Salomon Ellipse GTX — the small and lightweight solution

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.)

Water Resistant Textiles and GoreTex Membrane

Salomon uses a water-resistant lining and a GoreTex membrane which keep you dry and offer enhanced breathability.

Gusseted Tongue

A material bridge connects the tongue to the upper which keeps debris and moisture from entering the shoe.

Contagrip outsoles

Delivers optimal traction on varied surfaces.

Toe Cap

Protects your toes if you kick stones.

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.

Advantages

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.

Disadvantages

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.

You can buy the Ellipse GTX and the Eskape GTX in any serious outdoor store, but also from Amazon. Since there are different colors and sizes we are linking to a general search which you can refine according to your needs:

4 Comments

  1. Monique

    Hi Katja,

    thank you for your great review! I know how much work it is to find the best shoe which is good for everything. I’m also going on a world trip this year *yay*. So I have already done a lot of research for the best shoe for that 🙂 I tried a lot shoes, at first the Salomon Women XA Pro 3D Ultra, but I found them horrible chunky at the toes 🙂 They are trail running shoes, my travelmate took them, and they look better on a men`s feet 🙂 At least I decide myself for Salewa WS Alp Trainer. I mostly love them, because the have a very rigid and heavy vibram sole. I treid them already on mountains and long hikes and they fittet perfectly. They offer these shoes also with GTX. But now I’m still unsure, because they are a little heavy, even for that kind of shoes. Also they really look like mountain shoes and I wouldn’t get through the city with them 🙂

    So I have to carry extra sneakers with me, which means another pair of shoes 🙁 Would be great to have only one pair, for hikes, and also for sightseeing in the city.

    What about the sole of the Salomon Ellipse? Is it a too soft sole or also more rigid? Maybe I have to decide once more 🙂 ahhhhhh^^

    Cheers, Monique

    1. Katja

      Hi Monique,

      congratulations for your world-trip plans – this is the best decision you could make!

      An important lesson we learned on our world-trip is that keeping weight down is very important and that it’s important to have gear that serves several functions. So if you can optimize your shoes so that you need one pair less, you’ll simplify your life a whole lot.

      The Salomon Ellipse GTX is a very lightweight shoe with a stable and rigid sole, which is great for hiking on rocks and gravel. The sole of my (other) running shoes is too soft, so I decided that I needed waterproof and more stable shoes for the world trip.

      Due to the rigid sole the Salewa WS Alp Trainer seems to be a good choice for the mountain, but not really stylish for a long city walk, but that also depends a bit on the color of the shoe, your clothing style and if the combination bothers you. I chose the more neutral black version of the Salomon Ellipse and for me it fits very well to my city outfit.

      The Salomon Women XA Pro 3D Ultra seems to be suitable for light hikes as well, but I totally agree – it looks chunky at the front. Here I found a review comparing the two, also resulting in de Salomon Ellipse GTX being the better one: http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Hiking-Shoes-Womens-Reviews/Salomon-XA-Pro-3D-GTX-Womens.

      If you have any further questions please let me know. Best wishes from Germany 😉

      1. Monique

        Hi Katja,

        yes I´m very very happy 🙂 And how happy I would be if I could take less a pair shoes with me^^ I start end of march!
        I Thought about taking some skechers flex appeal for a city shoe. They are very flexible and light weight. But it is still another pair…
        http://www.amazon.de/Skechers-Appeal-Sweet-Damen-Sneakers-WSL/dp/B00GOXWHE4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422560066&sr=8-1&keywords=skechers+flex+appeal

        How does the size of the Salomon Ellipse fits? Normally I wear 41. In the salomon XA I have 41 1/3, but in the review of the link you gave, they say to order one size bigger for the Ellipse, so 42? And I didn`t found the Ellipse with no GTX… (Iam afraid of smelling feet when its warmer)^^. Is it that worse? 🙂

        Im still unsure, the Salewa WS Alp Trainer I own already, but thinking about to order some Ellipse and XA pro 3d of the men version (maybe they are not so chunky at the toes 🙂
        Then I can decide new and be rid of the money of my Alp Trainers 🙂

        Yesterday I tried my Alp Trainers again with a pair of Jeans. Isn`t that bad what I thought, but might be a little warmer and a little heavier 🙂 That the Ellipse has a stable and rigid sole, too-I like! But hopefully these soles are ok for long city walks, too 🙂
        They color of my Alp Trainers is ok. See here:
        http://www.google.de/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fgorskiszlak.pl%2Fmedia%2Fcatalog%2Fproduct%2Fs%2Fa%2Fsalewa-buty-ws-alp-trainer.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fallegro.pl%2Fbuty-trekkingowe-salewa-alp-trainer-damski-roz-39-i3441211068.html&h=965&w=965&tbnid=9uuGyJZG4f4GmM%3A&zoom=1&docid=WMZbW5WtO5aspM&itg=1&ei=WI3KVMLwKMytacDJgOAM&tbm=isch&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=511&page=1&start=0&ndsp=41&ved=0CCgQrQMwAg

        I still have to decide, but shoes are the most difficult! I think you might agry 🙂

        Cheers from Braunschweig 🙂

  2. Katja

    Hello Monique,

    to find the right shoe is indeed a very difficult decision, especially if it has to fulfil all these important requirements like light weight, stability, comfort, waterproofness, small size, nice design and color. in preparation of a longer trip and as a woman the decision is even harder. I absolutely agree! As you read I had the same problems.

    I was only used to wear either my serious Hanwag hiking boots or flexible sport shoes on trips so it was a different feeling at the beginning to walk in a small but stable shoe. But that is what I wanted and I got what I wanted 😉 We walked for hours and I always felt comfortable in my Salomon Ellipse. The “skechers flex appeal” seem very comfortable as well, but you probably don’t want to hike in them on rocks and unstable ground.

    My shoe size is 40 and my Salomon Ellipse is a 41 1/3 (7,5 UK), so if you decide for this shoe you should get them one size bigger.

    Every foot and everybody’s taste is different. My recommendation is to try the shoes which are of interest to you in different sizes. You still have time until march so you could either order them or go to a sports store (Karstadt Sports …) and find the one that fits best to your size and your liking. I am sure your decision will be done or at least one step closer afterwards.

    Regarding the question with or without Gore-Tex membrane I would advice you to decide for one (read the advantages in the post). A hiking shoe which is not waterproof is of no use in my opinion. Sooner or later you will have a situation where water wants to enter your shoe. Just yesterday I arrived at home after a 1/2 hour biking through heavy rain and my feet were absolutely dry. I used the shoe in hot regions in Asia and had no more problems with the smell than with other shoes after a long day of hiking. Air them outdoors, wash them from time to time, and you’ll be fine.

    Good luck and many greetings from rainy Hamburg.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *