Salomon OUTpath GTX Review
Cons: Uncomfortable for some, low flood height
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Salomon OUTpath GTX is a high tech model that utilizes a lot of advanced features to achieve its low weight. Built on top of a Premium Wet Traction outsole, which is stiff and absorbs the impact of sharp rocks well, the rest of the shoe is made of synthetic materials that are designed to provide a high level of protection from the elements. This Sensifit material is hardy and durable, and in conjunction with a Gore-Tex lining allows the foot to breathe quite well, but we felt that the material's stiffness detracted from the overall comfort of the shoe. Some reviewers found that when the shoe bent is pushed this stiff upper material into their feet creating hot spots. Others did not find this to be the case, so we recommend trying these on in person before heading out onto a long hike.
The speed lacing system that we have come to expect from Salomon shoes is quick and easy, though does not allow for a customizable fit, especially in the toe box. Overall this could be a comfortable shoe for some, but it is rather stiff and clunky feeling, and we often chose a softer feeling shoe for long walks.
Without a doubt, Salomon has achieved something remarkable in creating this shoe, as it features a stiff, supportive sole, has a top-notch waterproof lining, and still weighs in at only 1.7 pounds per pair in the US size 11 that we tested. Such lightweight hiking shoes are a benefit to those who are spending long days out on the trail.
These hikers are indeed supportive and easily cover ground on rough and uneven terrain. The stiff Contagrip outsole effectively protects the foot from sharp rocks, and with a good deal of torsional stability, they hold an edge well without rolling. They are rather a low cut, however, and leave the ankle fully exposed to being hit by rocks.
The Wet Traction Contagrip outsole that is used is a solid performer in all conditions. On our wet and dry trail tests, the Contagrip rubber compound only faltered in the most slippery of conditions, and in the high angle tests performed above average. The sole has a high degree of torsional strength, and so can edge well when traveling over rocky and uneven ground, something that the models more akin to running shoes had a harder time with. This would be a good shoe to consider when the trails are more rock than dirt, and you want to be surefooted.
This is a shoe meant for hiking in. It does well at its intended task and is equally useful on day hikes around the local park as well as on long-distance backpacking trips with light loads, but it is not a great choice for around the town or for use as a trail running shoe in a pinch. It is pretty flashy, with a teal color that stands out (we like the color, but it is bright), and as we have made mention of, it is quite stiff which does not lend itself to casual comfort while walking around doing errands.
By using a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort waterproof membrane, this model does a remarkable job of keeping water out as well as allowing the foot to breathe adequately. We stood around in a stream of icy cold spring runoff for 5 minutes, and the lining did not allow any moisture to enter, though the flood height of these shoes is a relatively low 3.25 inches, one of the lowest in the review, so waterproofness will be limited to walking through shallow puddles.
During our two month test period that we wore the Salomon OUTpath GTX hiking shoes, we experienced no durability issues. The Sensifit synthetic upper material is quite abrasion resistant and stood up to rough, dry washes, off-trail travel and scrambling without looking like it was any worse for wear. While synthetic materials, and especially lightweight ones, tend not to have the most longevity, we feel that Salomon has developed a good blend of weight and durability in the OUTpath.
This shoe is fairly expensive when compared to other shoes in our review, though with such a low weight and good performance, we feel that if it fits your foot, it's worth the price tag.
The Salomon OUTpath GTX is a low cut, lightweight hiking shoe that uses durable, synthetic materials to provide you with a stable shoe that will take you as far as you care to go. We did have some comfort issues that were related to the fit of the shoe, so take the time to test drive these before you attempt to break the John Muir Trail speed record. If these do fit your foot well you may find yourself dispatching the 211-mile hike thanks to the featherweight of these shoes.
— Ryan Huetter