Last Updated on October 12, 2020
|Price: $230 MSRP – Check Price on: Salomon | Backcountry | Amazon|
|Noel’s Rating: 4.6 of 5 stars|
|Pros: Very comfortable; no break-in period; excellent ankle support, traction|
|Cons: Relatively expensive; potential durability concerns|
|Weight: 52.6 oz (1.49 kg)|
|Women’s Model: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX|
|Lighter Option: Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX: 36.5 oz (1.04 kg)|
|Budget Option: Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof|
Overview: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
Sure, these boots are supremely comfortable, but that alone doesn’t do them justice – these rugged Salomons are an absolute dream for serious backpackers. A certain giddiness comes over me whenever I tighten the laces. Great things tend to happen when I’m wearing these boots.
The 4D 3 GTXs are sturdy and versatile, performing admirably through a slew of different weather conditions, shedding water at will, and gripping well to loose and slippery terrain. The foot and ankle support is superior to any I’ve previously experienced, which makes these burly boots an essential layer of protection for any long backcountry hikes.
I’ve put hundreds of miles on the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTXs and, in this review, I’ll tell you why they’re the best pair of backpacking boots I’ve ever laced up. They’re not without some concerns, however, which I’ll discuss shortly.
Boots often seem to have an unavoidable break-in period, but not these. My first few hikes told the story — No achy feet. No blisters. No back pain. No break-in period. It was the start of a great friendship.
The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTXs have Ortholite insoles that elevate the heel, plus padded mesh ankle collars hug that securely stabilize your entire foot, with zero pressure points. A set of sturdy, locking eyelets midway up the boot make it effortless to customize the fit of the boot to your desired tightness.
On mild-to-warm weather hikes, these boots warmed my feet quickly, but a switch to thinner hiking socks kept my feet from overheating on long treks. In cold weather, use heavier wool socks and your feet will stay snug and toasty.
Comfort Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
These Salomons are equipped with beefy High Traction Contragrip soles that stay glued to a wide variety of unpredictable trail surfaces.
When I hiked the Acetenango Volcano in Guatemala, the soles handled the constant, slippery scree extremely well. And in Chile, on the steep and rainy ‘O’ Circuit Trek in Torres del Paine, they were unfazed by the intense moisture, inclines, and declines more than I ever could have asked. I’ve walked confidently across glaciers in the Quest 4D 3 GTX’s, using crampons only when I wanted to explore deeper.
Traction Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Support and Stability
The generous, padded ankle collars are one of my favorite features on the 4D 3 GTX. The padding hasn’t lost any of its cushion during my many miles on the trail. In addition to being extremely comfortable, the support is very effective — reaching well over the knob of the ankle. Is this overkill? Absolutely not. The 4D 3 GTXs have safely absorbed quite a few stumbles that, in lesser boots, might have resulted in strains or sprains.
My Backpacking Gear: 8.8 lb Ultralight Backpacking Gear List for 2020 (Reviews + Checklist)
The two-tier lacing system I mentioned earlier offers more than just comfort. It makes the exterior of the boot hug your foot and ankle, allowing the boot and your body to move as one. The strong laces hold your feet in place, but also allow for flexible movement.
Support and Stability Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
My Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTXs have held up extremely well for the most part. No loose stitching, no tearing, no cracking of the leather. The ankle collar cushions and the laces all feel like they are still brand new. The outsoles still have plenty of life and the GoreTex still minimizes water infiltration. And this is after hundreds of miles spent on rigorous outdoor terrain. Salomon clearly uses the right materials.
I did, however, have a problem with one of the ankle eyelets — it snapped off as I was rushing through an airport, perhaps due to a fluke snag. Fortunately, the overall boot stability wasn’t affected and there was no decline in comfort due to having to skip this particular eyelet afterward. Because of this, I haven’t felt compelled to return the boots for repair, even though they’re still covered by Salomon’s two-year warranty.
I consider the 4D 3 GTXs to be very durable in the face of hard, sustained use. However, the unexplained eyelet failure prevents me from giving them a perfect score, which they would have otherwise earned.
Durability Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The 4D 3 GTX’s breathable GoreTex membrane has done a great job of repelling moisture in most damp or rainy conditions. They’ve kept my feet dry in wet conditions in Colorado, Argentina, and beyond for 500 miles and counting.
The only times I’ve had wet feet were from prolonged fording of shallow creek crossings, sinking deep into the mud, or from failing to wear gaiters — which would have protected against water cascading down my legs and funneling into the tops of my boots.
I recommend regularly treating the leather — not the GoreTex — of your boots with waterproofing solution and using gaiters to keep as much moisture out as possible.
Water Resistance Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
All of the features that make the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX a great boot, also make it a tad bulky. At almost two pounds per boot (almost one kilo), these are by no means considered a lightweight option in the trekking community. That being said, the comfort, ankle support, traction, and durability these boots offer make them worth every ounce. I’m usually gung-ho about cutting weight for treks, but I’ll gladly continue to lace up these boots for every single hike I take.
I wouldn’t recommend using them as your only pair of shoes on a backpacking trip. I’ve tried this. They are a bit overkill for exploring cities, and lacing them up every time you need to go out gets irritating. I usually carry a comfortable pair of Chaco Z1 athletic sandals on any long backpacking trips that may include more than just hiking.
Weight/Size Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I’m a bit of a frugal traveler, so pulling the trigger on the 4D 3 GTXs — with their $230 MSRP — wasn’t easy. But my feet decided that top-notch boots like these are definitely worth the premium price. And to keep my feet happy and purring, I’ll gladly pay the premium again in the future.
Value Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The Final Word: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
Even on days when I’m not hiking, I sometimes find myself strapping on the 4D 3 GTXs. Yep, these boots are that comfortable and reliable.
I’ve come to count on these trusty boots to keep my feet comfy, protected, dry, ventilated, and warm. Salomon really knocked it out of the park with the Quest 4D 3 GTXs, and that’s why if they ever fall apart, I’ll review my options, pause for a moment of respectful silence, and then immediately order another pair.