First Look - Salomon Quest Origins - £170 / 1325g (size 43)
Salomon's original Quest 4D GTX is one of our favourite lightweight walking boots and the new for spring 2015 Quest Origins GTX takes the same formula - lightweight running shoe-based chassis, excellent comfort and surprising levels of support - and adds full leather uppers in place of the original's suede panels. So whats it like?
- 4D Advanced Chassis mid-sole
- Full grain leather and fabric upper
- Contragrip rubber outsole
- Protective rubber toe-cap
- Gore-Tex waterproof lining
- Locking instep lace hook
- Red laces
We love Salomon: they've taken the original suede and fabric Quest and replaced the suede panels with brown, full-grain leather and matching brown fabric panels to give a more traditional, almost retro look that might appeal to the less extrovert, then clearly thought 'stuff it' and added some bright red laces and red sole details to jazz things up again. Great stuff.
Essentially though, the Origins is simply the original Quest - there's a new restyled Quest II version out now - and replaced the suede panels with full leather ones. The uppers aren't completely leather though, the suede panels of the original remain though they are a matching brown colour to give a more traditional look.
The weight penalty for doing that is a negligible 16g per boot and in practical terms, we'd expect possibly a small increase in durability from the conventional leather over suede. Otherwise foot feel is exactly the same as a suede Quest, which is to say a medium volume forefoot with a snug heel fit and ankle protection that's surprisingly high for a relatively lightweight boot and makes for a reassuring feel.
The fit works brilliantly for us and the locking instep hook means you can tailor the tension on forefoot and anke to suit your pretences. We quite often snug up the former, but leave the ankle lacing loose for better mobility or even ignore the top hooks altogether.
Underfoot the boots are stable and supportive without feel clumpy. Don't be misled by the 4D chassis's running shoe origins, there's plenty of torsional stiffness but with enough lengthways flex for comfortable all-day walking. In other words, they don't feel like typical runners to wear. The flared heel works well to minimise twisted ankles by increasing heel stability too.
Underfoot there's a familiar Salomon Contragrip rubber outsole that we've found decent in anything other than full-on slippery mud-bath conditions, though it's happiest on alpine-type hardback terrain and rocks.
All the stuff's that's good about the original Salomon Quest 4D GTX applies equally to the new Quest Origins. If it fits you - as with all footwear - it promises to be a cracking lightweight walking boot that's also surprisingly supportive.
What you're not getting is a full leather upper, the fabric panels remain, but the parts of the boot which are most likely to get scuffed and abraded in use are leather, which may give some increase in durability with a negligible increase in weight and a £10 price premium over the Quest 2.
And the aesthetics? That's down to you, but we rather like that touch of irrepressible Gallic flair that's exploded into the red laces and mid-sole cushioning. Kind of retro but with a twist.
Full details of the Salomon range at www.salomon.com