Reviewed by David Savage
I have never learned to drive so do a lot of walking (I also hate getting a bus and prefer the train if going somewhere that is too far to walk or will just take too long to walk). I prefer to walk as it is also a great form of exercise and a good way to clear your head as well. But as I am getting older, I have found that I need a much better pair of shoes to walk in, especially walking around the hilly parts of Yorkshire that are right on the doorstep (think Last of the Summer Wine country). That said, I wanted a pair of hiking shoes that don’t sacrifice comfort in the need for better support, I wanted a pair that go the distance – and I think I have found them!
Salomon are an outdoor and adventure apparel company who have created a vast array of hiking shoes and boots, running shoes, sandals, outdoor clothing, backpacks and more that are suitable for all your outdoor pursuits, while at the same time being durable, good quality and comfortable. I was asked to try out a pair of their hiking shoes to see if they offered the support I needed (I have fallen arches in both feet causing the tendons in my calves to be pulled and can be quite painful and tiring), as well as being comfortable. After looking through their extensive range, I settled on the Salomon X Ultra 3 Hiking Shoes with Quicklace system (my partner has the X Ultra 3 GTX and loves them). I felt these would be better for me as they are better for warm weather and I get hot quickly. I was advised to order a half size up from what I usually wear, so despite men being well-known for ignoring advice, I did follow the advice. I just had to wait for them to arrive to find out if they were any good.
They arrived quickly and apart from looking great, ordering a half size up was spot on. They fit great with normal sports socks and a thicker pair of walking socks.
So first, lets talk about the shoes themselves. The Ultra 3 Hiking Shoes are available in four colour options in sizes from 6.5 to 13.5. They are constructed from synthetic/textile/rubber materials and have a lightweight chassis and welded (stitch-free) upper for a more comfortable, durable and lightweight fit. They also have a rubber protected toecap. The do not have normal laces that you tie, but a rather cool Quicklace system that allows you to tighten/loosen the “laces” with a quick pull. They have a breathable fabric which is excellent for warmer weather, but unlike the X Ultra 3 GTX do not feature Gore-Tex to make them waterproof. If that wasn’t enough, they also feature EnergyCell EVA foam for shock attenuation and Contagrip® TD which offers maximum traction on mixed terrain and extended durability. And to top it off, the feature SensiFit™ which cradles the foot from the midsole to the lacing system, providing a secure, snug, and virtually customized fit all around the foot.
Now for the ultimate test, fitting, walking and supportiveness. As already mentioned, they fit great – they feel snug without being constrictive. Once on and the “laces” tightened, they are quite secure – there is even a lace pocket to store any overhang of the lace pull. They feel extremely lightweight and comfortable. For a quick test, with my fallen arches I really do feel lots of pain when walking up and down stairs so I put the shoes on to try this out and while the pain wasn’t fully gone, the orthopaedic support in the shoes reduced this quite a lot. So the best test was to go for a bit of hike and test them out on the hilly parts of the village – they are perfect. The support is excellent, reducing the pulling on my tendons. The fit is secure and the Quicklace works perfectly with no stopping to redo laces. As for walking around the hilly countryside, again they are perfect as the traction is superb (the anti-debris mesh even stops debris being trapped between your foot and the footbed). The also do a brilliant job of keeping my feet cool (although probably not best for winter as you can feel the wind through them).
These are a pair of hiking shoes that will really go the distance. They look good, are lightweight, supportive and stable, comfortable and breathable and perfect for long or short hikes on warm days (for winter the X Ultra 3 GTX would be better as they do feature the Gore-Tex waterproofing).
If you want to treat your feet (you spend a lot of time on them, so look after them), then I can highly recommend Salomon hiking shoes. Although I would recommend buying a half size up.
For more information or to buy visit www.salomon.com.