Salomon Walking Boots review.
Being a long standing lover of Salomon, especially their boots, I decided to review a new boot in their range. I decided to go with their latest, slightly more ‘mountain ready’ boots the …..wait for it, the X-Alp-MTN-GTX boots, in a very vivid yellow.
Living in Cornwall, I want to be out in all weathers, in comfort, with support. I need to replace my daily boots some old Brasher Hillmasters, one of the most comfortable boots I have ever worn. I loved the no-fussing approach to their boots. Put on, and wear. I never wore ‘walking socks’ they were just comfy, and tough. They now are cracking, due to years of poor treatment and neglect. So replace them I must.
I wanted something tougher than the Quest Origins I reviewed previously, but not purely mountain specific. I wanted something that will be in and out of brambles, clambering over rock pools, up the occasional cliff. Used on tarmac, mud, tracks, and grass. It has much to do. Can Salomon’s X-Alp-Mtn-Gtx’s meet my demanding standards…..
First Impressions- Salomon.
Out of the box appeared some boots. Similar in shape to the Quest origins, but different. A bit heavier, with a slightly sturdier sole. They had an array of leaflets attached to them telling you all about the technology in them. The boots feel rigid and sturdy. With great attention to detail. To me and my experience of Salomon, their boots always seemed to me as a crossover from trainer to trainer-boot. That has always been fine, but stepping it up is what I was hoping, and seems to have happened. They are cut from a different cloth. Climbing laces, with a large sticky rubber rand, and climbing zone on the sole. Things are looking up.
First Stroll, First Walk.
As with my Quest Origins, I splashed out £30 on some Superfeet green insoles. These went in my Quests, and did me well, so to keep my feet healthy I opted to replace the ones included. Saying that the ones that are included with the shoes do seem really good, they feel thicker than many, and a little more sculpted. None the less, they came out and the green ones went in. A bit of cutting here and there,and in they went. So the boots are ready for the world. My first outing was some training with Cornwall Search and Rescue (of whom I am proud to be a member) and our Thursday night training was a little more glamorous than our normal rope and search work. We were helicopter training. We were picked up by the very fancy new £40million Seaking replacement. The Coastguards pride and joy. So my boots went first in and out of a shiny new helicopter. The first thing all the team members said to me was “oooh, new boots”. The yellow stood out a bit from my green trousers and red jacket! But they were good. My feet were starting to feel their way around the new boots. Initially feeling a little cramped, I wear a 2 sock system.(No, not literally 2 socks, i wear a liner merino sock, and a thick Bridgedale merino mix sock. This system has proved efficient, and comfortable). The cramped feeling seemed to dissipate, and then seemed comfortable, rigid and sure footed.
My first walk was a lovely jaunt near Charlestown and the Gribbin Head. A six and a half mile walk. Mainly on mud and coastal path, carrying a pack.
The walk was good, a fair bit of uphill and down hill, with some clambering up and down rocks. The boots initially felt a bit alien, but after a mile my feet expanded, and they felt snug. As with any new shoes-sussing out the lacing takes a few walks. But they were good. They are very yellow, and I like that. It’s all well and good blending in, but why would you? I did some perching on some little metal stands to look over a hedge, and the boots are really rigid, and the climbing zone is fantastic. The rand is super sticky and oversized. This is great as it is adds extra protection against rocks, and sharp stones. It also stops the boots from getting scratched and ripped apart when I am out searching.
So far so good
At the end of the walk, and back at the car, the boots and socks came off. My feet were relieved, but in no way fatigued.
Further walks and impressions.
So on first impressions I am pleased. They seem to tick every box. I have been on a couple of meandering walks, and walks with the dog and they seem good. The Yellow does change colour when damp, and mud does mark it. But given a wash I am sure they will buff up and look like new again. As these are new boots, I’m not going to NIKWAX them for a while. I believe for 6 months a high end boot, thats undamaged should be waterproof…. So I will give them till October, then a full clean and proofing.
I will update a little more when I have experienced them more.
The boots use Salomons own soul. It is a slightly stiffer, with bigger lugs than the quests. These in mud are helpful. Often the Quests were not quite man enough for mud alone, but these I feel will be superior.
The X-Alp and the Quests have very different lacing systems. The x-alp uses a climbing lace approach, where as the Quest has a more traditional mountain boot approach. Both good in their areas… Can the X-Alp do both jobs?
They seem good on grass, and sand…..
Salomon through the ages. My old black boots I have worn and worn and worn, but they refuse to die. Wearing across mountain ranges as a go to shoe-y-boot, they were my daily shoes. Tackling anything that was thrown at them. Surprisingly, despite having various cracks and holes appearing the Gore-Tex lining is still intact, and as such they are still waterproof. The Quests have been all over Europe, the Himalayas and the Andies. Excellent, light, comfortable. The X-Alp are the newbies so still deliberating. And my ski boots. People always say “Ski boots are awful, and uncomfortable etc”. These were like massive slippers. Comfy and warm. 8 hour days for 5 months. Stunning.
So on first impressions I am pleased. They seem to tick every box. I will update a little more when I have worn them in over a significant number of walks and treks etc.