During rigorous testing, the Outline boot has survived everything from long arduous mountain approaches, scrambling on granite slabs and leisurely plods through Cotswold fields. Their technical features, plus their lightweight and comfortable style, won me over multiple times – beating even my most trusted traditional hiking boots for their all-day comfort – and their ability to perform like a more supportive trail-running shoe was also a revelation. Impressively light, these boots combine the flexibility and comfort of a running shoe, with the supportive features of a mid-height boot. On test, they survived even the harshest Highland terrain on Scotland’s islands, demonstrating the ability to repel boggy water, while offering a snug, trainer-like fit. While these boots have their limitations, and are aimed at summer and shoulder-period use rather than all-season functionality, they outperformed expectations during their test, and make an excellent go-to option for spontaneous trips to the mountains.
- Mainly for fair weather use
- Not as hardwearing as traditional hiking boots
The Salomon Women's Outline Mid boots GORE-TEX had to live up to a lot of expectations. If, like me, the idea of wearing mid-height hiking boots can only be even remotely considered if they tick certain boxes (sturdy, leather, traditional, indestructible etcetera) you could be forgiven for thinking that a hybrid trainer-meets-mid boot was never going to cut the mustard. Lightweight, comfortable, close fitting and flexible, yet grippy on rough terrain… surely too good to be true?
At first glance, the Salomon Outline Mid GTXR Women’s boot looked a bit too much like a running shoe for me. Built with a running last, they appear relatively slim in profile, with a padded foam tongue and two metal hooks to neatly adjust the lacing around the ankle.
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In fact, if you were wearing long trousers that covered the ankle, you’d easily be mistaken for wearing trainers. Yet, there’s a lot more to these boots than their initial appearance suggests.
• RRP: $150 (US) / £135 (UK)
• Weight (per boot): 345g/12.2oz
• Materials used: Contagrip outsole, high-performance EVA foam midsole, synthetic stitch-free upper with mesh elements to keep weight down and a Gore-Tex membrane
• Colours: Stormy Weather/Icy Morn /Bluebird
• Compatibility: A capable, lightweight three-season boot for hillwalking and in low level mountain trails.
On the trails
On a recent trip to the Scottish mountains, on the Isle of Arran, the Outline became my go-to boot in the warm summer climate – performing well even on the technical granite slabs, with their surprisingly grippy soles and comfortable ankle support.
These boots have thicker, sneaker-like flat laces, which seem to have sufficient surface area to stay done up all day. The lacing system enabled me to easily tighten the cuff, to provide greater ankle support and reduce pressure points over the instep for a consistent, comfortable fit.
The Outline employs a soft, breathable lining coupled with a synthetic upper to provide durability and protection against the elements, all backed up by a full Gore-Tex membrane. Time and again, these boots kept my feet dry – even when walking through dewy, boggy mountain terrain.
On the Contagrip MD outsole, 5mm-deep lugs made from a durable compound mean the boots are built to withstand long-term use, with little wearing away. Using a trail-running style lug pattern, the boots supply sufficient traction on surfaces ranging from boggy paths and slippery gravel trails to sharp rocky granite slabs.
A gusseted tongue, connected to the outer, and strategically positioned mesh elements helped prevent dirt and loose stones from entering the shoe, and kept the tongue cushioned against the front of my ankle, providing support where needed.
The stitch-free upper construction made it feel like I was wearing a premium product, with a comfortable but close fit and feel. High-performance EVA foam supplies good shock absorption in the midsole, and OrthoLite insoles provide additional cushioning, breathability (minimising odour issues) and durability, making them these perfect for use on long summer days.
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