The Salomon Predict Hike Mid boots immediately stands out from the crowd. The mid-cut articulated ankle looks comfortable even from a distance, and the layered build manages to look technical without being obsessively so. Billed as an all-rounder, the build quality is solid, lots of small detailing adding to that impression, such as the stitching all around the edge of the gusseted tongue and the lamination of the panels against the fabric upper.
The style is available as a shoe or a 'Mid' boot, but I've been testing out the latter version, which to be fair is still lower-cut than many hiking boots. So how do they compare to the rest of today's best hiking boots for men (or the best hiking boots for women)? Read on for my full Salomon Predict Hike Mid Gore-Tex review.
Salomon Predict Hike review: design and build
The upper features a roomy heel-tab to the rear, plenty of room for the fattest finger or gloves, and this is complemented by a similar tab on the tongue, allowing plenty of traction if needed. The lacing system is a traditional one with eyelets, the top pair being lightweight metal, and tapered to grip the round laces. There’s also plenty of padding around the ankle to take advantage of this robust lacing, and a low-volume tongue into the bargain.
Important to mention that Solomon’s environmental credentials include a commitment to using no PFC chemicals in its water repellency, which is good, and recycled materials where possible, which is also laudable. This extends to the Gore-Tex liner too, which is - somewhat inevitably - present and correct. Through the sole unit, there’s an energy return-focussed midsole constructed from a combination of EVA and Olefin [OBC], which should deliver ‘a long-lasting cushion and bouncy energy return’, according to Salomon.
The outsole has a couple of interesting technologies on show – most obviously the all Terrain Contagrip, trainer-style lugged sections, but also what Salomon is calling Anatomic Decoupling technology. In practice, this is a series of Contagrip bridges that connect different sections of the sole unit, allowing them to flex with your stride more than a normal boot, but still connected to each other. Although it's not happened in testing yet, the small areas underneath the bridges do look prone to getting fine grit jammed in them, although the constant flexing should dislodge that in turn as well.
Salomon Predict Hike Review: comfort and performance
Pulling on the Salomon Predict Hike for the first time immediately demonstrates two things – the build quality is as solid as it looks, and the heel pull tab is set too low to be enormously useful. The lacing system is as old as the hills, and works perfectly to pull your heel into the padded ankle collar neatly, a fact which helps both performance and comfort. The laces are slightly slick to begin with, but bed in quickly, but the fit is on the snug side, so if you've wide feet you may want to be looking at going up a half or even a full size.
The sole unit is fairly stiff, but does indeed flex as advertised, although it’s hard to say that the amount of flex on offer is dramatically better than competitor shoes. However, it results in a comfortable, bouncy ride that feels both precise and confidence-inspiring. The mid-height ankle also contributes to this, and in spite of the fabric and TPU panel upper, makes the Salomon Predict Hike feel much more capable than the specs would have you believe. That said, at 376 grams per shoe this isn’t an ultralight option by any means, and the 11mm drop is at the higher end, both factors that contribute to a sense of heft.
Clearly, Salomon has gone to some trouble to ensure there’s lots of energy return, obviously with an eye to competitors such as Hoka One One, and although this is a less brash looker, there’s loads of suspension on offer here. Each stride really does bound back at you, increasing cadence slightly, especially on harder surfaces. On longer days this certainly will keep you fresher as the miles stack up, something it’s easy to do without thinking too much in the Salomon Predict Hikes. Fortunately, that Contagrip does provide full coverage on the sole unit, so wear hasn’t been dramatic so far.
A couple of other reviewers note issues with gravel and other debris making its way into the boot and getting trapped, but I didn't have this problem during my tests.
The Gore-Tex liner has kept damp at bay so far, and is surprisingly breathable, although obviously less breathable than the part-mesh upper on its own. That said, there are so many reinforcing panels and the toe protection, heel stiffener etc that there’s not that much unobstructed mesh left anyway. Testing the shoe through the Spring months demonstrated that it runs relatively warm for a trainer – also thanks to the mid-ankle – so is on the warmer side for hot summer days, but to be fair any protective shoe would steam up too.
Salomon Predict Hike Review: verdict
The Salomon Predict Hike shoe delivers a potent combination of high-energy return bounce like a trainer, but some of the rigidity and heft of a proper walking boot. With neat detailing and good build quality, there’s lots here to like, assuming the relatively narrow fit suits your foot-shape. The only real disadvantage apart from that is the Salomon Predict Hike feels much more capable than it should, potentially tempting you into taking on steeper terrain that really requires a sturdier boot. That’s not very much of a disadvantage. If you’re looking for relatively lightweight trainer-style boots that pack far more of a punch than you’d expect, the Salomon Predict Hike Mid should be on your list…