Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX Hiking Shoes Review
The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX low hiking shoes are a perfect example of how shoes have come very far in terms of what we call features and shoe technology. A buyer certainly gets more for their investment and needs to be able to decide upon the shoes' features, comfort, performance, protection, value, materials and durability. These are the main points to consider when you choose a hiking shoe.
This shoe is tried and tested and here we take a closer look at it; step by step we check out what works for most people with this model and what cons might need improving as a result of feedback from users. This certainly is among the best hiking shoes.
Good on slopes
Wide sizes available
Rubber speed lace system
Some hikers don't like flexible soles
Warm feet in hot weather
When putting on this shoe, it feels very much like a standard trail shoe; lots of padding in the collar and tongue. These feel light and offer moderate flexibility. The cushioning is sculptured and feels comfortable. The shoe feels a lot like the Merrell Moab 2, but less thickness for under the feet. Wearing these gives the comfort of a well-designed trail shoe while being more specific for hiking use through extra comfort and protection.
Protection must work together with comfort; these are the key requirements from a hiking shoe. If these performance features are not equal, it is fair to say that a shoe will not perform to the standards needed by the user.
The makers know this and designing -n comfort features is an ever-evolving process. The positive features for protection and comfort start at the base of the shoe with a mudguard that protects the medial and lateral sides while hiking through built-up mud on wet trails. Mud debris is unforgiving and tends to cling to shoes and to prevent this, we see an innovative protective feature.
An anti-debris feature for the upper construction of the shoe deters debris becoming trapped between the shoe foot-bed which is constructed as a mid-sole energy cell and supports your foot. Does this mid-sole feature perform to its design purpose? Feedback from the majority of users does suggest this designed-in protection works and results in comfort.
The EVA foam shoe system is comfortable and very supportive while also ensuring high performance for protection against foot-strike and shock-attenuation. The more effective the shock absorption, the better the feeling for comfort.
For protection against wet weather and mud, the shoes are constructed from 100% synthetic materials. Modern synthetics have evolved to become highly effective for use in hiking boots and shoes, and these feature a seriously heavy-duty grippy rubber sole; the sole is protective while ensuring maximum traction.
The use of Gore-Tex for protection from the wet is a sound approach; we are looking at synthetic materials which have very high waterproofing capability. Granted, very few materials can 100% keep out water, there will always be vulnerabilities. Seams-stitch holes can be a problem and so in these shoes, the seams are sealed. For shoes and boots, the deeper the water the more likely water will find a way through, especially via top areas in footwear such as ankle cuffs and lace-up systems.
A hiking foray is pointless if wearing shoes or boots with underperforming traction. Not only is a lack of good traction dangerous and can result in falls, bruises, cuts or broken bones, but it will turn hiking into a frustrating and miserable outdoor experience.
Looking closely at the traction capability in the X Ultra 3 GTX, we note the impressive purpose of design-in combination with the use of robust and durable material. Traction is very effective because Salomon claims the traction is designed to work for all types of terrains such as mud, moderate snow, hard dirt and gravel. The rubber compound is highly durable and tends to show little signs of wear even with extensive use.
An extra feature for traction is designed into the heel area of the shoe and is effective due to the gill-like designs which bite into the ground to work with the built-on Contagrip outsoles. All in all, traction is impressive, reliable and consistent.
While traction is very good, the actual shows are light and weigh-in for only 1 lb. 10.8 oz which is much lighter than many other similar hiking shoes.
These do give stability and support and this feels tangible as soon as you put them. You can't expect the level of support and stability given by a mountaineering boot or a full-blown hiking boot, though these work well for a day-long hike and are even good for moderate backpacking.
The low profile mid-sole allows for a flexible shoe, good on trails with slopes and lots of rocks; if you don't like a flexible midsole design, it is worth checking out Salomon’s Quest-4D which gives a more rigid and less flexible sole design.
Comparison to Other Hiking Shoes and Boots
In comparison to other hiking boots and hiking shoes, breathability is basically ok but could be better. These shoes use Gore-Tex and it does help insulate the feet in cold weather. The best way to describe the breathability level of these Salomon shoes is that on a warmer day, after a day's hiking, you will notice your feet are warm and possibly a little sweaty. Gore-Tex shoes in hot weather require some exceptional functional design work to achieve good breathability.
There are other brands that offer even less breathability and there are options on the marketing offering exceptional breathability in hiking footwear. For breathability, these shoes are mid-range performers.
In comparison to other hiking shoe brands, these are notably better for traction. Salomon has gone further for traction with the unique heel design for walking up or down slopes comfortably and with stability. To find a pair of hiking shoes with equal traction performance, you can expect to pay more.
For protection, we note that most hiking shoes in this range of design work, features and price, offer similar levels of protection though they often do this with alternative designed-in features. This shoe stands out as having a more flexible mid-sole than many other options and the heel design allowing for uphill and downhill stability and comfort walking is perfected uniquely through an exclusive Salomon design.
Comparing the Lacing System
The speed laces system uses rubberized laces; it is quick, easy and secure and unique to Salomon and Adidas. We view these lace systems as better than many other options due to functional design, but user feedback points out one draw-back. You might find yourself stopping a few times during a long hike to re-adjust the lacing system. On a positive point, re-adjusting any lacing system is a sensible action as feet do swell during long walking.
This option compares well against other brands offering this type of hiking shoe and in some areas of design, Salomon offers more.
If you are looking for a shoe that you put on, go hiking and you get zero issues, these must be a high choice. They are worth adding to your kit.