Hi there Conservationists!
Today I decided to start a new series for the blog, “Field Test”. Now, if you don’t know me, I am a Field-Based Conservation Biologist. I have researched in Jungles of Panama and Belize, assisted with beachside sea turtle Research in Costa Rica, hiked all through the deserts and mountains of West Texas, and with that, I have become very in tune with the gear that I use.
What I want to do with this serious is give some honest reviews on the gear that I have been using during my research. This can be anything from clothing to accessories to actual research tools (scales, calipers, sexing kits etc.). I truly feel that the gear that lasts during my time in the field is put to the ultimate test. My last pair of Keen Hiking Boots lasted me nearly 2 years, but ultimately had gashes in the sides, the sole was peeling off, and the lace straps had been glued together multiple times. To put it blunt, they were put through hell. They have had cactus stuck in nearly every side, crossed several rivers, climbed a few jungle mountains, been worn nearly every day, and yet they were the most comfortable hiking boots I have ever had. I’m not ashamed to say that I wore them around town for months after they were nearly unusable in the field.
And its that kind of review I want to bring to you. Product reviews based on true field conditions. Keeping with the hiking boot trend, I am going to review the pair that I have had for nearly a year now. The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Backpacking Boot (In Iguana Green of course).
This post and future product review posts do use Amazon Affiliate links to link to products. I am currently only reviewing products that I have bought and used for a considerable length of time and have no direct affiliation with the companies. If a company is sending me a product, or paying me to review said product I will be extremely transparent about that fact and be as honest as I can about the quality of the product.
I bought these boots in December of 2017. At the time of writing these boots have been:
These conditions vary quite heavily in their use, but they have seen extremely high humidity, heavy use in wet conditions, climbing a mountain barely broken in for 7 hours, surveys conducted in hot and dry as well as rainy conditions and have been worn as a daily use shoe, when it is exceptionally cold or rainy outside.
Surprisingly well actually. I bet that if I cleaned them up, you would be hard pressed to tell that they have been through some ugly conditions for the past 10 months. Below I’ve listed out my major pros and cons of this awesome pair of footwear.
Tough and Durable
-Seriously. This pair of boots has held up extremely well in the given conditions. To date, I don’t think I’ve had anything break with these pairs. I don’t notice any of the rubber pieces coming off, or any major wear and tear. The boots use solid metal lace straps, that are much better than fabric ones of other brands. Additionally, the laces that come with the boots have held up to the wear and tear as well.
-The boots feel solid on your foot and have protected me from some serious missteps. I’ve run down mountains and hills with no trails before without any issues. As a final testament to their toughness, I spent several months with a vicious, unstable cat outside my doorstep. This cat attacked me on several occasions and these boots saved my ankles on more than 1 occasion with barely a scratch on them!
-I’m a big stickler for comfort in my hiking boots. I may need to wear these boots for miles in really difficult terrain. To me, they are a tool. I did not receive any blisters breaking them in, and have worn them (for short durations) without socks and had no discomfort or chafing. They hug my feet perfectly and give me a solid stable step. One of the few pairs of footwear I own, where I am not waiting to tear them off when I get home.
-They really are as waterproof as they claim. I’ve stood in several inches of running water for several minutes and didn’t feel a drop get into the boots. This allows me alot of comfort and certainty while setting up mist nets, or running out right after heavy rains to survey for frogs. Mud and water are completely absent from my feet at the end of the day. The only issue is when they do get wet (covered below).
-The price is an amazing deal! When I bought them, they were priced at around $225. Now you can order a pair from Amazon for under $130. That is a steal considering, I would still pay over $200 for these boots. There is a successor to this pair (the 4D 3 GTX) which are probably even better, but a hiking boot of this quality for under $150 is amazing no matter what.
Push you forward (sort of)
-This was something that I read several times before I bought these boots. Essentially, they say that the unique design helps push your foot forward making your hike easier in the long run. I do notice something different when I push off, and it might help, but to be honest I have no idea if that is a pseudo-scientific claim or something actually beneficial. Either way, it doesn’t seem to hurt.
Little big and bulky
-As a tradeoff for all that comfort and durability, the boots are a little bit big. It’s not terrible and I don’t really notice this too much, but if you are wanting a lightweight pair for several day thru-hikes, you may want to find a pair more suited to your needs. I personally enjoy having a steadier more stable step, but there have been times (jumping across boulders for example) where I wish I did have a more agile pair of shoes.
-One that has been recommended to me is this pair from Salomon. I haven’t tried them personally, but my experience with this brand has been extremely favorable.
Very slow to dry
-This is by far my biggest complaint, but its one that comes with every pair of waterproofed boots I own. This pair works great and keeping water out… until its water higher than your ankles. Once this pair gets wet its taken days to dry out. I’m often working in humid climates, so when they get wet its a serious problem. Its not at all fun to be out in East Texas during a December camping trip with wet boots or having to constantly worry about getting them wet in the field. While waterproofing is extremely beneficial for most uses it’s really damaging when you are studying a semi-aquatic species like turtles or frogs.
-That being said, I don’t wear these boots when I know there are wet conditions afoot (Ha!), because they just aren’t meant for that purpose. If you are planning on mountain hiking, doing a thru-hike or just want a reliable pair of hiking boots, I would still recommend these
After having used this pair of boots for nearly a year in intense field conditions, I would absolutely recommend this pair to anyone looking for a new hiking boot. They are durable, waterproof, and extraordinarily comfortable. Unless you are planning an extremely lengthy hike or are planning on running into more than 5 inches of water, these boots would absolutely get the job done and then some.
Follow this link to buy you a pair from Amazon right now.