Merrell vs Salomon Hiking Boots: Which to Choose?

The right pair of hiking boots can make or break your hike. They need to be comfortable, lightweight, supportive and durable.

Merrell and Salomon are two of the most popular hiking footwear brands in the world. They both have a long history of producing comfortable and durable footwear that stands the test of time.

In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between these two brands so that you can decide which one is best suited to your needs.

We’re going to focus on the most popular model from each brand: the Merrell Moab 3 and the Salomon X Ultra 4.


Key takeaways:

  • The Merrell Moabs use more traditional materials vs the modern materials used on the Salomons.
  • Both are available in regular or wide width.
  • Both are available with or without Gore-Tex waterproofing.
  • The Merrells have more cushioning and flex.
  • The Salomon boots come with Quicklace system which may put some people off.
  • The Salomons are slightly lighter and are more rigid.
  • The Salomons are slightly more expensive.

Merrell Moab 3 Hiking Boot

Weight: 936g
Upper: Suede + Mesh
Waterproofing: GTX

Pros: Gore-Tex waterproof liner, vibram rubber outsole, 5mm traction lugs, very breathable and comfortable
Cons: Upper mesh is more prone to rips than full leather, heavier than other options

Salomon X Ultra 4 Hiking Boot

Weight: 780g
Upper: Textile
Waterproofing: GTX

Pros: Very light, Gore-Tex waterproof liner, protective toe caps, great motion control and stability
Cons: Expensive, textile upper is generally less durable


Fit and comfort are easily the most important factors when choosing hiking shoes or boots. If your shoes don’t fit properly, they can rub or pinch, which can cause blisters.

Everyone’s feet are slightly different so there’s not going to be a universal winner in terms of comfort. We, therefore, recommend that you try on both sets of boots to determine which suits you best.

However, we think Merrell is likely going to win out in most cases in terms of pure comfort. The boot features premium soft padding throughout and an upgraded cushioned midsole.

The Salomon is a more aggressive design. This should provide better stability over long periods and will stand up better to wear and tear, but is also more likely to cause hot spots which can result in blisters.

In fact, there are several reports of users experiencing rubbing around the ankle from the X Ultra 4s.


The Salomon boots weigh approximately 160 g less than the Merrells.

While this is not a huge difference, lighter footwear can reduce fatigue and make it easier to walk for longer periods.

The weight difference can be attributed to the modern synthetic materials used on the X Ultra 4s, while the Merrells are constructed from more traditional materials like leather.


While both boots feel stable and supportive, the Salomons are the more rigid of the two.

For long walks on rough terrain, the Salomons will better protect your foot. They also feature more aggressive lugs which means they’ll be grippier on steep ascents and descents.

However, the more flexible design on the Merrells is what contributes to them being the more comfortable option for most people.


Both boots are available in models with or without gore-tex.

While gore-tex is viewed as the premium waterproof membrane for outdoor gear, it’s worth remembering that it’s not always essential.

Waterproof boots can be a hiker’s best friend for multiday hikes through puddles and streams, but keep in mind that it does significantly reduce the breathability of the shoe while also adding extra weight (and cost).

For day walkers who generally walk in dry conditions, the non-gore-tex models may be the best option.

Lacing System

The Salomon hiking boot offers a unique lacing system called Quicklace.

It is a great option for hikers who want to be able to get on and off their boots quickly. It is also more integrated with the boot so provides extra stability.

However, this also means that it provides less customisation than traditional laces. For example, you can’t loosen or tighten specific parts of your shoe as easily as with traditional laces.

Overall, people generally like the Salomon lacing system and feel it adds extra stability to their hiking boots.


The upper on the X Ultras is 100% synthetic. This material is lightweight, durable and quick drying.

The upper on the Merrells also features breathable synthetic mesh panels but these are used in conjunction with pig suede leather.

The main downside of synthetic materials is they tend to wear faster than leather. However, Solomon boots do tend to hold up pretty well and we haven’t seen any reports of durability issues with the X Ultra 4s.

Both boots feature a breathable mesh inner liner.

Merrell vs Salomon Comparison Table

Hiking bootMerrell MoabSalomon X Ultra
WaterproofingOptional Gore-texOptional Gore-tex
MidsoleEVA FoamNot stated
OutsoleVibramSalomon Contagrip
UpperLeather & meshSynthetic
Toe capYesYes
Arch shankNylonNot stated
Lug depth5mm5mm
Weight (Gore-tex boot)936 g780 g

Making your selection

Both Merrell Moab and Salomon X Ultra are excellent hiking boots. However, each has its own unique advantages.

If you are looking for a more traditional, heavily cushioned and supportive shoe, the Merrell Moab may be the way to go.

If you want a stable and protective shoe that doesn’t compromise comfort over long distances, the Salomon X Ultra may be your best option.

However, the most important thing when choosing hiking boots is comfort. If you haven’t found a shoe that feels right, don’t be afraid to try on different brands and styles before making your final choice.

Merrell Moab 3 Hiking Boot

Weight: 936g
Upper: Suede + Mesh
Waterproofing: GTX

Salomon X Ultra 4 Hiking Boot

Weight: 780g
Upper: Textile
Waterproofing: GTX

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The Adventure Lab

At The Adventure Lab, our goal is to provide high-quality, actionable information and advice to help you plan for your next adventure. Our team of writers consists of professional mountain guides, personal trainers, exercise physiologists and more.