Salomon OUTline GTX Hiking Shoe Review – Field Tested

The Salomon OUTline GTX low hiking shoe is beautiful, but I found it subpar compared to four other popular hiking shoe brands. I spent a month walking in and testing these sleek hikers while comparing their comfort and performance to four other shoes.

The Salomon OUTline GTX low is a modern trail shoe with overt running shoe styling while offering the traction and protection you expect for a hiking shoe. The OUTline GTX is suited to light hiking on trails or trail running. A hiking shoe with more support and protection would be better for excursions with heavy backpacks or longer mileage.

Check out my review of five incredible hiking shoes, where I pick the best hiking shoe of the year.

Is the Salomon OUTline GTX Hiking Shoe Comfortable?

I found these shoes to be less comfortable than the Merrell MQM Flex 2 or the Oboz Sawtooth 2. They were about as comfortable as the Danner Trail 2650 Campo or the Keen Targhee Vent. I walked at least 20 miles in all of these shoes over one month.

When I purchased these, I found that the narrow, athletic profile did not work with my feet, so I had to go up to the wide version. I have a normal width foot, so you may need to go up a width to fit them properly if you purchase these.

The wide version now fits my foot, and thankfully there is no sloppiness in the toe box, as I found with the Danner Trail 2650 Campo when I had to go up the wide version.

The shoes feature an EVA midsole like most other hiking shoes. With a thin OrthoLite insole, I found these to be less than comfortable. When hiking or walking for a few miles, I do not have any issues with hotspots or blisters from rubbing, but some of the other shoes I tested were more comfortable.

The synthetic/mesh uppers are adequate and form nicely to my foot.

Here are my rankings for the comfort of the five shoes I tested earlier this summer, with links to the shoes to compare current pricing.

The Merrell MQM Flex 2 was the most comfortable shoe I tested. Check out my full review here.

ShoeRelative Comfort
Merrell MQM Flex 2Very comfortable
Oboz Sawtooth 2Very comfortable
Danner Trail 2650 CampoSomewhat comfortable
Salomon OUTline GTXSomewhat comfortable
Keen Targhee VentLess comfortable
The relative comfort of five different hiking shoes tested
Salomon OUTline GTX Low “Burnt Olive”

Does the Salomon OUTline GTX Hiking Shoe Have Good Grip?

One important parameter for hikers and their footwear is grip. I wrote an article explaining the Hiking and trail running are typified by challenging terrain that includes mud, rocks, boulders, water, and everything else that the backcountry can throw at us.

The Salomon OUTline GTX features a sole made with their proprietary rubber compound, Contragrip Ⓡ MD, which provides long-term durability. In my experience testing grip on the five hiking shoes, I found that those featuring soft and squishy soles provided more grip.

There is a tradeoff between the rubber compound’s grip and the soles’ durability—for example, the Oboz and the Keen feature more boot-like soles with harder rubber compounds. The Danner and Merrell shoes tested have softer, more pliable rubber compounds, and they performed the best.

The Salomon OUTline GTX was the least grippy of all five shoes I tested. Even to the touch, you can feel a significant drop-off in grip performance between the Megragrip compound from Vibram featured on the Danner Trail 2650 Campo and the Contragrip Ⓡ MD featured on the OUTline GTX.

ShoeRelative Grip Performance
Danner Trail 2650 CampoExcellent Grip
Merrell MQM Flex 2Excellent Grip
Oboz Sawtooth 2Medium Grip
Keen Targhee VentMedium Grip
Salomon OUTline GTXLess Grip
The relative grip of five different hiking shoes tested

How did I test these shoes for grip? I have a suspension strap trainer anchored to the ceiling in my garage, which has a smooth concrete floor. I placed my feet side-by-side and leaned back as far as possible while keeping my body straight and extending my arms. I slowly inched my feet forward until the shoes began to slip, and then I marked the spot and compared them to the other shoes.

Obviously, we are not typically hiking on polished concrete. Still, the test indicates each shoe’s grip performance relative to the other shoes under those test conditions. I repeated the test a few times and always had the same results.

For a full review of the Danner Trail 2650 Campo follow this link. The Danner Trail 2650 Campo has different features than the Salomon OUTline GTX that might work better for you.

Testing Salomon OUTline GTX against four other shoes for grip.

Does the Salomon OUTline GTX Hiking Shoe Provide Good Protection?

A key consideration in any hiking footwear is protection underfoot. The Salomon OUTline GTX performed worse than four other shoes tested.

While hiking or running on trails, injury from point impacts from rocks or other debris is a real concern. Hiking shoes seem to fall into two categories: low boots or trail runners. Those hiking shoes with strong boot DNA (Keen Targhee Vent or Oboz Sawtooth 2) have thick rubber soles and usually opt for a harder rubber compound.

Those hiking shoes with more of a running shoe pedigree (Danner Trail 2650 Campo, Salomon OUTline, or Merrell MQM Flex 2) usually feature a rock plate between the outsole and the midsole, which provides a hard plastic barrier between your foot and the trail.

In my testing, the solution provided by the Salomon OUTline GTX resulted in subpar performance.

With each of the five shoes, I stepped on a board with nails in it! Yes, do not try this at home. I also stepped on small rocks of varying size and, finally, four-side dice typically used in Dungeons and Dragons. (I stepped on a rock in Italy six years ago with the same shape while running and had Plantar Fasciitis for a year after. Foot protection is important.)

The results in the table below are qualitative based on my experience stepping on the items with each shoe. The more I felt the item on my foot or the less stable I felt the lower I rated the shoe.

ShoeRelative Protection Performance
Keen Targhee VentExcellent Protection
Oboz Sawtooth 2Excellent Protection
Danner Trail 2650 CampoMedium Protectin
Merrell MQM Flex 2Medium Protection
Salomon OUTline GTXLess Protection
The relative foot protection of five different hiking shoes tested
Testing the OUTline GTX for protection.

What Are the Best Outdoor Uses of the OUTline GTX Hiking Shoe?

With a Gore-Tex liner, good styling, and adequate performance, the Salomon OUTline GTX hiking shoe will satisfy many different types of users.

Having walked and jogged in these over a period of a couple of months, I think the best use of the OUTline GTX hiking shoe is for light-backpacking, day hiking, trail running, and general use around town.

I think the Salomon OUTline GTX low is not indicated for trips that include rougher terrain or heavier backpacks. If you want a low hiker in these scenarios, I suggest the Oboz Sawtooth 2, which I found extremely comfortable and very stable for walking and hiking.

If you are interested in a more in-depth review of each of the shoes tested here, you can check out the video on my YouTube channel shown below.

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