Earlier this month, Salomon premiered their new line of FORCES, including two new styles and a new color. We made a guide to the Salomon FORCES line for you, including a little info on each.

One of the reasons why we love Salomon so much is their GORE-TEX® versions of some of their best shoes. But our customers often ask us what it means to have GORE-TEX® technology. We asked our Gear Guru, Mike Baldwin, to share his expertise on the magic behind the GTX.

What is GORE-TEX® and do I need to buy the GTX version of this footwear? Won’t my feet get super hot? Won’t it make the boots extra heavy? These are questions we get all the time, especially now in the winter months.

I had the opportunity to chat with Andy Mcquerrey from GORE-TEX® to get a firm grasp on the more technical side of things. First things first, GORE-TEX® is a brand with several types of products. Specifically in the Salomon and Lowa footwear we sell here at U.S. Elite, they use their Performance Comfort Footwear and Extended Comfort Footwear technologies.

Extended Comfort
Footwear Technology
Performance Comfort
Footwear Technology
* Images courtesy of

These are ideal for all-season comfort. There seems to be somewhat of a general misconception that a GTX boot has no breathability, thus causing your feet to get extra hot and sweat more. Rest assured: breathability is at the heart of these two technologies. What the GTX version does is enable the wearer to have increased water protection while maintaining breathability. Now GORE-TEX® does have some insulated versions, as found in the Salomon Forces Toundra MID WP, that are designed to keep your feet warm while keeping the elements out, and are insulated using their Insulated Comfort Footwear technology, but that’s a good thing!

Another common concern is how much the weight of a shoe increases when adding GTX. Well let me tell you, it’s less than you think or can probably even notice. For example, the difference in weight between the Salomon Quest 4D GTX, which weighs in at 655 grams per shoe (2lbs 7oz for a pair).

Salomon FORCES
Quest 4D GTX
Salomon FORCES
Quest 4D (Non-GTX)
Lowa Innox

The Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid TF shouldn’t be overlooked either, weighing in at just 2lbs 6.4oz for a pair. In my opinion and experience, this difference is completely negligible and unnoticeable.

When picking your footwear, consider what your intended use is actually going to be. If your plan is just to wear out on the town with casual use, then maybe the non-GTX version is for you. If your plan is to use the shoes for more rugged use then I strongly recommend giving the GTX version some serious consideration. With virtually no cons (other than a slight price bump) and plenty of pros, going with GTX-equipped footwear highly increases functionality.

No matter what you decide, it is important that you choose a good sock. I recommend a good pair of merino wool socks like those you can find from the folks at Smartwool. These help wick sweat off your feet, dry quickly, and maintain fantastic levels of comfort.

Until next time...

  • Mike Baldwin, Gear Guide

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