Follow our footwear buyer, Nick B as he takes on Salomon’s ultra-light hiking boot and gives his thoughts.
I am the lucky person that has been picked to review the Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid this winter and below are my thoughts on its construction and performance out on the trails of my home, on Dartmoor in South-West England.
So, let’s cover the basics of their construction!
The main part of the upper is just one panel of closely woven fabric which is partially covered with a super durable multi-layered TPU overlay. This adds abrasion resistance where you need it most, close to the sole unit. Salomon has also reduced any stitching on the upper to an absolute minimum which will be great for durability over the long term
A much softer, lighter material is used in the tongue area to aid breathability and improve comfort over the top of the foot. This definitely works as even with the QuickLace (more on this shortly) cranked up tight, they are still really comfy, even when contouring on steeper ground. Around the cuff of the shoe, there is an even lighter, softer stretchy fabric and this helps the foam in this area mould and conform to the shape of your lower leg nicely.
All of these areas are treated with a PFC-free DWR (durable water-resistant treatment) which works nicely to help shed water as well as aid the removal of mud from the fabric after a muddy walk. This being England, it didn’t take long…
Inside the shoe, there is a waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex lining which is guaranteed to keep your feet dry and I have found that they are also really quite breathable as there is no padding or foam over the top of your foot. Lacing is taken care of by their patented Quicklace lace system, which is super easy to use and really quite fast. Just hold the adjuster and pull the loop tight to suit your foot. There is a neat little stretchy garage for the adjuster and spare lace to be tucked into which works well.
The midsole is a very well-cushioned EVA unit, with a 35mm stack height and a 10mm drop that is fairly standard for a hiking shoe and fairly similar to many running shoes. This is actually the same as the Speedcross trail running shoe which it is loosely based on and I think that if you wanted to do a bit of easy trail running in these, they would work pretty well. I put a few miles on them up on Dartmoor a while ago and they seemed fine, they really are that well-cushioned!
Moving on to the sole unit, this is a Contagrip Mud outsole, which is Salomon’s softest and grippiest compound of rubber. The lugs are 6MM deep and multidirectional, which basically means that at the heel they act as a brake and in the forefoot, they are focused toward forward traction. They also act as a handy toe protector from kicking stones and other trail hazards.
Weight is 430 grams for a UK size 10.5 and when compared to 370 grams for one of my old ultra trail running shoes they really are very light for a walking-focused product. Sizing is fairly true to a Brannock measurement. I went up half a UK size to allow a little more width which feels just right without the shoe feeling overly long. Salomon says the Crosshike is medium width and I would agree, it is certainly not wide. However, the upper is reasonably soft so having a snug fit feels fine on my feet.
Salomon aims this mid-cut boot at the speed hiker, so someone who may want to move fast over any terrain, in all weathers, with minimal kit on board. In reality, the Crosshike 2 could suit anyone from the casual path and trail walker right through to someone who wants to undertake multi-day hikes over challenging terrain as long as you aren’t considering packing too heavy.
I think they have many benefits such as the comfort straight out of the box, the super lightweight nature and the stable platform offering great performance in muddy and wet conditions.
I like the versatility of being able to go for a jog/walk in them and if you wear them with a lightweight trail gaiter they are actually ok to wear with shorts, as no debris gets into the top of the shoe. When wearing trousers this is obviously not an issue.
The speed lace is good, really easy to get the shoes on and off, however, they do need to be done up pretty firmly. As it is one continuous lace there is less adjustability than a standard lacing system.
Breathability is good to the point of them not being warm at all, however, I have not tested them in warm conditions as yet, due to the weather having been so bad over the last month (written Dec 22/Jan 23). Waterproofing has also been great so far and they do have a 2-year warranty against defects so I feel happy to recommend them.
Overall, I think they are a good shoe and if you want a do-it-all piece of footwear that is great value for money, it would be really worth giving them a try.