With spring seemingly finally arriving here in North America, I’m sure many of you are anxious to get back outside and hit up your favorite trail for some hiking, backpacking, and camping. If you happen to be in need of a new pair of hiking boots to help get you moving, than I just might have just the thing for you. The new Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX (Whew! That’s a mouthful!) are designed to be light, fast, athletic, and comfortable, making them the perfect shoe for a number of different outdoor adventures.
Over the years, the Ultra 3 Mid has been an evolving product for Salomon, with each passing iteration adding new technology and gaining improved performance. Such is the case with this latest model, which incorporates a lot of the things we loved about the boot in the past, with some enhanced features that make it even better. For instance, this time out the shoe has received an upgrade in the form of “Descent Control,” which is Salomon’s way of saying it works better on the down hill sections of the hike. That seems to be the case, as these boots did an excellent job of holding their own while both ascending and descending.
The Ultra 3 Mid holds a firm grip on a variety of surfaces – both wet and dry – on the way up and the way down too. In fact, I was very impressed with how well the boot’s sole stuck to everything from dirt to mud to rock and even snow. This brings a nice sense of confidence that you’ll be able to maintain sure footing just about anywhere you go. This isn’t a boot built for high alpine pursuits, but for typical hiking and backpacking excursions, it is a fantastic option.
In terms of weight, Salomon has struck the perfect balance of durability and bulk. This is a lean, athletic shoe that weighs just 448 grams (.98 pounds) and yet it is extremely durable and solid under foot. The company’s long history of designing trail running shoes shines through here as well, giving the Ultra 3 Mid a look and feel that resembles something akin to trail runner, but with the support of a hiking boot. Ultralight hikers will probably find these shoes to still be a bit heavy for their tastes, but the rest of us will think we’ve died and gone to heaven. With these on your feet you’ll feel nimble and quick on the trail.
In terms of protection for your feet, the Contragrip outsole doesn’t just provide plenty of traction but a good base for cushioning the blow too. Protective heel and toe caps add additional support, while a Gore-Tex Performance shell keeps moisture at bay. The boot does a great job of keeping your feet dry for the most part, although in hot, humid environments breathability might be an issue. So far, it has been fine, but with warmer summer weather on the horizon there might be other options that make more sense.
One of the things that I really love about these boots is there level of versatility. They are comfortable enough that you can wear them doing just about any type of activity, ranging form day hikes on your favorite local trail to week-long backpacking excursions. They’ll even work great for fast-packing for those looking for something the provides a bit more protection and stability than a pair of trail runners. I’ve even used these boots while snowshoeing and found them to be perfect for more aerobic activities. The combination of durability, light weight, and agility is tough to match.
The Ultra 3 Mids were quite comfortable right out of the box and break-in time was minimal. That is again a testament to Salomon’s roots as an athletic shoe manufacturer. The pair I tested were a little stiff out of the box, but loosened up after a mile or two and have felt fantastic on my feet ever since. That makes them a great choice for those looking for a boot that they can hit the trail quickly with, as I think most will be happy with the fit straight away.
Priced at $165 the Ultra 3 Mid GTX is well situated with the competition. In terms of what you get here, they are a real bargain, despite the fact that competitors offer shoes at a lower price. I’m a big proponent of “you get what you pay for” and with these boots that is definitely the case. While not particularly expensive, you still get a shoe that is going to last you for a very long time while allowing you to rack up many miles of trail time.
If you’re in the market for a lightweight, comfortable, and durable hiking boot for your upcoming adventures, the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is a great choice. You’ll love the feel of these shoes on your feet and feel faster and more agile as a result. Great for use in the spring and summer, they’re equally useful for aerobic activities like snowshoeing and fast-packing as well. They get a big thumbs up from this reviewer, who can’t wait to put them through their paces on some upcoming adventures.