Though they’re supportive, comfortable and protective, we couldn’t help wondering why a recreational walking boot has so much padding and protection
Rocker sole good for those with limited ankle flexion
Tons of toe and heel protection
Moderate amount of traction
Good lacing system and ankle support
No trail feel
Sole overly chunky for hiking
Not super breathable
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Salomon Elixir Mid Gore-Tex hiking boots: first impressions
These new hiking boots from the company that’s well-known for their trail running shoes left us scratching our heads a little. Pulling them out of the box, they look a lot more like a basketball boot than a hiking shoe, with enormously chunky rocker soles. The extravagantly cushioned midsole is designed to fortify you with comfort and a smooth stride when walking over long distances, and we can verify that it does do that, with zero breaking in time required. The wide geometry and high side walls also mean they’re a lot more stable than they look, which was a relief.
• List price: $210 / £200
• Gender specification: Men’s and women’s available
• Sizes: Men’s 7 - 14 US, 6.5 - 13.5 UK / Women’s 5 - 11 US, 3.5 - 9.5 UK
• Weight (per shoe): 15.8 oz / 450 grams (women’s US 6)
• Materials: Gore-Tex liner, Rubber outsole, Leather/textile upper
• Colors: Black / Magnet / Quiet Shade, Black / Dried Herb / Southern Moss, Vanilla Ice / Phantom / Lemon
• Best use: Hiking
That said, they’re just a bit of an anomaly. The extra padding means you can’t feel the trail at all underfoot, and the uppers offer tons of protection for your feet and ankles, which sounds great until you consider that the outsoles aren’t really adequate for technical trails anyway. It also means they’re relatively heavy for a synthetic boot. The lacing system is great and they offer lots of ankle support, and with a Gore-Tex lining you can comfortably wade through boggy ground in them without getting soggy socks, but they’re definitely too warm for summer hiking. They’ll be comfortable for long walks in cooler and cold weather, and keep the worst of the weather off, but we can’t really see why you’d need this much protection – or such a thick sole – for a non-technical day hike.
Salomon Elixir Mid Gore-Tex hiking boots: in the field
I received these boots in a color called “Vanilla Ice” and in some ways, that sums them up quite well since that’s exactly who you’d expect to wear shoes like these and not a 42-year-old hiker in Scotland. I've already made my feelings on white hiking shoes public, so I won't harp on about that. They don’t look at all like a pair of hiking boots and rather, they look like a pair of basketball shoes my 15-year-old would love. Sadly, his feet are much bigger than mine so we weren’t able to test my theory on the court. Instead, I got them out on a recent 10k rainy hike in the Highlands.
Here’s how they performed:
Sizing and fit
I went up a half size to a UK 4, which is what I always do with hiking boots to give my feet room to swell and I’m actually not sure I needed to. It wasn’t disastrous, but with only a thin pair of wool socks, I did find my feet had a lot of room and, when I don’t lace them well, my toes bash against the toe box on the downhills. I’d recommend ordering these in your usual size and I think they’ll be roomy enough.
Comfort and breathability
I can say with confidence that these are super comfortable, right out of the box, and I can wear them for miles without getting sore feet thanks to all the padding and cushioning underfoot.
The breathability isn’t amazing, since they are waterproof, and I actually deliberately waited until things had cooled off before testing them as I could tell they’d be too warm for summer hiking.
Grip and performance
One look at the outsoles shows that the grip is going to be moderate on these shoes, and I did slip twice, falling once, on my way down a very steep, grassy hill. It was a wet day and the conditions were a bit muddy, and these lugs just aren’t big enough to bite into the ground meaningfully when you add a steep grade. They’re perfectly adequate for moderate walking on non-technical stuff though.
The massive rocker sole does help with a smooth stride, especially on flatter terrain, but I really can’t feel the trail underfoot at all, which isn’t ideal once the ground gets a little rockier.
Protection and stability
There’s no argument that these boots offer tons of protection around my entire foot and ankle, and I definitely would feel confident kicking rocks in them, but given that the sole isn’t really designed for that type of walking, I’m left unsure as to why it’s warranted.
The lacing system is great to keep my ankle locked in place when I lace them up properly, and I will say that even though the sole is massive, my foot sits deeper than it looks like it will. This combined with a wide geometry means that the walking is actually a lot more stable than it looks, even if you can’t feel what you’re walking on which takes some getting used to.
Salomon Elixir Mid Gore-Tex hiking boots: bottom line
If you want to walk for many hours on non-technical terrain in cool, wet weather, you can do so pretty comfortably in these boots. However, you don’t really need this much protection, or cushion, for that type of walking, in our opinion.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.