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Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
photo: Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX hiking boot

Very light, sticky sole and decent comfort with waterproofing and durability issues.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Grippy on rock and dirt
  • True to size
  • Agile

Cons

  • Durability
  • Waterproofing
  • Lacing
  • Limited ankle support
  • Squeaky

I've had four or five pairs of different Salomon boots and they've always delivered. Some brands just fit certain feet better than others and that's been my experience with Salomon. I needed to replace a pair of lightweight, fair weather hikers and, after seeing the X Ultra Mid GTX on so many "Best" lists figured I needed to try them out. I would have gone with the shoe version but having tried them on once their "Quicklace" system just didn't work for me. The boots have traditional laces and the two ounce weight difference  wasn't a deal breaker. Found them on a sweet sale and picked up a pair.

First thing you notice is the weight. Each boot comes in at about 15 ounces yet they still offer a  good level of side to side stability. But as the tongue doesn't wrap tightly to the ankle it's limited. I've also had to pick pebbles out because there's a gap. Didn't expect that with boots. It has gotten a little better over the one season I've had them.

I did have some issues dialing in the fit due to the lacing at first, which was surprising  as Salomon usually fits me like a glove, but it took me a minute and some miles to get them were I needed them. But there was a fair amount of stopping and retying at the beginning.

The X Ultra 4's are way more trail runner than they are traditional boot. And you can see where they shaved the weight. The Contragrip sole is soft and definitely geared to dry weather hiking although, given the lug pattern, it handles wet rock better than more traditional boots. The toe rand is smaller but firm and performs. I do find them to be exceptionally good on dry trails with loose stuff and they're sticky on rock. I have total confidence in those conditions. However, it''s inferior to a traditional, deeper-lugged boot in the mud but that's not really its lane. Snow was a non-starter for me because the GTX waterproofing was a joke. A handful of hikes around water and I already had issues. I used a fabric Nikwax product to see if it would help but it was ineffective. I'm guessing that part of the problem is that the upper is stitched and those stitches started fraying almost immediately.

Given its weight the boot does provide excellent agility but I found that my feet were feeling it after longer hikes off trail and on rocky terrain. These would definitely not be my first choice for a backpacking trip with any weight unless the trail was dry and well groomed. And even then I don't see putting big mile days on them. At least I wouldn't. Others may have a different experience. Maybe an after market insole would help but they're not designed to give a 'cushy' ride. That said, they've been blister and hot spot free and my toes splay naturally.

After one season, which ran from about late April to mid-November, I already have one larger and one smaller split in the fabric upper by the toe crease. The laces, which run through one metal loop and one metal hook, snapped after about three weeks. Salomon laces have never snapped on me before so that was a surprise.

I wasn't expecting a ton of longevity in these, because that's the trade off for lightweight footwear, but given that these retail for $170 I see just one season before they start degrading as unacceptable. There's no delamination taking place but the splits will probably only grow and show up in other spots over time. That said, the lugs show little wear, they haven't really stained and still look relatively new.

I have had an interesting experience with these and it comes in the form of squeaking.  It started recently and it appears it's coming from what the call their ActiveSupport system. A strap on one side of the boot that's intended to provide a bit more support. I notice it for the first couple of miles and then it seems to lessen a bit but still. I'm not a fan of hearing my boots.

The snow is mostly cleared so I'll continue to wear these in dry weather and see what I get out of them. But I don't see them lasting through another full season on the trail which means they'll be retired to day-to-day.

So I'd say that if you're interested in moving to lighter weight footwear, would prefer a boot instead of a trail runner, aren't around a lot of mud, water and snow and aren't intending to do big mile days on rugged terrain these could be a good choice. On sale. I wouldn't pay 170 bucks for them unless you're an occasional hiker and don't beat your footwear up. I used these roughly 1/2 of the time in my rotation for my almost daily mountain hikes and while there's some certainly some upsides to them I wouldn't look to them as an all-around choice.

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Background

Extensive over one season.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 110

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The X Ultra 4 Mid GTX replaced the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX.

Specs

Men's
Price Current Retail: $123.71-$174.99
Historic Range: $75.62-$174.99
Women's
Price Current Retail: $122.46-$131.21
Historic Range: $87.48-$174.95
Product Details from Salomon »

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