Salomon’s Quest 4D 3 GTX Hiking Boots blur the line between more traditional hiking boots and trail runners, combining the best attributes of both. They have a wide toe box with plenty of space to wiggle your toes, a beefy toe cap to protect them, and a stiff heel counter to resist pronation and dreaded ankle rolls. While they’re burly boots with excellent protection and traction, they’re surprisingly lightweight, they’re very flexible for high angle scrambling, and take very little time to break-in. I’ve worn a lot of hiking boots in my life, but these boots have exceeded all my expectations.
Specs at a Glance
- Gender: Men’s and Women’s sizes available
- Width: Regular
- Weight: 3 lbs/pair (men’s size 10.5/EU44 & 2/3)
- Type: Midweight
- Waterproofing: Gore-tex
- Ankle height: 8 inches
- Drop: 12 mm
- Best for: Day hiking, Backpacking
- Sizing: True to size
- Visit Salomon for more detailed specifications
I bought these boots because I wanted more ankle support after experiencing a serious ankle sprain while hiking in trail runners. While I expect to switch back to trail runners in the future, they don’t provide enough lateral support for me to resume hiking and prevent a recurrence of the injury at the moment. Believe me, I’ve tried.
I can’t speak to the claim that you can carry heavier loads with hiking boots than trail runners, but the 8″ high ankles on these Quest 4D boots prevent lateral ankle rolls much better than the low hiking shoes or trail runners I have used. That doesn’t mean that all hiking boots provide the same level of ankle-roll resistance, but these boots are off the charts in that regard. These Quest’s anti-roll capability has probably saved my summer hiking season, I’m so impressed by them.
The biggest advantage of trail runners over boots has more to do with drainage when they get wet and drying speed since all shoes lined with a waterproof/breathable layer take longer to dry. You can buy trail runners that don’t have a waterproof breathable liner but it’s very difficult to find real hiking boots and even mids without one.
While Salomon’s Quest 4D GTX is a burly hiking boot, it’s surprisingly lightweight and agile. Weightwise, the Quest 4D (in a men’s size 10.5) comes in at 1 lb 8 oz per boot (3 lb/pair) which is about 50% heavier than the trail runners I prefer. The weight difference is barely noticeable, for me at least, possibly because I hike for 6 months of the year, all winter, in insulated, waterproof/breathable hiking boots. These boots actually feel a lot like the Salomon XA Pro trail runners I’ve used in the past, which isn’t all that surprising really. They have the same flared heel for stability, good forefoot rocker (curvature) to reduce effort, and a stiff shank for midfoot protection.
The Quest 4D has a gusseted tongue to keep out trail debris and an asymmetric lacing system to match the curvature of your foot. There’s also a locking eyelet between the forefoot and ankle eyelets that is useful if you suffer from ankle lift. That locking eyelet also lets you create different “zones of tightness” in the lacing. For example, I prefer tight lacing from the ankle down to my toes, but a looser fit around the calf. You can achieve the same thing with different hiking boot lacing techniques but the locking eyelet makes it much easier to create.
The traction of the Salomon Contragrip soles is good on mud and wet granite, which we have an abundance of in New Hampshire, the Granite State (Vermont is the Mud State.) The edge of the outsole is stiff enough for edging on thin rock shelves when scrambling and grippy when hiking down steep rock faces. Their traction on wet rock is surprisingly good, providing a good balance between grip and durability. They also have an arch which helps with braking and allows compatibility with gaiters.
The Quest 4D GTX comes with Salomon’s standard insoles but does not provide much arch support, so I replaced mine with Superfeet Greens insoles which has a pronounced arch and a good heel cup to prevent the pronation that can lead to plantar fasciitis. (Oboz is the only hiking boot manufacturer that includes decent insoles in their boots and shoes.)
The one weakness of the Salomon Quest 4D GTX is the fact that it has a waterproof/breathable liner. This, coupled with the height of the ankle cuff, makes them warm to wear in hot weather. They also take over a day to dry if water comes in over the top of the ankle collar and soaks them. I haven’t worn them enough to break down the Gore-tex liner, but that’s just a matter of time. You can extend the waterproofness of any boot with a waterproof/breathable liner by applying ShoeGoo or Aquaseal to all the seams on the boot to seal them. That said, I didn’t buy these boots to keep my feet dry: I bought them because they provide lots of ankle support and to help prevent reinjury to my recently sprained ankle. The fact that they’re so lightweight and flexible, like trail runners, is a pleasant surprise.
Salomon’s Quest 4D GTX hiking boots are lightweight and agile hiking boots that provide a surprising amount of support and stability for hiking through rough and rocky terrain. They’re unique in that they combine the agility and lightweight of trail runners with the support and stability of a burly hiking boot. If you prefer hiking boots but want to switch to a pair that is lighter weight and requires little break-in, I can recommend the Quest 4D GTX. While it has the appearance of a waterproof/breathable hiking boot, it clearly has the DNA of Salomon’s trail running shoes. Highly recommended.
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