The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is a great option for trail runners and day hikers. I’ve had the pleasure of testing these hiking shoes out over the past few weeks during my day hikes around Ho Chi Minh and the Dinh Mountain hiking trail.
Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX
The Salomon’s Contagrip outsoles make this hiking shoe adaptable for hiking trails of all types, regardless of the terrain.
The standout features for me were the padding, outsole selection, waterproofing, and general performance. As low-top, lightweight hiking shoes, they don’t provide enough support for longer backpacking trips or trails where your ankles need more support.
However, this footwear manages to be incredibly versatile without sacrificing any major features that the average hiker could use on a trail.
So, let’s talk a little more about the testing period for these hiking shoes and what makes them stand out so much more from other products we’ve tried.
- Weight: 1 lb. 10 oz. (men’s size 9)
- Advanced Chassis
- Ortholite Insole
- Contagrip Sole
Things We Tested When Reviewing Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX
Our experience with this product has shown us that the synthetic leather that these shoes are made from holds up extremely well in harsh environments.
Usually, the mesh is something that you have to worry about being torn easily, but the leather was strong enough to both guard the mesh and prevent it from getting snagged on any stray objects or tearing.
During my hike, the Dinh Mountain trail could get steep and wet in some areas, so often times my shoes were grating against solid rock. Surprisingly, there was hardly any evidence of this, even on the shoes’ protective toe box and outsoles.
This hiking boot is built with injected-molded EVA foam midsoles, an advanced chassis, and foam cushioning, specially designed to reduce foot soreness. I was pleased with how supportive these gore-tex boots were to my heels and underfoot regions.
For a lightweight running shoe, the Ultra 3 GTX has a great amount of soft padding. Even stepping over jagged areas, where some sharp rocks may have tried to poke into the underside of the shoe, the isolation between my feet and the outside elements was perfect.
The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is designed with the brand’s unique Contagrip soles, which on this particular product, makes the shoe suited for conditions like snow, mud, wet rock, or even plain concrete .
The aggressive lug pattern and deep depth gave me a solid grip, even on rough terrain and rocky trails, which isn’t something a hiking shoe can typically do unless it’s designed specifically for those environments.
The Gore-Tex membrane that these shoes are designed with is also meant to be breathable, to prevent your feet from getting hot or sweaty.
While I didn’t have any significant problems with ventilation during my hike, compared to a non-waterproof model, these hiking shoes do trade some of their breathability to increase their water resistance.
I could see this being a potential downside for some hikers, but then again, this is a lightweight shoe. The decreased ventilation would only be a problem for longer trails or thru-hikes, which these aren’t designed for anyway.
The X Ultra 3 GTX hiking shoes weigh in at 1 lb., or 10.8 oz., making them one of the lightest pairs of trail shoes I’ve ever worn.
While heavier shoes or hiking boots tend to provide more stability by locking in around your ankles, by shaving weight, this trail runner pair manages to perform aggressively well without feeling like the shoes are dragging around your feet.
With this pair of gore-tex boots, we have discovered they also work for all-purpose trail runs, and it’s very easy to take them off and put them on at a moment’s notice, especially if you’re looking to get out on the trail immediately.
Gore-Tex waterproof liners are perhaps the best water-resistant materials in the hiking shoe market.
The synthetic materials that the X Ultra 3 GTX is designed from absorb very little moisture and the small amount that might make it inside is immediately repelled.
However, do keep in mind that this is a low-top trail shoe, meaning that this isn’t something you want to submerge in water. If water seeps over the sides of the shoes, your feet will get wet.
Other than that, the Gore-Tex lining used against outside elements is unparalleled.
As mentioned previously, the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX hiking shoes have a lot of padding.
The Ortholite insoles and contoured EVA heel cups create cushions that support your feet where pressure and tension would usually build.
This forms the X Ultra 3 GTX’s chassis system, which is what makes the shoe so reliable, even on rocky terrain, loose dirt, and uneven surfaces.
Outside of hiking trips and trail runs that would require more than ultralight pack gear, this hiking shoe has been one of the best products I’ve worn for moderate all-terrain traveling.
8. Fit & Sizing
Even though the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is a low-top shoe and doesn’t have a padded collar, it still fits very well around the ankle.
The heel is anatomically sculpted to hold your foot in place, so even when you’re traveling up and down an incline, the shoe is never moving too freely. Moreover, these hiking boots have a good lacing system, designed to provide a snug fit for all foot shapes.
The toes have an adequate amount of space and protection, and the shoe is even offered in a wider sizing option for people who have larger feet. Also, the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX has a mid-top variant, if you appreciate a more traditional boot style.
Additionally, they can be purchased as wide-feet hiking shoes if you need a larger toe box.
Note: If you’re thinking about buying hiking boots with ankle support, see our review of Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX where we examine and test this boot’s mid-cut variant.
How Has It Changed Over the Years?
When compared to the Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX, the Salomon X Ultra 3 doesn’t make too many improvements, which is a good thing.
The X Ultra 2 was a very successful hiking shoe, and the X Ultra 3 replicated that success by only taking consumer feedback into account with this updated version.
The biggest issues people had with the X Ultra 2 were that its fit was a bit too narrow for wide and average-width feet and that its low weight didn’t allow for a lot of protection as a trail runner .
The Salomon X Ultra 3 improves on this by adding a wide toe box near the end of the foot.
Additionally, its weight was increased from 5 oz. to 10.8 oz., keeping its utility as a trail shoe, while also providing enough padding to be classified as a hiking shoe.
Where Does It Stand Compared to Other Products?
1. Salomon XA PRO 3D Gore-Tex
Due to that difference, the X Ultra 3 has superior cushioning and traction for various terrains.
The XA Pro 3D Gore-Tex boots are made with lighter materials and only perform well on non-technical terrain and simple surfaces like concrete and flatlands, but trying to do anything more with them could cause discomfort to your feet.
In terms of utility, the Ultra 3 GTX is the clear winner, since it does everything that the XA Pro 3D is meant to do and more.
2. Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof
is designed to tackle a moderate day or multi-day backpacking trip for the average hiker.
The biggest difference between these hiking boots and the Salomon X Ultra is that the Merrell Moab 2 is designed with better ventilation.
The suede and mesh layers make it easier for air to flow into the hiking boot, which isn’t something the Ultra 3 GTX is as good with. However, decreased breathability is only a problem on advanced hiking trips.
For trail runs and day hiking, when you wouldn’t carry a heavy pack or have these shoes on long enough to overheat, it’s not an issue.
3. Salomon Speedcross 5 Gore-Tex
The Salomon Speedcross 5 Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoes are amazing products. However, they are specifically designed with an outsole made to manage muddy and soft terrain.
So, unlike the Ultra 3 GTX, which has a multi-directional grip and lug design meant to provide solid traction on all five major terrain types, including technical terrain, the Speedcross 5 doesn’t have the same level of versatility.
Additionally, the Speedcross 5 is a bit pricier, making the Salomon X Ultra a better hiking boot at a cheaper price.
Where Does the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX Perform Better?
Trial and error led us to the conclusion that these Gore-Tex boots perform better on surfaces where the lugs on the outsoles have something to dig into.
Remember, they’re waterproof shoes, not waterproof boots, so while they can handle running trails and maybe some less intensive hikes, they’re not made to provide the same support as a traditional boot on more technical trails.
That said, the X Ultra 3 Gore-Tex boots are one of the best running shoes on the market. There really is no one terrain it performs well in because it’s meant to perform well in all of them.
As far as distance goes, the X Ultra 3 provides support and comfort for the average hike or run up to 15-20+ miles and beyond.
Check out our posts if you want to learn more about the most recent version of these hiking boots.
Even though we rely on customer reviews and our testing procedures, we nonetheless want to provide some web reviews of these Gore-tex hiking boots.
Do We Recommend It?
Overall, yes! We highly recommend the Salomon X Ultra for hiking, but even more so for trail runs, as these are some of the best hiking boots we’ve tested
While these hiking shoes won’t serve as a replacement for traditional boots, for ultralight tasks, they’re top-notch. This is especially true when looking at the design quality.
They’re incredibly durable and comfortable to wear, and while we wouldn’t recommend stepping into deep waters with them, these Gore-Tex boots are more than capable of fending off harsh elements otherwise.
These Gore-tex hiking boots performed very well during my travels, and I’d feel extremely confident taking them with me anywhere I might have to run on a moment’s notice.
GTX stands for Gore-Tex. If a footwear product has GTX in its name, this simply means that a water-resistant membrane has been sewn into the shoe to provide more protection to your feet.
The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX is waterproof. The Gore-Tex waterproof membrane seals out and repels moisture, preventing the inside of the shoe from getting wet, while also wicking sweat and keeping your feet dry.