I have never learned to drive so do a lot of walking, only using public transport when I really have to (if going somewhere that is too far to walk, will just take too long to walk or if I suffering with pain in my legs and ankles). I prefer walking as it is not only a great form of exercise but a good way to clear your head. The older I get, I have found that I need a much better pair of shoes to walk in, especially walking around the hilly parts of Yorkshire that are right on the doorstep (think Last of the Summer Wine country), especially as I have since discovered that I have fallen arches and weakened calf muscles. So I wanted a pair of hiking shoes that didn’t sacrifice comfort in the need for better support, I wanted a pair that go the distance – and I think I have found them with the Salomon X Ultra 3!
For those that don’t know, Salomon are an outdoor and adventure apparel company who have created a vast array of hiking shoes and boots, running shoes, sandals, outdoor clothing, backpacks and more that are suitable for all your outdoor pursuits, whilst at the same time are durable, good quality and comfortable.
I was sent a pair of their X Ultra 3 Hiking Shows to try out and see if they offered the support and comfort that I require (the fallen arches in both feet cause the tendons in my calves to be pulled and can be quite painful and tiring, making walking at times extremely difficult).
My partner has the X Ultra 3 GTX and loves them but I went for the X Ultra 3 with Quicklace system as I felt these would be better for me as they are better for warm weather and I get hot quickly. I was advised to order a half size up from what I usually wear, and I did follow that advice. I just had to wait for them to arrive to find out if they were any good.
They arrived very quickly and apart from them looking and feeling like a good pair of aesthetically pleasing comfortable shoes, ordering a half size up was definitely the correct advice, it meant that they were a good fit with normal sports socks or a thicker pair of walking socks.
The Ultra 3 Hiking Shoes are available in three colour options in sizes from 6.5 to 13.5. They are constructed from synthetic/textile/rubber materials and have a lightweight chassis with a welded (stitch-free) upper for a more comfortable, durable and lightweight fit. They also have a rubber protected toecap. They feature a rather cool Quicklace system (no standard laces for these shoes) which allow you to tighten/loosen the “laces” with a quick pull. They have a breathable fabric which is excellent for warmer weather (perfect for the summer), but unlike the X Ultra 3 GTX do not feature Gore-Tex to make them waterproof. If that wasn’t enough, they also feature EnergyCell EVA foam for shock attenuation and Contagrip® TD which offers maximum traction on mixed terrain and extended durability. And to top it off, the feature SensiFit™ which cradles the foot from the midsole to the lacing system, providing a secure, snug, and virtually customized fit all around the foot.
The above all sounds great and very technical but are they any good for my purposes?
As already mentioned, they fit great – feeling snug but without being constrictive or tight. Once on my feet and the “laces” tightened, they are quite secure – there is even a lace pocket to store any overhang of the lace pull (I like this as on any of my footwear I also tuck the laces into the shoe or boot to keep them out of the way – I hate overhanging laces). They felt great on my feet, extremely lightweight and comfortable. Because of my fallen arches and weakened calf muscles I really do feel lots of pain when walking up and down stairs, so for a quick test I walked up and down our stairs a few times. While the pain wasn’t fully gone, the orthopaedic support in the shoes reduced this quite a lot (I doubt this will ever fully go as after 20 years of apparently walking differently to compensate I doubt I could walk any differently). With then feeling comfortable and more supportive the best test was to go for a bit of hike and test them out on the hilly parts of the village. They are perfect and after quite a decent walk the support is excellent, reducing the pulling on my tendons. The fit is secure and the Quicklace works perfectly with no stopping to redo laces. As for walking around the hilly countryside, the traction is superb (the anti-debris mesh even stops debris being trapped between your foot and the footbed). They also do a brilliant job of keeping my feet cool (although they probably won’t be the best for winter as I could feel the wind through them).
These are a pair of hiking shoes that will really go the distance. They look good, are lightweight, supportive and stable, breathable, and so comfortable that they are perfect for long or short hikes on warm days (for winter the X Ultra 3 GTX would be better as they do feature the waterproofing). They so feel so much better for my feet and hopefully will help me walk “more normally” reducing the pressure on my ankles and calves (along with the exercises given to me by the physiotherapist).
If you want to treat your feet (you spend a lot of time on them, so look after them), then I can highly recommend Salomon hiking shoes. A good pair of shoes is definitely something that we all need to be looking at for the health and wellbeing of our feet and legs. Although I would recommend taking the advice I was given and buying a half size up.
For more information or to buy visit www.salomon.com.