Just arrived at OM HQ is a pair of the brand new Salomon Wings Sky GTX

lightweight hiking boots that we previewed

a couple of weeks back and very orange they are too.

Salomon Wings Sky GTX

The new boot follows Salomon's recent trend towards incorporating

technology from its running shoes into a higher-top lightweight boot

design, the Quest

4D GTX did much the same thing and was our

favourite boot of 2009.

The Sky GTX takes things to another level though. The Quest 4D weighs

around 1300 grammes per pair, the Sky feels instantly lighter and at

1060 grammes for a pair of size 43 is

240 grammes lighter.

Salomon Wings Sky GTX

That's a fair chunk of weight to save and while still more than the

minimalist Inov-8 Roclite 370 at 692 grammes, it has a more substantial

feel. It also undercuts the 1200 gramme figure of the latest Berghaus

Pro Rush Mid.

The new boot is based on the technology first used in Salomon's

trail-running shoes and there's a lot going on. And while there are

some similarities with the Quest 4D, there are significant differences

too.

Salomon Wings Sky GTX

The uppers are fabric with external plastic support 'skeleton' and

reinforcements - no suede - but it's underfoot where the major changes

lurk. Salomon's 'Agile System Chassis' uses a lighter, more

running-orientated Contragrip outsole with deep indents between tread

areas combined with soft areas for cushioning ('soft muscle' in Salomon

speak) and 'a tendon' embedded in the sole which is claimed to return

energy with every stride.

Salomon Wings Sky GTX

More prosaically, the sole unit combines a lot of forefoot flexibility

with a torsionally stiff mid-foot area intended to improve stability,

especially on uneven ground. A quick preliminary wander round shows

that the boots feel light and close fitting. They also have an unusual

and endearing springiness underfoot that had us experimentally jumping

up and down, something we rarely do in boots.

So far they're looking like an ideal half-way house between lightweight

boots like the Quest and ultra-lightweight mids like the Inov-8s, but

there's a big fly in the ointment in the shape of a £180 price

tag for a fabric boot.

That's a whole £50 more than the excellent Quest GTX and we

figure the Wings Sky GTX is going to have to be extraordinarily good to

justify the extra expense.

We'll let you know if it is. And, oh, yes, the colour. Shy and retiring

folk and slow people need not apply.... More Salomon information at www.salomonsports.com.