Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review

With an impressive balance of comfort, weight, and durability, Salomon's signature hiking boot is one of the most well-rounded designs
Salomon X Ultra 3

Table of Contents

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

Yes (Gore-Tex)

Impressively light without sacrificing durability or comfort.

For especially technical terrain or heavy loads, we’d step up to a burlier boot.

Performance

Comfort

The weight reduction that is often a result of reducing the weight isn’t without sacrificing the on-trail experience, but this is not the situation when you’re using the Salomon Ultra 3 Middle GTX. In the Grand Canyon, its Escalante Route is a perfect test ground, beginning with a relentless descent of more than 4500 feet. When we finished the first day’s 9 miles, I was only experiencing mild discomfort, and I was not immediately ready to get rid of the boots when we reached the campsite, which is positive for a brand-new pair of hiking shoes. Furthermore the boots were very easy to break-in needed. It was also very easy to break-in. X Ultra 3 felt far more flexible than Salomon’s Quest 4 out of the box, though I did wear it for some hikes in the morning before going into the Canyon. Also, the other testing of the boot is going as well and I’ve not encountered any discomfort or hotspots during the year I’ve been using it.

In the realm of hiking boots Salomon’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is a top-of-the-line model. Despite its lightweight construction the boot is well balanced between the comfort of a durable boot with solid traction. We tested it through its paces. X Ultra 3 through its trials over a whole year of testing, which included an extended backpacking trip through the Grand Canyon and day hiking through Washington’s rough Enchantments along with the North Cascades. There’s an explanation for why it’s been the long-running favorite of ours and also our top hiking boot many years. Here’s a breakdown of the X Ultra 3 Mid’s capabilities. To compare it against the competition check out our review of the top hikers’ boots.

Its X Ultra 3 Mid isn’t as soft and thick as some trail-running-inspired models However, the midsole is firm enough to provide shielding against sharp stones. It is important to note it’s worth noting that the Salomon Quest 4 provides even better protection in particularly technical and rocky terrains, but most trekkers and backpackers will appreciate the X Ultra 3 to be ample boot, particularly those who prefer to stay on trails. It’s quite low for a hiking shoe (it is just above my ankle on my foot) However, there’s adequate cushioning for the tongue and ankle that allows you to put the shoe in a tight fit without sacrificing comfort. Although I was initially worried the eyelets weren’t sufficient within the system for lacing to make adequate customization (there are only five eyelets in all) but it’s turned out to be no problem. I love the strong eyelets that lock along the ankle’s bend as well as near high on the neck.

Weight

In a size 9 men’s size, this Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX measured 2.25 pounds 1.5 ounces on our scale (the stated weight is 1 one pound 15.7 ounces) This puts it in the middle of the hiking boots spectrum. When we hiked the boot was an extremely athletic and agile feeling which is among the main features of Salomon’s collection of hiking shoes. When compared to the competitors and it’s clear that the X Ultra 3 is a straight front-runner that can beat similar-looking models such as Asolo Falcon GV. Asolo Falcon GV (2 lbs. 2.6 oz.) in addition to La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX (2 2 lbs. 1.6 oz.). It is possible to go lighter by using smaller sizes such as this Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid (1 1 lb. 14 oz.) or Vasque Breeze LT Mid GTX (1 lb. 11 oz. ) however, we’ve discovered that the boots are not as durable. endurance when they are exposed to heavy distances and conditions. In all, for the weight, it’s worth it. X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is remarkably durable and boots for trail use.

In a size 9 men's size, this Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX measured 2.25 pounds 1.5 ounces on our scale (the stated weight is 1 one pound 15.7 ounces) This puts it in the middle of the hiking boots spectrum. When we hiked the boot was extremely athletic and agile feeling that is among the main features of Salomon's collection of hiking shoes. When compared to the competitors and it's clear that the X Ultra 3 is a straight front-runner that can beat similar-looking models such as Asolo Falcon GV. Asolo Falcon GV (2 lbs. 2.6 oz.) in addition to La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX (2 2 lbs. 1.6 oz.). It is possible to go lighter by using smaller sizes such as this Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid (1 1 lb. 14 oz.) or Vasque Breeze LT Mid GTX (1 lb. 11 oz. ) however, we've discovered that the boots are not as durable. endurance when they are exposed to heavy distance and conditions. In all, for the weight it's worth it. X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is a remarkably durable and boots for trail use.

Traction

The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX has one of the most balanced tread designs I’ve tried to the present. The boot is able to climb the 4th class terrain, descended the steep slope, effortlessly dealt with a few inches of freshly fallen snow, and has walked through rocks, mud, and loose dirt without any major difficulties. Furthermore, the arrow-shaped lugs are deep, they shed mud easily, and aren’t susceptible to colliding pebbles between the tread. The design also is flipped at the heel, allowing for plenty of bites when you descend. After around a year of regular usage the tread is getting worn down, but it is able to last for a long time.

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX hiking boot (tread)

Stability and Support

Salomon’s weight-saving features are evident when it comes to stability. To begin Salomon’s X Ultra 3 Mid sits very low on your ankles–you are able to wear socks that are quarter-height with it, and the support that surrounds this area is weakened due to this. However, it’s an enormous leap from an lower-top walking shoe and I had no issues with protection during the testing. It was a perfect fit for the Grand Canyon’s rugged and steep Escalante Trail–I didn’t suffer any ankle rolling, even on rough terrain, despite carrying a 35-pound backpack. It also didn’t feel rigid or uncomfortable on lighter hiking trails, which typically happens when wearing heavier boots.

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX hiking boot (hiking 3)

Along with the ankle’s lower height as well as the lower ankle height, in addition to the lower height, X Ultra 3 also has an extremely flexible collar design. But, it’s also significantly stronger than the other lightweight models we’ve tested, like those like the Vasque Breeze LT and the Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid that offer virtually no support for the lateral side. In the end the X Ultra 3 Mid is an excellent choice for those who enjoy the feel of a lightweight shoe, but require additional security and stability. If you’re in search of the most robust hiking boot for tough terrain or carrying an enormous load, the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid is larger, stronger, and more substantial (2 pounds. 14.2 oz.) Quest 4 GTX is the best choice.

Waterproofing​

Salomon offers their X Ultra 3 Mid in both Gore-Tex and non-waterproof versions however I tried the waterproof model in light of the forecast for rain for the Grand Canyon. The final experience was the same as other Gore-Tex shoes I’ve used and the design offers reliable water-proofing in snow, moderate to light rain, as well as during stream crossings. But, it has lower ankle heights as compared to other designs that are backpacker-friendly This means you’ll need to be aware when crossing streams in order to ensure that water doesn’t enter through the opening on the tongue. However, on the plus side, it’s the X Ultra 3 Mid GTX dried much more quickly than other Gore-Tex models I’ve tried it is likely due to the thin synthetic upper. This outer layer was wet after a particularly wet day on our hike however, the boots were dry when they were put on the following morning.

Salomon offers their X Ultra 3 Mid in both Gore-Tex and non-waterproof versions however I tried the waterproof model in light of the forecast for rain for the Grand Canyon. The final experience was the same as other Gore-Tex shoes I've used and the design offers reliable water-proofing in snow, moderate to light rain, as well as during stream crossings. But, it has lower ankle heights as compared to other designs that are backpacker-friendly This means you'll need be aware when crossing streams in order to ensure that water doesn't enter through the opening on the tongue. However, on the plus side it's the X Ultra 3 Mid GTX dried much more quickly than other Gore-Tex models I've tried it is likely due to the thin synthetic upper. This outer layer was wet after a particularly wet day on our hike however, the boots were dry when they were put on the following morning.

Breathability

If you’re looking for a waterproof boot for a waterproof boot, it’s the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is an excellent overall breather. I’ve worn these boots at temperatures that range from below freezing to more than 70 degrees and I’ve had no problems with excessive heat. With the thin hiking socks my feet have been warm, but not too sweaty or hot. Also, the Gore-Tex membrane gave me a nice amount of extra insulation when temperatures dropped. But, the Gore-Tex boots will never be able to be the most distinctive breathers and if this is important to you, then the waterproof version is not for you. X Ultra 3 Mid Aero It is a far better choice. Its Aero model is similar to the Aero design, but it is void of the liner that is waterproof and adds mesh upper materials with an open-cut design to allow to provide better ventilation.

 

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX hiking boot (Grand Canyon)

Toe and Ankle Protection

As I mentioned above as I did above, this Salomon The X ra3 Mid is a bit low as a backpacking boot nevertheless, it provides adequate ankle protection. The cushioning can be a huge help in this regard. It’s sufficiently thick to withstand hard hits on the ankle and the heel. In terms of size, the toe protection is impressively large: Protective rubber covers your foot’s front and is able to withstand brutal impacts from hard stones (the sides aren’t quite as protected, but I’ve never experienced any issues, even on very rough trails). People who are spending a lot of time off the trail may want some more protection and height. The upper portion is thin in the vicinity of the ankle and toe regions, but it’s sufficient for me so far.

 

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX hiking boot (closeup)

Build Quality and Durability

Salomon is the leader in high-quality backpacking shoes which is why this X Ultra 3 Mid is not an exception. After more than one year of usage, the boot is in good condition and is showing minimal wear. To give you an example, we used a Vasque Breeze LT Mid into the Grand Canyon, and the boot was ripped off across the rand a few days into our journey. The Salomon’s upper has some stitching, however, unlike its lower-budget X Ultra 3 that I’ve test-driven (along with earlier models of X Ultra and Quest boots) the stitching has never been an issue in the design. As I touched on above, the only notable wear has been along the tread, but no lugs have chipped away or worn excessively–something we’ve consistently experienced with other hiking boots while traveling over abrasive granite in Washington state.

Salomon-X-Ultra-3-Mid-GTX-hiking-boot-(front)

Fit and Sizing

The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX was a fantastic overall fit for my average width feet. In my typical size for men 9 sizes, the boot proved to be the perfect length to prevent the dreaded toe-bangs during long descents. The slightly narrow heel, coupled with an outstanding lacing system – held my foot securely. Additionally, the toe area is about the average size (perhaps slightly narrower) and worked great for me during our trip to backpack for several days. Those who prefer a broad and large toe box, however, may find the Salomon’s restricted. If this is the case, Salomon also makes the X Ultra 3 Mid in large sizes.

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX hiking boot (lacing up)

Other Versions of the Salomon X Ultra 3

We took Salomon’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX to test in the Grand Canyon, but Salomon also offers its X Ultra in a number of different variations. If you do not require the ankle-height protection offered by the Mid model, you’ll save about $15 and 5 ounces by purchasing the low-top X Ultra 3 GTX (see our An in-depth analysis is available here. ). For those who value the breathability of their shoes over waterproofing, Salomon also sells Aero versions of the low and mid the X Ultras ($120 and $130, respectively) and both are free of their Gore-Tex liner and feature more high-quality mesh uppers that allow better ventilation. The above designs can be found in female sizes at the same cost (the major differences are in the fit and colorways).
Salomon launched a successor to its X Ultra 3 in spring 2021. It’s called The X Ultra 4. Comparing it to the model we tested this male X Ultra4 Mid GTX cost the same at $165. It has the latest and sleek appearance, and has slightly improved stability thanks to a brand new design for the chassis and weighs less (about 1 one ounce less per pair). As with the 3. Ultra 4 is also available in several variants that include waterproof and non-waterproof low-top as well as middle-height versions (for more information, check out our deep review of the X Ultra 4 Mid).

https://partsnuke.com//salomon-x-ultra-3-mid-gtx

Salomon X Ultra 4

Salomon released a successor to the X Ultra 3 in spring 2021: the X Ultra 4. Stacked up against the model tested here, the men’s X Ultra 4 Mid GTX costs the same at $165 but boasts a more modern and athletic look, has slightly improved stability with a new chassis design, and weighs a bit less (about 1 ounce less per shoe). Like the 3, the 4 is available in a number of other iterations, including waterproof and non-waterproof low-top and mid-height models (for more, see our in-depth X Ultra 4 Mid review).

 

What We Like About HTML0
Salomon managed to attain an impressively low weight, without sacrificing endurance or comfort on the trail This is not an difficult task for a backpacking boot.
Traction is superb The boot was able to handle all kinds of terrain from steep, loose rock , dirt or mud and even snow.
High-end build quality: X Ultra 3 Mid is showing minimal wear and tear after more than one year of continuous use.

“What We Never Do”
If you’re in a particularly technical area or carrying heavy loads we recommend upgrading to a higher, more sturdy and more secure boot, such as Salomon’s Quest 4D 3 GTX.
Lower ankle height is a sign that water will easily pass through the collar.
For those with larger feet, they may be unable to use the toe box (although Salomon sells the X Ultra 3 Mid in larger sizes).

Comparison Table

BOOT PRICE CATEGORY WEIGHT WATERPROOF UPPER
$45
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The Competition

The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is our most rated hiking boots because of its remarkable combination of lightness, comfort and toughness. Another well-liked model with similar goals can be found in the Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP. In comparison to the Salomon Moab 2 model, this Moab 2 has more generous cushioning throughout, but especially in the lower thigh area, where it’s much soft and has more separation from the floor. But it’s the X Ultra 3 is lighter by 4.3 pounds per pair and has a more sporty feel, and gives the same amount of support. In fact, we’ve discovered that Salomon’s lacing mechanism permits to provide a more comfortable fit and gives it an advantage. The bottom line is that those looking for a comfortable shoe to hike on daytime trails might prefer the Merrell however, that’s not the case with the Salomon. Salomon is the more lightweight and more versatile choice.

Another one of our most-loved trekkers includes KEEN’s signature Targhee III Waterproof Mid. It costs a little higher than X Ultra 3, the Targhee is a sturdy leather construction, and a great overall comfort. It weighs in at a respectable 2 pounds 2.8 grams, and has adequate grip and stability for the majority of trail-based adventures. It’s also an obvious drop in terms of overall performance over the Salomon on rocky and steep terrain. KEEN’s in-house waterproofing system doesn’t breathe as well as Gore-Tex membrane from Salomon, which is more luxurious. In the end it’s a good choice. Targhee is still a very popular choice and with good reason however, the Salomon is superior in nearly every aspect and can cost you less dollars.

 

There’s been a rising number of ultralight boots arriving on the market, such as Vasque’s Breeze LT Mid GTX. When you slip your foot into it the boot, it is like a trail-running boot with a lively midsole. lightweight and comfortable (the boot weighs just 1 one pound. 11 oz. per pair) and a slippery Vibram Megagrip outsidesole. The same trip to the Grand Canyon, we found that the Breeze LT provided good cushioning and ankle support that was adequate and plenty of comfort all around however it fell short in terms of durability. Particularly the thin rund that runs through the inner of the boot split off from the upper in several days, and was swaying about loosely at the time we returned from the journey. If you want to save a few pounds we would recommend the more durable Ultra 3 Mid.

From within Salomon’s lineup, the Outline Mid GTX adheres to the same general pattern to that of the X Ultra 3 Mid. It’s lightweight (1 1 lb. 13.6 oz. per pair) moderately flexible, has the tacky Contagrip lugs and comes with a Gore-Tex liner. The main difference between the two is in the comfort. The Outline is too thick underfoot and caused significant fatigue in the feet even during longer treks. Additionally, we experienced issues with the durability of the toe cap peeled back after just 1 day (it was a lengthy hike, but nothing too strenuous or technical). Overall the feeling is reminiscent of a running shoe and the boot has a sleek and modern design but it does not have the power or the track record of its predecessor, the X Ultra 3 Mid GTX.

The last but not least is a more robust design that you can consider: Salomon’s Quest 4 GTX. With a weight of 2 pounds 14.2 pounds and 14.2 ounces The Quest is heavier than that of the X Ultra 3 by a significant 14.5 ounces for each pair, which can add rapidly for long distances. The Quest’s more durable construction, higher ankle height and better lacing system that is secure, as well as the added protection for your feet underfoot are more suited to withstand serious backpacking excursions that require traversing difficult and difficult terrain. The X Ultra 3 Mid can’t replace a more technical boot like the Quest however, for everything else but the most challenging trips, we believe it’s worth saving cost of $65 by choosing the more lightweight and agile design.