03 May Salomon OUTline Hiking Shoes – The 100 Mile Review
Salomon OUTline Women’s GTX Hiking Shoes
Straight Out Of The Box And Onto The Trail
100+ Miles On The South West Coast Path
Walking and hiking shoes are the be all and end all of a good hike or backpacking trip, but before we get into the nitty gritty of these Salomon Outline trail shoes there’s something you should know. I absolutely love them! You should also know that this is not a sponsored post and I’ve not been sent a pair to try out or anything like that. I bought them for a long distance hike based on some sound advice from my local outdoor store.
Here's why I love them so much that I'm planning on buying a second pair.
Salomon OUTline For The South West Coast Path
3 days before I left for a 100 mile or so hike on the South West Coast Path in South Devon I decided to bite the bullet and buy new walking shoes. The soles had just about fallen off my current pair of Lowa, but the cost of a new pair of shoes meant I put off buying new ones until the very last minute.
As any walker knows, this is taking a big gamble:
Retailers' advice is always to wear in new shoes well before heading out on the trail.
I didn’t have time for that. I went to my local Cotswold Outdoor to see what they had in stock, and I’m an awkward customer so I wasn’t expecting much!
My Hiking Shoe Criteria
My Feet Are A Pain In The Arse!
I have narrow feet that are also, apparently, ‘low volume’. And I have achilles issues. My feet are a pain in the arse.
- Narrow feet? You’re more likely to find a greater range of shoes for wide feet than narrow ones
- Low volume? This means that the front of your feet don’t fill the shoe (even narrow width ones) so they flap about inside (great if you like blisters). The solution? Wear thick socks (excellent for blisters in summer when your feet are sweltering hot)
- Achilles issues? Have you noticed just how many walking shoes and boots have a rigid heel cup for so called stability? Shoes that basically put your feet into a splint are really not great for achilles tendonopathy. You’re likely to find the top of the plastic cup puts painful pressure right on your achilles every time you take a step. Nice
What I Need
Shoes that actually fit and don’t cripple me with pain would be a good start! This comes down to a narrow fit, low rise shoes rather than boots and a soft heel. For me a soft heel means that I can push the back of the shoe down towards the insole, which you can’t do if it’s got a solid, plastic support inside. Shoe retailers have their work cut out when I walk through the door.
This time I also wanted a lightweight trail running type shoe, rather than the usual heavy walking shoe.
So, Cotswold Outdoor Truro, what have you got for me?! A choice of precisely 2 pairs of shoes is what they had. But when I tried them on I realised there was only one choice, the Saloman OUTline, because the other pair on offer wasn’t a great fit after all.
I was advised they’d be perfect for the coast path, offering good grip for any rock scrambling or stony paths, protection around the toe box, comfort on tarmac (there’s a fair few miles of it on the South Devon section of the South West Coast Path) plus all the benefits of lightweight shoes.
Any reservations about the Saloman OUTline I had were based on the longevity of the soles – would the lugs wear down quickly on tarmac?
Did you know that walking and hiking shoes have a life span of just 500 miles, just like running shoes?
500 miles isn’t far if you’re a long distance walker. Your shoes can fall apart within a few months, easily. When that’s the case, who wants to spend several hundred pounds on a pair of shoes you need to replace several times a year. Not me. Cost was also a deciding factor.
Salomon OUTline – Fit
10/10 – perfect for someone with narrow feet like me
All you people with wide feet and ‘normal’ width feet have plenty of choice so please don’t complain when a manufacturer produces something suitable for the rest of us haha!
- I bought a size 6.5 (UK) in the Salomon OUTline and I’d normally buy a 5.5 or 6 in ordinary shoes. I found they fit really well around my slim heel and there was no slipping at all over the 8 day hike, so no blisters!
- The toe box was a great fit with a pair of slightly thicker socks to stop my ‘low volume’ forefoot moving about
- I don’t like a lot of arch support (it makes my feet really ache – is it just me?!) and the OUTline has an Ortholite liner which provided plenty of comfort without the pressure of an overly padded arch support
- Laces! I love a simple lace up, it’s the easiest way to adjust the fit around the foot. My only wish is that manufacturers would add an extra pair of eyelets or two across the forefoot, which might mean someone with a low volume foot could tighten them up and not have to wear extra thick socks!
Salomon OUTline – The Contagrip Sole
9/10 On The South West Coast Path
Why not a perfect 10? Well, I slipped on an uneven section of wet slate steps and landed on my back! Boon the Beetle strikes again (you know, lying on my back on top of my fully laden rucksack, legs and arms in the air, unable to get up!!) – it’s a regular occurrence when I’m hiking so maybe it’s not actually my shoes ha!
- Excellent grip on muddy and stony tracks, as well as wet grass
- Very comfortable on sandy beaches due to the light weight of the shoe
- No slipping on tarmac sections
- Good grip on pebbly beaches
- Felt less secure scrambling over wet rock, although I wouldn’t hesitate to give them, a 10/10 on dry rock
Salomon OUTline – The Ride
10/10 For Comfort
I’ve never felt more comfortable in my shoes on the trail. Full stop. And I walked several 17 and 18 mile days back to back.
- Comfortable straight out of the box, no wearing in necessary
- No niggles or faffing about trying to get a better fit by fiddling with socks, laces or insoles
- The lightweight, flexible design meant my feet could ‘mould’ to the terrain really easily – I always feel much more confident when I can actually feel the ground (and the changes in it) through my feet
- No stubbed toes! The rubber protection around the front of the shoe was brilliant
- And finally, no friction blisters. I’ll say that again: NO FRICTION BLISTERS! Over 100 miles. I’ll say that yet again:
No friction blisters after 100 miles of hiking! Seriously awesome.
Salomon OUTline – Waterproofing And Breathability
10/10 for Waterproofing
7/10 for Breathability
My hike gave me the chance to test the OUTline in a variety of weather conditions, thanks to the South West’s wonderful weather systems!
On the first day of my hike it was freezing cold and rained cats and dogs. Chucked it down. The following day the grass and rocks were sopping wet and earth paths very ‘puddly’ and muddy. Towards the end of the week the weather had changed dramatically with the temperature up in the 20’s and no precipitation at all.
- After walking in the pouring rain for hours, sloshing through puddles, wet grass, and splashing across streams, rivers and surf all week my socks (and feet!) were bone dry. I honestly couldn’t believe it
- As I mentioned above, the temperature ramped up during the following days and my feet got seriously hot and sweaty. Unfortunately I had to continue to wear thicker socks to avoid the risk of friction blisters (thinner socks means my feet would move about too much in the toe box), so I got sores between my toes instead!My toes were so wet with sweat and sores that I was worried about trench foot! I took every opportunity I could to take off my shoes and air my feet, I even walked barefoot on earth paths, grass and sand. BUT to be fair, if I’d known the temperature would rise so much I wouldn’t have chosen to hike in a pair of Gore-Tex shoes in the first place, hence the 7/10. (When the weather wasn’t hot and my feet weren’t sweating bucket loads the breathability was great, just what you’d expect)
Salomon OUTline – 100 Mile Wear And Tear Test
10/10 For Robustness
Wear and tear is the most important thing next to comfort for me. I want a pair of hiking shoes that will actually last 500 miles, unlike my Lowa’s which lasted about 50. Honestly, they fell apart. Hiking shoes can amount to a serious financial investment and I was a bit concerned the 5mm sole lugs would start to show wear due to the amount of tarmac on this hike. I needn’t have worried.
- The soles are excellent, they could pass for brand new even after 100 miles
- The fabric upper is still sound: no frays, no holes, no catches. Good stuff!
- Bumps and bruises to the upper are no more than you’d expect after 100 miles of trail hiking
- It’s very common to get wear across the forefoot where the toes bend if you have low volume feet. In fact it’s generally where the shoes break down first, especially around the mid-sole and the upper. It can be particularly prevalent in leather or less flexible shoes, with cracks and holes developing on the upper, even the sole coming away. The Salomon OUTline shows some creasing of the EVA midsole, but I’m not in the least bit worried that this will actually break down any time soon, hence the 10/10 after 1/5th of their expected lifespan
Salomon OUTline – Value For Money By Pence Per Mile
10/10 For An Internet Purchase
If I’d bought them in store in the aubergine colour they had on offer they would have cost a fairly hefty £115.00, which is 23 pence per mile. However, the helpful member of Cotswold staff (find your local store) told me that they had them on sale in their online store for £69.00 Albeit in a different colourway.
The alternate colourway wasn’t the excruciatingly predictable pink you might expect, so I went for it. And they matched my Bridgedale socks too haha!
At £69.00 (with free delivery) they work out at 14 pence per mile, which is good value for money.
Thank you Cotswold Outdoor!
Salomon OUTline – Overall Results
9/10 Over All
- Check the Salomon website for all the technical details you need
- Save £45 at Cotswold Outdoors online
- Save £45 at Snow and Rock online
Now that I’ve had a good test of them over 100 miles at the reduced price I’d consider buying them at the full price too, if I couldn’t find them on sale. I think they’ll last close to the 500 miles, they’re extremely comfortable and if I had the available budget I’d say they’re worth it compared to other GTX hiking shoes. If you have a pair let us know what you think in the comments below!