Martha our Taunton Shop Assistant Manager gives her view on the Ladies Salomon X-Ultra mid
For someone who isn’t always too keen on heavy restrictive boots but values that extra bit of stability, I was on the look-out for a lightweight option that could tick those boxes. I was lucky enough to test out a pair of Salomon X Ultra mid GTX hiking boots, and it’s safe to say they have done the trick.
The X Ultra mid boot is engineered to give a personalized comfortable fit across the whole foot. An Ortholite® insole provides cushioning and moulds with the contours of the foot, whilst the tongue and ankle are padded to provide extra cushioning and comfort.
All around the foot, the SensiFit™ securely fits around providing a close, snug fit. People often mention finding that pair of shoes that feel like slippers the instant you put them on, and I had a slipper moment with these boots (something I haven’t experienced for a long while!). In terms of fit, the X Ultra are regarded as a standard fitting boot, my feet are quite shallow and narrow but fit nicely inside them and are very true to size (similarly, I know people with slightly wider feet who swear by them too).
Being based off the X Ultra mid Hiking shoe, you can sense its athletic feel without compromising on stability. Think trail-running shoe, but with ankle support. They weigh a modest 390g, and that matched with the combination of the cushioning and comfort features mean that these shoes do not tire my feet out. The X Ultra uses Salomon’s own developed Contagrip MA outsole. This durable sole offers great versatility, with specialised chevron lug design that maximise traction, particularly on softer surfaces like mud.
Naturally, one of the most important things in a hiking boot is the ability to keep water out. The X Ultra boots have a PFC-Free Gore-Tex waterproof lining, a highly breathable and waterproof membrane that keeps external water out and allows internal moisture and sweat to evaporate out. The boots also have a fully gusseted tongue along with PU-coated leather elements on the outer part, which provides a little more protection than just a fabric boot.
I first got to fully test the boots out on our recent staff trip across Dartmoor. I must admit I was sceptical, and frankly quite concerned when I got off the train to see most of the other staff wearing more “heavy-duty” boots, relative to my flexible lightweight pair and wondered if I were in for a few days of wet socks and tired feet- but that was far from my experience.
In terms of waterproofing, the boots fared well. On Dartmoor, walking through marshy moors and streams and rivers my feet stayed dry. It was only on the last day when the heavens opened that my feet got wet, and that was after a day of non-stop rain and hail. This was partly due to the fact my waterproof over-trousers created a channel right down into my boots, not necessarily the fault of the boots themselves. Since then, the boots have still held up well and my socks have remained dry. For such a lightweight fabric mid boot I am impressed.
In terms of comfort, I loved the boots, and even after a few days wearing them non-stop I still found them extremely comfortable (which for me is a great feat as I scarcely find shoes I can bear wearing without some sort of issue for my feet). Having only worn them for a few miles along the Somerset Levels prior to the trip, I was expecting blisters but after all that walking I was in the clear, with just the start of a small blister on one of my toes.
When walking across the variety of terrain that Dartmoor consists of (and just day to day life), I valued the Contagrip outsole. They feel grippy and secure, even when it’s wet, and when traversing slippery, muddy terrain I have yet to slip or feel unsupported by them. Particularly when walking downhill, I found that I have stability and control the entire way down.
Probably my only drawback of the boots, and something others have noted, are that the laces are quite bulky. The shape of the laces means that they can come undone, but that isn’t a massive issue in the grand scheme of things.
The X Ultra Mid boots are still serving me well and are my main companion on any hike or long walk I might undertake and continue to be a light, comfy option- not to mention affordable. If you are someone who prefers a more ’trainer-y’ feel but values support, then these lightweight all-rounders are a great option. The glove-like construction provides continuing comfort, and the sturdy outsole gives good mobility on all ranges of terrain. Naturally, everyone’s feet are different and just because something works for someone doesn’t mean it will work for all, but I can safely say that the X Ultra Mid boots are a winner in my books.