Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoe Review | The Best Hiking Shoe?

Finding the perfect pair of hiking shoes can be a long and arduous task – especially if you want a pair that can perform exceptionally over a wide variety of terrain, and offer superior support without weighing a tonne.

But luckily, it’s not impossible. The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes are Salomon’s flagship hiking shoes and from my experience, offer outstanding support and comfort over technical terrain for hours on end.

With that said, these shoes are not perfect. In this post, I will provide my honest review of the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes, highlighting my favourite and least favourite features. You’ll also find detailed information on each component of the X Ultra 4’s after 4 months of heavy use hiking in New Zealand, plus who and what these hiking shoes are most suited to.

Salomon X 4 Ultra on rocks

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My Honest Review Of The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes

Quick Info

Price: $300 255 AUD
Upper Material: Synthetic Textile
Waterproofing: Yes – Gor-Tex
Weight: 399g (per shoe for size US8.5 women’s)
Width: Regular
Colours: Black/opal blue, carbon/stone blue, black/vanilla (plus more)
Sustainability:
N/A
Warranty: 2 year quality warranty
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Alternatives: Women’s Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Boot, Men’s Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Boot

Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoe

Positives:

  • Exceptional support for technical terrain
  • Great waterproofing
  • Good arch support for flat feet
  • Comfortable for all-day use
  • Stylish for everyday wear
  • Lightweight

Negatives:

  • Not sustainable
  • The durability is questionable
  • The quick-laces restrict customisable fit
  • Not as much cushioning underfoot compared to other options

Who Are The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes For?

Climbing up tangled tree roots on the Falls Creek Route wearing my Salomon X Ultra 4 Hiking Shoes

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes are built to help you withstand the harsh abuse that’s inevitable on technical hiking trails. They offer incredible support for a low-cut shoe, thanks to their innovative ADV-C Chassis and a slightly higher-than-usual collar that work together to provide increased protection for your ankles.

Their lightweight design keeps you nimble throughout a long day on the trails and the Gore-Tex outer ensures you stay dry while encountering light rain or crossing shallow streams.

The insole of the X Ultra 4’s is a Molded Ortholite sockliner that provides extra support for your arches – this is a controversial feature that is either loved or hated. I personally have very flat feet and the high arch support prevents me from having to add orthotics to my shoes. However, Dylan has medium arches and finds the arch support of the Salomon X Ultra’s uncomfortable.

Size and Fit Of The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes

Walking across rocks in my Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX hiking shoes

I was pleasantly surprised when I tried on the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes and found that the sizing was true to my usual size – well, mostly. I am usually a size 9 US, however, that generally relates to a 39 or 40 in Euro sizes. But for Salomon shoes, the size 9 US equates to a size 41 ⅓.

In regards to the fit of the X Ultra 4’s, you’ll find a narrow midfoot that widens out for a roomy toe box. This design ensures a locked-in feel for the heel and restricts unwanted movement without suffocating your toes. Personally, I love this design and find the locked-in feel provides increased stability. However, it is an odd fit that certainly doesn’t work for every foot – especially if you have wide feet.

Weight

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes have an exceptionally low weight compared to the level of support and stability they provide. Of course, you’ll find much lighter designs such as The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Futurelight or the Hoka Speedgoat 5, however, the X Ultra’s will outperform these lighter shoes in stability and support.

Comfort

Hiking on a mountain top on the Routeburn Track wearing my Salomon X Ultra 4 hiking shoes

For the first couple of wears, I found that my heels rubbed on the stitching and caused some small blisters. Luckily, the heel softened quickly and I now have no issues with blisters – even after completing the Falls Creek Route – an intense walk in Milford Sound – where I had to deal with wet feet and uneven terrain for 6 hours!

Furthermore, the increased stability does require you to sacrifice a touch of comfort and soft cushioning underfoot. I have worn these shoes all day on easy walking trails and around town with no sore points at the end. But on technical trails or when covering long distances quickly, I have noticed that my feet get a little achy.

That said, it is a small price that I am happy to pay for the extra support and stability I receive on rough and rugged trails.

Lastly, the Quicklace system – while awesome for saving time – has given me a sore point on the top of my foot when I have them done up too tight. Unfortunately, this system doesn’t allow for customisable tightening and I’ve had to loosen them more than I’d like around my ankles in order to avoid any pressure points.

Breathability

Hiking up a rocky hiking trail wearing the Salomon X Ultra 4 hiking shoes

I cannot fault the breathability of the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes. Usually, you would expect to lose some breathability in a waterproof shoe, but the lightweight synthetic upper provides ample airflow even on hot days.

That said, I will confess that I generally don’t have any issues with sweaty feet. However, reviews for the X Ultra GTX have backed up my claim that the breathability is exceptional for a waterproof hiking shoe.

Waterproofing Of The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Shoes

Hiking in the dense forests of Milford Sound wearing Salomon X Ultra 4's in the wet

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes not only feature a Gore-Tex membrane, but the upper material is also water repellent and the gusseted tongue prevents any water seeping in from the top.

I have splashed through countless streams in my pair of Salomon X Ultra 4 shoes and not once has the water breached the material. The only times that my feet have gotten wet is in heavy rain when it seeped in from my pants, or when I have accidentally submerged my foot beyond my ankle.

Stability

One of the main reasons I chose the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes was due to its outstanding stability – especially for a low-cut, lightweight hiking shoe!

The ADV-C Chassis design locks in your midfoot, keeping your heel in place and preventing unwanted movement while you’re hiking on uneven terrain. But while the heel is stiff, the front of the shoe remains flexible to enable increased comfort for long days on the trail.

I have walked across some truly rough terrain in my X Ultra 4’s, carrying my loaded Osprey Mira 32 Daypack, and have continued to feel stable with no risk of rolled ankles.

Support

The superior stability and thick midsole provide ample support and protection from sharp rocks underfoot. I have found that the ADV-C Chassis not only increases stability, but it provides a high level of support that is essential for me.

I suffer from early-onset arthritis in my knees, which generally forces me to wear my burly Lowa Mauria GTX Hiking Boots even on short day hikes. But I have thankfully found that the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes provide enough support and stability for my ankles, which relieves some pressure from my knees

Traction

Hiking up steep rock in the Salomon X Ultra 4 Hiking Shoes

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX shoes feature a Contragrip MA outsole with Chevron lugs. The Contragrip MA is their most versatile rubber blend that provides exceptional grip on a wide range of surfaces. The Chevron lugs (the raised rubber on the bottom of your shoe) are tough, sufficiently deep and just flexible enough to bite into soft surfaces – without sacrificing durability.

I have worn my Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX shoes on a huge range of terrain, including slick boulders, deep mud and loose scree. In every circumstance, the traction has performed very well and allowed me to feel confident on any hiking trail.

Durability Of The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes

Hiking through a creek on the Falls Creek Route in New Zealand

Sadly, this is where the Salomon X Ultra’s fell short for me. At first, I was extremely impressed with the durability of these hiking shoes – having put them through some serious abuse over the first few months of use.

But while the outer material held relatively strong, with only a few scuffs, I began to notice some big holes forming on the inner stitching on the heel. These holes continue to grow and give me blisters so I have had to make a warranty claim and chose to get a refund.

I was sad to get only a short 4 months of use out of the Salomon X Ultra 4s. I chose not to get a replacement as I need a pair of shoes that will stand strong against harsh terrain.

However, I feel it is imperative to add that I covered a great deal of terrain over those 4 months – much of which was boggy, shaley or very loose. So for the average hiker that hits the trails once a week or less, then I would expect you’d get far better longevity from these hiking shoes.

Features

Lace Design

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX hiking shoes are constructed with their patented Quicklace system. This system features a pull-tab style lace where you simply pull on the cord to tighten and secure the tab. The lace then rolls up nice and neatly and can be tucked into the top of the tongue.

While this system saves time and prevents you from having to retighten your laces, the inability to customise the fit is a touch annoying. What I mean by this is that when you pull the laces, they tighten evenly across your foot and there is no way to loosen a single section.

I have found that when I attain the perfect tightness around my ankles, the tops of my feet begin to ache. This forces me to have the shoes slightly looser than I would like.

Hiking up a steep rocky trail in my Salomon X Ultra 4's

Tongue

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX shoes have a gusseted tongue, which means that the tongue is connected to the upper material with no gaps. This increases the waterproofing ability of the hiking shoe and prevents debris from getting in.

As I mentioned above, I have submerged my foot above the corners of the tongue without any water seeping in.

Toe Protection

Product photo of the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoe

You’ll find a thick protective toecap on the Salomon X Ultra 4’s, which sufficiently saves your toes from rock strikes. In addition, a protective mudguard wraps around the entire shoe to enhance the durability and waterproofing abilities.

Padded Ankle Collar

The ankle collar of the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX shoe sits just beneath the ankle, with a soft cuff to avoid rubbing. The height of the collar is slightly higher than the usual hiking shoe, which can feel restricting for some. However, I find it offers additional support.

Insole

Walking on rocks in my Salomon X Ultra 4 Hiking Shoes

Often a hiking shoe is fit with a basic insole that is super uncomfortable and needs to be replaced. However, I have found that the molded Ortholite sockliner offers sufficient comfort underfoot and provides outstanding support for my flat feet.

This is lucky because the design of the insole in the X Ultra 4s doesn’t look like it can be replaced!

Sustainability

Unfortunately, this is where Salomon falls short. They have a low rating for overall sustainability on websites such as Good On You and the Shop Ethical guide. However, their sustainability goals listed on their website is promising. I hope to see a greater focus in sustainability from Salomon in the near future.

Value Of The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX retail price is $320 AUD or $160 US, though you will commonly find them at a greatly discounted rate through Wildfire Sports or Backcountry.

This sits the X Ultra’s around the middle price point compared to its competition. There are certainly cheaper options on the market, but you would be hard pressed to find another hiking shoe that matches the X Ultra’s perfect blend of stability and breathability for the same price.

My Experience With The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes

Looking out at the massive mountains on the Falls Creek Route in Milford Sound

Why I Chose The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes

My number one reason for choosing the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes was for its high arch support and exceptional stability. I was searching for a shoe that I wouldn’t need to add orthotics to, and that would keep my ankles locked in place. 

How They Perform

Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised with the performance of the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX shoes after four months of heavy use on demanding hiking trails in New Zealand. Their support, traction and waterproof abilities have passed with flying colours – but unfortunately, the durability has come up short.

I expected a little more from Salomon’s flagship hiking shoe in terms of durability, but as I mentioned above – I put them through some serious tests.

Furthermore, they required a few walks around town to break them in as they initially gave me blisters on my heel. Ans on occasion, I have had a mild amount of aching in my footpad after some of our bigger walks.

Where Do I Wear My Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes?

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes are my go-to when I want to move quickly over a variety of terrains. I pick my X Ultra’s for anything from technical day hikes to long days walking around the city.

But due to my bad knees, I will choose my hiking boots for any overnight hikes or when I need to carry a heavy backpack.

Final Thoughts

With all that said, I can confidently recommend the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes to anyone who is searching for the perfect balance between superior support and stability and lightweight comfort. In particular, if you need extra arch or ankle support then these are a fantastic choice.

Just be wary that if you do a lot of hiking – we covered 520 km over 3.5 months – over rough terrain, then you may be a little disappointed with the durability of the X Ultra’s. But for the average hiker, I believe you will get much longer out of these hiking shoes.

Hiking through rough tree routes on the Tutoko Route in Milford Sound

I hope that this review has helped you make your decision on the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about these shoes and I will provide you with an unbiased and honest answer.

Happy Hiking 🙂