Saturday, August 05, 2023

Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX Review – A Light Hiking Boot that can Trail Run

Article by Dominique Winebaum

Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX ($190)  

I am a late comer in reviewing the Saucony Ultra Ridge GTX (January RTR Multi Tester Review), yet a round of testing in the White Mountains in the summertime provides additional confirmation as to their performance as “all-around” boots.   


Through its introductory statement “fair weather hikers need not apply,” Saucony sets the stage for the Ultra Ridge GTX, a boot designed for tough conditions, yet with a super cushioned platform in a lightweight package - my women’s size 9 weighs 12.52 oz/ 355g.  It is truly an innovative design that defies categorization, namely a hybrid boot for the trails be it running or hiking. Saucony is taking to new heights with its first boot ever, a design that builds up on the Xodus Ultra (RTR Review) whose underfoot platform it shares.


The fit is true to size, yet initially the boots felt a tad too snug, which dissipated with wear. Indeed, the fit is extremely comfortable and secure with the foot enveloped in the boot in a snuggly kind of way.  I scaled down the thickness of my socks to lightweight for a better fit. 

The boot has a high toe box - and not a wide toe box - which I find to be plenty comfortable for my toes. Mind you I have been wearing Topo Athletic boots and trail shoes, so at first, I was not convinced that my toes would be comfortable in a high toe box versus a wide toe box boot.  

I have been wearing my Ultra Ridge GTX primarily for hiking with the bonus of also being able to run in them as well, truly.  

With summer in full swing, I prefer low top trail run shoes as I tread on gentle trails when running and don’t need the extra warmth, support and  protection, however, when it comes to hiking, the rugged terrain of the White Mountains calls for my Ultra Ridge GTX, even in the summer! 

I intend to wear them running on snow covered trails this winter as they also perform as trail shoes due to the Xodus Ultra platform underfoot. 

The upper is well executed providing all-around protection with a secure and comfortable foothold.  

The collar is constructed with generous, soft, and pliable padding that is slanted upward with a ridge on the rear sides to free movements around the ankles.  

I think the shape of the collar gives the boot its distinctive name – Ultra Ridge GTX.  


The heel counter is rigid at the base for a strong hold and which then extends into the thick padding of the collar for additional flexible support.

In the front sides of the boot, the collar is quite high compared to my other “mid” boots and is kept in place with two metal hooks and a well-padded gusseted tongue.  


Both Sam and Alex have commented in their review on the thickness and height of the collar, with Sam asking if the collar could be “made lower or lighter and more skeletal” and Alex “wishing that the collar were slightly lower to avoid pressure points.”  

My experience has been to loosely tie the upper part of the boot in order to avoid pressure points around the collar when hiking. Given the height and very secure hold of the lower the boot, the support remains excellent with the foot staying comfortably in place. 


The midsole is extremely comfortable, even more so than my go-to hiking boots: AKU’s Selvatica and the Topo Athletic Trailventure 2.  When walking, running, or hiking in the Ultra Ridge GTX, the feel of the cushioning is pillowy and very stable.  

As described by Sam in his review, the midsole’s combination of supercritical PWRRUN Pb foam and outer PWRRUN creates a soft feel with noticeable return along with stability.   In short, the high stack height of the midsole - 32.5mm at the heel and 26.5mm in the forefoot - does not compromise stability. The dual foam along with the woven rock plate create a smooth and energetic feel that is pleasant and protective.   


The outsole is PWRTRAC with 4.5 mm lugs and provides great traction.  It is less rigid than my AKU Selvatica Vibram outsole, yet it provides great shock absorption.  It includes a woven rock plate up front. My footing felt secure on the numerous open ledges hiking Mt Jackson (NH) trusting the boot to steep inclines, off camber rocks, and when descending.  

The ride is pleasant, protective, energetic, and secure whether I walk, trail run, or hike in them.  

Typically hiking requires more time on feet (I am not an ultra runner), which means boots need to feel comfortable on one’s feet for a long period of time – 6 to 8 hours on average.  After several day hikes in the White Mountains, I experienced zero issues with the boots -  no blisters, no pressure points, and no sore feet and the trails are non stop rocks of all sizes every inch of the way.  The snug feel of the boot affords an extremely comfortable and secure environment for the feet.  Disclaimer, I did not hike them “cold turkey” as I first wore them on half a dozen walks (3 milers) to “break them in.” 

Understandably this is Saucony’s first edition but would like to point out that a non GTX option would appeal to me even more. Gore-Tex is warm, takes longer to dry  and makes the boot heavier by at least 1 oz, if not more. All the colorways have been a miss in my opinion but for the upcoming “Dust/Black” which I feel is more attractive and better suited to the design.  

The Dust/Black is available for pre order at Running Warehouse here 

As pointed by Sam and Alex, the collar might be reduced in some way, whether it is height and/or padding.  Certainly, I have kept my collar loose to avoid pressure points without impairing the hold. 

Though a newcomer on the hiking scene, the Ultra Ridge GTX is a well executed boot that does double duty as a trail runner. Versatile in a novel way, it is primarily a boot, with the rear support of a boot but feels like and can run like a trail running shoe. This my first “trail experience” with the Saucony and it has been a positive one !  

RoadTrailRun's earlier multi tester review is HERE

The Ultra Ridge GTX is available at our parnters 



Tester Profile

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles and once a week down in the mid 9 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10 Swiss women’s lists. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and also enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, tennis, hiking and trekking, and gardening

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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