Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex Review: Our Detailed Field Test

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The Quest 4 is Salomon’s no-compromise, heavy-duty backpacking boot. Overbuilt and built to last, this boot gives rock-solid support for heavy loads.
Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Introduction
We spent plenty of time trudging through creeks, rocks, and mud to see what the Salomon Quest 4 could handle.



The Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex

Specs: 
– Price: $230
– Weight: 2.9lbs / 1331g (size 10.5)
– Cushion: Medium
– Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
– Best use: Trekking, backpacking, hunting
– What we like: Rugged, comfortable, great fit, and built to haul
– What we don’t: Expensive, heavy, overkill for casual use




The Wise Adventurer’s Verdict:

This is our review of the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex boot, fully field-tested firsthand by our team here at The Wise Adventurer. You can’t talk about serious backpacking boots without talking about the Quest. Anyone looking for maximum stability, traction, and ankle protection while hauling heavy loads over challenging terrain will undoubtedly have these boots near the top of their wish list, so naturally we couldn’t pass up a chance to try them out during this year’s hiking boot field test. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - TWA Verdict
We found the Quest 4 to be a great boot for heavy duty backpackers seeking maximum support and protection.

Salomon may have gotten their start as a ski company, but over the years they’ve developed a well-earned reputation for pushing the envelope in hiking footwear. From featherlite trail runners to technical hiking boots, the company has a flagship product for every niche, and the Quest is their most advanced offering for a full-size, full-support backpacking boot. 

With the Quest 4, Salomon promises unrivaled stability, support, and traction on any surface, regardless of how much you’re carrying or where you’re carrying it. This is billed as an utterly bombproof expedition boot that flexes as naturally as a trail runner, and in our experience, the Quest lives up to the hype. 

We spent several months on the ground testing the Quest ourselves both out in the field and back in our at-home “lab” to see how it performed compared to the competition. If you want to read more about what goes into our boot testing process you can check it out here, but if you’re ready to dive into our findings, just keep on reading!

Check Women’s at REI / Check Women’s at Amazon




The Test: Why You Should Trust Us

We conducted testing for this Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex review over a four-month period, primarily during the fall and winter months for best results. Our main tester, Kurt, logged the majority of our miles in the Appalachian Mountains of north Georgia, but also wore them out for a backcountry hunting trip in rural Illinois in the dead of winter. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - The Test
Hiking through the North Georgia woods in the Quest 4.

Over the months we’ve taken the Quests on backpacking trips, car camping trips, day hikes, and dog walks. We’ve also mixed in a fair amount of miles on pavement by taking these boots rucking a few hours a week, each time hauling a pack weighing between 30-40lbs. 

At this point we’ve had the Quests in just about every weather condition imaginable from light drizzle to heavy snow. We also conducted some more focused waterproof testing by submerging the boots in a creek for intervals ranging from one second to a full minute to see how well the GoreTex membrane holds up and how quickly the boots can dry out after being completely soaked. 

Our Detailed Evaluation Of The Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex

First Impressions

The moment you slide your foot into the Salomon Quest 4 for the first time, you know you’re lacing up something substantial. These boots feel like a veritable fortress on your feet, ready to tackle anything and everything you might throw at them. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Our Detailed Evaluation
For such a rugged boot, the Salomon Quest is surprisingly comfortable out of the box, and the break in period only lasts a few short miles.

Even standing in place, the wide soles feel incredibly stable, an impression that’s only amplified by Salomon’s unique active support system, which reinforces that “locked in” feeling across the instep like nothing else we’ve worn. We found that the Quest 4 benefits from a bit tighter lacing during initial break-in to ensure the deep-inset ankle anchors can do their job, but after about 10 minutes of simple hiking around the neighborhood, the boots start to acclimate and soften up as the partial leather uppers figure out how they want to bend and flex around your feet. 

Fit and Comfort

We found both fit and comfort to be major highlights of the Quest 4. No other boot we’ve tested gives us quite as secure a feeling as the Quests, and whether we’re walking uphill or down, the boot truly feels locked onto your foot at the instep and ankle, minimizing any sliding around on rough terrain. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Fit and Comfort
The lacing system kept our heels locked down securely in the Quest 4, even when walking up big steps or down steep slopes.

With that being said, you would think the Quest 4 might be a tight/technical boot similar to a mountaineering model, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. One of our favorite parts about the Quest is that although they snug your feet down securely toward the heel, the toe box retains a nice neutral feeling, providing ample room for the toes to splay without giving the completely “wide open” feeling of something like an Altra trail runner. 

As for overall comfort, the Quest once again gets high marks. While the exterior of the boot is incredibly rugged and hard-wearing, every surface along the interior is covered in a plush liner. We’re also huge fans of the way Salomon distributes padding inside the boot, providing a thicker section around the ankles for maximum protection and support which tapers down into a thin, dense layer above the toe box. This soft over-the-toes feeling is another place we feel the Quest separates itself from the competition, as you never feel like you’re “grazing” any seams in the toe box as you walk. 

Support and Stability

The Quest 4 is built with maximum support and stability in mind, a far cry from the current “minimalist” trend most boots embrace as gear continues to advance and our packs grow lighter each year. Of all the boots we’ve tested, the Quest is easily our first choice for hauling a heavy pack and/or covering more technical terrain. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Support and Stability
Salomon’s “Active Support” system works great, and I loved how it locked the boots down over my feet without creating any pressure points around my instep.

As noted above, the main features we attribute this to are Salomon’s unique “active support” system and their wide “ADV-C 4D” outsole design. The former are the upright supports you see on either side of the instep, which allow the boot to snug down the center of your foot while also creating a gap in the lacing. This works to keep any undue pressure off your instep while also allowing a more natural articulation of the foot. That’s a complicated way of saying the Quests deliver an extra snug feel without ever feeling tight.

We’d say the same thing applies to the ADV-C 4D chassis, which brings that same “firm hugging” feel to the heel of the boot. The Quest feels like they’re sculpted around your heels to hold them down and in place, but again somehow manage to articulate easily as you move, preventing any pressure points and keeping the blood flowing as it should. 

We were particularly thankful for this support when backpacking across off-camber trails, which are prime territory for ankle rolls. Even when traversing loose uneven surfaces, we found the Quests held their ground, providing outstanding ankle support while still being able to adapt to the terrain underfoot. 

Grip and Traction

We found the Quest 4 ranked among our top contenders for grip and traction, which is particularly impressive considering Salomon’s “Contragrip” all-terrain rubber compound is one of the tougher rubbers we’ve tested. Using our standard Shore A durometer, the outsole measured an average of 64.5, which was well above average and among the highest in this year’s field test. There are slightly stickier compounds out there, particularly in more trail running/minimalist options we’ve tested, but the Quest gripped reliably over the wet rocks, muddy climbs, and slimy fallen trees we encountered during our fall and winter testing. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Grip and Traction
The Quest’s Contragrip rubber holds firm over just about anything including slick roots and muddy trails.

As for traction, we found the Quest to be one of the better performers in our test once again, which we attribute to its aggressive and blocky tread pattern. The well-spaced lugs of the Quest 4 gave us excellent bite in all manner of terrain, and the multi-directional tread at the heel of the boot provided outstanding braking on steeper descents. 

Weight

The Salomon Quest 4 was easily one of the heaviest boots in our test, measuring in at 1331 grams (2.9lbs) a pair in a size 10.5. That’s nearly a pound and a half heavier than a pair of high-top trail runners and about a pound more than your typical over-the-ankle leather hiking boot. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Weight
Fresh out of the box we received, the Salomon boots tipped out scales at just under 3lbs a pair.

With that being said, the Quest 4 isn’t a trail runner or a hiking boot: It’s a hardcore backpacking boot through and through, and one of the only boots in our testing that would be suited for serious expedition duty. We’ll admit we were a little skeptical when we first saw the Quests hit our scales, but after logging some serious miles in these boots we found their natural moving nature and added stability well worth the added weight. 

Durability

Durability is the one potential issue we have with the Salomon Quest 4. While the Quest line has been highly regarded as Salomon’s toughest, longest-lasting boot for years, the last iteration of the Quest was plagued by customer complaints including leaking toe caps, cracked leather in high-stress areas, and eyelets that break off after a few weeks of use. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Durability
These boots are built to take a beating, and the heavy-duty upper materials feel particularly bombproof.

As of this writing, we’re happy to report that we’ve had zero durability issues with the latest Quest 4. The upper materials have suffered no cracking or loss of waterproofing, all stitches and seams are intact, and the soles seem to be wearing slowly and evenly, which is impressive considering we’ve also been rucking in these boots for dozens of miles around our neighborhood on paved sidewalks. 

We will note that despite the fairly common complaint of eyelets breaking or popping off, Salomon is still making the bottom two pairs of eyelets on the Quest out of a composite material rather than the metal or fabric loops on literally every other boot in our testing. Seems like an oversight to us, but again, we haven’t experienced any issues with the eyelets ourselves. 

Breathability

The Quest 4 is a very high boot that’s backed by a very high GoreTex membrane. As such, we can’t say it’s the most breathable boot in our testing, but as far as serious backpacking boots go, we have to admit it does the job surprisingly well. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Breathability
The Quest’s thick materials and waterproof membrane run a bit warm for summer use, but they’ll keep your feet dry and happy in mild to cold conditions.

We’ve found the Quest’s combination of light interior padding, thick external materials, and the aforementioned membrane make for a boot that runs a bit warm in the spring and summer, but is right on the money during fall and winter. They have their limits, mind you, as even two pairs of wool socks couldn’t keep our feet warm in the 20-below-zero temperatures of an Illinois winter, but for your average four-season hiker or backpacker, the Quests will keep your feet happy in just about anything.

Waterproofing

As both a high-priced and highly technical boot, you’d be right to expect the Salomon Quest’s GoreTex waterproofing to perform flawlessly. We’re happy to report that it’s passed our waterproof testing with flying colors, and we have yet to experience a single leak from the Quest. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Waterproofing
We could pretty much stand here all day without a drop passing through, although it does take the leather upper awhile to dry once you get it properly soaked.

Over the months we’ve hiked through hours of light rain, crossed several ankle-deep creeks, and even gone so far as to intentionally submerge the Quest in a bathtub just to see how well it could keep us dry. The boots passed all of our standard tests and even remained completely dry after a full minute of complete ankle-deep immersion. 

As is the case with any waterproof boot, the main issue is that once moisture finds its way into the boot, it’ll be a while before the boot can fully dry out again. The Quest’s leather and textile upper has been particularly slow drying in our experience, and nothing short of a full night under a vestibule will do the trick, so you’ll want to bring extra socks. 

Value

While price isn’t the only metric we use to determine value, there’s no ignoring that the Salomon Quest 4 is among the most expensive boots on the market, typically retailing well over the $200 mark. With that being said, the Quest is also the burliest, most technical, and most stable boot we’ve tested to date, making it the best suited for long-range multi-day expeditions with plenty of weight in your pack. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Value
Our only real concern with the Quest 4 is that certain elements, like these plastic lace holders, have been known to fail prematurely on previous models.

Folks looking for a premium hiking boot can definitely find less expensive options that weigh much less while still delivering outstanding comfort, traction, and grip. The Quest reigns supreme when stability, weather protection, and support are your main concerns though, so if a go-anywhere, haul-anything boot is what you’re after, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better match. 

With that being said, we will note that the potential durability concerns do give us pause from a value standpoint. While our Quests are still going strong after a few months of regular use, we’d be pretty disappointed to see cracked leather or a delaminated toe within the first year. Time will tell how well the latest version holds up in the long run, but for what it’s worth, we’re extremely impressed with the Quest’s performance thus far. 

Who Should Buy the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex?

In short, these boots are ideal for serious backpackers who prefer to haul some extra weight in exchange for a few extra creature comforts around camp. The Quest 4 is the ideal three-season expedition boot, built to haul serious payloads over treacherous terrain, and nothing else we’ve tested performs quite as well as these top-shelf trekkers. 

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Who Should Buy
If weather protection is what you’re after, the Quest has it in spades, thanks largely to its extra-tall GoreTex liner.

While we’ve enjoyed wearing the Salomon Quest 4 just about everywhere from simple day hikes to running errands around town, we believe casual hikers and more minimalist backpackers will likely be better suited with a lighter and less substantial option. The Quests are simply overkill for your average outdoor trip, but there’s also something to be said for knowing your boots will never be the limiting factor regardless of where you take them. 

Alternatives:

  • Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid: Outstanding stability without the weight penalty. A highly technical mid-height boot that’s comfortable carrying a pack despite its feather-light construction. 
  • Lowa Renegade GTX Mid: Classic all-leather hiking boot that’s insanely durable and just as supportive. Heavy, but very stable and built to last. 
  • Merrel Moab 3 Mid: A great all-around hiking boot at a fraction of the price. Durable, waterproof, and comfortable, a solid alternative if you don’t need such a highly technical boot. 
  • La Sportiva Nepal: A true alpine mountaineering boot built for the harshest and most challenging pursuits. Less comfortable and more expensive, but tough and technical enough to go literally anywhere. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a big, bad backpacking boot, the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex remains our top recommendation. We’ve taken this thing hiking, backpacking, hunting, and rucking, and its outstanding support, stability, and grip are all on par with its above-average asking price. We love the Quest’s rock-solid fit and outstanding all-day comfort, and we’re convinced there’s no better boot out there for hauling a heavy load without getting into a serious alpine boot like a La Sportiva Nepal

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Bottom Line
On trail or off, the Quest 4 has handled everything we’ve thrown at it.

Casual day hikers and lightweight backpackers need not apply here, although to be fair, the Quest will easily handle lighter tasks too if you want one boot to do it all. There are lighter, less expensive, and much faster-drying options out there, but none of them deliver the security and stability of the Quest 4. 

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