Next to roasting marshmallows over a fire and fishing down at the lake, it’s hard to come up with a more iconic outdoor activity than hiking. There’s nothing quite like it – you wander quietly under the shades of tall trees, march across grasslands, and traverse rugged and rocky ground to finally make it to the top of a summit, where you can enjoy a mesmerizing view.
The beauty of trekking is just one of its many benefits. This type of activity can help you with weight loss, improve your overall physical and mental health, and help you build some muscle. What’s more, it boosts mental wellbeing, eases stress, and provides great opportunities to meet like-minded people – just some of the many reasons why people hike. All in all, it’s one of the best ways to spend your free time.
However, to really enjoy traversing the great outdoors, a trekking newbie needs proper outdoor gear. And since trekking means walking, climbing, and sometimes even running, the most important part of outdoor gear is your shoes. However, with hundreds of different brands of trekking shoes to choose from, it can be incredibly difficult to decide which is the best for you. You can also check which brand stands better between each other: North Face vs Marmot.
Due to the superb quality of their products, two brands stand out – Salomon and North Face. From winter boots to trail runners, these companies provide premium-quality products that will keep your feet comfortable and protected during your outdoor adventures. Let’s compare them!
Short History of Salomon
Salomon was founded more than 70 years ago in Annecy, France, by François Salomon. Today, it’s among the country’s most renowned outdoor equipment companies and a brand that operates globally.
Originally a small metal-working shop, Salomon slowly moved toward making skiing equipment, such as cable bindings. In 1979, they finally made their very first skiing boots – SX90. Although a subsidiary of Amer Sports since 2005, Salomon’s headquarters remain in the same place where the company was founded all the way back in 1947 – in Annecy.
As a brand that was once specialized in alpine sports equipment, Salomon makes shoes and boots that are durable and can easily withstand cold weather. In addition, their products cater to a wide variety of sports markets, including skiing, climbing, snowboarding, adventure racing, as well as trekking.
Short History of North Face
The North Face is one of America’s most prestigious outdoor equipment brands – there’s no doubt about that. The company specializes in coats, shirts, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, as well as hiking and trail-running shoes and boots.
Established by Douglas and Susie Tompkins in 1966, the North Face started with merchandise that mostly targeted climbers and backpackers. Later on, they introduced camping equipment and skiwear. One particularly interesting thing about this brand is its name – it’s named after the coldest, iciest side of the mountain, which is also the hardest to climb on.
Nowadays, the North Face offers numerous products – from athletic clothing to casual sportswear. They’re particularly famous for their insulated jackets, which are a favorite of many climbers, skiers, snowboarders, endurance athletes, and hikers everywhere around the world.
How We Compared Salomon vs North Face
Comparing hiking boots and shoes made by well-known, renowned brands is never an easy task. Here are some things we paid special attention to while pitting the products of these two brands against each other.
When you’re spending days in the countryside or on a trail, it’s very important that your apparel supports you and protects you properly, whether it’s made by Salomon or the North Face. And when it comes to shoes, several vital questions arise.
Do they support your ankles adequately? Are they moisture-wicking and breathable? Are they waterproof? Which of the brands uses these important features to the fullest?
These are the questions most people have in mind when they’re shopping for hiking boots and shoes made by North Face and Salomon, and it is our goal to answer them to the best of our ability.
Fit & Comfort
Getting into the great outdoors always begins with the shoes. This is precisely why finding shoes with the right fit is so essential.
Are the shoes flexible enough? Does the shoe have thermal or comfort padding? How does it fit? How does it feel on your feet? What outdoor activities are you planning to use the shoes for? Will you be wearing thick socks?
All of these factors have a huge impact on the design and type of shoe you’ll need.
When they’re made adequately and with the right materials, hiking boots or shoes are an investment that can last for years, even decades.
The material out of which a particular shoe is made impacts both its comfort level and durability. It goes without saying, but this is crucial if day hikes are your favorite way of spending free time.
Fortunately, both Salomon and North Face use premium-quality materials to make their footgear. However, there are still some key differences between their products in this regard, which you’ll be able to see in our short overviews of their most popular shoes.
Foot & Toe Protection
The great outdoors doesn’t just offer beautiful vistas – traversing it means going over fallen trees, rocks, and other debris that can easily hurt your feet. Getting a shoe equipped with protective features, such as the toe cap, is guaranteed to make your day hike a lot safer.
Do you know how many hikers love getting their socks soaked while exploring the wilderness? None. Getting your feet wet while trekking won’t only lead to great discomfort, but also to chafing or blistering on the skin.
Whether we’re talking about snow, rain, or just wet terrain, a genuinely waterproof shoe will keep the moisture at bay and your feet dry and warm. Both North Face and Salomon make water-resistant footgear – more on that later.
Number of Styles Available
Even when they’re in the middle of nowhere, trekkers love to look good.
Once you finally decide which pair of shoes suit you the best, you’ll probably want to pick it up in your favorite color. While it’s not as important as other factors, the number of designs and colors a shoe is available in can make or break the deal.
As expected, Salomon and North Face offer their products in dozens of different color combinations. However, we think that it’s pretty safe to say that Salomon is a clear winner in this department – their shoes are typically a lot more colorful and available in more designs.
Regardless of one’s abilities or budget, trekking should be accessible to all people.
Unfortunately, that’s not how real life works. As we already said in the intro, exploring the wilderness is not something you want to do without proper outdoor gear, which includes trekking shoes. In other words, you will have to set yourself a budget, think about what features you want in your North Face or Salomon shoes, and go from there.
Both of the brands we’re comparing here are often on similar price points. For that matter, we’ll compare the six most popular products made by the North Face and Salomon, with the ultimate goal of helping you make an informed decision.
North Face vs Salomon – Hiking Boots
Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX Hiking Boots
A high-cut version of Salomon’s popular X Ultra 3 shoes, the Ultra Mid 3 GTX boots are among the company’s best offerings so far.
Combining the support of a high-top trekking boot and the comfort of a low-top shoe, this model wraps around the user’s foot and feels extremely comfortable. It is available in five design options, and all of these come with features such as the gusseted tongue, rubber sole, waterproof protection, and others.
Besides offering unmatched comfort, Ultra Mid 3 GTX also provides superb stability and excellent traction due to its Descent Control lug pattern. In other words, it performs slightly better on mud and wet stone than the popular X Ultra 3 model made by the same company. When it comes to waterproofing, on the other hand, the model comes equipped with a Gore-Tex (GTX) liner – it will keep your feet warm and dry no matter the weather.
Other features we liked are the padded ankle collar, speed lacing system, and a wide toe box. Due to its synthetic outer materials and the EVA midsole, the model also sports a low weight and size. All in all, it’s an excellent option for all types of outdoor activities and is bound to keep your feet comfortable, protected, and dry wherever you go.
The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack II Hiking Boots
A formidable rival to Salomon’s Ultra Mid 3 GTX (as well as to popular Merrell Moab 2), Hedgehog Fastpack II sports a number of features that turn it into a worthwhile investment.
First of all, these shoes fit like a glove – they conform to the user’s foot shape and feel extremely comfortable. Besides sporting quite a bit of cushioning, the North Face Hedgehog Fastpack II excels in terms of traction, too. This is because they feature the famous Vibram outsole technology. For men who like to feel firm on loose sand, roots, and rocks, they’re a great option.
In terms of waterproof protection, Hedgehog Fastpack II uses the company’s proprietary DryVent technology. While not as effective as solutions used by other brands, it will keep your feet safe from moisture. They’re also quite breathable, which turns them into a decent option for men and women walking the Camino during hot summer months.
When it comes to durability, on the other hand, Hedgehog Fastpack II feels somewhat less reliable than Salomon’s offering. However, as a North Face product, these are still far more durable than thousands of other trekking shoes on the market.
Who’s the Winner?
While both of these models are great choices, the durability, comfort, and overall high-quality construction of Salomon’s popular Ultra Mid 3 GTX are impossible to match.
North Face vs Salomon – Running Shoes
Salomon XA Pro 3D Running Shoe
Considered by many to be the best shoes of this type on the market, Salomon XA Pro 3D is something special.
The first thing to notice about this model is that it was designed to be indestructible. In fact, the protection offered by Salomon XA Pro 3D is perhaps the best thing about it. Its upper is made out of multi-layered synthetic leather and its midsole feels inflexible and extremely solid.
As a running shoe, XA Pro 3D also excels in terms of traction. It sports a high-quality Contagrip outsole with large, spaced-out lugs and is very sticky on rocks. However, the model doesn’t perform as well on mud or snow – men and women who like running in extreme conditions should definitely look elsewhere.
While it does require some time to be broken in, Salomon XA Pro 3D feels very comfortable, mostly due to its spacious forward tip. The model also features some “stability control” in its midsole and its laces are very easy to tighten. Size-wise, it’s among the heaviest men’s shoes of this type you can get, at 32.4 ounces.
While not flawless, XA Pro 3D is yet another high-quality Salomon offering and a fantastic choice for men who need a running shoe that offers ample foot protection.
The North Face Ultra Endurance Running Shoe
Although slightly cheaper than XA Pro 3D, the North Face Ultra Endurance running shoe is just as durable and comfortable as its rival. Let’s take a closer look at its features:
In terms of comfort, the North Face Ultra Endurance sports what is probably the coziest upper on the market. Once we combine this with the gusseted tongue, an ideal amount of heel padding, and the unsewn Flashdry interior liner, we get an extremely comfortable shoe that allows sockless running.
Size-wise, the Ultra Endurance is pretty large and heavy for a sneaker of this type. It, however, comes with Vibram Megagrip outsoles – these are guaranteed to keep your feet firmly on the ground. The model’s multi-directional, arrow-shaped lugs grip equally well on all types of surfaces, including wet rocks.
As a North Face product, Ultra Endurance is pretty good when it comes to protection, too. The model’s solid rock plate protects the feet from rocks and roots, while its rubber toe cap deserves special words of praise – it’s among the most protective, durable, and reliable bumpers we’ve seen so far.
These North Face shoes are also very breathable and stable. They’re a great choice for men who need a shoe with good underfoot protection combined with decent stability and traction.
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Who’s the Winner?
This time, it’s a tie – both the North Face and Salomon shoes for running offer quality features and sport a cool design. You won’t make a mistake by going with either of these models.
North Face vs Salomon – Winter Boots
Salomon X Ultra Winter CS Winter Hiking Boots
Are you looking for a lightweight but comfortable trekking boot that will keep your feet warm? If so, X Ultra Winter CS by Salomon is a great option.
First of all, this is a fully waterproof hiking shoe. It achieves this by combining the Climashield breathable/waterproof membrane with its treated leather outer shell. While not the best choice for wading through deep snow, the model is still among the market’s best winter boots.
Another great feature of X Ultra Winter CS is how lightweight it is. A pair of men boots size 11 weigh mere 2 pounds and 11 ounces. For men who like to keep their trekking footgear as nimble as possible, these are a better choice than most products of this type on the market.
However, in our opinion, the best thing about X Ultra Winter CS is how warm this hiking shoe is. Featuring Thinsulate synthetic insulation, it will keep your feet warm as long as you don’t go into deep snow or freezing water. If you’re one of those men who like wading through creeks while trekking, you should definitely look elsewhere.
All in all, this is yet another excellent Salomon product and a high-quality winter boot that won’t let you down.
The North Face Chilkat III Winter Hiking Boots
The North Face is famous for the quality of its apparel, but did you know that they’re among the world’s best manufacturers of winter boots? The North Face Chilkat III is a fantastic example of how experienced and thoughtful the company’s engineers are.
The North Face Chilkat III sports a very high degree of water resistance, which is precisely why it’s not as breathable as the model offered by Salomon. However, if you’re among those men who want their shoes to be waterproof and don’t care much about breathability, this won’t be an issue. There’s no Gore-Tex here, but you’ll never have to worry about your feet getting soaked while wearing the North Face Chilkat III.
Besides being fully waterproof, these winter shoes also provide an excellent fit – they fit true to size in both width and length. The job of the model’s leather uppers and molded-rubber lowers is to make sure that your feet are comfortable and to keep them warm and dry. The North Face III is also very grippy and provides good stability on uneven surfaces.
As they provide a superb fit and are fully waterproof, these winter shoes are an excellent choice for men looking for comfort, warmth, and moisture-resistance combined in a single package.
Who’s the Winner?
Salomon X Ultra Winter CS is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment, but this round has to go to North Face. Their Chilkat III could easily be the best boot of its type on the market – make sure to get yourself a pair if you’re into winter trekking.
So, there you have it – our quick but comprehensive and informative comparison of the best products made by the North Face and Salomon.
As you can see from above, both of the brands are capable of creating excellent trekking shoes. Both Salomon and North Face care about the comfort and warmth provided by their products – there’s no doubt about that. So, which one of them makes better men s hiking footwear?
As in so many other cases, there is no clear-cut answer to this question – it all depends upon your personal preferences.
By taking a look at our product overviews, you’ll find that we consider Salomon to be a better brand when it comes to regular trekking shoes/boots. The North Face, on the other hand, seems to have the upper hand in the battle of winter boots. And when it comes to running shoes, it’s a tie – both Salomon and North Face excel in making this type of footwear.
In short, the battle of Salomon vs North Face has no clear winner. It’s pretty safe to say that you won’t make a mistake by going with either of these companies – these are, after all, well-known and respectable footwear brands.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.