Salomon OUTline Low GTX Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The OUTLine Low allows for agility without sacrificing support. It weighs in at under two pounds but still offers the cushioning and comfort that hikers need from their shoes, incorporating multiple shanks to add rigidity and stability. With a total drop of 9mm (19mm heel stack, 10mm forefoot stack), this pair falls within a typical range for drop (i.e., not low). The Gore-Tex liner also makes these hikers thoroughly waterproof.
These shoes provide all-day comfort for long days on trail. They have an injected EVA midsole and OrthoLite insoles that make for an easy ride across hard pack dirt and gravel. For us, they made for blister-free days right out of the box. Despite their waterproof lining, they are still breathable. We also really appreciate the dynamism of the laces, which stayed nice and tightly cinched throughout our hikes.
One important consideration is that these shoes are narrow. This reality may take them out of the running for hikers with a wider footprint, but if you have small feet and struggle to find shoes that don't look and feel sloppy when you step, these are a great option. We found that they work best with thin running socks as opposed to light or midweight hiking socks.
The OUTline falls in the middle of the pack for weight. Though their dense outsole adds some ounces, they still come in under 2 pounds (1.93 on our scale for a men's size 10.5 US). Curiously, they are advertised at around 1.5 pounds, meaning our measured weight varies noticeably from the advertised weight in a way that no other shoe does.
In any case, we were still pleased with how this shoe handles, especially considering it is just as comfortable as several other top contenders in the category.
The thermoplastic arch shank offers support at the midfoot. Though it doesn't have the most robust heel guard, the thick and wide outsole adds a surprisingly high degree of stability to an otherwise compact shoe. This model could be a nice option for those who spend a lot of time on their feet at work.
The narrowness of the OUTline makes it easier to take precise steps. That is, our feet landed where we intended to plant them. We had fewer missteps and fewer close encounters with rolled ankles. The wide reinforced cap around the toe box also kept us from stubbed toes.
The OUTline has reliable traction and a solid base. The front interior lugs are multi-tiered, which increases gripping surface area. The chevron pattern in the Contagrip rubber makes for high contact with the trail surface. The lugs are also spaced far enough apart that the underside resists mud caking, which increases their effectiveness in gooey conditions.
We did have some issues on smoother rock surfaces where the lugs couldn't bite quite as much. However, they gave us the confidence to really lean in on uphills without fear of slippage.
We think this shoe has some non-traditional versatility. Of course, it makes for a great hiking shoe. Its breathability, combined with its waterproof Gore-Tex and fast-drying mesh, also makes it a good option for paddling. The thicker outsole is the primary giveaway that these are hiking shoes. With that in mind, we don't think anyone would look twice if you wore them in settings where you might typically wear a pair of regular sneakers.The secure fit is a plus for trail running — there is minimal slippage in this shoe which minimizes abrasion and blisters. However, its narrowness doesn't allow for the high-impact toe spread that comes with jogging downhill, so we have mixed reviews on its usefulness as a trail runner. Its weight may also be a detractor for some enthusiasts.
We were pleasantly surprised by the water-resistance of the OUTline Low GTX. The upper is a tightly woven mesh, but the Gore-Tex liner underneath ensured that our feet stayed as dry as we could have expected. The bellows tongue also helps to keep precipitation — and associated bits of leaves, bark, and twigs that a hiker kicks up — at bay.
This shoe has a flood level on par with several other models in our review, topping out at 4.25 inches. The thick sole and waterproof coating around the circumference of the upper also allow this pair to stand up to stepping through puddles one or two inches deep.
One concern we have is with the tongue. It is felt-lined, which means it isn't waterproof. Our guess is that this soft liner is there for comfort, but it results in a part of the shoe that stays wet for longer than the rest of it.
We didn't experience any catastrophic failures during testing, but we do have a few features to flag. During our research, we noticed that some wearers complained about outsole separation from the upper. In addition, the tread on the heel wore down faster than people expected — typically after a couple of hundred miles.
Having said that, we had a positive experience. The Gore-Tex liner in the upper continued to keep our feet dry through several storms and puddles. Combined with the mesh layer, we aren't as concerned about big toes quickly wearing the top of the toe box thin.
Should You Buy the Salomon OUTline Low GTX?
This model is for those who want a hiking shoe that offers a little bit of everything. Its insole and collar are comfortable for longer days, it has reliable traction on both rock and hardpack dirt, and it is supportive and stable enough to give us confidence moving quickly across looser earth. This shoe is also waterproof. One huge caveat is that the OUTLine runs very narrow. They won't be a good fit for everyone, but they might just be perfect for those who have struggled with too-wide shoes in the past.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
If traction and support are what you are after, you also can't go wrong with the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex. For water resistance, hikers should also look into the La Sportiva Spire GTX, and for another all-around all-star that comes just a little wider, we recommend the Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX.
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