Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Review

A durable backpacking boot that feels like a hefty running shoe

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Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

VeryFit / Justin Park

What We Like

  • Minimal break-in

  • Supportive and flexible

  • Trail running performance

  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like

  • Minimal cushioning

  • Warm in hot conditions

  • No narrow or wide options

Bottom Line

The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX are technical hiking boots built to endure long backpacking hikes while being responsive enough to navigate terrain athletically.

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Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

VeryFit / Justin Park

Salomon is a skiing brand born in the Alps that has stretched its alpine pedigree to outdoor performance footwear, especially trail running shoes and hiking boots. The company’s trail running shoes have a cult following among more hardcore mountain athletes, and the hiking boots are positioned similarly in the boot market. I recently tested out the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX hiking boots for men in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and foothills to find out if the performance backpacking boots live up to the hype.

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
 Verywell Fit / Justin Park

Performance: Off-the-shelf, long-lasting comfort

The first thing I noticed upon slipping on the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX boots was that despite having the look of a big, bulky, high-top hiking boot, the soles and upper were flexible and comfortable straight away.

The proprietary Contagrip sole looks like a fairly average rubber sole, but the compound gripped slick rock and held onto mud in Colorado’s spring conditions in the high country. The lug pattern is borrowed directly from Salomon’s Speedcross trail running shoe and is refreshingly simple; there’s almost a work-boot style to it, though it is beefed up from previous versions of the 4D boot. Overall, the sole is relatively thin for this style of boot, which allowed me to feel the terrain underfoot, though some hikers may expect more cushioning from a hiking boot in this class.

The widened heel area of the sole provides a solid base when hiking loaded up with a heavy pack, but it doesn’t detract from the agility of the boot when picking up the pace and staying up on your forefeet.

Trail runners excited by the agility of the boot may still find themselves catching the wider sole on rocks here and there as I did, but you get used to the form factor after a few uses. I could scamper through a rock field with ease knowing the beefier boot had my back in case of any harsh impacts.

The sole is relatively thin for this style of boot, which allowed me to feel the terrain underfoot, though some hikers may expect more cushioning.

The boots are relatively light for their large size, coming in a few ounces shy of 1.5 pounds per boot, making long hikes tolerable.

The Gore-Tex liner is waterproof and breathable, though you can still soak the upper materials without getting your socks wet, as I discovered slogging through melting spring snow in the high country. This appearance of sogginess is more of a weight concern than anything. If you like, you could spray with a waterproofing product to help the upper material bead water, though you could exacerbate issues with breathability this way.

In hotter, drier conditions, the boots were a bit warm for my liking, especially as someone who wears trail running shoes almost exclusively for hiking. As a three-season hiker, the Salomon 4D 3s are a great compromise of waterproofing and lightweight breathability, but they aren’t nearly as comfortable on hot days as non-waterproof boots or trail shoes thanks to their high height and Gore-Tex membrane and other upper materials.

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
Verywell Fit / Justin Park 

Fit: High-top stability, somewhat narrow

The boots are at the high end of the height scale, fully covering the “ball” of the ankle and lacing uptight around the thinnest-diameter area of the lower leg bones, aiding in keeping rocks and debris out of the boot. The top of the boot, while high, is flexible, allowing ankle articulation in three dimensions.

I found lacing up the boot quick and easy despite its height. The hooks set back from the tongue allowed me to really secure my ankle in the crease of the boot to prevent my foot from slipping around inside. Likewise, as already mentioned, the top hooks helped me crank the boot top tight to keep debris out. I was happy for the height hiking through sections of snow that hadn’t yet melted and would have likely gotten in the top of shorter boots.

While I never blistered, the somewhat narrow fit caused some soreness on my little toes in the first few uses, though that disappeared with use. The “advanced chassis” includes a really hard heel cup that’s comfortable on the inside while providing a protective shell around the heel. The boots really held onto my heels, which is key in keeping feet back and toes away from the tip of the boot when descending steep terrain.

While I never blistered, the somewhat narrow fit caused some soreness on my little toes in the first few uses, though that disappeared with use.

On top of the foam midsole lies an Ortholite footbed that’s securely glued into the boot and blends seamlessly into the boot’s interior, minimizing potential hotspots. Run your hand around inside the boot, and you won’t find many edges or points; the boot feels like it was crafted around a foot, not just materials stitched together.

While I normally wear a size 11 men’s in casual footwear, 10.5 is usually better for athletic footwear including hiking boots; the 4D 3 GTX boots fit me perfectly in 10.5. Overall, the fit was snug without being constrictive or creating hotspots.

I did notice some sole bulk under the middle outside of my foot that felt like it was forcing my foot to pronate (lean in), though it never caused me pain hiking and seemed to be less noticeable with use. The toe box is one spot where the 4Ds offered me some space, and I was glad for it on longer hikes.

The Quest 4D 3 GTX’s width fit my average-width feet snugly, which added to the feeling of stability and fit. However, hikers with narrower or wider feet may struggle in the 4Ds, which do not offer special narrow or wide sizes.

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
Verywell Fit / Justin Park 

Materials: Leather upper, rubber outsole

The nubuck leather and textile uppers create the look, breathability, and feel of a summer hiking boot, while the Gore-Tex membrane creates the waterproofing essential for multi-day hiking where dry socks are more important than usual. This softer build is also to thank for the immediate comfort compared to beefier boots, especially all-leather options. 

The hard plastic lace hooks are welcome for really cranking down the fit, but I had to wonder if they couldn’t have improved the durability of these key pieces by using a lightweight metal instead. Several online reviewers complained that the hooks had broken, though I didn’t experience any problems.

The foam midsole lays on top of the Contagrip rubber and provides cushioning without making the overall footbed awkwardly thick. The Contagrip rubber comes up more than an inch directly in front of the toes from the base of the sole, cupping the additional rubber toe cage that gives the spacious toe box structure and protects toes from impacts.

In terms of longevity, both my father and brother have worn previous iterations of this boot for years and have vouched for its durability; they’ve become evangelists for its comfort and support on long backpacking missions. 

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
Verywell Fit / Justin Park

Design/Style: Classic boots with modern details

The 4D 3 GTX is a nice blend of classic hiking boot styles and more modern techy trail running touches. Compared to clunkier hikers, the 4Ds have a fitted, athletic look to them despite being high-top—a carry-over from Salomon’s trail running pedigree.

The Wren/Cored/Green Sulphur colorway almost looks like a classic tan hiking boot in product photos, but it is much more olive green in person. Small touches of primary colors pop on the mostly earthy palette without making it veer into loud, sneaker-like territory, which can look garish in the wilderness.

However, this is the only version in true earth tones. Two colorways are unabashedly bright and are of the Italian style embodied by bootmakers Scarpa: Cathay Spice and Mallard Blue.

The Phantom Black colorway stays in the black family while mixing several shades of dark gray for interest.

The high-top style is too serious-looking to be worn casually, but they could comfortably double as work boots for tradesmen that don’t require a steel toe or other people that work outdoors and need a waterproof shoe.

Price: On the higher end

At $230 on the official Salomon site, the 4Ds are definitely a pricier hiking boot aimed at more serious backpackers who value performance and comfort for the long haul. While most retailers have a price comparable to Salomon’s, the older 4D 2 GTX version is available for as little as $180 in certain sizes and colors at the time of this review.

Competition: A couple of comparable alternatives

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX: If the height or the price of the 4D 3s turns you off, Salomon’s lower and lighter yet comparable mid-height hikers, the X Ultra 3 Mid GTXs, have more of a trail runner feel, sacrificing some stability and comfort for weight and cost savings.

Salewa Men's Alp Trainer Mid GTX Boots: These decidedly European-looking hikers offer a similar Gore-Tex waterproofing without insulation, making them fit the same niche as the 4D 3s at a slightly lower weight, height, and price (roughly $200).

Final Verdict

Buy them for backpacking.

Serious backpackers should take a serious look at the Salomon 4D 3 GTX boots for their comfort and performance over long distances with heavy packs.

Specs

  • Product Name 4D 3 GTX Hiking Boots
  • Product Brand Salomon
  • MPN 401518
  • Price $230.00
  • Weight 2.8 lbs.
  • Color Wren/Bungee Cord/Green Sulphur, Phantom/Black, Cathay Spice/Stormy Weather/Pearl Blue, Mallard Blue/Reflecting Pond
  • Materials Nubuck leather, textile, EVA, rubber
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