I am of the personal belief that it is important to have the proper footwear for the outdoor trip you are planning. From experience I also believe that we don’t need to wear boots for backpacking unless the weather and terrain warrant it. With this in mind I set out to get my first impressions and put together for you a gear review on the Salomon Outpath GTX hiking shoes.
Gear Review : Salomon Outpath GTX Hiking Shoe
From day hikes to backpacking treks in varied terrain in the likes of the lush wet Pacific Northwest to the dry open Eastern Sierra I have put my current Salomon XA Alpine to the test. Combining those technical lightweight alpine mountaineering shoes with my Speedcross 3 trail runners I have had good luck but was missing something.
Hiking Shoes Versus Hiking Boots
Staying with the current trend of wearing shoes rather than boots I wanted a find a new backpacking hiking shoe. I have moved to wearing trail runners and hiking shoes for my backpacking trips now for several reasons.
- Lightweight – Having a lightweight shoe on allows you to move faster, longer and with less fatigue. The US Army did a study that resulted in the now accepted knowledge that one pound on your feet is equal to five pounds of weight on your back. The study further showed that one extra pound of weight on your feet equals five percent more energy expended. Also consider how light a wet shoe is versus a water logged boot.
- Flexible – the design nature of a shoe allows it to move with your foot easily. The less rigid soles of a shoe along with it’s better breathability greatly improves your ability to avoid any blisters. I also find that the softer more flexible shoe allows you to “feel” the terrain better and your body reacts to that feedback. Unless you have a existing medical condition you will find no worry in spraining ankles or joint pain, maybe even less.
- Versatile – Hiking shoes are often more adept at tackling a larger variety of terrain. That being said there isn’t a one size fits all year round shoe. From heat of summer to snow of winter you may want to look at when and where you will be using your shoe the most.
- Cost – Boots are often much more expensive (sometimes 3 to 4x the cost)
Luckily Salomon refined their shoe line taking cues from both their boots and trail runners to create what I feel is the perfect hybrid. That brings us to the new Outpath GTX hiking shoe , a versatile hiking shoe that can take the demands of tough terrain and multi day hikes.
First Look Salomon Outpath GTX Hiking Shoe
Countless hikes in varied terrain and a rugged 19km with 1000m elevation gain for my longest outting was the proving ground for the Outpath GTX hiking shoe. Vancouver Island’s terrain is extremely diverse from dry rough rock to slick rocks and dense forest. Day hikes to multi-day access routes require a very versatile shoe that is comfortable, lightweight and durable.
Looking at the key benefits that Salomon states on their website the Outpath gtx hiking shoe looks very promising.
• Ultra light hiking: The lightest shoe of its kind on the market, the OUT PATH GTX® weighs in at only 330g meaning you can and go longer and farther.
• Durability: The OUT PATH GTX® utilizes resistant mesh and an innovative seamless construction technique that actually welds textile onto textile, resulting in a stronger and more durable shoe.
• Protection : A real toe and heel cap are precisely and discreetly placed within the shoe, providing protection where it’s needed most.
Putting the Salomon Outpath GTX Hiking Shoe to the Test
Immediately holding the shoe you notice how light it is compared to other bulky and clumsy hiking shoes that are on the market. The material of the upper is strong and the tongue is one piece to the body which ensures no debris gets in your shoe. The ortholite insoles seem to fit my feet well in past experience and of course the now well known and loved quick lace system is utilized.
I found the widest part of my foot felt a bit tighter than normal across the top but the toebox had ample room. My heel felt a little loose lifting a bit at first but after walking I never never noticed it and adjusted my lace tension to accommodate. This shoe is a waterproof GTX and held it’s own against the wet brush and creek crossings.
Make note that this is the conditions where GTX excels but the material does soak through completely in extreme wet conditions. Equally your feet will be warm in hot dry conditions. With this in mind consider your shoe choice as some prefer non-gtx versions of shoes. (Andrew Skurka explains this nicely)
Final Thoughts on the Salomon Outpath GTX Hiking Shoe
During the period of my initial testing of the shoe it really impressed me from the 3 short hikes to the big epic day. Pavement, gravel, dirt, wet loose rocks, craggy bluffs and dense vegetation the shoe maintained solid placement and good grip. Only on the 19km day did I have a small amount of sensation in my little toe from downslope impact due to the large descents in elevation we experienced. No hot spots, rubbing, blisters or mentionable foot issues to report.
My pack was decently weighted for our 6 hour trip and feel confident it will perform with flying colours with extended duration and heavier pack weight. Confident footing and no concerns on stability were experienced. Therefore I highly recommend the Outpath GTX hiking shoe.
Official Salomon Outpath GTX Hiking Shoe Specs and Details
• Outsole: High Traction Contagrip®
• Midsole: injected EVA / molded shank
• Sockliner: EVA shaped footbed
• Membrane: GORE-TEX® Performance Comfort Footwear
• Lining Material: Textile
• Lining Construction: Full bootie construction
• Height: Low
• Upper Material: Water Resistant textile / Waterproof Synthetic / Seamless sensifit™
• Fit Management: Precise forefoot fit / Quicklace™ / Asymmetrical lacing
• Upper Construction: Seamless Technology
• Tongue/Collar: Gusseted tongue / Lace pocket
• Weight / Size (g): 335 / 8.5
Retails for $209.99 (Canadian)
Outpath GTX Overview Video from Salomon
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