Yet another cross shoe that bridges the gap between approach shoe and trainer. Salomon have got it right in the new OUTpath.
- Super lightweight
- Well fitting
- Great for all mountain activities including trail running
- No heel tab
- Rand could be extended a little more
In the recent past we have reviewed several Salomon shoes that are mountain related, notable the excellent X-ALP MTN GTX boots and the X-ALP GTX. We have found them well made and totally fit for purpose, which is what you would expect from a premium company with a good history in all mountain sports.
Enter the new OUTpath, a super lightweight shoe that crosses between a hiking and approach shoe and a trainer. I’ve been using them for a while now and found them, robust under pressure, super comfy (if a little hot at times) and offering good performance for hiking and the occasional run.
The OUTpath is super light, the official weight is 670g per pair, the trusty CGR scales weighed them in at 704g however so there may be some discrepancy for sizing there. Even so, they felt brilliantly light on the legs and when I wore them I really did feel as if I was wearing trainers and not heavy approach shoes at all. The shape also offered great precision too. This time I decided to go up a half size to a UK 8.5, I think I would have got away with a size UK8 as I had plenty of room at the toe. But on the whole, I’m not racing so that extra half a size came in handy when descending steep ground.
The fit gave good precision when needed, there is no dedicated climbing zone on the toe of the Contagrip sole, but they performed well on a recent trip to the Alps where I did the fantastic Crochues Traverse in Chamonix, a classic rock ridge with plenty of exposed ridge scrambling. I always felt secure and the Contagrip rubber was very grippy. They were easily stiff enough for climbing when I needed that extra stability and the aggressive cleats were helpful when descending long and steep terrain. If you are planning to cover a lot of steep ground and spend long days then there is a Pro version that would offer a little more ankle support.
The tongue is fully bellowed and provides some extra protection when travelling through wet ground. Salomon also use Gore-Tex and have done so for many years so you can be sure that approaching through wet ground will keep your feet reasonably dry. Although you need to remember they are a shoe, so you will get wet feet at some stage if using in continual rain. The other point to not with a Gore-Tex shoe is that they will get hot in dry conditions so that was no surprise with the OUTpath, they were indeed hot when working in warm, dry conditions.
The nice thing about the Salomon OUTpath’s is that they have a reinforced toebox with a rand on as well as a good quality, supportive heel cup. Much of the shoe is supported with laminated, water resistand textile which has been tough when used on some rough ground. I would have preferred the toe rand to come round a little more and some rand on the heel (there is a rubber strip where the heel in sewn at the back) so that some support was offered for descending scree. But on the whole the whole feel is durable and robust. I’m expecting them to last at least a couple of seasons. One huge problem (for climbers) is the lack of a heel tab, this means I had to thread the lace system with a carabiner to hook them onto my harness, which is never good. This, of course, is only a problem if you are a climber who wishes to carry shoes up a route.
The Quicklace, asymetrical lacing system is now standard (and indeed copied by many others) on many Salomon high end shoes and OUTpath is no exception. They are a breeze to tighten up and the excess lacing is tucked away in a small pouch on the top of the tongue. Once tightened they stayed tight, they have never loosened off unless I wanted them to. The lace loops are lined with tough plastic, this helps with keeping the friction low when tightening the lace system up. It’s also good to see as this is usually a high wear area in this type of lacing system and an area where the shoe fails. This is all finished up with some burly bar tacking, so all those small but important details have been designed in.
So, in conclusion, Salomon have produced a great shoe that is suitable for a variety of mountain sport. I have hiked in them in The Alps and the UK Lake District, I have completed a technical Alpine traverse in them, crossed some snow in them, have enjoyed 3 hour trail runs in them and they have performed perfectly in all of them. If you are a hiker then I would say these deserve 5 stars, but as a climber they will get 4 because of the lack of the heel tab. They are, however, my go to mountain shoes!
The Salomon OUTpath comes in three colours: Grey, Blue and Lime Green and in sizes UK 6.6 to 11.5. There is also a specific women’s version in two colours: Aqua Blue and Red and they come in sizes UK 4 – UK 7.5
For those who want an integrated gaiter and a little extra support they come in the Pro version at £165
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for over 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA both in the UK and Internationally: working as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!