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.
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.
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
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.
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.