For this reason, we found that this shoe does not provide enough support for multi-day hiking or hiking with a heavy pack. For light hikes, however, the support is sufficient.
While the OUTline utilizes Contagrip rubber (which we found to be quite successful in other hiking shoes), we were surprised to find these shoes lacking in the traction department. The lugs are pretty small and widely spaced, which allowed us to slip on sandy and unconsolidated trails. The traction was acceptable on dry rocks and slabs, but we were disappointed when the rocks were wet or mossy. The traction should suffice if you are hiking on very mellow terrain, but the waterproof upper will do better in the rain than the outsole will.
The OUTline is a very lightweight shoe, 1 pound 3 ounces per pair (US size 7), and the lightest in our test by a smidge. This low weight is attained with minimal stitching and rubberized overlays, rather than heavier leather or bulky rubber rands. The shoe lacks support for anything other than very light hiking as a consequence. However, other lightweight shoes in the test performed better than the OUTline, especially for hiking in varied and rough terrain.
The OUTline is equipped with a Gore-Tex liner and passed our ten-minute bucket test with flying colors. It also kept our feet dry in light rain on the trails. It does have a relatively low ankle height, at 3.25", meaning that you will want to be wary of deeper puddles that can splash water over the top of the shoe. The synthetic materials shed water well, absorbing almost none in our testing, keeping the shoe light when wet.
Lightweight hiking shoes often trade off weight for durability, and we believe this to be the case with the OUTline. While much of the upper is protected by rubberized overlays, those areas that are not are already showing signs of snagging in the material. Additionally, the light EVA soles are wrinkled with compression and show signs of wear. Our testers surmise that these shoes will not hold up to constant use, especially on very rugged trails.
Should You Buy the OUTline?
The OUTline would be a great choice for traveling when some short hikes are on the itinerary. It is not supportive enough for multi-day hiking trips or carrying a lot of weight, but it is an affordable and sporty choice for walking the dogs or light hiking. While this model is a relatively inexpensive shoe, we find the technical aspects somewhat wanting. It is waterproof and lightweight, but there are better-performing hiking shoes in almost every metric for about the same price. As such, we don't think it is a great value.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
We prefer the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex - Women's if you're looking for a lightweight shoe. While this Salmon is slightly heavier than the OUTline, it is still very lightweight, and it offers better traction, comfort, support, and water resistance than the OUTline. This makes it our Salmon and lightweight shoe of choice.
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