Female X Ultra Salomon Hiking Shoe

What are the Best Long-Distance Hiking Shoes for Ultimate Comfort?

| Our Salomon Review

We are reviewing our Salomon hiking shoes; our likes and dislikes and the key features with the hope that it might help you to make a more informed decision when you are looking for your next hiking shoe. 

It is important to note that we are not sponsored by Salomon, but after owning and trying other branded boots and hiking shoes over the past few years and doing lots of research for our first long-distance hike, we chose Salomon hiking shoes, purchased our first pairs and undertook the ultimate test, hiking in them for the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail  and now 3 years later, we’re still choosing Salomon. But why? 

We had never done a thru-hike or long-distance hike before, so research was important. We were so grateful to find so much information out there, but it was daunting at times. Do you buy a boot, a trail shoe, or a trail runner? In the end it has to come down to personal preference, but that’s an expense if they don’t work out for you, so try on lots of shoes, do your research and find the right shoe for you. 

What did we need hiking shoes for? 

In 2017 we were setting out on the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail which meant hiking the Appalachian Mountain Range which spans 14 States, from Georgia to Maine. The terrain was going to be challenging; rocky uneven paths, wooded root-filled trails, and even up large rock slabs. So, we were looking for a shoe that was firm but flexible, with good grip that could keep us comfortable, dry and our feet as happy and healthy as possible. 

Max wears: X Ultra 3 Hiking shoe. (Non-waterproof)

Tom wears: XA Pro 3D Heavy-duty Trail Runners (Non-waterproof)

Likes 

Comfort

We needed a hiking shoe that offered instant comfort without the need to wear them in. On the trail we wore three pairs of Salomon hiking shoes and were able to simply put on the new pair and go. This made life super easy; we met a few fellow hikers struggling with their footwear and changing theirs up quite a bit whilst on the trail. This is hard when you have to make trips into towns, find specific stores, order new pairs, and send others back home. Added complications you do not need whilst trying to walk 2000+ miles. So, if you can find shoes that work for you, no matter what brand, that is gold dust.  

Grippy

We love the grip on these shoes. They feel sturdy, whether you are trekking through rain and mud or scrambling up rocks or over a loose scree slope (my worst nightmare). You can really trust the lugs on these shoes, we never had a problem with the grip and it is always one of the last things to wear out. 

Perhaps not too strange, but I have a distinct fear of slipping when going down slopes, so good grip is a key feature for me especially. 

View of the lugs on the bottom of a Salomon Trail Shoe

Stiffness

Our Salomon hiking shoes are not a trainer or a boot – they are the best of both. You get the stability of a boot with the comfort of a trail running shoe. Perfect when the terrain is constantly changing. You feel free to move, whilst knowing there is some stability and integrity in the build that will keep your foot in place. 

Low cut shoe

We found the low-cut ankle more comfortable for hill climbing, steps and through rocky terrain, allowing more movement and flexibility in the ankle. It also gives them more of a ‘trainer’ style, so offers a more casual look for those lower mileage days or walking through town. 

2 pairs of male and female salomon hiking shoes on a log

Durability.

Our Salomon hiking shoes lasted around 700 – 1000 miles. This will obviously depend on use, the way you walk and your gait; the kind of terrain you are on and the weather-conditions will also come into play. We found that 3 pairs covered us for the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail, but we know some wore up to 6 pairs. (Your shoe budget may become more of a problem by this point.) 

Quicklace system. 

The Salomon Quicklace system makes life much easier, especially when you only have one arm as I do. There are no laces to get in your way; simply slip your feet in, tighten them up, tuck the end into the tongue pocket and go. Equally, the Quicklace system makes it easy to whip your shoes off when you stop for a break to let your feet get some air or just slip them on when you need to jump out of your tent without the worry of tripping over laces, (or dragging them through the mud). 

Non-waterproof. 

In an ideal world you’d wait for your shoes to dry before you started hiking again but on long-distance hikes you need to get up and go, so it is important that your feet can breathe and dry as quickly as possible to keep them healthy. Even the best waterproof boots would let water in when walking through torrential rain all day and then it is certainly not easy to dry them out, especially when you have to wear them. We found that the Salomon hiking shoes dried well during the course of the next day even after walking down paths that had turned into streams. Combined with our favourite socks from Darn Tough, we found this to be a truly effective way to keep our feet as happy as possible. 

Toe Protection 

When you are walking hundreds or even thousands of miles you ARE going to kick things. Rocks, roots, pavements, trees, sticks… We found the Salomon hiking shoes to have sufficient toe protection to stop these kicks becoming agonizing, toenail-losing tragedies. Believe me, there is always that time, no matter how careful you are, when you give something a real good kick and you will be glad you are not wearing sandals. In fact, I ripped the whole front of my shoe open on a root. Luckily, my foot was fine, and because the top is fabric, I was able to simply sew up the gaping hole with some tough thread and they did another couple of hundred miles. 

Male XA Pro 3D Orange Salomon Hiking Shoe

Gender-specific

Women’s feet are different to men’s and the Salomon hiking shoes are certainly not ‘one design fits all’. Rather than simply designing smaller models of the men’s shoes, they have been gender-specific in the ergonomics. Between Tom and I, we have very different feet, so I would never have expected us to both wear the same brand, but maybe because Salomon have cared to create gender-specific designs we’ve found the shoes for us. We have both tried many different brands of shoes and boots, but we have always come back to Salomon. 

If you have a recommendation we would love to hear! 

Colours

It might seem futile, and we are not really that fussy when it comes to colour, after all, comfort is the winner. But it is awesome that the Salomon hiking shoes come in a variety of colours, it keeps things interesting, adds some variety to your gear. And I am just delighted that their women’s colour palette has extended beyond pink, black and purple. 

Dislikes / Compromises

The price

Who likes spending money on things that are going to be dragged through the mud? With an RRP of £120, they are quite steep, and although you can find retailers selling them for around £80, it does hurts the wallet when you need to change your hiking shoes, but what is the alternative? It really is dependent on your feet, and if you find a shoe that you can hike hundreds of miles in, without discomfort, does it matter whether they cost £30 or £100? Long-distance hiking is going to mean more shoes unfortunately. 

To be honest, the Salomon prices are pretty average across the board and it works out at around 10p per mile so if you are getting 800 miles out of them it is not a ridiculous price for healthy feet.

Wear

Because these Salomon hiking shoes are lighter and more of a trail-runner style, the internal fabric around the heel wears out more quickly than the rest of the shoe, than perhaps a leather boot would. This is frustrating because when that happens you are usually better off swapping them out for a new shoe. But I am aware that it is this soft interior that allows me to put a brand-new pair straight on and go without any trouble. 

Whilst on the A.T I was in an unfortunate position, finding myself stuck between new shoe pick-ups, when the heel wore out. I was uncomfortable for about a week, eventually wearing through the fabric completely in places which did lead to blisters. 

Insole

For long-distance hiking we chose to swap out Salomon’s OrthoLite insole as we were looking for something with maximum arch support. We found the OrthoLite insoles to be a little soft, especially after hundreds of miles, and would crease as time when by. 

We found the Superfeet Trailblazer Comfort insoles, they offer more arch support and cope with the miles better. 

Profile of two pairs of Salomon hiking shoes on a log.

Thank you for reading our blog, we hoped you enjoyed it! If you did and you haven’t already checked out our other blogs you can here or find more videos on our YouTube channel. If you like what you see please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to see more and to follow our journey.

Gear links

  • XA Pro 3D Trail Runner – Salomon
  • X Ultra 3 / X Ultra 2 Hiking Shoe – Salomon

FAQs

Can you get waterproof models of your shoes? 

Yes, and we have had them, preferring them for day hikes when you can stay dry but if they do get wet, leave time between hikes for them to dry completely. For a thru-hike or long-distance trail, we would recommend a non-Gore-Tex shoe. 

Does the Quicklace system give a secure fit? 

We find the Quicklace system to be really effective at getting an all-over great fit and even tightness, comparable to laces. Plus, if you do need to tighten your shoe during a hike, it is super quick and easy to do it.  

Do Salomon offer boots as well as hiking shoes? 

Of course, there are many other models and designs that we have not tried, so if you prefer a Gore-Tex boot with optimum ankle support, give them a go. We are not working for Salomon and are not hiking shoe experts; we only know what has worked for us so if you have questions about their products I am sure they can recommend the best shoe for you. 

Would you wear another hiking shoe? 

Yes! If there is another shoe style or brand that is as comfortable, grippy and suits my feet, I would definitely try it!

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