While I love the Salomon hiking shoes I have, they're big boots and a little too warm for summer hikes, so when Salomon asked if I wanted to try their lighter Outline GTX shoes, I didn't say no. The model looks and fits like a sneaker more than a hiking shoe but does it also hold up on rough terrain?
I'll tell you in this Salomon Outline GTX review.
Salomon Outline GTX review
The Outline GTX comes in two versions: low (waterproof and non-waterproof) and mid (waterproof only).
On the outside, the upper is comprised of anti-debris mesh (keeps debris from sneaking inside), synthetic material (sustains durability and protection from outdoor activities), and the GORE-TEX membrane (found in the waterproof version).
These Salomon sneakers are also stitch-free, light, and slim fit, giving it a snug-like feel that complements its overall aesthetics.
These Salomon trainers are equipped with a High Traction Contagrip outsole. In case you're not familiar with the design, it leverages three factors to ensure the best grip possible: Density, Compound, and Geometry.
It offers seven different densities to adapt to the different quality and geography of terrains. Low-density areas are great for a sure foot on rocky surfaces, while the high-density portion is modeled to provide durability and edging for walking and trail running.
In addition, the outsole of these Salomon trekking shoes is a mixture of multiple ingredients. The recipe provides the necessary compounds for diverse surfaces.
Last but not least, the lugs, which are 5 mm in depth, present 27 different geometries to finish off the surface-gripping formula. No mud can ever hinder your pace since the lugs are well-spaced enough to let the mud come off on its own.
The only surface where the grip seems to fail is on very wet or slippery rocks. So, if most of your hiking journeys don't involve any serious rock climbing, these Salomon GTX shoes are an all-star.
Stability-wise, several features accommodate tread and steadiness, namely, the outsole’s relatively wide base (wide in comparison to its fit). Combined with the 5 mm lugs, both elements guarantee smoothe hiking on whatever trail you choose.
Obviously, the mid version offers more stability, but if your usual trails are not quite rocky, the low version is a good choice.
The expression light as a feather comes to mind when someone mentions the Salomon Outline GTX. Weighing 350 g for the men’s version and 290 g for the women’s, they help you increase speed and don't make your legs feel like they're lugging something around – as can sometimes be the case with heavy walking boots.
Salomon has a solid reputation in the build quality department. The synthetic material covering the Upper is designed to fend off and resist the outdoorsy elements, the Sensifit overlay lining high enough around the back of the shoes keeps grazing marks at bay, and the outsole is constructed with a protective toe cap to prevent stubbing.
The Outline GTX is constructed with an Ortholite insole and an EVA midsole. The insole is known for its long-term cushioning, high-level breathability, and moisture-management qualities. It's also washable and lightweight.
On top of that, EVA foam is praised for being soft and durable. The gusseted tongue and the collar of these Salomon walking trainers are designed to keep debris from getting stuck in the interior.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have read some reviews where people said the shoes get uncomfortable when hiking very long distances. I have worn them for full days, really hiking in them only a few hours at an end, and I haven' experienced any discomfort myself.
With seven colors to choose from the men’s and women’s versions combined, these shoes are not only for adventure but also suited for casual social settings (sometimes even for work, when work doesn’t require formal attire). You can crank them out when having lunch with friends and family, and when going to work at the lab or a construction site.
When compared with competitive footwear on the market, this design is sleek and muted. No flashy, neon colors to limit them to athletic or special activities. I have the black version myself and don't mind wearing them around town before or after a walk.
Waterproof tops water resistance and water repellency. However, just like bulletproof vests cannot protect against certain types of bullets, the GORE-TEX outline is unable to keep water from seeping through in certain conditions. One of the first days I wore the shoes on our trip, it was pouring rain and, unfortunately, my feet didn't stay entirely dry.
On the other hand, a lot of reviews I read about these Salomon GORE-TEX shoes before trying them applauded the shoe’s waterproofness so it might be that, as I was wearing shorts that day, my feet got wet because the rain run in, rather than through the shoes.
On the official Salomon product page, the company doesn't rank this shoe very high in breathability. This is probably due to the GORE-TEX membrane that keeps water out, but also traps sweat inside, reducing breathability in the process.
However, I didn't experience any issues with this. Now, I don't have the sweatiest feet around but they definitely sweat on warmer days and these shoes definitely kept my feet drier than a regular sneaker, for example.
I think wearing good hiking socks plays a big part it in as well as how easily your feet heat up and sweat.
Lacing is as important as any other performance factor. If your laces are hard to tie or keep getting loose, they can be a real pain.
Salomon went classic with regular flat laces on the Outline GTX. This type of laces reduces discomfort for the instep, guaranteeing a comfortable fit. They're also durable and easy to tie.
However, I always have to make two knots or the laces untie at some point while I'm walking. It's not that big of a painpoint but it does take longer to untie them again after the walk.
These Salomon trek shoes come in full and half sizes for men and women. Anatomically, slim is the sneaker’s fit. It’s true to size. I have a European 38 and rather slim feet. The 38 fits me perfectly.
With that being said, people with wide feet might want to make a pass on this one.
When I first got these Salomon hiking sneakers, I took them to Australia for a three-week trip full of hikes through the bush, in humid rainforest, and along beaches. They served me well and have remained comfortable on the walks I've done since then.
The soles haven't lost any of their grip either.
The only thing I can't really comment on, is how water-resistent they are. My feet got wet wearing them once, but asit was raining really hard and I was wearing shorts, it might just be that the rain seeped in from above and not through the fabric. I'll update this post if I ever happen to end up in a downpour wearing them again. I hope that won't be too soon :-)
If you're looking for a lightweight, sturdy walking shoe with lots of grip that still looks nice enough to wear around town, I can recommend the Salomon Outline GTX.
Where to buy Salomon shoes
You can buy Salomon shoes online directly from the official website, on Amazon, or, if you're reading this from Belgium or the Netherlands, from Bol.com.
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I received a pair of Salomon Outline GTX for review purposes.