Not ones to wistfully look to the past, Salomon are always pushing boundaries and thinking outside the box. The hiking footwear page of their website is full of ultra-modern crossovers, with quirky angular designs and contemporary colours.
The Outpulse Mid epitomises this approach. Salomon have combined trail running know-how with hiking prowess and made a trainer-like boot that’s got versatility in spades.
First up, the weight is impressive at only 760g per pair. This makes for a really lightweight feel on your feet, and there’s none of that dread of tired legs that you get when you put on a hefty pair of leather boots.
The upper is a pared-back synthetic and knit mix with slimline toe and heel bumpers for extra durability, and a TPU overlay that connects the lacing area with the midsole. Featuring right across the flex zone, knit is the perfect material to stop hotspots and blisters. It conforms brilliantly when you walk, rather than folding up and creating uncomfortable rubbing. It’s also lightweight and breathable hence why we’re seeing it more and more in all sorts of walking footwear.
The lacing is pretty standard, it works as it should cinching the upper close to the feet. With this, your heel is locked in place perfectly and there’s a feeling of stability as you walk. It’s worth noting that the Outpulse are particularly narrow walking boots, especially at the midfoot and toebox. This is less than ideal for anyone with normal to wide feet but works perfectly well for narrow feet.
Take a look at the sole of the Outpulse and it looks different to most hiking boots. There’s no pronounced ‘heel brake’ just one continuous surface with a load of sticky lugs. The profile is intriguing too, it’s what Salomon are calling ‘reverse camber’ (skiing anyone?), a design that should help your foot roll through its range of motion. Bizarrely though the Outpulse feels quite flat to walk in, probably because the heel is striking on a flatter surface.
Salomon have made attempts to further energise your walking through the use of a ‘Fuze Surge foam compound’. This is taken from their trail running shoes, essentially it aims to deliver energy return after you compress the sole into the step. In all honestly, we didn’t particularly feel this technology at work but sometimes it’s more about the sum of the parts rather than individual design features.
What we did notice was an excellent balance between cushioning and trail feel. There’s plenty of protection underfoot without making you feel detached from the terrain and long walks don’t end up in sore feet. This is partly thanks to a TPU shank in the midsole which protects your feet and adds stability.
Grip is superb, apart from on greasy rocks where the Contagrip comes unstuck. The lugs aren't particularly deep but they've got a mud-shedding pattern so will cope with a spot of winter walking, although we feel the ideal use for these boots is in the three fairer weather seasons.
Walking on everything is fair game in the Outpulse although most people would want something more sturdy for Munro's and Corbett's, such is their versatility you could also wear them as your everyday footwear if the mood took you.
Overall, stability, durability, and protection is impressive from such a lightweight walking boot. We didn’t feel like the Outpulse mid was quite as lively to walk in as Salomon would have you think, but they’re certainly no slouches on the trail either.