Salomon Ellipse GTX — the small and lightweight solution
Last year we decided to turn one of our biggest dreams into reality and to go on a world trip in 2014.
When we travel we are always looking for close contact to the local people and to nature, so I knew that our trip would involve a good bit of hiking an some mountain trekking. We love our Hanwag Alaska GTX and normally wouldn’t get anywhere near a mountain without them, but for traveling for six months with backpacks only we definitely needed something smaller, lighter and more versatile. Also robust, with good grip on uneven stones and loose gravel, well suited to hot and humid but also moderately cool climates. Being waterproof was not strictly necessary, but it’s definitely a nice-to-have.
That’s a lot of contradicting requirements!
Bojidar already had something appropriate, so I set out to search for the perfect women’s trekking shoe. After hours of online research, going to outdoor stores and trying out different shoes I was very happy to find the right one: the Salomon Ellipse.
(For you guys I also have a great suggestion in the second half of the article, so please read on.)
We’ve been on a world trip now for more than three months and I wore my Salomons on demanding adventurous treks as well as on many softer tours. We hiked on dry sandy terrain in Tanzania, through the wet and muddy jungle of Borneo and up and down the steep rice paddies of Bali. We traversed a rugged mountainous island and hiked through the slippery rainforest of the Philippines (trip description and link is coming soon). And just recently we climbed the summit of Mt. Rinjani (3726 meters, Indonesia’s second highest active volcano), which was a three-day-trek on difficult and steep terrain: rough trail, sharp lava rocks and soft and slippery sand.
I felt totally safe and comfortable with these shoes and can recommend them without any hesitation!
They are incredibly light (640 gramms per pair) and much smaller compared to serious hiking boots. But at the same time they make me feel stable on rocky ground and protect me from loose stones. Typical sport shoes or chucks do not have this quality.
We’ll be going to South America in four weeks and I am looking forward to explore the mountains, jungle and coastline with these shoes.
According to Salomon the shoes are made from a water resistant, breathable and quickly drying synthetic on the outside and have a Gore-Tex (GTX) membrane inside. The latter is supposed to keep rain and other water from entering the inside of the show while at the same time allowing warmth and moisture from your sweaty feet to easily exit to the outside.
I’ve been riding my bike to work with these shoes on during last winter and I can tell you that my feet were always dry and the outside of the shoes was never really wet. So last week I decided to performed the ultimate test: I intentionally stepped into a fast-moving river and stayed in the water for about 20 seconds. Here are the results:
- The outside of the shoes got wet and took about 2 hours to dry. So that water-resistant synthetic material on the outside seems to hold out rain but not a running river. But…
- The inside of the shoes and my feet remained totally dry! 🙂
- The low-cut form of the shoes makes it relatively easy for water to enter from above the side rim, so the moisture protection is a bit limited. But it’s definitely enough for morning treks through wet grass and through moderate rain.
Features like the heel and the toe cap and the elevated brim all around the base of the shoe provide stability and protect your feet from hard stones, mud and water. The good profile gives you a strong grip and keeps you from slipping. Due to the thick robust rubber sole you can easily walk on rocky ground without feeling every stone in your feet.
The low-cut profile provides agility and lets air around the ankles escape much quicker. The cushoning makes every step easy, especially if you walk downhill. The foot bed is on the narrow side, so I felt very comfortable from the moment i stepped into these shoes.
If you want a more feminine version than the black one, Salomon makes the Ellipse in several different colors.
That the ankles are not covered by the shoe is an advantage and disadvantage at a time. It saves weight and gives you freedom of movement, but there is also less vertical support, so it’s easier to twist your ankle in difficult terrain. I never did, and I prefer the smaller size and reduced weight, but it is a potential disadvantage.
This shoe is not inexpensive. With a price of around 100 € it it might seem a bit expensive, but once you do a couple of treks with it you’ll be happy to have serious shoes on your feet.
Unfortunately this shoe is only available in a woman’s version, but I found a comparable men’s shoe: the Salomon ESKAPE GTX. With 760 grams per pair it’s almost as lightweight and has all the other features.
Who is it for?
If you are looking for a reliable alternative to serious hiking boots, something for trekking or for traveling, this is it. The Salomon Ellipse GTX respectively Eskape GTX combine light weight with functionality and are ideal for a variety of adventures in good or bad weather, or difficult terrain in spring, summer and fall.