Review: Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX review

A capable, understated and speedy, lightweight hiking shoe

Feature type Review

Read time 4 mins

Published Jul 05, 2023

Author Alex Foxfield

Alex Foxfield Alex is a qualified Mountain Leader, former President of the London Mountaineering Club, an adventure writer and content creator with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, the Lake District has a special place in his heart, and through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors.


A very stable and protective hiking shoe for fast and light mountain adventures that grips soggy ground just as well as dry rock.

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Weight 390g
Features Advanced Chassis for enhanced stability, all-terrain Contagrip® outsole, GORE-TEX waterproofing, quick-lacing system


  • Ironclad traction on a range of surfaces
  • Light enough to run in
  • Reinforcements in all the right places


  • Potential durability issues
  • Fit not the most precise
  • No gusseted tongue


As someone who originally discovered the mountains while wearing various iterations of Salomon’s Speedcross running shoes, I’ve always been an advocate of lightweight footwear when it comes to moving across the fells. If I’m on my own, I like the ability to speed things up when the mood takes me, particularly on the downhills.

So, something a little more stable and protective than standard trail runners, that still allows me to burst into the occasional run is perfect for most of my solo adventures in summer conditions. This is Britain, so it has to be able to cope with wet, boggy ground and rocky scrambles in equal measure. I want something that locks my feet in for the ride and doesn’t have my toes bashing against the front when the descents get steep.

I want something that locks my feet in for the ride and doesn’t have my toes bashing against the front when the descents get steep


At first glance, the X-Ultra 4 looks a more muscular, taller version of a Salomon trail shoe and it’s clear there’s at least a few strands of that DNA working their magic here. A look at the deep, angled, chevron-shaped lugs suggest a shoe that’ll claw its way down a fair share of muddy descents without issues.

They’re lovely and easy to slip into, giving a nice sense of stability. I like the speed and convenience of Salomon’s Quick Lacing system. The way the surplus lacing slots into the tongue’s elasticated pouch is really neat. However, when tightened up, I found things very snug around the midfoot, while my heel never felt properly locked in place, as it does on some hiking shoes. I was interested to see how they’d feel on the fells.


I put the X-Ultra 4 through its paces on several Wainwright-bagging raids in the Lake District. I wanted to expose the shoes to everything from easy jaunts up diminutive hills to full mountain days with hefty doses of rocky ridge scrambling. 

During the test period, I was treated to everything from early spring sunshine to volleys of hail. A decent mix of wet cols to endure, dry, lichen-speckled rock to romp up and peat hags to stomp across – oh, and plenty of downhill tracks to really fly down too – meant that I was really able to put the grip and fit of the shoes to the test.

In general, I took things at hiking pace. However, when the mood would take me, I’d set off into a trot to put the X-Ultra 4’s hybrid nature to the test. On the whole, summery conditions prevailed – while it was damp at times, it was never overly sodden and the snow had all but gone from the fells for another year.


The X-Ultra 4 is very much for fast hikers who want a decent level of stability and protection from the trail and conditions but aren’t fussed about flying across the hills at the same speed as fell runners. This might be the kind of hiker who enjoys the occasional low-grade scramble but doesn’t have aspirations to use their footwear for easier climbs.

It’s a lightweight shoe composed of textiles and synthetics, so it’s not a shoe that I’d expect you’ll still be wearing in ten years time. If durability is high on your list of desirables, you’d be better served by seeking a more robust hiking shoe that has a design more in common with a boot than a trail shoe.

The X-Ultra 4 is very much for fast hikers who want a decent level of stability and protection from the trail and conditions but aren’t fussed about flying across the hills at the same speed as fell runners


Convenient lacing system

Salomon’s Quicklace system is nothing new, but it’s still wonderfully convenient. The way it tucks away into the tongue is an excellent design feature.

Subtle aesthetic

Maybe I’ve been spending too long around Scarpa and La Sportiva footwear, with their waspish colours and racing stripe designs, but for me the X-Ultra 4 has quite an understated look, which is quite refreshing.

Ironclad traction

The Contagrip® chevrons provide enough of a sticky surface area to cling to rock, while being deep enough to effectively claw boggy terrain and spaced out enough to then shed it afterwards.

Classy Chassis

The X-Ultra 4 really does feel stable on a variety of terrain types, mostly thanks to its well-designed chassis.


Price wise, the X-Ultras are about right. Obviously, with the GTX version, you’re spending a little more for the waterproof membrane, which is fair enough and important when hiking in our often soggy mountains. As mentioned, it’s likely they won’t last as long as some, which may put some people off the cost. For just a little extra investment, you could get a really robust pair of hiking boots, if speed is not your priority.


I found the X-Ultra 4 GTX to be a well-rounded and capable hiking shoe. They kept my feet dry, though on some terrain in wetter conditions gaiters may be needed to stop water getting in over the top.

The Contagrip® outsole performed well throughout. As suspected, the deep lugs were more than at home on Cumbria’s sloppier stuff  The soft rubber also proved to be competent on the rockier terrain, though there’s not quite enough surface area to take them into the realms of approach shoe level traction for easier climbs. 

It’ll be interesting to see how the lugs’ soft rubber lasts over the years, as my previous experience with Contagrip® treads suggests they’ll wear down relatively quickly. While my test period covered a matter of months, some reports suggest durability issues in the long term, though I can’t personally vouch for any problems in this regard.

The level of shielding the X-Ultra 4 gives for summer hiking and scrambling is very good. There’s a protective area around the toes, which allowed me to be aggressive with foot placements, while the heel region is also reinforced. It’s nice wearing a pair of shoes that are this protective, while also being light enough to run in.

The fit wasn’t quite right for me: the lacing system secured my midfoot fairly tightly, though I found my heel wasn’t as locked in as I’d like. However, there was the right amount of wiggle room for my toes. Also, the shoe held in place well during descents, without my foot slipping forward and my toes ramming into the front, which is a common occurrence in lesser shoes.

In summary, I’d certainly recommend the X-Ultra 4 GTX to someone who was in the market for a capable, understated and speedy, lightweight hiking shoe.

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