RRP: £115 (currently on offer with some retailers)
Weight: 280 grams per shoe (UK size 6)
For summer walking I always prefer to wear lightweight boots or shoes if conditions are dry enough. This year those days have been few and far between but there was a hot week in May and some drier days in between when I’ve been out and about testing these trail shoes from Salomon. Given the rain we’ve had recently I’ve been grateful for the Goretex lining.
Designed on a running last, these lean towards lightweight trainers rather than being at the stout hiking shoe end of the spectrum. They are very comfortable straight out of the box and I haven’t needed to replace the insole as I often do with footwear. I have wide feet, and Salomon have a reputation for slightly narrow fitting footwear so I went up a half-size – they have been extremely comfortable with the traditional lacing system and gusset tongue allowing plenty of width adjustment. The toe box seem generous and is protected by a rand plus an additional protective coating which runs right around the shoe preventing scuffing damage when scrambling etc. The heel is held firmly in place and there is a good level of cushioning to protect the achilles. The sizing appears true to UK sizes and not as narrow as I was expecting. They are available in half sizes.
There’s quite a drop (9mm) between heel and toe which creates a rocker type motion that is very comfortable on hard surfaces and wasn’t a problem on pathless terrain either, although I’d probably opt for the ankle stability of the mid-height version if heather bashing or on boggier routes. The Goretex lining does its job well, but the low cut design means that in wet vegetation or heavy rain when water gets in from the top, the shoes will take longer to dry out. Usually I find waterproof lined footwear to be too sweaty in hot conditions, but these have been fine and still dry faster than sturdier lined walking shoes.
The Contagrip sole provides a reasonable level of grip, with 5mm lugs providing confidence on rocks and wet grass. The sole has a good degree of flex and is fairly soft so whilst these shoes are best for prepared paths and easy walking conditions, the soles may not be the most durable. However given that they are currently on offer at around half the RRP, I’d expect them to still provide good value for money.
In summary: a very comfortable, lightweight, well performing running-style shoe, good for prepared trails and summer conditions. Supportive enough for multi-day trips with a backpack on good trails such as in the Alps, but for off-path Scottish conditions I’d prefer the higher cut of the mid version to keep heather and bog out and provide more stability.
Available in women’s sizes 3.5 – 9.5 and men’s 6.5 – 13.5, and 4 different colours. Also available in a unlined version, and in a mid-height version.