Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX
Great long distance hiking shoe for lightweight and reliability. Ideal for people with back issues that wish to have supportive, lightweight trail boots with ankle support.
- Comfortable out of the box
- Good value
- Reliable quality every purchase
- Easy to add a lift or additional inserts
- Water resistance wears off
- Laces need to be tightened firmly to prevent untying
I'm a woman with large feet (women's 11) and I do long distance hiking in the UK/Ireland/US. I walk at least two hours a day during my work life and up to 12 hours a day when I'm on the trail. I sized up after my first pair and haven't had any issues since. My feet tend to need more room when walking under a loaded pack for a few days so I always get the men's Salomon rather than the women's (and size up for load impact on my foot shape).
Love these shoes! I usually have two pairs in rotation and beat them to death with use. I get about a year of excellent cushion/tread out of a pair and then demote them to backup pairs.
Had a mishap with Athlete's foot and was worried I'd have to toss them, but I was able to treat both pairs with powder and they are fine now. I've been buying them for over five years with no complaints. I replace them when the treads wear off, YMMV.
Very easy to put a therapeutic insert/ lift or an extra cushion insert into the shoes by removing the supplied cushion insert and then putting the extra in and recovering with the new one for a smooth internal surface. I have an SI joint injury that requires a lift insert in my shoe and I love being able to slap it into these without any hassle.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200
Good waterproof walking shoe for all round light backpacking.
- Lacing system — cannot 'heel lock' the shoe easily
Fit: If you are used to Salomon fitting this is consistent with the rest of their sizing. It has a larger internal volume than their trail runners, similar length, and is a little wider than the XA Pro 3D. The heel cup is not as narrow as their trail runners.
For non-Salomon users they tend to run narrow but the length is consistent with other brands. I have a medium width foot and I find some Salomon trail runners too narrow, but this shoe has sufficient width. I have difficulty getting these shoes to fit without slop — probably because of my flat, low volume foot.
Comfort: As with the rest of the Salomon range these shoes have a very supportive and well cushioned sole unit.
Support: Feels like a boot with a stiff shank to the mid foot. Very good torsional stiffness to the midfoot. Sole unit is identical to the X Ultra Mid and high boot. There is a synthetic rand around the foot which helps with lateral foot stability on inclines. Feels like a proper backpacking boot in a shoe form.
Water Resistance: This is a shoe so it will never be particularly water resistant in really muddy or wet conditions. With a gaiter this has extremely good water resistance to light immersion, mud, and wet vegetation.
Traction: Moderate, in my opinion. Could do with stickier rubber for wet rock. Good traction in mud and for general walking, but the tread depth is not as deep as in a traditional boot. It would not be my first choice for backpacking off track in scree, mountain, or boulder country.
Temp Control: It's a Goretex shoe so it will run hot, but I only wear it in winter so I find it good for the Australian milder winter conditions (down to -4° Celsius is fine)
Ease of Use: Not so good. I generally love the Salomon Quicklace feature and have used Salomon trail runners and hiking mid-boots with Quicklaces for many years and I highly regard the system.
In this shoe it is a fail. To compare, I have the Salomon XA Pro trail runners with a similarly stiff sole but; because of the narrow, deep, heel cup and lower volume, the Quicklace system allows a firm slip free fit.
In the X Ultra i cannot get the Quicklaces to be drawn tight enough to stop my heel and forefoot from slipping; or, if I do cinch them very tight, my forefoot is squeezed. In a traditional shoe this would not be an issue because you can tie a tension knot, via a "runners knot" through the top two lace holes — leaving a looser forefoot and a heel lock.
I believe that this is a problem for the X Ultra because of the combination of Quicklaces, wide heelcup and high volume. It is exacerbated by the stiff sole.
I have got around the issue by fitting an extra quicklace to the top two holes and cutting the existing Quicklaces and re-attaching them to the lower three lace-holes — sort of like what you might see in cycling shoes with two Boa Quicklaces. This is quite a clunky solution.
This might not be an issue for those with a wider heel or higher volume, higher arch foot. YMMV.
Features: Quicklace system, Gore-tex lining.
Construction & Durability: Typical Salomon quality — this is quite a burly shoe. Good toe guard and stiff heel counter, stiff sole.
Conditions: This is my winter, wet conditions day hiker. It gets used on 10-15 km walks off- and on-trail with a daypack. I have not used it for backpacking but I would not hesitate to on trail. It doesn't have the stability that I am after for off-track walking.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $130AUD
The best compromise when the situation calls for more ankle coverage or over ankle Gore-tex protection, but you don't want to put on boots that weigh as much as your pack.
- Comfy out of the box
- Cushy comfort to protect you from rocks and abrasions
- Gore-tex is never really that breathable
Fit: I usually wear a 9.5, but wear a 10 in these. If you're going to put some hours into these, expect to size up 1/2 a size for foot swell.
Comfort: Zero break-in. No blisters. Has movement at times when not cranked down, but still no hot spots.
Support: I wore heavy boots for years, and don't buy into ankle support on hiking boots. The protection added is minimal until you get into mountaineering style boots or ski boots. That said, these feel no different than Sundowners in the b.s. "ankle support" department. The foot does feel very protected though.
Water Resistance: Good for now, but being Gore-tex I don't expect it to last forever.
Traction: Great all around traction. Clears mud fairly well. If I had to name a weak point, it would be slick-rock trails where a low cut climbing approach shoe would work better. Also, doesn't edge well should you end up doing some actual climbing on an approach.
Temp Control: Works great for everything except brutal cold, or really hot/humid (due to Gore-tex). I've used them for snowshoeing and they were great. For hot and humid I have to use anti-perspirant on my feet to keep them from getting soggy.
Durability: These seem built pretty well. I expect they won't last as long as full leather boots, but they feel so much better.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: I got these in a blowout sale for $119
Absolutely LOVE these shoes!!!! These are my first pair of Salomon shoes, and I'm beyond happy with the quality!
I have been using them on mountain trails during the winter, which means mud, snow, more mud—and my feet come out 100% dry. The Grip is fantastic in deep mud, then you find a stream, wash the shoes off, and they are as good as new!
One flaw, due to the studded nature of the sole they tend to be pretty slippery on smooth and wet or frozen surfaces.
If that little voice in your head is saying buy these shoes, listen to it, you will not regret it! lol
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $110
This shoe has proven to be a durable waterproof hiker.
- Low cut
- Lace system
I have chronic Achilles tendinopathy and was forced out of full height boots. I bought these shoes as light day hikers, but have now worn them on a week long backpack hunting trip and numerous hikes from the south California desert to the wet forests of Vancouver Island.
I've had them for ten months and they are daily wearers. They are still in great shape. Sole has worn well. No leaks. And the lace system is intact.
They have proven to be stable reliable hikers.
I wasn't sure about the lace system at first, but I've come to appreciate it. The only con I've found is that it can loosen up over the day, but it's a quick fix and can be done one handed.
I have bought a Salomon Forces version for work now and will by another pair of Ultras.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $120
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