Salomon X Ultra GTX - Women's Review
Cons: lacing system doesn’t tighten as well as laces, low versatility
Our Analysis and Test Results
As part of Salomon's "Adventure Hiking" series, Salomon X Ultra GTX hiking shoes are stable, simple to secure, and have an aggressive tread pattern to keep you on the trail and moving fast.
As one of the heaviest hiking shoes in our review, the X Ultras only weigh 1.58 lbs. This is still a considerably lightweight compared to other hiking footwear. In comparison to other hiking shoes in this review, there was not a significant weight difference that we could perceive while hiking. The Vasque Grand Traverse shoes, at 1.67 lbs, felt significantly heavier. This is most likely a result of the dense rubber soles or other materials. For a lighter weight option, the award winning Salomon Ellipse - Women's offer many of the same design features but weigh in ounces less, at 1.43 lbs.
The Salomon X Ultra rated an 8 out of 10 on our scale for comfort. They are well padded throughout the lining with ortholite molded EVA sockliners. The sizing runs large, and we recommend using Salomon's sizing chart for the most accurate fit and comfort. The extra space was not an issue with thick socks or after warming up, but with thin socks or cold feet, our feet slipped around inside the shoes. The extra space in the front can be beneficial for preventing toes from jamming while hiking downhill, but unless the shoes are laced properly, it is likely that it will present discomfort.
The quick lace lacing system is simple to use but from a comfort standpoint it is harder to tailor fit the shoes. We found the lacing system to be less customizable than traditional laces, and this lent to discomfort from the inability to securely tighten. Overall, they are comfortable hiking shoes, but the Merrell Moab Ventilator - Women's offer more padding and the Salomon Ellipse GTXs, with a traditional lacing system, are more comfortable after miles on the trail.
Salomon designed the X Ultra GTXs with a womens specific last (a molded form for shaping the shoe). This, coupled with the advanced chassis, (a layer between the midsole and outsole) ensures support on varied terrain. While hiking in these shoes we experienced incredible support, especially while moving fast (not running) on rocky slopes and downhill on loose dirt trails. The arch support is comparable to the other hiking shoes in our review- neither flat nor overly pronounced. Flexibility in the forefoot was stiff at first but softened after a couple hikes. The lateral firmness of the X Ultras remained supportive and kept the shoe from buckling on uneven surfaces such as boulders and wood steps. The outsole offered great support with the most aggressive tread made of non-marking Contagrip firm rubber.
A final note on the support of the X Ultra GTXs brings attention to the lacing system. The quick lace lacing system has its advantages and disadvantages. In regards to support, the quick lace system does not allow for the shoe to be adjusted as precisely as traditional laces. Over the course of a 5+ mile hike, the quick lace tended to loosen slightly. Our feet never pulled out of the shoe, but adjustment was necessary as the laces loosened. This took away from the overall support of the shoe. For a more supportive shoe, we recommend the Salomon Ellipse GTX, which offers similar support features and sole materials, or the Merrell Siren Sport 2 - Women's.
Contagrip rubber compound makes up a sturdy, aggressive tread on the soles of the Salomon X Ultra. They excel in rough terrain, on loose terrain, and in the mud, where many shoes lose traction. The tread is deep and the pattern is diverse so that handling and traction are maintained. This also lends to the support of the shoe. We didn't question the shoe's ability to keep us from slipping or sliding.
Season to season, these shoes have the design and durability to endure terrain from level trails to steep, rocky ridgelines. They have incredible traction for loose dirt and snow dustings. They are suitable for spring, summer, and fall hiking in various climates and landscapes. These are an ideal choice for hiking where time and agility are important. If you plan to move fast through demanding terrain, these are the best hiking shoe option.
The water resistance in the Salomon hiking shoes in this review exceeded our expectations. We found both the Salomon X Ultra GTX and Salomon Ellipse GTX, both with waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex linings, to keep our feet dry in rain and while walking through shallow streams.
Water resistant textile composes the upper of these hiking shoes. Contagrip rubber soles proved to handle rugged hiking with strength. The rubber toe cap added durability and comfort to these hiking shoes. The durability of the lacing system is questionable. We didn't experience any damage to the lacing system in our testing, but should the laces have cut or the lacing system failed, field repair would not have been an option. This docks the rating for durability as a question of long term strength and security.
The best uses for the X Ultra GTXs are three-season day hiking and overnight backpacking. The Gore-tex membrane and waterproof bootie construction are great features for spring and fall hiking where streams are likely to be crossed and rain is likely. Rocky Mountain summers are filled with afternoon thunderstorms and having the peace of mind of dry feet is ideal. They are not recommended for wearing under a heavy pack load. We recommend them for single overnight backpacking trips under a light pack weight. They are also great hiking shoes for fast hiking on varying terrain such as ridgelines and summit attempts.
These are the most expensive shoes in our review. At $140 they are $10-20 more than the average hiking shoe. The traction and water resistance rated high in our review, but overall, they didn't excel in any single rating metric. For a better value, we recommend the Salomon Ellipse GTX. They are designed by the same manufacturer, offering similar features and materials in construction, such as Contagrip soles, Gore-tex membranes, and EVA linings, and for $20 less, we found them to provide a higher overall value.
These are an aggressive women's hiking shoe that allow for agility when moving fast on varying terrain and they handle well on diverse trail conditions. We love the waterproof Gore-tex lining. For a fast paced hiking shoe, or just an aggressive tread for a mellow trail hike, the Salomon X Ultra GTX offer the traction you need for your next hike!
— Briana Valorosi