These sporty walking shoes are perfect for fleet-footed hikers and day walkers who want to travel light and fast.
- Speedy design
- Recycled materials used
- Reasonable price
- Lower level of protection
- Less robust
- Outsole can collect mud
Salomon Outpulse Gore-Tex: first impressions
With the release of the new Salomon Outpulse Gore-Tex, the brand has produced a marvelous mudblood – part hiking shoe and part trail running shoe. And we mean this as a compliment. If you’re looking for lightweight footwear, built for moving at a fast trot across walking trails during day hikes, then this shoe could be for you.
• RRP: $140 (US) / £135 (UK)
• Gender specificity: Men’s and women’s versions available
• Materials: Synthetic MCL upper; Gore-Tex membrane; Fuze Surge foam compound in the midsole; Contagrip rubber outsole
• Weight (per shoe): Men’s (size 11): 377g / 13oz; Women’s: 300g / 10.5oz
• Colors: Men’s: Bleached Sand, Black & Poppy Red / Estate Blue, Vanilla Ice & Poppy Red / Magnet, Black & Wrought Iron; Women’s: Black, Stormy Weather & Vanilla Ice / Apricot Buff, Tulipwood & Black / Mood Indigo, Leek Green & Easter Egg / Tulipwood, Black & Poppy Red
• Compatibility: Quick day hikes, fast packing
Obviously there are compromises that need to be made with such a design. Don’t expect the level of protection that a more traditional hiking shoe would offer your feet: the Outpulse doesn’t feature a big chunky toe-cap or outsole, and neither is it likely to last as long as some of the heavier and more robust walking shoes on the market right now.
But what Salomon Outpulse Gore-Texes do include are a fully breathable and waterproof upper (courtesy of the Gore-Tex membrane): a highly cushioned and dynamic midsole loaded with Fuze Surge foam and enhanced with a TPU “Energy Blade”; and a reasonably grippy Contagrip rubber outsole with artfully arranged lugs that provide propulsion traction at the front and braking control at the rear.
Salomon Outpulse Gore-Tex: on the trails
I’ve been testing these walking shoes out on the twists and turns of the Serpent Trail, part of the South Downs Way, and along the coast and through the hilly hinterland of Devon, Dorset and Somerset. This kind of terrain – especially in the hot and dry conditions that have prevailed in Europe recently – is exactly the sort of landscape the Outpulse was born to barrel along.
These shoes want to move fast. There’s a modest 10mm heel-to-toe drop, which keeps your center of gravity nice and low, and helps with balance (for more on drop see: What is drop in running shoes and why is it important?). Your feet are securely and comfortably cradled by the SensiFit design, while the geometry of the chassis and midsole creates a reverse camber effect, which helps your walking or trotting cadence flow nice and efficiently. All this is further enhanced by the “Energy Blade”, a lightweight TPU plate incorporated into the well-cushioned midsole.
The breathable Gore-Tex membrane means you can walk through puddles, shallow streams and across dew-soaked grass and soggy moorland without getting your feet wet, and the lightweight design of the shoe and thin mesh material used on the upper mean that your feet don’t overheat. The integrated tongue keeps debris out of the shoe, and the flat laces don’t tend to come undone.
There is a toe-cap and a thin rand, but the Outpulse don’t offer enough support or protection for multiday backpacking adventures, and they’re not going to survive as much rough treatment as many more robust hiking shoes. But if you’re travelling light, tackling terrain that isn’t super technical and want to cover ground quickly, the Outpulse are perfect.
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 (opens in new tab) and Dorset (opens in new tab), and once wrote a whole book about Toilets (opens in new tab) for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades here (opens in new tab).
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