The women's Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex is an impressively lightweight and capable hiking shoe that proved to be comfortable right out of the box. The traction is grippy and reliable on wet, loose, and rough surfaces. While the shoe may not be as durable as other options, we think the lighter weight and agility are worth the trade-off. The Quicklace lacing system provides quick convenience when donning and removing the shoe. For aggressive hikers who are planning light and fast missions into the mountains, these are highly recommended. Remember that it runs long, and you might need to order down a half size.Editor's Note: This hiking gear review was updated on March 6, 2022, with additional sections to help readers make the best buying decision.
Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Feels fast, lightweight, waterproof, great traction
Cons: Average durability, not as protective underfoot
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Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex - Women's
|Price||Check Price at REI|
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|$141.93 at REI|
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|$140.00 at Backcountry|
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|$104.95 at Amazon|
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|$134.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Feels fast, lightweight, waterproof, great traction||Superb traction, supportive, waterproof, comfortable||Comfortable, stable, great traction, durable||Comfortable, lightweight, decent traction, inexpensive, vegan-friendly||Waterproof, great traction, breathable|
|Cons||Average durability, not as protective underfoot||Expensive, laces not durable, sizing runs long||Upper absorbs water (but doesn't leak), a little heavy||Not waterproof, below average durability||Needs breaking in, runs short, awkward tongue, laces difficult to adjust|
|Bottom Line||This high-performing shoe is impressively lightweight and suited for hard-charging missions across versatile terrain||A high-tech hiking shoe that delivers in every category, outperforming the best shoes we've ever tested||This beefy shoe features rugged durability and excels at day hikes, longer adventures, and tricky terrain||A budget-minded, lightweight, and comfy shoe for fair-weather day hikes when you know your feet won't get wet||Good at most things and great at some, this solid hiker meets most needs at a surprisingly low price|
|Rating Categories||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||Oboz Sawtooth II Lo...||Merrell Siren Edge 3||Merrell Moab 2 WP -...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||La Sportiva Spire GTX||Oboz Sawtooth II Lo...||Merrell Siren Edge 3||Merrell Moab 2 WP -...|
|Weight (per pair)||1.37 lbs (size 7)||1.61 lbs (size 7)
1.81 lbs (size 9.5)
|1.83 lbs (size 7)||1.41 lbs (size 9.5)||1.69 lbs (size 7)
1.71 lbs (size 10)
|Width Options||Regular||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide|
|Upper||Synthetic/textile||Abrasion-resistant mesh||Leather/textile||Waterproof mesh, 3D-printed TPU||Suede leather, mesh|
|Midsole||EVA||EVA||Dual density EVA||EVA||EVA|
|Lining||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex Surround||B-Dry||Mesh||M-Select Dry & Mesh|
|Outsole||Contagrip||Vibram XS Trek||Sawtooth||Vibram TC5+||Vibram TC5+|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We have been fans of the X Ultra line-up shoes for years due to the apparent dedication to creating shoes perfect for getting after it in the backcountry. The latest version, the X Ultra 4, is our favorite of the bunch, with a new last, greater stability, and lightweight materials. The Quicklace lacing system might be polarizing, but we think most hikers will see and appreciate its benefits.
Knowing that comfort is critical in a hiking shoe and subjective to fit, we evaluate those qualities that impact everyone, regardless of the shape of your feet. We found the X Ultra 4 to be very comfortable right out of the box, requiring no break-in hikes. It features soft materials, including a padded collar and heel that provide a nice cushioned feel below the ankle. The upper is constructed from a pliable synthetic material strategically reinforced with overlays. The toe box is quite roomy, but it doesn't feel sloppy because the rest of the construction supports the foot holistically. It is possible that women with very narrow or flat feet may not find them to be adjustable enough to get a good fit, but our testers did not experience any trouble here. Remember that the European sizing (Salomon is a French company) doesn't quite match up to standard American sizes, and you may want to size down one-half of a size.
The Ortholite insole is molded and perforated to add a surprising level of cushion (and breathability) in a thin package. It rests on top of a midsole of EVA, which makes for a responsive and cushioned hiking experience. If we are gushing, it is because we were blown away by the high level of comfort that this model provided, even on jagged rocks and steep descents. It's not plush, but it blends stiffness and moderate cushioning well to make rocky and uneven terrain more comfortable on your feet.
The X Ultra 4 is made with thin material on the upper, with strategic placement of welded overlays, rubber, and heavier materials to provide support and protection. One of these is the "ADV-C Chassis," which manages to support the outward movement of the ankles without making the whole shoe too stiff. This was a much-appreciated feature on trails with uneven rocks and surfaces.
The midsole, the insole, and the construction of the upper seem to be working in harmony to provide support around the whole foot. Our lead tester said it felt like slipping on a custom-made shoe; the support was snug without binding or creating hot spots. Strategically placed, slightly wide lugs in the sole (seen in green in the photo below) provide extra stability, especially hiking uphill. The midsole is softer, and the heel is lower to the ground than some other models we tested. We think this helps make the shoe feel more agile and aggressive.
The Quicklace system makes for quick and easy on-and-off. However, the laces themselves are thin and not stretchy, making them a static element across the top of the shoe. However, with the X Ultra 4, Salomon has added "Active Support" wings. These are essentially a wider, tubular eyelet on a floating piece of fabric on the outside of the shoe. We appreciated how this both dispersed the pressure of the lace and increased the feeling of support on the outside of the foot. In our research, we read that some folks have noticed that the laces cross the Quicklace storage pocket, making it somewhat challenging to access to store the pull tab. While the tongue could be a tad longer to make this a more graceful design, we found it to be easy enough to pull the pocket up from the laces for storage.
Equipped with Contagrip, Salomon's proprietary sole material, and multi-directional lugs, the X Ultra 4 traction is bomber. Salomon has roots in trail running, and we felt secure on a surprising variety of surfaces. Even ice, which no shoe without spikes can grab into, was less sketchy than expected.
One thing of note: the rubber is soft and grippy, not the stiffer rubber of alpine-oriented shoes. These shoes are up to the task while crossing rocky talus fields, but if this is your primary terrain, you might prefer a more specialized shoe with harder rubber.
Weighing in at 1.37 pounds per pair for a size 7, these shoes are light, especially considering all the great features and support they offer. The X Ultra 4 is by far the most lightweight highest-performing shoe that we tested. For fastpacking, this is a highly recommended option.
With a Gore-Tex membrane, the X Ultra 4 proved to be completely waterproof in our bucket test (standing in 3 inches of water for ten minutes). Weighing them before and after showed that they did not absorb water, either. A hiking shoe will always provide less protection than a taller boot, but for hiking in wet conditions and crossing shallower streams, this pair will provide adequate protection from moisture.
If the X Ultra 4 has a shortcoming, it may be in its durability. One of the Quicklace storage pockets tore almost immediately. More importantly, we saw some early compression signs in the mid-sole. While they otherwise held up very well during our testing period, especially considering the lightweight materials and rugged testing environment, and we would expect them to provide many miles of support, they most likely won't be the model that lasts for years and years.
The pair we tested in the "Lunar Rock" color showed all the dirt and dust that Central Oregon could throw at them, and while they rinsed off to look somewhat less scruffy, the dust layer does make the shoes look more worn than they are. If you hike in dusty locations, you might consider another colorway.
Should You Buy the Salomon X Ultra 4?
The Salomon X Ultra 4 is a very agile and lightweight hiking shoe. This latest iteration proved to be exceptionally comfortable. While this model may not be our first recommendation for hikers who carry a heavy pack, it is highly recommended for all kinds of outdoor excursions and those who like to move light and fast on aggressive hiking missions. The X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex price is right in the middle of the pack of the shoes in our test. Considering the high-performance nature of this model, we think it is of great value, especially if you are planning fast and light expeditions.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
If finding a lightweight and comfortable shoe with traction is your thing, then it is hard to beat the X Ultra. However, if you want a little more support or versatility for your dollar, the La Sportiva Spire GTX might be your better bet. Both score high in the group with higher than average prices, so the right one depends on your desires and hiking style. If you want to hit the trail without breaking the bank, the Merrell Moab 2 WP - Women's could be the better bet.
— Laurel Hunter
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