Losing My Sole…

Before I continue any further with this post, I’d like to mention that my aim here is not to discourage anyone from buying walking boots from a particular brand (Salomon, in this instance) and I’d also like to reinforce that by stating that these are the most comfortable boots I have owned to date.

This post relates to a pair of Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX walking boots that I purchased in May 2017.

Sixteen months on from the point of purchase, I was shocked to find that the soles were coming away on each boot.

This was something I’d only become aware of whilst cleaning these boots. I’d like to state that I have never left them to dry in the sun or beside the heat source and that I have only stuffed balls of newspaper inside to remove the moisture while drying naturally.

 

Cleaning is a task I tackle on a weekly basis (provided I’ve actually worn them in between) and I’ve taken much greater care of them than what I did with my first pair of the same model (albeit a half-size smaller), purchased in 2015.

In short: I wanted and expected these to last me until May 2019 at the earliest.

It’s worth bearing in mind that I will walk anywhere between six-hundred and one-thousand miles in a calendar year. Although, I now do this across an array of three (possibly four) footwear pairings, so that I’m not particularly abusing one model over the others. Different conditions and situations can call for a different style of shoe, in my opinion.

 

I’m still concerned about the excessive ‘creasing’ of the leather upper, close to where the toe naturally bends. I do wear 3mm volume reducers beneath the insoles of these boots – as advised by staff in-store, after comments about the excessive ‘volume’ on top of my toes.

My first pair of these boots failed in this very area and only allowed water to creep in. On the subject of waterproofing; I did find that mine ‘went’ on these boots a few months ago and that no amount of cleaning or re-proofing could quite restore them to their original watertight state.

Several people I’ve walked with this year have commented on the ‘squeak’ my boots had developed with every step. I still don’t know what the cause was – and, again, I was cleaning them regularly – but I found the boots were under a lot of tension with the laces pulled tight and my suspicion was that this was the sound of laces on rubber/fabric.

If you look closely at the photo above, you’ll see that I have come to disregard the lace loop close to the toes. This allows the boots more flexibility to bend without being under tension and I’ve certainly heard a reduction in the audible squeak.

My other preference is not to immediately cross the laces after this (behind), so that I can gain a few cubic millimetres(!) of extra toe space within the front box.

It was about three weeks ago that I sent my boots back to Cotswold Outdoor, with a covering letter and ready for their inspection and opinion…

I’m very pleased and very grateful to say that they were willing to offer me a direct exchange. I’m also impressed because Cotswold no longer stock this model (they’ve been succeeded by the Quest 4D 3 GTX) and had to obtain stock from the limited supply at Snow+Rock.

Otherwise, I imagine I’d have been due for a full refund.

Here are my replacement boots, kitted out with the old laces, just because…

Actually, these laces are slightly smaller in diameter (3mm, possibly) than those supplied with the boots. My reason for this is that I find the originals to be tricky to remove from gaiters with lace-hook attachments. I’ve also found that they have a tendency to work themselves loose (even with a double knot), while this is something I’d not noticed with the thinner laces (which are definitely cheaper and prone to fraying at the ends).

There’s a good chance I’ll be getting them muddy this weekend and putting their waterproofing to the test, in the wake of ‘Storm Callum’.

How long should these boots last?

As I said earlier; I would like to get two-years’ worth of wear from my purchase (these were around £150-160 before discounts). Some say that five-hundred miles is a fair life for a pair of walking boots… Which of course, is barely six months for me and my hiking habits!

Should I spend less next time and view each pair as disposable?

I could certainly look out for sale offers and deals on older models, when the 4D 2s do eventually reach the end of their life. But I try to remind myself that these are more comfortable and supportive than some of the sub-£100 boots I’ve owned in the past.

My preference is to wear a ‘fabric’ boot like this through the drier months, either side of winter. But mainly for mountain walks and landscapes with uneven or challenging terrain. I would prefer to have full leather boots for the winter as I find this material to be far superior in terms of keeping my feet dry, while leather is comparatively easy to scrub and wipe clean. I also have a pair of trail-type shoes, minus the ankle support, that I’ll wear on long walks, provided I’m less likely to turn over on an ankle.

Thanks for reading.

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