I tried to get the Salomon Quest 4D GTX hiking boots ($200) a couple of weeks in advance. With a rim-to-rim backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon on the horizon, I wanted to have some time to break them in. As it turns out, these were ready to go right out of the box.
Out-of-the-box fit isn't the only thing Salomon got right when designing these boots. High-ankle boots don't normally equal lightweight, but these are the lightest backpacking boots I’ve ever had on my feet, at a total of three pounds per pair.
Once I got them in the Grand Canyon they performed superbly. The nylon-and-suede upper's adequate padding kept forward slippage to a minimum while I descended the Bright Angel trail. The real prize on the upper, though, is the lace-locking cleat betweenthe ankle and forefoot which allows you to customize the fit. Byletting me lock in the laces at that point, I kept a snug fitdown low while opening up the ankle for comfort.They are also waterproof thanks to a Gore-Tex membrane. My feet stayed dry, but also grew a little too hot in the Arizona climate.
The features that makes these boots extra special? The sole and chassis. Salomon designed these boots with one of their proven trailing running shoes, the XA Pro adventure-racing shoe, in mind. The chassis is a thermoplastic-urethane midsole support-plate designed to improve stability by reducing lateral flex. It also protected my feet from sharp rocks commonly found on the trails where I live. The chassis gives a great balance between walking comfort (even with a 45-pound pack) and side-to-side stiffness. The deeply-lugged Contragrip outsole, made with rubbers meant for backpacking, has a flared heel section which also made them very stable.
All in all, I loved these boots and they outperformed my expectations.
--StephenHovanec's advice for not getting heat exhaustion while exercising outdoors in, Phoenix, oneof America's hottest cities: Run in the evening, the coolest part of the day even if it's105 degrees. Make sure you're not exposed to direct sunlight like on Piestewa Peak's 3.5-mile Circumference Trail.
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