With impressive protection and traction, this agile and flexible low-cut hiker represents a top investment, says experienced hiker Mark Bailey.

Salomon is based in the French Alps, so it should know what makes hikers happy. The X Ultra 360 GORE-TEX is built on the legacy of its popular X Ultra range, but given an agile twist for kilometre-killing comfort. I’ve worn Salomon shoes for years (heck, model Bella Hadid and musician Dev Hynes have now turned them into fashion items) and I like their cushioned fit and durability. And the X Ultra 360 GORE-TEX doesn’t disappoint, with its springy midsole, intelligent traction system and protective panels making it one of the best hiking boots for men.  

Men’s Fitness verdict

French brand Salomon rarely disappoints and this light-and-fast hiker is a robust and sprightly shoe.
Pros
  • Easily adjustable cable lace system
  • Cleverly designed chevron traction
Cons
  • Low-cut means the odd stone shake-out
  • Robust protection guards look plasticky

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Product shot of a Salomon hiking shoe
The Salomon X Ultra 360 features a wealth of protective panels

Salomon X Ultra 360 GORE-TEX design and build

When I first picked up the Salomon X Ultra 360, I noted the breathable mesh upper, but there is also a thick layer of reinforced material around the base to protect against mud and scrapes. That level of protection is not the norm in a low-cut shoe, and it sets this shoe apart. When new, this protection looks a little too plasticky, although those smooth surfaces have a purpose: to reduce mud adhesion. But some dusty miles soon takes the sheen off.

My model was a sand-coloured Vintage Khaki, but you can also buy black, grey and blue models. These also come in mid-top and high-top versions.

Salomon X Ultra 360 GORE-TEX performance

The shoes provided immediate comfort, thanks to their snug and secure cable lace system and their fun and flexible midsole. Fun is not a word you often read in hiking shoe reviews, but it may be the most important. We hike for pleasure, after all, and this flexible sole and lightweight design (my UK size 7.5 is just 350g) delivers a highly responsive, intimate and natural walking experience. With the EVA foam midsole, the shoes boast a propulsive kick and an athletic feel. The downside of that responsive sole is that I felt sharp rocks underfoot more than with other shoes, so I’d not us them for rocky terrain. I didn’t test these shoes on highly technical hikes as Salomon promotes these for ‘light trail’ use.

But there’s certainly good stability here, with a secure chassis which offers good lateral stability to prevent ankle roll. The GORE-TEX waterproofing is top-quality, as always. As with any low-cut shoe, expect some water entry from splashes. But I strode through puddles in Lincolnshire with no problem.

The low-cut design meant I occasionally had to stop to shake out the odd stone, but with the Quicklace cable system these shoes are easy to get on and off. I like cable laces as I can make micro-adjustments to give my feet more space when they swell on hot days, or tighten up the laces before tricky scrambling sections.

Underside of used hiking shoes
The Contagrip sole offers confidence-inspiring grip

Although I’ve only had these a few months, durability looks like it’ll be good. The hardy toe cap saved me on some toe-banging descents, and those protective panels around the base are so much better than on rival shoes where the mesh upper descends ominously low to the ground, inviting scuffs and tears.

Salomon X Ultra 360 GORE-TEX features

Salomon’s All-Terrain Contagrip sole features chevron-shaped lugs that offer multi-directional grip on wet or loose surfaces. Note the grippy patterns near the toe and heel, which helps when climbing a slope or braking on a descent.

These shoes have good eco-friendly credentials, too, with up to 50% recycled materials in the uppers and recycled plastic cables used in the midsoles.

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