I bought these in April 2013. My only caveat to this review is that I think Salomon might have changed the midsole after I bought my pair. I tried a pair of Quests on after buying mine and they were uncomfortable. So, this review may only apply to older versions. I hope Salomon didn't change the design for the long term, because my boots are great and close to perfect!
I've worn them for miles and tested them on all types of terrain and they stand up to various conditions well. They are suitable for dry trails and those that are sopping wet. I've comfortably carried 50 lb. loads and feel the boots are quite capable. I wouldn't be concerned with a heavier load.
The general fit of the boot is really unique for a backpacking boot. They flex as well as many light trail hikers. I also have a pair of Asolo Powermatics, which I like a lot, too. I can see the advantages of something like the Asolo for really jagged stuff, but each time I put my pair of Quests on, I am just plain happy when I walk.
They feel almost minimalist with backpacking boot support. The Quests are quick and reactive. But, for really sharp terrain you may feel more rock edges than something with a really burly outsole. However, the flex and grip of the Quests are superb. I always tend to wear something that feels more natural as it flexes, so I like these quite a bit.
Many reviewers will say, about these and other boots, that there is no break in period required. I disagree. Every piece of footwear needs to be broken in. No matter the style, a shoe needs to form to a foot, and a foot needs to get used to a new shoe. I would agree that the break in period is not very long for these, but I would wear any new pair of boots for a while before hitting the trail. And you certainly want to wear them for a few full days just so you know what to expect.
Finally, I have noticed two drawbacks. These would never keep me from loving my Quests, but I will point them out. First, these boots are warm. I prefer Gore-Tex liners, so I understand breathability suffers. But, I've had (and have) other shoes with Gore-Tex liners and they aren't as noticeably warm. The second issue is that these boots take forever to dry. Mine got drenched and just took forever to dry – even when I got them back home. This issue might be a consideration for stream crossings, etc.
As I mentioned above, I hope Salomon didn't revamp the midsole. My Quests are awesome and I'd highly recommend them!
Worth every cent
I do a lot of types of hiking in a variety of terrain. Being a diabetic, my feet are always a big concern. So choosing a boot is always a painful process. I tried on all the top rated boots and ran through all the tests the REI personnel suggested. These boots are probably not for everybody. There are boots that are more comfortable and cheaper for those who do light day hiking once in awhile. I think these boots were developed for a serious hiker, who plans on wearing them in some harsh environments.
I have worn these boots through bogs, muddy conditions, trails with roots, rocky terrain, through weeds, woods, gravel roads, sand, dirt roads, and along asphalt when called upon. They are very warm and I would suggest sock liners. They have kept my feet dry for the most part. I only got them drenched when I walked miles in a rainstorm through wet woods. They are good at keeping out dirt and debris, too. They clean off easy and hold up well.
These boots keep the heel locked in and keep the foot from slipping. There has been a time or two where I could have twisted an ankle and I feel these boots kept my ankle from rolling. Going downhill is also pretty easy. The toes do not jam up as bad as some boots allow.
Now for the things I do not like. First, once wet, these boots do not dry all that quickly. Secondly, they are warm. Great in winter, not so much in summer. Third, and my my personal peeve, these boots do not have the greatest traction in all situations. I nearly took a nasty spill walking down a set of wet stairs once. Also, in other wet conditions, I did not feel these boots gripped as much as I would have liked. Then again, maybe I want to much.
Overall, a great set of boots and better than nearly every boot I have ever owned.
Best boot ever and an instant hit.
I was looking for a new work boot after my full leather Vasque got a bit tired. My requirements are a relative light hiker with ankle protection and gore tex water protection, as well as superior slip resistance. After reading reviews online and using the Salomon XA pro trail runners for a couple of years, mostly for air travel (easy to remove) and for their protective built, I developed an affinity for Salomon boots, their fit and quality. Usually I wear New Balance sneakers and Alden shoes so I expect a certain lightness and wear comfort. Well, I purchased these boots on Sunday, packed the box in my car and drove off to a week long engagement. Monday the insoles came out and I put Super feet copper insoles in, put the shoes on, drove an hour to our location, wore the shoes for 14 hours straight, drove another hour to our accommodations. 10 min after taking the shoes of my feet felt completely relaxed as if nothing has happend. I was on my feet for most of the day, 70 deg day with some torential rain falls, back at the house a minor flood in the drive way, about 2" high, but absolutly dry and comfortable feet. The rest of the week was more of the same, one day on a rocky beach, running back and forth; rain, mud the next with temps from 50-75 and the shoes performed flawlessly. Extremely quiete soles for sneaking around an old house, prefect traction on the rocky beach and fantastic ankle protection. A couple of times a team member stepped on my feet and I felt very protected by the boot and the binding allows for great flexibility to put the shoe on casually for the drive in. To sum it up, a perfect alround boot that needs nearly no break in period ( It got perfect on day 3), that performs under various adverse conditions that's worth the very steep price. I hope the long term performance will be equally high.
The Best Boot I've Ever Worn
This pair took me from GA through a Duncannon, PA as part of a full AT thru.
Over all I put ~1100 miles on them before they blew out completely. They were probably only 900 when they started to truly deteriorate.
They did start showing their age around 700 miles.
To be fair, I didn't really hit rough terrain until they were 800 miles old (pretty much everything through MD is flat and soft).
They lost their water-proofing around 600 miles. Right around this time one of the laces started to burn into the gore-tex portion of the tongue.
I dearly loved these boots. They were far and away the most comfortable boots I have ever worn. These boots are perfect for day use, light winter use, and short and mid-range backpacking treks.
They also do excellently for long-distance backpacking, but they are certainly not your full-weight trekking boot, nor should they be misconstrued as trail runners. They are a good alternative for those looking for a light weight shoe but ankle support.
I would recommend these for long distance for those new to long distance or those looking for one step up in durability/comfort/protection from trail runners.
I have marked these as "No Break-in" but all boots have some break in. These are just much shorter than the average boot.
Also, "No Break-in" does not mean that you won't blister! Blistering is nigh unavoidable on a shoe or activity change. The only way to "prevent" blistering is to blister early and have the time to go easier on blistered feet.
After these boots I transitioned to trail runners because I wanted to drop ounces and my ankles were strong enough, yet I would have happily purchased another pair or two to finish the trail.
I purchased Salomon trail runners, which were also excellent.
I have three pairs stock piled in case they stop producing the boot.
Best Boot I Have Ever Owned
I have owned a lot of boots over the years. With every boot pair I always had to learn where my hot spots were going to be, Then I would always cover those spots with duct tape or mole skin. I fully expected to do this again. But traveling over 100 miles carrying 50lbs in the Easter High Sierras through Muir and Ansel Adams Wilderness and into Yosemite I didn't get a single hot spot or blister. I couldn't believe it.
This was with almost no break-in. The only break in I had done was two trips up the hill to the water tower near my home. Maybe 2 miles in total.
I will admit that I was worried that these boots didn't have a Vibram sole, but I found the sole on these to stick just as good as a Vibram sole. I couldn't say better for sure but it is possible. I traveled over silt covered granite, wet rocks, sand and dusty trail and my feet stuck to the trail
Stream crossings went off without a hitch, my socks remained dry.
My only complaint was that the laces would stick in the heel locks when taking them off, a minor adjustment made with my leatherman fixed that.
At the end of long hiking days it is usually my feet that hurt most. On this trip, my feet certainly felt the miles, but they didn't hurt like they usually do. Instead it was my legs and back that felt the worst. My feet were feeling pretty good. I wish I'd had a pair of these years ago.
Full disclosure, as with all of my hiking boots, I removed the insole and replaced it with Superfeet insoles as I have had plantar fasciitis in the past.
If you need a good solid boot, you won't go wrong here. Worth every bit of the dividend I spent on them.
Love the shoe, and LOVE the service
A couple of years ago I was going to be doing some early season backpacking in the Sierras, so was looking for a sturdy, lightweight boot that would hold up well in snowy conditions. A friend of mine had a pair of Quest 4D GTX and recommended them highly. I decided to check them out, and was immediately pleased with them.
My feet stayed almost totally dry despite walking cross country in the snow for hours, and required virtually no breaking in. I've used them on a number of long trips since then, carrying heavy loads, in both wet and dry conditions, and have been impressed with the way they've held up. I have also been impressed with how they both keep my feet cool when its hot, and keep my feet dry when its wet...Its hard to finda a shoe that does both well.
So, I've loved the shoe, but the most impressive thing about them to me has been the customer service I've received following a minor defect in the shoe just inside the two year warranty period...
On a recent trip (again, almost 2 years from the date of purchase) one of the plastic loops for the shoe laces through the mid part of the foot broke off during use. While the break somewhat affected the performance of the shoe, it was by no means serious enough to cause problems on the trip. Upon my return I emailed Salomon to see if there was an easy way to fix the problem. As the problem was not something that could be fixed, they sent me a BRAND NEW PAIR, no questions asked.
Salomon has created in me a life long customer...
I love this boot, and have come to love the company that makes it. Buy it...if you don't love it, I bet they'll do their best to make it right.
Best Pair of Boots I've Ever Owned
Bought these in July because I decided its finally time to get a quality pair of boots. First thing I noticed was the lace system could be set to a certain tightness and would hold that in place so you don't have to keep adjusting your laces. A problem I've had in the past is the front of the shoe would get a bit loose and my foot would slide around and get blistered or my toes would slide and hit the tip of the shoe when going downhill leading to bruised and bleeding toes. There was none of that with these shoes. They grip your feet firmly but not painfully.
First time wearing them, without breaking in, we did 3 or so miles down a river, and back up again, going over wet logs and rocks and stuff. Traction and GoreTex really helped here. I've worn them at least 3 times a month since then, including a week long Yosemite trip, in sand, gravel, boulders, mud, grass, dead and livng trees...it might be the longest period of time I've gone without falling somewhere. Haven't tried snow yet.
The ankle support is excellent. Did a trail that was basically 5 miles of stairs made of boulders and the downhill was much easier than expected. Several times a bad foot placement almost lead to disaster but the boot took enough of my weight before I got my other foot down. And while my knees were in a fair amount of pain by the end of it, my ankles and feet were fine.
They're also very comfortable, if you loosen the laces, you can very easily wear them around the campground all day and night without noticing any discomfort. I was able to drive in them for 6+ hours too.
Don't think I'll get a different hiking boot ever again.
I bought them again
Really great boots. Not the most durable boots around, but when you consider weight, comfort and it, the durability is more than acceptable.
The first year I wore these boots I was working in the forest (research, not cutting trees) and 40+ hours/week on rough terrain. Sure, they aren't forester grade boots (which cost 2-3 times as much), but they worked very well. Enough protection for spending a lot of time off trail.
The second summer I missed all of the time I spent outside and hiked at least 20 miles a week on trail, I did 40 miles in a week a few times.
I know I put these boots to the test. If they fit you, get them.
They aren't too hot in the summer, and are warm enough in the winter. I don't know if they are warm enough to be boots to wear to long snowshoe adventures. That is the only short coming I can think of.
I put ~1000 miles on them, and liked them enough to buy another pair. The original boots are from early 2011, and seem identical to the new ones.
I had to use some shoe goo on the outside of the boots during the past winter to reinforce areas that I thought were compromising the waterproofing of the boot. Strucurally they were fine, and the shoe goo worked.
The boots have exceptional heel hold. I only had a problem last week when I experimented with new foot beds, which set my heel 1/4" higher. Which was dumb considering that the boots fit like a glove.
If I could find boots that fit like these, with the articulation and heel hold, but had a more durable sole with a rigid shank, I would be exstatic.
tl;dr: I bought a second pair because they exceeded my expectations.
Excellent trail hiking boots!
I first received these and wore them to and from work a couple of times and around the house a few days before hitting the trail with them. I am stationed in Pearl Harbor and hike often here, it is usually a misty rain 90% of the time I hit the trail, usually it will mist for a few minutes then stop for a bit then repeat that cycle (tropical rains).
Break in was nothing more than me getting used to the feel, the support is a little bit stiff and that took some getting used to but wasn't a problem or a "con" either, just took some getting used to. The last hike I went on with these was a little over 5 miles round trip, point a to point b and back. the trail started at 800 feet in elevation and ended at almost 3000 feet in elevation with muddy red clay trail and damp exposed roots on the wooded parts. There was a group in front of me and I could see where their feet slipped in the mud on many occasions, after seeing this time and time again I decided to give the boots a test! I placed my feet at the point where the slip mark started and these boots grabbed with ease. I was also carrying a 5.11 tactical, RUSH 72 pack with around 40 pounds of gear, no problems with arch support, traction or my feet staying dry! There are parts of this trail that you holding onto a rope to climb steep grades on a muddy trail, never lost traction once!
Worth the money, I will always own a pair of these! I purchased these after seeing that these are the preferred boots of some of our "Special Operators" and many prefer these while in "other" countries doing business in rough terrain!
Your Mileage May Vary
Feet and shoe fit are unique to the individual. I bought these at my local REI after trying on many boots in many sizes, with different combinations of socks and 3rd party insoles. I found a combination that fits me well, and have been extremely satisfied with the boot's performance. I would recommend against buying boots by mail/internet.
My foot is long and narrow, widening at the forefoot and toes. Most boots feel loose around the ankle and arch, but squeeze my toes from the side. This boot, with Sole Ultra insoles and Vermont Darn Tough Trekking Full Cushion socks, fit as close to perfectly as I have ever experienced.
Break-in is required. What worked for me was to wet the outside of the boot, targeting the areas that you need to soften. For me, that was the top half of the tongue, and the vamp just behiind my toes. After about 50 miles of break-in, they were comfortable for a weeek of 10-mile/day backpacking in the mountains, and they continue to break in and get more comfortable.
Some reviewers have complained about durability; at this point, all I can say is that there is minimal wear and no damage after more than 100 miles.
Traction, as one reviewer mentioned, improves after the surface of the sole has worn off a little.
Some reviewers have complained about the lacing system. The first lacing hook, at the transition from vamp to uppers, is deliberately tight, to grip the lace and isolate the sections from each other. Yes, it takes a little extra effort to secure the lace in this hook, but I like this feature - it is essential for adjusting the lacing tightness and achieving a comfortable and supportive fit.