Our verdict

It's hard not to give too much praise to the Salomon Quest 4 GTX. As one of our top picks for backpacking, it is a highly supportive and hard-wearing boot that keeps our feet feeling fresh over tough terrain and long miles. With its GTX waterproofing and high collar, it keeps our feet dry and warm at all times. We believe that at £240, you do get what you pay for.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • A bit heavy
  • Gets very stiff in cold

Audience verdict

85
Great!
  • Top 20% most popular hiking boots

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

Salomon Quest 4 GTX review

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.

Another excellent backpacking option is the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX. A whopping 5 oz lighter, it is also softer, cushier, and more comfortable around the foot than the Quest 4 GTX.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX lab test

Breathability

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 vapour 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.

Test results
Quest 4 GTX 1
Average 1.6
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

The rugged design of this Salomon boot kind of reminds us of a fortified castle with multiple layers of defence (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!

Salomon Quest 4 GTX toebox durability test

For reference, here is what the same durability test did to a regular day hiking boot from Hoka.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX vs Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX toebox durability

The Hoka Anacapa Mid GTX only got 1 out of 5 for toebox durability

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

Salomon Quest 4 GTX heel padding durability test

Test results
Quest 4 GTX 5
Average 4
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Given how much is expected of a hiking boot of this calibre, 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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Outsole hardness
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 88.3 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

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX outsole durability test

Test results
Quest 4 GTX 0.7 mm
Average 0.7 mm
Compared to 18 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Outsole thickness
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 2.4 mm
Average 3.0 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1.8 mm
Outsole thickness
5.6 mm

Extra protection

The Quest 4 GTX is covered with multiple protective overlays to enhance durability and protect the foot from various outdoor hazards.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX toe bumper

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.

Weight

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Weight
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 23.39 oz (663g)
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

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Heel stack
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 38.0 mm
Average 36.3 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
26.2 mm
Heel stack
46.9 mm

Forefoot stack

In the forefoot, the boot's stack height lowers down to 20 mm. This, on the contrary, is a few millimetres thinner than the average.

We assume that it was made lower on purpose, to help the boot bend more easily in this area.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Forefoot stack
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 20.0 mm
Average 22.5 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
17.0 mm
Forefoot stack
30.7 mm

Drop

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Drop

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 minimises foot fatigue at the end of the long day.

Test results
Quest 4 GTX 18.0 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.

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Midsole softness

That's exactly the same as the average - neither too firm nor soft. Moderately firm is the best way to describe it.

Test results
Quest 4 GTX 27.0 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
Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 21.7%
Average 19.3%
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Insole thickness

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Insole thickness
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 5.3 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

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 stabilising 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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX 4d support

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 stabilise the foot on uneven terrain.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX quality

Torsional rigidity

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.

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

Test results
Quest 4 GTX 5
Average 3.5
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
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 millimetres wider than average, making our steps more confident on mixed terrain.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 116.5 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

Surprisingly, the widest part of the heel wasn't as wide as we expected. With a calliper measurement of 85.7 mm, it is half a centimetre 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 manoeuvrable when navigating small rocks.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 85.7 mm
Average 87.9 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
71.7 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

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.

Test results
Quest 4 GTX 62.3N
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

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!

Test results
Quest 4 GTX 37%
Average 25.4%
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
100%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

Based on our calliper measurement, the Quest 4 GTX has a lug depth of 4.7 mm.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Lug depth

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX outsole

In muddy areas, the boot's widely spaced lugs were really effective in shedding the dirt and preventing its build-up underfoot.

Test results
Quest 4 GTX 4.7 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

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 millimetres wider than hiking boots on average.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 105.2 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

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. 

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 81.2 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

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Quest 4 GTX Both sides (full)

Lacing

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.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX lacing

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.

Comfort

In-boot comfort

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.

Tongue padding

The tongue is very adequately padded in the Quest 4 GTX. Measuring it with our calliper returned 10.7 mm, nearly the same as the average.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Tongue padding
Test results
Quest 4 GTX 10.7 mm
Average 11.0 mm
Compared to 25 hiking boots
Number of shoes
5.9 mm
Tongue padding
22.3 mm

Heel tab

A handy finger loop at the back helps get inside the boot quicker.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Heel tab
Test results
Quest 4 GTX Finger loop

Removable insole

If you prefer to swap insoles or need a custom orthotic, the boot's removable Ortholite insole allows for that.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Removable insole
Test results
Quest 4 GTX Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

There are no reflective elements on the Quest 4 GTX from Salomon.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Reflective elements
Test results
Quest 4 GTX No