Salomon Elios 2 GTX Shoes

Following my past reviews of footwear on Hard Light, Fitness Footwear very kindly offered a pair of Salomon Elios 2 GTX shoes for me to try out.  I have to confess to a liking for Salomon shoes, I had a pair a few years ago (can't remember the exact model/style of shoe) and they were very comfortable.  I wore them constantly until they eventually fell apart.

From the outset, I should make it clear that I have no association or relationship with Fitness Footwear or any of the company's employees.  This is simply an impartial review by a lay person who has long experience of outdoor pursuits who knows what he wants and expects of outdoor equipment and related products.  This review does not imply that the comfort or safety of the wearer of this footwear will be enhanced.  In other words, you must make your own decisions about what is right for you and assume responsibility for yourself in the outdoors!

Fitness Footwear obviously take their mail-order business very seriously. The company pays a lot of attention to quality packaging, heavy-gauge polythene bags are used to ensure that the contents are well protected.  This is certainly a mail order specialist whom I would have no concerns about:

 The colourway of the Elios 2 GTX shoes is pleasantly understated.  The uppers consist of a nubuck and suede-type material in three colours which is described on the box as swamp and thyme wood beige:

I got into the habit a number of years ago of twisting outdoor footwear by hand to assess torsional rigidity.  These Salomon Elios 2 GTX's are quite a stiff last, there is a fair bit of resistance to twisting and this promises well for the stability of the shoe on the hill.  Unlike other manufacturers such as Merrell, the toe-bumper is not very high and could lead to wear in the toe area of the shoe, especially if, like me, the wearer is an habitual toe-stubber on rocky ground.  That said, the shoes did not show any wear around the front after a day's walking in the White Peak, so it would appear to be perfectly adequate:

The heel bumper is quite substantial and offers good protection.  There is no pull-on loop and this is not something I miss as I rarely use one on any footwear.  The only shoes which I do use the pull-on loop regularly are my Innov-8 Terrocs because they have the habit of the heel folding under as I slide my foot into them.  The Salomon Elios 2 GTX's are beefy enough to prevent the same problem:

The sole unit consists of well-spaced cleats which are not too aggressive.  These shoes would not look out of place in an urban environment or on the hill.  The sole is reasonably good at shedding low-level public footpath mud, the heel breast is not very pronounced and care needs to be taken on wet or slippery descents.  On dry rock, the sole grips well and the firm last imbues the wearer with confidence:

  Comfort in footwear is a very personal thing.  One thing that does stand out about these Salomon Elios 2 GTX shoes is that they appear to be quite narrow.  They seem narrow enough at first glance to the extent that I would have probably passed them by on a retailer's shelf without even trying them on.  I have wide bony feet and narrow, continental European footwear styling just won't do for me.  However, comfort does improve rapidly with wearing them.  After half a mile of walking the shoes were very comfortable indeed and any concerns I had were proven unfounded.

As for the Goretex lining, I am firmly in the 'what is the point?' camp. Outdoor footwear does not need expensive 'waterproof' linings that aren't waterproof!

As mentioned earlier, stability is remarkably good and the foot is held firmly in place with a nicely cupped heel.  Weight comes in at 800 grammes for the pair, with each shoe weighing 400 grammes exactly.

For backpacking, hill walking and low-grade scrambling either side of winter, these Salomon Elios 2 GTX shoes are a good choice.  Just don't be convinced by the Goretex swing ticket!
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