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The Good: Incredibly lightweight hiking shoe with no break-in required.
The Bad: Lacing system, while convenient, has issues.
The Not-So Ugly: Stylish enough that I wouldn’t feel weird wearing them out apres-hike.
Buy them here MSRP $145
I received these shoes the day before I headed out on a quick overnighter backpacking trip into the remote Warner Mountains in Northern CA. After giving them a once-over, I decided to take my chances and forego the break-in, and I’m happy to say that I wasn’t punished for my laziness! These lightweight hikers were comfortable right away, and didn’t leave me with any hot spots. While the sizing is a bit off in these shoes (I’m a solid 8.5, and probably would have been better off with an 8 in these) I was able to put on a thicker sock, cinch them down, and hit the trail. I’d definitely suggest sizing a half size down for the best fit.
The Contragrip sole offers excellent traction and stability on a variety of terrain. I’ve hiked in these over large boulders, loose dirt, and spongey bog-like areas. I even waded across a stream, and was pleasantly surprised with the traction I still had on slippery rocks. The Gore-Tex material offered great water resistance in those boggy areas, as well as morning dew while breaking down camp. For such a lightweight shoe, I was really happy with the amount of stability the X-Ultra 2 offers. I probably won’t be reaching for these for multi-day trips with heavy packs, but for day hikes or overnighters, they’re a fantastic choice.
Salomon has a unique Quicklace system, which I’m of two minds about. I love how easy it is to get in and out of the shoe, and the tongue pocket to tuck the extra lace into is genius. However, they do tend to loosen up as the miles go by. This is more of an annoyance than anything, as you can quickly tighten them back up. My other concern is the plastic apparatus you use to tighten the laces. I have another pair of Salomons that somehow developed a crack in the piece, which makes the whole system unusable. I’d say that if you’re mindful of the plastic pieces, and take care to not step on them, or get them caught in anything that might break it, you should be able to enjoy many years out of this shoe.
Overall, I’m really happy with the Salomon X-Ultra 2 GTX. I love having a hiker that is so light and sturdy, and the Quicklace system is pretty convenient for throwing on for everyday activities like walking the dog. If you’re looking for a great all-around day hiker or lightweight backpacking shoes, these are a choice I’m confident you’d be pleased with.
Written by Emily
Photos by Dan, Emily and Justin
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