- Exceptional durability
- Top-notch waterproofing
- Excellent impact protection
- Highly secure ankle support
- Fantastic stability
- Comfortable in-boot feel
- Effective grip on various terrain
- Fits as expected
- A bit heavy
- Gets very stiff in cold
Who should buy
Having tried and tested numerous hiking boots, we still believe that the Salomon Quest 4 GTX is the GOAT in its category. We highly recommend investing in this boot if:
- you need an exceptionally supportive backpacking footwear for multi-day trips
- a 100% waterproof boot with phenomenal grip on wet surfaces
- an extra hard-wearing boot for tough terrain
Who should NOT buy
Given how much technology is packed into the Quest 4 GTX, it could be too much of a good thing if you need a boot for moderate hikes. For smoother trails and less demanding adventures, we find the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX more suitable. It is lighter, more pliable, cheaper, and yet has all the essentials for an enjoyable day hike.
And if you do need a multi-day backpacking boot, another excellent option from Salomon is the Quest Element GTX. Featuring less foot support than the Quest 4, this boot is more suitable for mid-range backpack loads (10-20 lbs). But in return, it offers the benefit of lower weight (3.9 oz lighter than Quest 4!), higher flexibility, and lower price ($50 less!).
Forget about summer hikes if you intend to wear the Salomon Quest 4 GTX. With its top-notch waterproofing, high cut, and generous padding, there is no room for being breezy.
In our breathability test below, we use a machine to pump smoke through the uppers of both boots to see how easily it escapes through the fabric. As you can see, there is not even a hint of vapor in the Quest. Thus, we gave it the lowest breathability score of 1 out of 5.
As our follow-up transparency test shows, the boot has zero perforations or potential ventilation areas.
|Quest 4 GTX||1|
The rugged design of this Salomon boot kind of reminds us of a fortified castle with multiple layers of defense (and a moat with crocodiles).
In the upper, the Quest 4 uses a mix of Nubuck leather, sturdy Cordura-like textile, and additional rubberized overlays. As you can imagine, our attempt to put a dent in the boot's upper was unsuccessful, to say the least.
Drilling the toebox for a good 12 seconds with a Dremel, all we got was a minor scratch that didn't affect the boot's integrity at all.
On a 1-5 scale where 5 is the most durable, we could readily give it a 10!
For reference, here is what the same durability test did to a regular day hiking boot from Hoka.
The Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX only got 1 out of 5 for toebox durability
|Quest 4 GTX||5|
Heel padding durability
We subjected another potentially frail part of the boot to our Dremel test - the heel padding.
Applying the tool for 4 seconds straight with a consistent speed (5K RPM) and force (3.2N), the result was just as stunning as in the toebox. The lining was nearly unscathed!
Based on how small the damage was, we rated the durability of the boot's heel padding with the highest rating of 5. No need to worry about chafing your tall socks against the boot.
|Quest 4 GTX||5|
Given how much is expected of a hiking boot of this caliber, Salomon did its best with the Quest 4 GTX.
First of all, the brand used a nice and hard rubber compound to make up the outsole. Measuring it with our durometer, we got a reading of 88.3 HC. This puts the boot on the harder side of the spectrum which also means that it is harder to wear out.
|Quest 4 GTX||88.3 HC|
We couldn't help but drill the outsole with our trusty Dremel too. After 22 seconds of torture at the highest speed of 10K RPM, we didn't even get through 1/3 of the lug!
According to our tread gauge measurement, the damage was only 1 mm deep.
|Quest 4 GTX||0.7 mm|
Considering that the boot's outsole layer is 2.4 mm thick and the entire outsole (lugs included) is 7 mm thick, there is A LOT of rubber to go through before you can claim the pair to be worn out.
Thus, we expect a long and happy life from the Salomon Quest 4 GTX.
|Quest 4 GTX||2.4 mm|
The Quest 4 GTX is covered with multiple protective overlays to enhance durability and protect the foot from various outdoor hazards.
Most notably, the boot has a beefy toe bumper. Putting it through its paces on rocky terrain and light scrambling, we were amazed at its ability to keep the toes safe and sound.
The Salomon Quest 4 GTX is built like a tank for the trails and it screams heavy straight from the photo.
Thus, it was not surprising to see 23.4 oz (663g) on the scale when weighing the boot in a men's US size 9. While this is significantly heavier than hiking boots on average, it is an expected weight for a backpacking boot of this kind.
|Quest 4 GTX||23.39 oz (663g)|
|Average||18.38 oz (521g)|
To help you cover long miles with a heavy pack on your back, the Quest 4 GTX is equipped with plenty of underfoot cushioning.
In the heel, we found that the stack height comes in at 38 mm which is slightly above the average of day hiking boots.
|Quest 4 GTX||38.0 mm|
In the forefoot, the boot's stack height lowers down to 20 mm. This, on the contrary, is a few millimeters thinner than the average.
We assume that it was made lower on purpose, to help the boot bend more easily in this area.
|Quest 4 GTX||20.0 mm|
Based on our stack height measurements, we see a huge 18-mm difference in height between the heel and the toes. That's about 5 mm higher than the average and may feel too much for some hikers.
Personally, we never found the boot's drop to be troublesome as it gave our heels plenty of impact protection upon landings. And even though it mutes out the ground feel big time, it also minimizes foot fatigue at the end of the long day.
|Quest 4 GTX||18.0 mm|
Salomon was never famous for soft cushioning and the Quest 4 GTX is no exception. Pressing a durometer against the boot's primary foam, the tool showed 27 HA.
That's exactly the same as the average - neither too firm nor soft. Moderately firm is the best way to describe it.
|Quest 4 GTX||27.0 HA|
Difference in midsole softness in cold
Most likely you will be wearing this Salomon boot in lower temperatures and harsher climates. For that reason, we had to mimic cold weather conditions by placing the boot into the freezer for 20 minutes.
After that, we repeated the durometer measurement and found that the boot's midsole only firmed up to 32.9 HA, similar to the other hiking boots we tested.
Do expect the boot to feel a bit firmer compared to what it felt like at room temperature.
Measuring the difference in softness, we found that the Quest 4 GTX firmed up by 21.7%. That is an average difference compared to the rest of our hiking boots.
|Quest 4 GTX||21.7%|
Salomon went for a slightly thinner than average insole in the Quest 4 GTX. Measuring its thickness in the heel, we got 5.3 mm.
|Quest 4 GTX||5.3 mm|
Lateral stability test
Stability is the Quest's second name. There aren't that many backpacking boots that could provide the same level of steadiness as this Salomon offering.
There are so many stabilizing components embedded into the boot but the absolute leader is the brand's proprietary ADV-C 4D Chassis. Wrapping around the heel and sides of the boot, this uber-stiff component clutches the heel and ankle very firmly in place.
As a result, this whole structure prevented our ankles from rolling or wobbling every time we took a step. Having so much stability not only made us feel more surefooted but also decreased foot fatigue significantly over the course of the long hike. That's because none of our energy was wasted trying to stabilize the foot on uneven terrain.
The Salomon Quest 4 GTX is the quintessence of stiffness. Attempting to twist the boot in our hands was to no avail because of the boot's chassis, supportive overlays, and sturdy materials.
For that reason, we rated its torsional rigidity with a maximum of 5 out of 5. This hiking boot simply doesn't have ankle rolls in its vocabulary.
|Quest 4 GTX||5|
Heel counter stiffness
In addition to the stiff base, the Quest also comes with a super rigid and secure heel counter.
Assessing its stiffness in our manual test, we gave it a solid 5 out of 5. We never experienced heel slippage or anything even close to that while testing this Salomon boot.
|Quest 4 GTX||5|
Midsole width in the forefoot
The boot comes with a fairly wide base that doesn't go over the board.
Measuring the widest part of the sole in the forefoot, we got 116.5 mm. That's a few millimeters wider than average, making our steps more confident on mixed terrain.
|Quest 4 GTX||116.5 mm|
Midsole width in the heel
Surprisingly, the widest part of the heel wasn't as wide as we expected. With a caliper measurement of 85.7 mm, it is half a centimeter narrower than average.
If you are someone who relies on a really wide landing area to feel confident, have a look at the Kaha 2 GTX from Hoka (106.1 mm).
Actually, we didn't mind the narrower heel of the Salomon Quest because it proved to be much more maneuverable when navigating small rocks.
|Quest 4 GTX||85.7 mm|
According to the product description, the Quest 4 GTX "respects the natural flexion of your foot." We found that to be partially true because the boot indeed felt flexible enough for a rugged backpacking boot.
However, we don't want you to be misled by that statement as this Salomon boot is still very much on the stiff side. Because of its burly construction, it required as much as 62.3N of force to bend the boot to a 90-degree angle. That's about 40% stiffer than our lab-tested hiking boots on average.
|Quest 4 GTX||62.3N|
Difference in stiffness in cold
You must also be prepared for that stiffness to skyrocket in low temperatures. After keeping the boot in the freezer for 20 minutes, our force gauge returned a whopping 85.3N!
Having a pretty stiff setup to begin with, the Quest 4 GTX gets a whole 37% stiffer in cold conditions!
|Quest 4 GTX||37%|
Grip / Traction
Based on our caliper measurement, the Quest 4 GTX has a lug depth of 4.7 mm.
This makes the boot toothy enough for a wide range of surfaces:
- wet roots
- mossy logs
- loose rocks
- deep mud
- creek crossings
Salomon uses its proprietary Contagrip rubber which is not very soft and tacky (as we saw in our hardness test earlier) but we found it to be quite capable on challenging terrain.
In muddy areas, the boot's widely spaced lugs were really effective in shedding the dirt and preventing its build-up underfoot.
|Quest 4 GTX||4.7 mm|
Size and fit
Toebox width at the widest part
To our medium-wdth feet, the Salomon Quest 4 GTX fits exactly as expected in our regular US boot size 9. It holds the foot very firmly in the heel and midfoot but leaves a little breathing room around the toes.
In the widest part of the forefoot, we measured the boot's width at 105.2 mm. This is a few millimeters wider than hiking boots on average.
|Quest 4 GTX||105.2 mm|
Toebox width at the big toe
Measuring the toebox width around the big toe, we got 81.2 mm. That is also notably wider than average. Having some wiggle room is essential to accommodate swollen feet and thicker socks.
The only downside is that this Salomon boot doesn't come in multiple widths. If you need a wide-width backpacking boot, have a look at the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX.
|Quest 4 GTX||81.2 mm|
Tongue: gusset type
As expected from a waterproof hiking boot, the tongue is fully gusseted in the Quest 4 GTX. The attachments extend pretty high up the shin, allowing you to step into deeper puddles trouble-free.
|Quest 4 GTX||Both sides (full)|
The lacing system is very well integrated into the boot's supportive features. Once we have it all cinched up, the Quest 4 GTX braces the foot very firmly.
One of the locking eyelets is placed near the ankle bone. It helps to create a stronger lockdown around the ankle which helps with stability on steep slopes.
In spite of all its ruggedness, the Salomon Quest 4 GTX felt pretty comfortable from the inside. The padding, the Ortholite insole, the lining - these all work together perfectly to create a pleasant in-shoe experience. They help to make the break-in period in this boot feel less of a chore.
The tongue is very adequately padded in the Quest 4 GTX. Measuring it with our caliper returned 10.7 mm, nearly the same as the average.
|Quest 4 GTX||10.7 mm|
A handy finger loop at the back helps get inside the boot quicker.
|Quest 4 GTX||Finger loop|
If you prefer to swap insoles or need a custom orthotic, the boot's removable Ortholite insole allows for that.
|Quest 4 GTX||Yes|
There are no reflective elements on the Quest 4 GTX from Salomon.
|Quest 4 GTX||No|