When I first found out that I was going on the Overland Track in a months' time I was super excited. My immediate thought went to getting some footwear. In particular waterproof boots, as I've never owned a pair. Let's be clear here, I'm an avid hiker and climber but I've always preferred the low cut hiking shoe due to my tendency to climb and want ankle articulation. However for this 6-day trek carrying a 17kg pack over varied terrain I knew that I needed to get a pair of boots. Naturally I went with a brand that I trust. Salomon has always been a top shelf brand and currently (excluding this pair) take up more than half of my shoe collection so I was fairly confident in my choice of the Salomon Quest Prime GTX Hiking Boots.
Salomon have always had great styling but more importantly a great fit for my feet. As I write this I sport a pair of speedcross 4 which I nearly wear every day and have over three colours of the same shoe. The technology in their shoes has always been evident in how they perform both on and off the beaten trail and provide unparalleled grip. However this shoe was different and here's why.
If you're a keen Salomon shoe wearer you know that Salomon shoes are pretty much 'ready for the trail out of the box.' Knowing the brand I expected this to be the case, so after trying on the shoe and walking around my Rays store I grabbed the pair and hit the trail to train for my trip. My thought for the first two weeks were "This shoe is hard, really hard." But I carried on because I knew this could be a breaking in period.
After 4 weeks of walking every second day I was still in the same boat, hard shoes and pain in my toe that resulted in a blister (never had blisters on my feet ever). You could say I was no longer confident in my choice, So much so I thought about swapping it over for the younger brother the Salomon Evasion GTX. But I didn't.
I wouldn’t call the Quest Prime GTX a good looking shoe, there are definitely better looking shoes on the market. I have it in the understated “Magnet/black/ Red Dahlia colour” which is black and grey with red highlights basically, so it’s not going to attract too much attention to it. The Salomon words shoot up the side and on the tongue of the shoe and the little “S” logo is printed on every surface they possibly could put it on. Then they add that shiny 'Gore-Tex' logo which is possibly the most important point out and this is why...
This shoe is waterproof. So waterproof in fact that the first two days of Rain we had on the overland, my feet remained dry and comfortable while others around me in 'Waterproof' shoes got wet feet. I think this is largely due to the Gore Tex liner. This stuff works! It keeps your feet dry (paired with good quality socks) by transporting your sweat vapour to the outside of the shoe and the quest prime being a mainly mesh and open textile weave fabric upper it has the best opportunity to do just that. No matter what I threw at it, mud, wet grass, slippery rocks, tree roots and slush - the Contagrip sole provided steady traction wherever I put my feet which gave me great confidence.
At night I pulled out the Ortholite innersole (which adds a good amount of comfort) to help speed up the drying process of the sweat from the inside of the boot. In my tent vestibule the shoe basically dried overnight with only a little bit of moisture showing on the toe of the outside of the shoes.
Typically Salomon shoes are a narrower fit however the toe box in this shoe is a little wider than typical Salomons, I do think this could be due to the fact the shoe didn’t stretch much and Salomon has made the shoe a little wider on purpose because they knew it wouldn’t stretch as much. Genius? Or fortunate mistake? However you view it, it works even for current Salomon wearers. The laces and the 4d chassis system give you a snug fit to make you feel secure in the boot. And the shank on the bottom is stiffer than a normal Salomon shoe but was comfortable once you had a 17kg pack on your back.
Although I found the shoe very stiff initially I’m glad I stuck it out. This shoe provided great support once I had that backpack on and I was very glad I could get to camp with dry feet. Considering the conditions and the state of the others shoes on the trip I was glad I went for this shoe. Salomon are yet to disappoint me and I would recommend this shoe to a friend.