Choosing the right footwear for your outdoor adventures is a crucial decision. Whether you’re a fan of hiking boots or trail runners, the choice often depends on your personal preference and the terrain you’ll be tackling. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare hiking boots and trail runners, focusing on their respective pros and cons. We’ll also provide detailed reviews of two popular products: the Salomon Men’s Quest 4 GTX hiking boots and the Salomon Speedcross 5 trail running shoes.
Hiking Boots vs Trail Runners: A Detailed Comparison
Hiking boots are known for their durability and support, making them the go-to choice for rugged terrains or when you’re carrying a heavy backpack. They offer excellent protection against water, mud, and cold weather. However, their robust construction can make them heavier and less breathable than trail runners.
On the other hand, trail runners are celebrated for their lightweight and comfortable design. They’re ideal for well-maintained trails or for those who prefer a minimalist approach to hiking. However, they may not provide enough support for rough terrains and might not be as durable or waterproof as hiking boots.
Best Hiking Boots – SALOMON Men’s Quest 4 GTX
|GORE-TEX membrane keeps feet dry from inside and outside
|Contagrip TD provides maximum traction on mixed terrain
|Contagrip TD combines deep, aggressive lug pattern with a durable compound
|ADV-C 4D Chassis protects outer ankle articulations, provides stability, and extra heel support when carrying a heavier load
SALOMON Men’s Quest 4 GTX
I absolutely adore these hiking boots. They’re durable, comfortable, supportive, and provide great stability.
When I’m hiking, I often roll my ankles. I used to wear Lowa Renegade GTX boots for casual walking on well-maintained trails, but they weren’t enough for uneven terrain or steep descents.
Before a guided hiking trip in Alaska, I tried on many boots, including the Salomon Quest 4 GTX. Initially, I rejected them because a salesperson gave me bad advice to size down by 1/2. However, when I tried my normal size, they were perfect.
It took a while to break in the Quest 4 GTX due to the plastic strip along the sides, but it provided great stability on the trail. The insole is adequate, but I prefer third-party insoles like the Superfeet Trailblazer Comfort and Superfeet Adapt Hike Max.
I recommend trying both your normal size and a half-size down to find the best fit. The Quest 4 GTX has a high top for ankle support and excellent waterproofing. The lacing hooks are effective and much better than other boots I’ve worn.
Overall, I highly recommend the Salomon Quest 4 GTX hiking boots.
Best Trail Running Shoes – Salomon Speedcross 5
Salomon Men’s Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoes are a popular choice for trail runners who need a shoe that can handle tough terrain. These shoes feature a Contragrip sole with aggressive lug patterns that provide excellent traction on muddy, rocky, and slippery surfaces. The upper is made from durable and water-resistant materials that keep your feet dry and comfortable during wet conditions.
The shoes also come with Salomon’s Sensifit technology that hugs your feet for a precise and secure fit. This helps to prevent slipping and sliding inside the shoe while you’re on the move. Additionally, the Quicklace system allows for easy and fast adjustments to the laces, ensuring a snug and comfortable fit.
Salomon Men’s Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoes are also known for their comfortable cushioning and shock absorption, thanks to the EnergyCell+ foam technology used in the midsole. This provides a responsive feel underfoot and helps to reduce fatigue during long runs.
|These shoes are imported, meaning they are made in a country other than where they will be sold
|The shoes have a rubber sole, which provides durability and traction on different surfaces
|Trail Running Shoes
|These shoes are designed specifically for trail running, featuring an aggressive grip, precise foothold, and protection
|The shoes feature deep, sharp lugs that provide an improved grip on wet, dirty terrain
|The shoes have a dynamic upper that provides a better fit and stability
|Salomon makes shoes that ensure you have a smooth ride on any and all terrain, whether you love road running in your neighborhood, an escape to a local trail, or something more rugged
|Wide Range of Activities
|Salomon has shoes and gear for kids, men, and women for a wide range of outdoor activities, including trail running, hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering
|Salomon has been creating innovative outdoor sports gear since 1947, including shoes, boots, bags, apparel, and accessories to help make any path your own
Salomon Speedcross 5 review
I engage in a lot of trail running and hiking, and after trying out multiple pairs of shoes, I have ultimately found the Salomon Speedcross series to be the best. I have gone through several pairs and approximately 2000 miles over the past few years, and they remain my preferred choice of shoe.
The most important aspect is their sizing, which is accurate, but they have a narrow fit compared to many shoes. Even the wide version does not truly feel “wide.” If you have a large or wide foot, it is recommended to try on a pair before purchasing. However, the narrow fit usually translates to stability because of how snugly they fit around your feet. Furthermore, the tread on these shoes provides the best grip I have experienced on a trail shoe, which gives me a lot of confidence on the trails and hills, whether it be rocky, smooth, slippery, or wet.
While the insoles are comfortable, they may curl up in wetter conditions when descending steep hills. Additionally, I often experience foot pain, so these shoes tend to run a bit thin for me. To address this, I usually replace the included soles with thicker, thermomoldable ones, and my consistent choice has been the Viktos brand “Ruck Recovery” insoles. However, there are plenty of other options available.
Regarding the tread, it is quite durable. On mostly dry, hard-packed southern California terrain, I typically average about 400-600 miles (or around 4-6 months) per pair. However, around the 400-mile mark, the tread around the ball of the foot usually wears down enough for me to consider replacing them, solely for the sake of potentially slipping down less-than-stable terrain that is hard-packed with grainy pebbles/rocks and loose dirt. It is also worth noting that it is not recommended to use these shoes on pavement or asphalt because the lifespan of the tread will significantly decrease. So, if you are using these shoes in mixed terrain environments that may include paved roads, keep that in mind.
All in all, I have yet to find a better all-around trail shoe than the Salomon Speedcross series.
In conclusion, choosing the right footwear for hiking is crucial to ensure a comfortable and safe experience on the trails. Hiking boots and trail runners both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on the terrain and conditions you’ll be hiking in. When it comes to winter hiking, it’s essential to invest in insulated boots, gaiters, and moisture-wicking socks to protect your feet from the cold and keep them dry. By selecting the appropriate gear for your hiking needs, you can maximize your enjoyment of the great outdoors and have a safe and comfortable hiking experience.