- The boot of choice for multi-day hikes
- Excellent grip
- Supportive midsole
- Detailed ground feel
- Great ankle support
- Perfect lacing system
- Midsole may be thin for some
- Very stiff in colder climates
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX review and lab test
The 4th edition of Salomon’s X Ultra line of hiking shoes has kept a lot of features from previous versions, with a couple of noticeable differences.
For a mid-height Gore-Tex hiking boot, the X Ultra 4 is insanely lightweight. To achieve this Salomon has made some design decisions that might polarise wearers. Aside from this, it’s a brilliant boot, as we expect from a name like Salomon.
Who the hiking shoe is for
The Salomon X Ultra 4 is a perfect shoe for longer, multi-day hikes with ankle support to help you carry the weight needed for these trips. Thanks to its lightweight construction, more customizable lacing and waterproofing, this is a great option for long distances where your feet’s comfort is of the utmost importance.
Who the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is not for
There’s probably a better option out there for you if:
- You prefer breathability and saving a few extra grammes, the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX is a better option
- You’re in need of serious ankle support, the Salomon Quest 4 GTX is there to protect you.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX can take you further
Coming in at 14.5oz (412g) in US size 10, the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is super lightweight, which is incredibly welcome in any long-distance hiking boot. The energy saved over tens of thousands of footsteps trumps most other weight factors on trails.
The X Ultra 4 Mid GTX runs a little large, but I would recommend going with your regular size if you prefer thick hiking socks.
A midsole that’s sort of there
To get a boot this lightweight there was always going to be a bit of a tradeoff in the midsole. For those who love ground feel, this may actually be a pro. With a heel stack height of 31.5mm there’s actually quite a bit of material underfoot.
Where this becomes a concern for some is in the 54HA Durometer, which is quite stiff. I’m guessing that the TPU “chassis” that is used for support makes it even more firm underfoot.
I personally didn’t mind this so much, and you can replace the insoles with something a bit more padded if you want, which is always a good idea with any long distance hiking shoe anyway.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX has some flex issues
The X Ultra 4 Mid is flexible at normal temperatures, scoring 27.9N in our flex test (avg. 37.4), this allows for lots of contact with the ground and an instantly broken-in feel.
While super comfy, this is also the point of one of my concerns with the boot. We also lab test the flexibility of boots after placing them in a freezer for 20minutes. The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX’s stiffness increased 126% to 63.17N!
This is frankly absurd and I had to run a second test just to be sure. The biggest concern here is that if you’re hiking in cold climates, the boot isn’t going to function in an ideal way.
A welcome respite from quick lacing for some
Salomon’s quick lacing has long been one of my favourite lacing systems on the market. With a self-closing buckle, you can tighten and loosen the shoe in a second.
While useful in some circumstances and with certain foot shapes, it’s not ideal for long distance hiking, especially if you have wide feet and you can’t get a perfect, customised fit. The X Ultra 4 Mid GTX uses a more traditional lacing system to provide a firm lock through the ankle.
This means that you can adjust the forefoot as needed, allowing for some wider feet. This also allows you to leave a bit of space in the ankle if needed (long-hikes result in swollen joints), whilst keeping the forefoot tight.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is more supportive than it looks
Although a mid-height boot, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX provides more support that I expected. With a high flare in the collar and a TPU “chassis” within the midsole, my ankle was far more secure that usual.
I felt confident on rocky terrain with weight, and would probably trust this as much as a full height boot.
I’m always confident with Salomon’s outsoles, the Contragrip works wonders in any shoe.
There are 41 rubber lugs that are 5.1 mm deep. Alongside a relatively flexible midsole, this offers heaps of traction on any surface, from dry and dusty to wet and boggy.
I will say, 41 lugs are quite a lot which can be great, but if you’re often going through super muddy terrain you may want to opt for something with fewer lugs and greater spacing
I’m a big fan of the heel lug on the outsole as well, which is there to help brake on descents. This is quite a common feature in hiking shoes and boots these days.
Gore-Tex is well implemented in the X Ultra 4 Mid GTX
I’m often one to suggest that our focus on Gore-Tex and waterproofing shoes is a bit mis-led. More often than not a hiking shoe is better without Gore-Tex but with lots of breathability to allow them to dry out.
Being targeted at longer distances and multi-day hikes however, I really like the Gore-Tex in the X Ultra 4 Mid. The waterproofing works when submerged for over a minute and the gusseted tongue and higher ankle collar help keep water overflowing.
I would always recommend a pair of gaiters to stop anything rolling down your legs and into the boot, but aside from that, the Gore-Tex gets huge tick from me.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is a super interesting hiking boot. It has the weight of a hiking shoe but the protection, grip and waterproofing of a serious boot. Perfect in many conditions this is a go-to boot for most hikes. Definitely reconsider if you’re looking to do some winter walking, as the inconsistent flex is a problem for me.
Complete lab-specs overview
|Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX|
|Flexibility of the shoe (N)||
|Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N)||63.2|
|Flexibility of the shoe (% of change)||126.1|
|Lace slip test with the knot (N)||36.3|
|Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||4.0|
|Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||2.0|
|Thickness - Tongue (mm)||17.09|
|Width Upper - Forefoot (mm)||98.67|
|Width Upper - Heel (mm)||
|Lace Stretch (1-5 scale, 5 being the most stretchy)||2.0|
|Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||3.0|
|Thickness of Heel Counter (mm)||12.99|
|Durometer Toe Guard (Room temperature) (HA)||87.5|
|Tongue: gusset type||Full|
|Heel: pull tab||Yes|
|Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm)||106.6|
|Width Midsole - Heel (mm)||84.4|
|Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm)||20.5|
|Stack - Heel with insole (mm)||31.5|
|Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA)||54|
|Durometer Midsole Heel (Freezer) (HA)||56|
|Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm)||9.7|
|Lugs Depth (mm)||5.2|
|Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC)||82.0|
|Insole Heel Thickness (mm)||7.65|