Salomon X Ultra 2
These shoes are comfortable and supportive; stood up to a 65-mile backpacking trek with 35-40 lbs pack; could use a little more toe room.
- Good cushioning
- Great grip
- Needs more toe room
- Could be even more breathable
This is my second Salomon trail-hiking shoe. I initially tried the XA Pro 3D, but it just didn't offer enough protection in the sole against rocks. The X Ultra 2 has that extra bit of cushioning that keeps my feet from feeling like they've been beaten with a hammer after miles on a rocky trail.
Salomon sizes run a little small, so I had to get a 9 1/2, compared to 8 1/2 for most of my street and dress shoes.
The shoe was very comfortable and kept me blister-free until the first day off the trail, when I wore a non-hiking sock with a little bit of a seam that rubbed across the side of my big toe and raised a small blister. I am careful to wear Darn Tough lightweight hiking socks that are virtually seam-free. A little roomier toebox—more like a Keen—would probably solve that problem.
The shoes breathed well, and even after hiking 6-8 miles, I'd take off my socks and find my feet dry to the touch, which is one of the reasons why no blisters on the trail. I wish the upper mesh was a bit more breathable, like the XA Pro 3D, but the tradeoff is that the X Ultra 2's denser uppers keep out more trail dust.
Traction was great. I used these for a rock-climbing experience, and they gripped like flypaper on the rock wall.
The key difference vis-a-vis the X Ultra Prime is the quick-lace system. It doesn't offer the ability to tweak the lacing, but it also meant that I could tighten or loosen the laces quickly without holding up the whole group.
Source: bought it new
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Historic Range: $59.83-$120.00
Historic Range: $24.73-$120.00