The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX hiking shoes are the most current version of the X Ultra product line, which I’ve had a chance to test on the Doi Suthep Monk Hiking Trail in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX
Its protective mudguard keeps the sides of the boot from getting too muddy, and the anti-debris mesh uppers prevent debris from getting trapped between your foot and the footbed.
This waterproof hiking shoe does many things better than its predecessor, providing more stability, comfort, and agility.
During my experience with it, the immediate changes I noticed were its durability, chassis build, heel, forefoot and toe box spacing, and unique lacing system.
Overall, I’ve gotten a lot of increased utility out of this footwear. Unfortunately, it has some increased weight, which may not appeal to some people looking for a lightweight hiking shoe.
However, the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX still manages to push the boundaries of a traditional hiking shoe, even accompanying me on some hikes of moderate intensity.
Below, we’ll get into the specifics of what this hiking shoe does well, among other topics.
- Outsole: All Terrain Contagrip
- Chassis: Advanced Chassis
- Midsole: EnergyCell
- Outsole: Chevron lugs
- Upper Material: Water Repellent
- Sockliner: Molded OrthoLite
- Lacing System: Quick Lace System
- Membrane: Gore-Tex Membrane
Things We Tested When Reviewing Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Hiking Shoes
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX continues to improve on its already above-average Contagrip all-terrain outsoles, offering excellent traction.
This time, however, the X Ultra is designed with an outsole featuring Chevron lugs.
This lug style does an amazing job at gripping into soft mud, wet rock, and dirt.
During my hikes, even some descents down surfaces that would normally be risky due to slippage weren’t a problem.
I was also pleasantly surprised with how adhesive the outsole was.
Loose surfaces are usually a problem when hiking, but the lug depth and stickiness of the Contagrip outsole proved to be quite reliable .
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX is made with synthetic upper material and a textile lining, which defend very well against wear and tear damage.
As a running shoe, this Salomon shoe is much sturdier than the average trail runner, and as a hiking shoe with a solid toe cap, it survives just as many impacts, sudden moves, and steep climbs as you’d expect from a well-designed product.
On solid surfaces, where the outsole of the shoe has to drag along rougher terrain, the Contagrip remains intact. I know some people don’t care for synthetic uppers, as there’s some concern that the material breaks down easily.
However, as someone who engages in a lot of intense physical activity and traveling, these waterproof hiking shoes show no sign of stress even after several months.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX is designed with a molded Ortholite insole, which contours to the shape of your foot.
Not only is the break-in period reduced, but the SensiFit technology, which makes use of the midsole and lacing system to cradle your feet, eliminates any foreign sensations that might make the shoe uncomfortable.
The advanced chassis and EnergyCell midsole also work together to cushion your pressure points and heels from hard impacts, rough terrain, and rocky trails.
Another notable difference is that even though it’s a lightweight low-top shoe, the collar extends slightly higher around the ankle, softly padding it in a way that a traditional hiking shoe doesn’t, this way offering great stability and protection against rolled ankles.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX prioritizes water resistance over breathability.
Now, that’s not to say that the X Ultra 4 isn’t ventilated, but it’s not the same quality as what you might experience from a non-GTX hiking shoe.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to wear this shoe during the drier and colder months, so I haven’t experienced any issues with warmness or sweating.
However, this shoe slightly improves its breathability vs the previous model.
The synthetic material that lines this shoe is thinner than what’s on the last version, preventing heat from building too easily and allowing more cool air to pass through.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX hiking shoes weigh 1 lb., or more specifically, 11.2 oz. These are a little heavier than some past Salomon shoes, especially when you consider that the previous model was 10.8 oz.
While the increase may not seem like that much, some people may want maximum flexibility and ease of movement over the increased padding and excellent protection that the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX provides.
However, my experience with these hiking shoes’ weight hasn’t been a problem. In fact, I like it a lot, because with more weight comes more stability and ankle support, which is why I’ve been confident enough to take these waterproof hiking shoes on some moderately difficult hikes.
This shoe is designed with a GTX waterproof membrane, like past products. The synthetic upper that lines this shoe is also coated with a water-repellant layer, which sheds moisture before it has a chance to seep inside the shoe.
Like other low-top hiking shoes, it’s not advised to allow your foot to go into deep puddles or to let any water seep over the sides of the shoe.
While the Salomon X Ultra 4’s Gore-Tex waterproof membrane is nearly impenetrable from the outside, whether it be light rain or shallow creeks, it’s not made to completely seal off the foot from other entry points.
Aside from that, the GTX membrane has done well in keeping my feet dry .
The shoe’s Advanced Chassis is a molded insert embedded within the shoe’s outsole. The insert gives more stability to the heels and ankle support, while also providing more flexibility to the foot.
This system is further improved by the X Ultra 4’s unique Active Support feature, which is mobile panels on the sides of the hiking shoes that wrap around the foot.
On my hike, these panels secured my feet in place and even adapted to my movements, so I didn’t have to worry about adjusting or re-strapping them.
These added features almost make these waterproof hiking shoes comparable to some top rated women’s hiking boots.
When compared to the average hiking shoe, the increased ankle support that the Salomon X Ultra 4 provides exceeds a lot of hiking footwear on the market.
8. Fit & Sizing
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX makes some improvements to its fit, lengthening the collar just enough so that the padding can wrap softly around the ankle.
Some hikers don’t enjoy this feature, because the collar rubs against the ankle in a way that could cause blistering.
However, while using this product, our team has noticed that wearing a protective pair of hiking socks would remove this issue and the shoes would still provide better ankle stability.
Like the previous version of this hiking shoe, the wide toe box offers a large volume of space towards the end of the foot for a less narrow fit.
Fortunately, due to the firm grip that the shoe has around the rest of the foot, along with the single-pull lacing system, the extra space doesn’t cause any looseness.
How Is Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex Different From the Previous Version?
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX improves on its strengths by introducing the new Advanced Chassis and Active Support systems while decreasing the thickness of its synthetic upper to increase ventilation.
The Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX was already a well-designed product, but it didn’t have the same utility as its successors.
The chassis and support systems provide cushioning and padding to the feet in a way that surpasses what a trail runner is expected to do, making this hiking shoe suitable for much more than just one type of activity.
The ventilation of this shoe has also improved, which was a small issue I had with the previous model.
Unlike the earlier shoe which had a bit of a thicker design and traded breathability for increased water-resistance, the Salomon X Ultra 4 manages to have both without any real tradeoff.
How Does Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex Compare with Other Products?
1. Salomon Speedcross 5 Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoes
The Salomon Speedcross 5 Gore-Tex shoes are some of the best footwear products on the market when it comes to quality ultralight trail running shoes.
However, the Speedcross 5 doesn’t perform well on actual hikes.
At a weight of 7.2oz., the Speedcross 5 is lighter but doesn’t provide nearly as much support as the X Ultra 4 does on technical terrain.
In fact, if you tried a moderately difficult hike with the Speedcross 5, you’d more than likely ruin the outsole and cause discomfort to your feet.
The X Ultra 4 GTX, however, at 11.2 oz., has enough durability and padding to manage all trail runs and some hikes.
2. Merrell MQM Flex 2
The Merrell MQM Flex 2 is another product that can be used for all-terrain purposes.
Like other trail shoes on the market, when compared to the X Ultra 4 GTX, it suffers from a lack of protective cushioning due to its lightweight and singular design.
Since these aren’t intended to be used outside of simple running trails, their fragile design becomes apparent when signs of premature wear and tear start to reveal themselves.
The Merrell MQM Flex 2 is more flexible than the X Ultra 4 GTX, but the Merrell Quantum outsole starts to break down after short periods of consistent use, unlike the Salomon’s Contagrip outsole.
3. North Face Ultra 111
The North Face Ultra 111 is a lightweight trail runner designed with its own DryVent waterproofing technology.
When compared to the GTX waterproof membrane, the DryVent decreases breathability even more.
This means that the shoe will heat up much faster than the X Ultra 4 might, especially during warmer months. Another advantage that the X Ultra 4 has over the Face Ultra 111 is that it weighs less.
The Ultra 111 weighs in at 14 oz., which is a significant increase when you start comparing that to the light weight of more efficient and less bulky hiking shoes.
Where Does the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX Perform Better?
We learned via trial and error that the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX performs better on technical terrain than most hiking shoes we’ve tested.
While they can be used on simple trails or for day hiking, you’d get maximum utility out of this shoe in rugged and rough environments.
Additionally, since the hiking shoes were built with increased comfort in mind, you can get even more mileage out of the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX than you could with previous models.
In another article, I stated that the X Ultra 3 GTX could support a person up to 15-20+ miles and beyond on an average run or day hike.
However, with the X Ultra 4 GTX, you could be on a trail for even longer than that before feeling exhausted.
The outsole is made to dig deeply into tricky surfaces and control your ascents and descents, all while making use of the shoes’ increased cushioning to protect your feet from the stress of a hike. All in all, this shoe performs well almost anywhere.
Check out our Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX review if you’d want to see how we felt about the mid-cut version of this shoe.
Although we mostly rely on our testing processes, we nonetheless wish to give some Salomon X Ultra 4 Waterproof web reviews.
Do We Recommend the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX For Hiking?
These waterproof hiking shoes are way more comfortable than the prior shoe, and the fact that my feet can breathe in them, despite having a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, is a significant improvement compared to before.
Given the improvements to Salomon’s build quality and performance of the X Ultra product line, we highly recommend the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX for hiking. This latest shoe has been one of the best lightweight trail runners I’ve worn consistently.
As I said previously, these waterproof hiking shoes do run heavier than some past Salomon models, but it’s a small tradeoff when you realize that the X Ultra 4 is almost as reliable as some traditional hiking boots on the market.
In the end, these shoes did extremely well on the Doi Suthep Monk Hiking Trail’s uneven, wet, and rocky terrain.
The difference between the Salomon X Ultra 3 and 4 is that the X Ultra 4 GTX comes with an improved ADV-C Chassis and Active Support system. These two new features work together to increase the overall stability and flexibility of your heels and provide better ankle protection.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX does not run small. All Salomon brand shoes are true-to-size and properly scaled to prevent tight or narrow fits, in addition to including large, open spaces for the toes.
The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX is waterproof. The Gore-Tex waterproof membrane wicks sweat away from the foot and repel moisture, including water from sources like rain, shallow creeks, and muddy puddles.