Trail running shoes aren’t just for runners. Popular with thru-hikers and long distance backpackers, wearing lighter footwear can reduce the amount of load on your back, as stated in “a pound of weight on the foot is equal to five pounds in the pack.”
I’ve always worn over the ankle hiking boots, but lately I’ve been considering giving trail running shoes a try to see if it would help with foot fatigue on longer hikes and backpacking trips. I’m also interested in a shoe that keeps my feet from getting hot and sweaty in the summer.
Disclosure: I received these hiking shoes from SoleLabz.com in exchange for reviewing them on this blog. Regardless, I will provide an unbiased review of the shoes. As I continue to try them out in different conditions, I’ll be updating this post with info on how they performed.
Salomon is a well-trusted old-school brand started in France around 6 decades ago. It was even a daughter company of Adidas at one point, so anything coming from their assembly lines carries a certain trust factor to begin with.
Let’s see what Salomon is saying about this particular model:
- The upper of “the Ellipse” is a mixture of synthetics and textile, it’s quick-drying and pleasing to the eye. It features a standard front lacing system that offers a very secure fit.
- The collar and the tongue have some additional padding for extra comfort and support. The inside lining is made of breathable mesh, keeping the problem of sweaty feet at bay. The footbed is removable and made of foam for optimal cushioning.
- The base of the shoe features a revolutionary mudguard (according to the manufacturer). The rubber sole is non-marking and ensures a very good grip. The design of the shoe is adjusted to specific needs of a woman’s foot shape.
My initial thoughts
Shape: This shoe has a wider toe box, which is great for someone like me whose main problem with most hiking shoes and boots is my toes get squeezed and end up sore during a longer hike. Plenty of space for my toes is the number one thing I look for in a pair of shoes or boots, and these shoes have that.
Protection: The toe and heel on the shoes have protective caps, a feature that I really like since I tend to stub my toes easily.
Comfort factor: They are comfortable right out of the box, with no need to break in.
The fit: Initially, the back part of the shoe felt too short and my heel slips a little in them, but after wearing them for a couple of weeks, this has not been a problem so far.
Lacing: The laces are much thinner than on most shoes, yet they are strong, and I like how easy it is to pull them tight. However, if you wanted them to be looser in one part of the shoe than another, that might be difficult with these shoes.
Ankle support: Since these are lower profile shoes, there is no ankle support. I do have a tendency to roll my ankles, so that might be an issue for me on rocky or steep terrain. On flat ground, it’s not an issue for me at all.
Breathability: The upper fabric is a lightweight nylon over mesh and you can feel cooler air coming in. I think that this will be of great benefit in the summer months when my feet normally overheat in my hiking boots!
Waterproof: These shoes aren’t waterproof, so when crossing streams or hiking in the rain, your feet are sure to get wet. However, these shoes will dry much faster than hiking boots, so that may be a benefit if you have a chance to let them dry out. For hiking, if I know that I’ll need to wade through water in colder weather, I’d probably wear my waterproof hiking boots instead.
Overall, I like the way these shoes fit and really like how lightweight they are. I’ve been wearing them regularly for a couple of weeks, and on daily 2-3 mile walks with my dog. And now that Portland is in it’s rainiest season, I’ve been wearing them instead of my aerobics shoes for indoor cardio and strength training workouts. Whether they end up being good for hiking and backpacking is to be determined next spring and summer. Look for updates then!
I’ve been backpacking with these shoes several times, and they are holding up well. I used them to ford three streams recently and the shoes dried very quickly – a big bonus over wearing waterproof boots, which would have gotten wet in the fording and taken much longer to dry. The shoes have been supportive while carrying 30-33 pounds in my backpack, and they have great traction on the trail.