Salomon Techamphibian 4 Review Facts
Founded in 1947, Salomon is a French sporting goods company that has become renowned for its innovative design and passion for footwear, apparel, and equipment for many sports. The latest offering from Salomon’s spring 2019, the Salomon Techamphibian 4 is designed as a technical trail and a water sports shoe. An upgrade from 2018’s Salomon Techamphibian 3, this version features a lighter upper and a more comfortable midsole for the perfect fit. The shoe features a Contragrip seel on the outsole, waterproof upper mesh, a quicklace system, and an EVA midsole that makes a multi-purpose shoe. An interesting feature of this shoe is the adjustable strap on the heel which can be pulled downwards to make the Techamphibian a sandal and pulled up to use it as a trail shoe.
Staying stable on runs or walks is important not just for comfort reasons but also to prevent twisted ankle, muscle pulls or worse. Like most other Salomon shoes, this pair also features their patented Contagrip sole which is super durable technology.
The outsole pattern in the front of the shoe is in the opposite direction to the pattern on the ball, this helps the shoe give a boost to forward movement and also better grip on the heel. The outsole also has teeth on the edges so you can go up and downhill easily. The lugs on the Techamphibian are a good depth as well – 8mm – offering better traction in muddy conditions.
The Techamphibian relies on the molded EVA midsole and footbed to provide a comfortable fit. EVA or ethylene-vinyl acetate is a rubber-like material that provides greater comfort and flexibility than ordinary rubber. The die-cut EVA footbed is a high-density foam that is contoured in the arch and heel to add to the integrity and support of the shoe.
The mesh upper has two major functions- it wicks away any water that is absorbed and prevents trail debris from entering the feet. This allows the wearer to wear the shoe without worrying about injuring the foot by the annoying debris that one is likely to find on hikes
. The standout feature for us is at the heel which has a band wrapped around. This gives you the versatility to wear it down like a sandal or wear it up to give a great fit around the heel.
In addition, to quickly tying your laces, the quick lace system is great for making sure that your laces don’t untie during your run. The top part of the toggle is used for sliding down locking the shoe in place while the bottom part is used for sliding up and untying. A rubber sheath keeps the laces in place and can be rolled into the lace garage to keep the laces from getting snagged elsewhere.
At 309 g or 11 oz, this shoe is slightly heavier than its previous version which weighed 247 g. This additional weight can be attributed to a thicker and more padded EVA midsole. However, runners remarked that the Amphibian felt incredibly light on the feet which is important if one has to hike in technical terrain for a long duration.
While the Techamphibian 3 had sections of draining ports standing out on the upper, the Techamphibian 4 does away with that feature, however, it is still remarkably breathable because of a combination of elements. The first being the fine mesh upper that allows air and water to flow through easily ensuring that the foot remains dry and clean. Secondly, the neoprene lining underfoot has quick drying abilities while also adding to the comfort level.
Salomon includes the Sensifit system that cradles the foot from midsole to lacing that creates a custom fit adding to the comfort and stability of the shoe
. The choice of an EVA midsole also adds to the comfort level. EVA (unlike plastic) isn’t hard or jarring to the feet so it is very comfortable for a wide range of athletic and outdoor activities. The upper is mesh which has water-resistant properties and one reviewer commented that her feet dried quickly after splashing through a lake and didn't experience wet and cold feet for long. There is a rubber toe cap in the front of the shoe which protects the foot from stubbing against rocks, stones, debris and hard shrubs that is likely to be found on trails.
This shoe comes in 3 colorways- Black, Ebony and Navy Blazer with the ebony being the most popular. The upper features the darker color on the toebox, mesh and middle and the heel has the complimentary lighter color. The sides of the shoe feature the Salomon logo within a black block. The outsole follows the same color pattern as the shoe and has a small red triangle under the forefoot.
The convertible strap at the heel is a staple feature in the Techamphibian series and adds versatility to how the shoe can be worn. Of course, the shoe has been designed as a water and trail shoe but by unstrapping the strip and stepping on the heel, this shoe can be converted into a sandal for casual use.
Grip and durability are the most important factors to ensure a runner’s safety in difficult terrain. Salomon addresses these factors with the Contagrip technology which uses different geometries and a mix of various rubber densities. This gives the perfect balance between durability and traction in difficult trail environments.
A few runners reported that the lace was made of a stronger material from most other shoes and can be expected to last longer. Some peeling was observed in the overlays after a few hundred miles which gives it a medium shelf-life but Salomon does have many other super durable options.
Since this shoe is designed for the water, keeping your feet debris free and not slippery or wet is its main goal. A lot of runners reviewed this shoe positively on these counts with some wearing them on canoe trips to waterfall trails to even on slippery roofs. While not as clearly demarked as in the Techamphibian 3, this shoe also contains drainage ports on the upper that aid in quick water removal. The upper mesh on both sides and the toe box prevents stones and trail debris, which is invariably a part of the outdoors, from entering the foot and causing discomfort.
Without socks, these shoes are true to size however the seams inside the shoe can scrape your bare feet. It is recommended that you wear moleskin pads, or neoprene socks to protect your feet. But keep in mind that you might need to go up half a size if worn with socks
The lightweight and responsive feel from the deep lugs of the outsole makes the shoe a decent option for speed walking while the Contagrip outsole delivers solid grip on a variety of terrain, both wet or dry
. While running shoes need to be more responsive to allow the runner to spring faster after the initial strike with the ground, water and trail shoes do not. Therefore, it provides medium responsiveness and veers more towards providing comfort.
The EVA midsole provides good cushioning and absorbs the shock of the impact that allows runners to run through a trail with adequate support. As for the upper, the Sensifit technology takes the anatomical shape of the foot and keeps it secure inside the shoe. Most runners were happy with the support provided by the adjustable strap and remarked that it allowed them to personalize their fit. The tread of the outsole isn’t very aggressive but can be considered a happy medium. Despite being a water and trail shoe, the Techamphibian 4 is not waterproof.
Salomon is well-known for its durable and supportive trail running shoes and the Techamphibian 4 lives up to the mark. Marketed as a multi-purpose shoe with good performance both on technical terrain and water, this shoe does its best work on wet and muddy terrain. It is also great for beginners or novices runners who need a shoe to navigate moderately rough terrain. Although you can wear this shoe like a sandal, Salomon recommends switching the modes of wearing this shoe otherwise it could wear down the tread faster.
For a multi-purpose water and trail shoe, the price point of the Salomon Techamphibian 4 is comfortably on the lower end. It is also curious to note that this shoe is slightly cheaper than the previous edition. For its functionality, the cushion. Solid grip on wet surfaces and lightweight, the price point proves to be very attractive and will be a major USP for this shoe among other Salomon lines.
A fact to be noted is that Salomon does not outsource its outsole manufacturing and relies on its in-house Contagrip instead. The quality and performance of this outsole are comparable to the more expensive Vibram offerings across the board. One runner commented that her husband could portage their canoe easily without fear of falling on the slippery rock bed.
While it does not contain excessively large lugs on the outsole, the tread pattern runs in opposite directions and can provide medium traction on rocky terrain. Many reviewers agree that the traction is brilliant on wet and sloppy terrain but you can find shoes with better performance for purely mountainous terrain.
Because customers have been demanding lighter shoes, trail shoes are now moving away from being stiff and being designed like a hiking boot
. While there will be some degree of stiffness to protect the feet from external conditions, trail shoes are including flexibility and a nimble feel in their design. So the Techamphibian cannot be as flexible as a cross training or a running shoe but it does have some features that bring flexibility to the shoe. The EVA footbed provides greater stability and responsiveness as compared to those trail shoes with a rubber midsole.
The Sensifit system cradles your foot from midsole to lacing, creating a practically customized fit that affords stability, precision, and security. The adjustable heel strap is a unique feature that gives the shoe a firm grip on the heel. One reviewer commented that wearing the Techampphibian 4 gave her confidence to hop from an unstable canoe to dry rock without the fear of falling, especially since the outsole had gotten wet in the process.
You might wonder how lacing can help a shoe be more stable but in this case, the shoe has a breakaway lace system that prevents the lace from being snagged or tangled with rocks, keeping your feet as secure as possible.
The heel drop on this shoe is 9mm which is a little out-of-the-box as most drops in trail shoes are in even numbers. Because the midsole material is a bit more cushioned than the previous shoe, the 9mm feel more like a 4 or 5 mm drop. But this drop can be considered average for a running shoe and is perfect for light heel strikers
-EVA midsole and foam
-9mm heel drop
-Quick-drying mesh upper
If you’re looking for a do-everything shoe whether it is hiking, walking across mountains, canoeing or exploring cities on foot, you will be pleased by the Salomon Techamphibian 4. Many reviewers praised the shoe’s grip no matter what the activity like kayaking, canoeing, lake swimming, sailing, and cave expeditions. The cushioning is key to keeping your foot happy all-day-long and these shoes prove worthy to the task.