Reviews You Can Rely On

Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex - Women's Review

This high-performing shoe is impressively lightweight and suited for hard-charging missions across versatile terrain
Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex - Women's
Photo: Salomon
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $150 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Feels fast, lightweight, waterproof, great traction
Cons:  Average durability, not as protective underfoot
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 23, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 13
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Support - 20% 7
  • Traction - 15% 9
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 9
  • Durability - 10% 5

Our Verdict

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. Keep in mind that it runs long and you might need to order down a half size.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
81
83
78
71
70
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Feels fast, lightweight, waterproof, great tractionSuperb traction, supportive, waterproof, comfortComfortable, stable, great traction, durableLightweight, comfortable, waterproof, clean styleComfortable, waterproof, excellent traction
Cons Average durability, not as protective underfootMay be less durable, expensiveUpper absorbs water (but doesn't leak), a little heavyNot as supportive, runs longNeeds breaking in, runs short
Bottom Line This high-performing shoe is impressively lightweight and suited for hard-charging missions across versatile terrainA high-tech hiking shoe that delivers in every category, outperforming the best shoes we've ever testedThis beefy shoe features rugged durability and excels at day hikes, longer adventures, and tricky terrainA really lightweight and comfortable shoe that excels at day hikes and shorter excursionsGood at most things and great at some, this solid hiker meets most needs at a surprisingly low price
Rating Categories X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex Spire GTX Sawtooth II Low BDry Arc'teryx Aerios FL... Merrell Moab 2 WP -...
Comfort (25%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Support (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
6.0
4.0
9.0
5.0
Water Resistance (15%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
5.0
6.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Specs X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex Spire GTX Sawtooth II Low BDry Arc'teryx Aerios FL... Merrell Moab 2 WP -...
Weight per Pair (Size 7) 1.37 lbs 1.61 lbs 1.83 lbs 1.25 lbs 1.69 lbs
Width Options Regular Regular Regular, Wide Regular Regular, Wide
Upper Synthetic/textile Abrasion-resistant mesh Leather/textile Cordura mesh Suede leather, mesh
Midsole EVA EVA Dual density EVA EVA EVA
Lining Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Surround B-Dry Gore-Tex Mesh
Outsole Contagrip Vibram XS Trek Sawtooth Vibram MegaGrip 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.

Performance Comparison


A lightweight hiking shoe that is agile and comfortable for light...
A lightweight hiking shoe that is agile and comfortable for light and fast missions.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Comfort


Knowing that comfort is critical in a hiking shoe, and also 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, with no break-in hikes required. 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 that is strategically reinforced with overlays. The toe box is quite roomy, but because the rest of the construction supports the foot holistically, it doesn't feel sloppy. 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. Keep in mind 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.

Packing a lot of cushion into a thin little package. You can see the...
Packing a lot of cushion into a thin little package. You can see the perforations that allow for added air flow under the forefoot.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Support


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. On trails that have uneven rocks and surfaces, this was a much-appreciated feature.


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 when 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.

Excellent traction and stability with the Contagrip soles.
Excellent traction and stability with the Contagrip soles.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

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. With the X Ultra 4, however, Salomon has added "Active Support" wings. These are essentially a wider, tubular eyelet that is on a floating piece of fabric on the outside of the shoe, and 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 difficult to access in order 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.

Lots of technology wrap the shoe to add additional support, making...
Lots of technology wrap the shoe to add additional support, making it feel almost like a custom-fit shoe.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Traction


Equipped with Contagrip, Salomon's proprietary sole material, and with multi-directional lugs, the traction of the X Ultra 4 is bomber. Salomon has roots in trail running and we felt secure on a surprising variety of surfaces. Even ice, which really no shoe without spikes can grab into, was less sketchy than expected.


We found this shoe to have excellent traction on all kinds of...
We found this shoe to have excellent traction on all kinds of challenging surfaces, including snow and wet conditions.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

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 main terrain, you might prefer a more specialized shoe with harder rubber.

Sticky rubber dug into and held on tight to lichen and moss-covered...
Sticky rubber dug into and held on tight to lichen and moss-covered rock.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Weight


Weighing in at 1.37 pounds per pair for a size 7, these shoes are quite light, especially considering all the great features and support they offer. The X Ultra 4 is by far the lightest, highest-performing shoe that we tested. For fastpacking, this is a highly recommended option.


Water Resistance


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 very adequate protection from moisture.


The ten minute bucket test showed these shoes to be waterproof and...
The ten minute bucket test showed these shoes to be waterproof and also helped clean off some of the dirt.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Durability


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 also saw some signs of early compression 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.

The Quicklace storage pocket tore almost immediately. The tear did...
The Quicklace storage pocket tore almost immediately. The tear did not limit performance, and the materials on the rest of the shoe are more durable than this thin synthetic fabric.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Value


The price of the X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex 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.

A fantastic shoe for light and fast hiking endeavors.
A fantastic shoe for light and fast hiking endeavors.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Conclusion


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.

If the trail turns to ice, you probably want micro-spikes, but there...
If the trail turns to ice, you probably want micro-spikes, but there was still some traction to be found with the X Ultra.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Laurel Hunter