Our verdict

Some days you just want to grab a light pack and run outdoors without overthinking it. For those occasions, we discovered that the Outpulse Mid GTX is the ultimate companion. A shining example of lightness and agility, this mid-cut hiker from Salomon makes our full day of hiking feel effortless. We even felt our adventuring confidence boosted on cold and humid days with this pair!

Pros

  • Astonishingly light
  • Comfy like a sneaker
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Very durable build
  • Soft and springy cushioning
  • Low-to-the-ground platform
  • Remains soft and flexible in cold weather

Cons

  • Loose collar fit
  • Not for technical terrain

Audience verdict

85
Great!

Who should buy

Bridging the gap between tough hikers and lightweight trail runners, the Outpulse Mid GTX lets you be as nimble on the trail as you can be. Buy it if:

  • you enjoy feeling fast on your feet
  • you want a lightweight mid-cut boot for a day hike
  • you need a waterproof boot with a Gore-Tex membrane
  • sleek-looking hiking footwear is a must for you

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX review

Who should NOT buy

With its emphasis on lightness, the Outpulse Mid GTX falls short of support and stability for multi-day adventures with a fully loaded pack. If that's what you plan to do, we highly recommend the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX or the Salomon Quest 4 GTX instead.

You might as well prefer the X Ultra and the Quest if you hike in soggy conditions and need the best possible grip.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX lab test

Breathability

When a boot's name contains "GTX", it is a surefire sign that breathability is non-existent here. This premium waterproofing membrane doesn't let any air pass through.

This is clearly seen in our breathability lab test where we pump smoke through the boot's upper. But what helps to make the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX more airy is the fact that it has a lower cut and a slightly loose-fitting collar. These factors help to invite more airflow inside the boot.

For that reason, we rated this Salomon boot's breathability as 2 out of 5 instead of the minimum 1.

Do not let that textile upper mislead you.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX microscope

As our up-close microscope photos show, it is exceptionally tightly woven.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX microscope fabric

But if you do need a summer-ready version of this boot, have a look at the low-cut and breathable Salomon Outpulse hiking shoe.

Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 2
Average 1.6
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Waterproofing

On the other side of the coin is of course the boot's incredible waterproofing ability.

Crossing a creek or getting caught in a rainstorm is no biggie with the Outpulse Mid GTX. This pair really proved its effectiveness in our hike tests.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX waterproof

Just be careful to not let the water pour over the boot's collar. Because once it's there, you're stuck with damp feet until the end of the hike.

Durability

Toebox durability

Seeing the Outpulse Mid's textile toebox, we had concerns about its ability to withstand the wear and tear of hiking. But the Dremel test made us feel much more reassured.

Pressing the tool against the upper at a 3.2N force, we held it for a steady 12 seconds at a 5K RPM speed.

And what we saw was quite surprising! The synthetic toe bumper played its part in protecting the fabric but the fabric itself proved to be quite sturdy!

Because the Dremel test didn't result in a see-through hole, we gladly rated the boot's toebox durability with a high 4 out of 5 score.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX toebox durability result

Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 4
Average 4.4
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

When it came to testing the boot's inner lining, we were pleasantly surprised once again.

After 4 seconds of drilling the fabric with a Dremel, we saw notably smaller damage compared to other hiking boots!

The difference between these two boots is bright as day, leading us to rate the Outpulse's heel padding durability with a high score - 4 out of 5!

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Heel padding durability comparison
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 4
Average 4
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Salomon boots have a stellar reputation for outsole durability. And the Outpulse Mid GTX is no exception.

One of the telltale signs of a durable rubber is its hardness. So, we used a durometer to check the firmness of the Outpulse's outsole. It turned out to be 87.5 HC which is exactly the same as the average of hiking boots.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Outsole hardness
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 87.5 HC
Average 87.7 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
81.0 HC
Outsole hardness
92.1 HC

Outsole durability

To further test the boot's outsole durability, we turned to our Dremel. This time, we turned up the speed to 10K RPM and held the tool for 22 seconds against one of the lugs in the heel.

We were quite happy to find that the damage was pretty minor. According to our tread gauge, it is only 0.9 mm deep. This is a standard dent depth among hiking boots that have gone through this test.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Outsole durability test
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 0.9 mm
Average 0.7 mm
Compared to 18 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The Outsole Mid GTX also comes with a sufficiently thick layer of rubber. Excluding the lugs, our caliper showed 3.0 mm of outsole thickness.

Putting all our findings together, we can assume that the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX can last beyond one hiking season.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Outsole thickness
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 3.0 mm
Average 3.0 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1.8 mm
Outsole thickness
5.6 mm

Weight

With its shoe-like weight of 13.6 oz (386g), the Outpulse Mid GTX is ridiculously light for a hiking boot! It is as much as 5 ounces lighter than the average!

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Weight

That's what makes the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX feel SO agile! Hiking in it felt as though we had a pair of sneakers on. The boot is barely there at all.

This Salomon is even lighter than the popular Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 (15.0 oz) speed hiker.

Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 13.62 oz (386g)
Average 18.48 oz (524g)
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
11.71 oz (332g)
Weight
28.29 oz (802g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

In the realm of hiking boots, the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX is a very low-to-the-ground option. Based on our caliper measurements, its heel stack comes in at 31.9 mm which is notably lower than the average.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Heel stack height

But having such a low platform makes the Outpulse what it is - an extremely light and nimble boot. It is most suitable for moderately challenging and fast-paced day hikes.

Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 31.9 mm
Average 36.3 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
26.2 mm
Heel stack
46.9 mm

Forefoot stack

Measuring the forefoot stack, we got 21.4 mm. This is only slightly lower than the average.

Having less cushioning under the toes allows you to feel the surface beneath a little better which helps to navigate tricky terrains.

Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 21.4 mm
Average 22.5 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
17.0 mm
Forefoot stack
30.7 mm

Drop

The height difference between the heel and forefoot stacks comes in at 10.5 mm in the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX. Being lower than the average drop of hiking boots, it makes the Outpulse feel a lot like a trail running shoe.

A lower drop is ideal if you prefer a more natural underfoot experience and this Salomon boot offers just that!

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Drop
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 10.5 mm
Average 13.8 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
2.6 mm
Drop
20.9 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Hiking in the Salomon Outpulse was a great pleasure every time thanks to its amazingly soft cushioning! As far as hiking boots go, you don't often experience underfoot plushness.

What the brand calls their new Fuze Foam returned 18.8 HA on our durometer. It is 40% softer than other boots we've tested!

But in addition to softness, there is also a very tangible energy return in the Outpulse Mid. We think that it is granted by the boot's slightly curved shape and a stiff TPU Energy Blade running through the midsole.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Midsole softness
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 18.8 HA
Average 27.1 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
15.4 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
53.3 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Because many people would probably wear the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX in colder weather, we had to check whether its cushioning is just as soft in low temperatures.

To mimic winter conditions, we kept the boot in the freezer for 20 minutes and then measured its foam once again. We found that it firmed up by 21.3% (which is average for hiking boots) but it was still on the soft side at 22.8 HA.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 21.3%
Average 19.3%
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Insole thickness

The Outpulse features the crowd-favorite Ortholite insole. Even though it is only 3.7 mm thick (less than the average), it kept our feet cozy and pampered.

It also has a contoured shape that offers a touch of arch support.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Insole thickness
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 3.7 mm
Average 6.1 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
3.7 mm
Insole thickness
10.7 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

It would be a lie to say that this Salomon boot is very stable but we cannot call it wobbly either. The definite answer depends on the kind of hike you need it for.

Backpacking? Absolutely not. A single-day route on non-technical terrain with a light pack? Absolutely yes!

Thanks to its grounded platform and stiff shank, the Outpulse Mid GTX made us feel planted enough on a moderate hike.

Torsional rigidity

As we mentioned above, there is a stiff TPU shank called Energy Blade embedded into the boot's midsole. It gives the Outpulse enough rigidity to prevent ankle rolls and wobbliness.

In a manual test, we could barely twist the boot with our hands. This convinced us to rate the torsional rigidity of the Outpulse with a high score - 4 out of 5!

Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 4
Average 4.3
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

We also felt a sufficient amount of rigidity in the boot's heel counter. It is an important characteristic of a hiking boot as it helps to create a very secure heel and ankle hold.

On a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the stiffest, we rated the Outpulse's heel counter as 3. It is slightly more pliable than average.

Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 3
Average 3.5
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Intended as a more nimble hiking footwear option, this Salomon boot comes with a narrower-than-average platform.

We measured the widest part of its forefoot at only 109.7 mm which is on the slimmer side of the spectrum. But on foot, it felt steady enough on hard-packed trails with some rocks and roots.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 109.7 mm
Average 111.6 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
96.3 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
124.6 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Putting our caliper against the widest part of the heel, we found it to be just average at 88.4 mm. No wonky business here!

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 88.4 mm
Average 87.9 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
71.7 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.1 mm

Lockdown

Where we missed support the most was the collar. The boot's lacing system just didn't seem to allow a more secure lockdown in this area.

There is only one pair of lace hooks at the top which resulted in too much extra space around the ankle. Being so used to a solid lockdown, we felt sloppy in this setup.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX collar

To make things worse, we also had small debris getting inside the boot through its loose-fitting collar.

Luckily, it doesn't feel so bad on light and moderate types of trails.

Flexibility

Stiffness

The nature of this Salomon boot is pretty flexible. Rolling from heels to toes, our feet bent effortlessly, almost like in a running shoe.

To put a number on it, we used a gauge to check how much force is needed to bend the Outpulse Mid to a 90-degree angle. Our measurements showed 27.0N which is 60% less than it takes an average boot!

Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 27.0N
Average 44.9N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
16.6N
Stiffness
84.7N

Difference in stiffness in cold

We were impressed to find that the shoe doesn't lose its flexibility even in low temperatures.

After spending 20 minutes in the freezer, this Salomon boot only stiffened up by 12.7%! Whereas most boots got at least 40% stiffer.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Difference in stiffness in cold
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 12.7%
Average 25.4%
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
100%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

If you wake us up in the middle of the night asking what the grippiest hiking boot brand is, Salomon will be the answer.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX contragrip

The Contragrip outsole of the Outpulse Mid GTX showed excellent traction capacity on roots, rocks, slabs, and downhills. But it's just not meant for anything more technical or soft (mud, snow). Measuring the boot's lug depth with a caliper returned 3.5 mm which is actually shallower than average.

If you need a more aggressive bite, you will appreciate the 5-mm deep treads on the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Lug depth
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 3.5 mm
Average 4.2 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
3.0 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

With their streamlined profiles, Salomon boots tend to be very close-fitting. For our medium-width feet, the Outpulse Mid GTX had a one-to-one fit, so we cannot recommend this model for wide feet.

This experience was clearly reflected in our toebox measurements. In the widest part of the boot's forefoot, our caliper showed 100.3 mm. A little narrower than average.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 100.3 mm
Average 101.8 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
95.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
110.2 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

But it gets dangerously narrower around the big toe. Our caliper measurements here returned 75.3 which is also on the narrower side of the spectrum.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 75.3 mm
Average 78.4 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
67.6 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
91.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

A fully gusseted neoprene-like tongue does an amazing job of keeping water and debris at bay. We found that it enhanced not only the boot's waterproofing capacity but also its midfoot hold.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX Both sides (full)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The Outpulse boot has a reasonably padded tongue that is 7.7 mm thick. It is a little thinner than the average but still enough to keep us comfortable and protected from lace bites.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Tongue padding
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX 7.7 mm
Average 11.0 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
5.9 mm
Tongue padding
22.3 mm

Heel tab

The pull tab design on this Salomon boot is pretty funky! It not only adds a stylish touch but also proves to be quite functional.

It was quite easy to grip even with our gloves on. Given the boot's slim build, we found this add-on very handy for getting the Outpulse on.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Heel tab
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX Pull tab

Removable insole

For those who wear custom orthotics, this Salomon boot's insole is easily removable.

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Removable insole
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Unfortunately, this Salomon offering wouldn't shine in the dark... But the Hoka Trail Code GTX would!

Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX Reflective elements
Test results
Outpulse Mid GTX No