A mega lightweight, reliably waterproof and breathable boot with good traction, which performs exceptionally well during quick mountain missions, day hikes and fastpacking adventures.
- Super light
- Mega comfortable
- Excellent grip
- Laces never come undone
- Lacks secure ankle support
- Unsuitable for carrying heavy loads
- Lace failure worries
Salomon Cross Hike Mid GTX: first impressions
Comfortable straight out of the box, the ultra-light Salomon Cross Hike Mid GTX hiking boots are so light they feel like they must have helium in the heels. Featuring a quick-lace fastening system, they are speedy to put on, and give you no reason to consult our article on how to break in hiking boots – just pull them on and hit the trails.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, considering they’re produced by Salomon, a brand with its head and heart in trail-running gear, these boots have a low profile, with a minimalist, lightweight upper. The heel stack is 27.7mm high, and the heel-to-toe drop is just 10mm. They’re available in both male and female versions so are strong contenders for both the best hiking boots and best women's hiking boots.
The Contagrip outsole looks and performs like that of a trail running shoe. The aggressive lugs are well spaced, so they don’t collect mud (which would add weight and slow you down, going against the Cross Hike’s raison d'etre), and cleverly arranged, to supply traction going uphill and braking ability and close control during fast technical descents. The lugs even extend up onto the toe cap, so you can get a grip on very steep terrain.
• RRP: $170 (US) / £165 (UK)
• Gender availability: Male / Female
• Weight (per boot): Men’s: 396g / 14oz; Women’s: 340g / 12oz
• Materials: Synthetic textile Upper with Gore-Tex lining; EnergyCell high-rebound midsole; Contragrip rubber outsole
• Colors: Men’s: Phantom, Black & Ebony / Autumn Blaze, Black & Rainy day / Magnet, Black & Lime Punch Women’s: Phantom, Black & Ebony / Lead, Stormy Weather & Charlock
• Compatibility: Brisk trail walking and fastpacking across three seasons on most trails below technical alpine, without a heavy load
On the trails
If you’re looking for super lightweight hiking boot for summer missions, day hikes and fastpacking escapades, it’s hard to top the Cross Hikes. I tested them in the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons in South Wales, on a series of summer day hikes, some peak-bagging bimbles, and one overnight adventure – and they were absolutely perfect for the job.
They positively encourage fast movement on the trails, with their sporty feel, low profile and trail-running-shoe-like outsole. They’re exceptionally light, supply a comfortable ride, and the heel cap and toe box both feel secure without being too tight (Salomon footwear is often narrow in the toe, but these don’t pinch at all).
The speed-lace system meant I could get them on and leave the trailhead in a matter of seconds, and the Gore-Tex membrane and comfortable integrated tongue makes them reliably waterproof up to the lower ankle. I took on numerous stream crossings without getting wet socks.
The downside of the quicklace system and the spongy nature of the cuff and tongue is that it really is hard to get a solid grip around the ankle – I feel an extra lace loop and a very slightly taller cuff would make the world of difference here. While water was kept out, lots of grass seed did make its way into the boot from the top.
As it is, these are absolutely superb for zooming along technical trails if you are sure on your feet and you’re not carrying a heavy load, but less suitable for backpacking with a weighty pack (which, to be fair, isn’t what they’re designed for) – because the ankle support is a bit light-on. The level of top-foot protection supplied by the thin upper is also minimal, and the lifespan of the Cross Hikes is bound to be shorter than more substantial leather (or heavier duty synthetic) boots.
But, they’re breathable, fairly reasonably priced, and they do the job they were designed to perform absolutely perfectly.
Where we tested the Salomon Cross Hike Mid GTX hiking boot
One of the adventures we wore the Salomon Cross Hike Mid GTXs on was a 16km (10-mile) hike up to the summit of the Sugarloaf in the Black Mountains in Wales, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The hike, which involved 730 metres (2,400ft) of ascent across terrain that varies from footpaths to a rugged rockscape along the plateau peak, started at the National Trust car park and took us to the top of the Sugarloaf (596m) before dropping into the Usk Valley for a pub lunch on the banks of Grwyne Fawr, and then climbing back to the car park. Conditions were good and dry on the day - perfect for these cross-over boots.
Writer, editor and enthusiast of anything involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing adventure stories. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades here.
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