Salomon XA PRO 3D

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Salomon XA PRO 3D

Summary: The Salomon XA Pro 3D offers a shoe that provides support and what feels like indestructible protection on any type of trail. A well designed model, this shoe had a lot of consideration put into its creation, making it ideal for most types of terrain and uses. The only minor drawback is its overall bulk.

Pros

Feet feel safe and well protected

Eye-catching design and bold colors

Comfort and support

Rubber toe bumper for added toe protection against rocks

Quicklace system offers speedy and easily adapted tightening and loosening of the laces

Handy lace pocket to prevent the laces flapping about or getting caught on the trail

Tongue cover prevents mud and debris from getting inside the shoe

Great handling of multiple terrains

Cons

Though this is often marketed as a trail runner, they are a bit bulkier than many might prefer for real running.

Outsole

Outsole

The Salomon XA Pro 3D has an outsole that looks designed to offer high levels of grip on the trail. Labelled as ‘contagrip’, the outsole has a semi-deep tread. The two directional arrow style grips running down the middle of the forefoot and rear-foot offer a good grip, traction on trail such as woodland, bridal paths, canal tow paths and other off road terrain. I tested the shoes to their limit and they handled themselves well throughout.

Wanting to know just how far I could push them, I went off the trails and the Salomon provided comfort and stability throughout, including some really boggy areas. As expected from running through really water logged boggy areas, you would be better off wearing fell shoes with larger lugs, however as this is not what the shoe is designed for I won’t hold it against it. As hoped, the Salomon handled all the trail surfaces with ease and provided good traction throughout.

The Salomon offers a ‘mud guard’ protective material all around the base of the shoe, and even after running through mud it protected my socks and feet from the wet mud.
Midsole

Midsole

The Salomon boasts a “3D advanced chassis” between the outsole and the midsole. It claims to maximise security, as well as provide motion control, energy management and push through protection. When tested, the midsole did provide protection from the shock and impact from running over the many rocks I faced them with as well as the hardened trail. It felt padded and my feet felt cushioned and stable.
Upper

Upper

As far as the fabric part of the shoe is concerned, for a little more money, Salomon offer a Gore-Tex version of the same shoe (Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX). This would be down to personal preference and not having tried the Gore-tex version I don’t know if it would alter any aspect of the shoe like the mass or flexibility. The Salomon XA Pro 3D doesn’t have the Gore-tex weather protection but still handled well through the mud and my socks remained dry. The upper design features a tongue cover. This provided protection from mud and debris from getting inside the shoe. This was a welcomed feature and true to it’s word kept the mud and debris well and truly out. Running through deep puddles, the water seeped in through the top edge, but considering this wasn’t the Gore-tex version I was pleasantly surprised how dry it kept my feet. The Salomon is definitely not wimpy when it comes to weather conditions, but if you like particularly dry feet in treacherously wet conditions then you might prefer the added dry comfort of the Gore-tex option. Everything was nicely padded, and nothing rubbed.

The upper design includes the patented “Quicklace” system. The laces claim to be minimalistic and strong and although they look really thin on first inspection, they have worked well and feel to be strong. I love the fast, easy adjustment of the laces and I loved not having to worry about my laces coming undone while I was running. Replacement laces seem to retail at about £10. It also sports asymmetrical lacing and allowed quick adjustment. When using ‘normal’ laces I tend to use the method of doubling back on the top eyelet so I can have it tight around the top but allow movement in the rest of the foot. I couldn’t do it with these laces so I thought that might be a problem, but it wasn’t. I found that the laces were quick to adjust so I could easily and quickly loosen them off if I had tied them too tight and am still enjoying the speed at which I can ‘lace up and go’ and remove them post-run.

A thoughtful addition is the ‘lace pocket’. By rolling the laces up, you can then tuck it into the small pocket located at the top of the tongue. This prevented the ‘flapping about’ that I experienced on the first outing of the trainers before I discovered this thoughtful little feature.
Breathability

Breathability

The Salomon has a single layer open air mess combined with nylon layer to encourage breathability. I like my trainers snug and comfortable and as a Reynaud’s sufferer cold feet can sometimes be an issue. With all the padding and comfort my feet were lovely and snug and my feet felt dry throughout and didn’t end up swimming in sweat. For others, with particularly sweaty feet, it could be that breathability is a mild issue due to the layers and protection of the shoe, but for me I was happy with this area.

The shoe was quick drying and although I haven’t been out in the rain in them, I have been through post-rain muddy ground and it dried off quickly.
Comfort

Comfort

For me, there are two factors that particularly won me over with this shoe; comfort and style. From their first out of the box ‘wear around the house’, to trying them around the supermarket (no, I couldn’t help myself…) and finally to blitzing them around the trails, tracks and rugged woodland, I have been impressed by their comfort.

It has an EVA shaped footbed to provide cushioning and support. The Ortholite sockliner is made of a polyurethane formula with recycled tire rubber (a nice environmental touch) to make the insole. The EVA heel cup provides heel support and cushioning. My feet slid into them (aided by the ‘quicklace’ fast unfastening) and the shoe felt snug and cozy. I am a size 5 and have wide feet so always opt for a size 6, even in wider fitting trainers, and I was worried that the width would be an issue. It wasn’t, and the shoes have been comfortable ever since.
Style

Style

Running shoes have to be functional, but that is not mutually exclusive to being able to look amazing too. First impressions were amazing and I still love the look of them now. The downside is I didn’t want to get them muddy…but I soon got over that once I got out on the beautiful trails. The shoes official colours are labelled as “grape juice, flame and acai” and is very accurate.

The bold ‘grape juice’ colour of the main body of the trainer is eye catching and grabs your attention quickly by its deep purple look. The blueish deep purple ‘acai’ colour of the protective toe panel at the front as well as the side panels adds to the overall look.

The overall look is complimented by the orange ‘flame’ colour of the back area. For those that prefer a more subtle look there are a variety of colours available, but with the draw of the complementary colours within the different options it would be a shame to settle for a grey/black pair – but if that is your preference, Salomon have provided that too. I cannot praise Salomon enough for the style and look of these trainers and would be tempted to buy them just for the look of them!
Durability

Durability

The Salomon offers great durability. It is a sturdy shoe that offers comfort and protection. The lugs are sturdy and the shoe seems to offer the durability of a hiking shoe and is continuing to perform well on repeated trail exposure.
Protection

Protection

Running over a wide variety of terrain including rocks and rocky woodland was easy is the Salomon. I felt confident in the shoes and after a cautious start to see what they could handle, I didn’t hesitate on any terrain afterwards. Stubbing my toes isn’t something that has been an issue for me in general running, but the protective rubber toe cap meant that I didn’t have to worry about rocks.

I have added additional testing of the protective toe caps by purposefully kicking rocks while out on runs and I have been pleasantly surprised by how much force they could take. Baring in mind though that I am a size 5 but wearing a size 6 shoe, my toes wouldn’t have been fully at the end of the shoe, but the rubber still feels solid enough to take the knocks and bumps that happen while on a rocky mountainous trail run.

The tongue provided protection and comfort between the laces and my foot , and the outer sole felt cushioning and protective too.
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The Salomon felt natural to run in and felt responsive to the ground. The toe spring upward arching design at the front of the shoe helps with forward momentum. It felt flexible and cushioning, but with the slightly extra weight to it, it felt more like a cross between a trail and hiking shoe rather than a light-weight trainer.
Support

Support

Throughout all the running my feet felt fully supported and cushioned. It has the trademarked ‘Sensifit’ system which claims to ‘cradle the foot providing a precise and secure fit’, and it does feel like your feet are snugly fit and supported. There is plenty of support around the heel and the EVA shaped footbed does feel cushioned and supported with the Ortholite foam.
Terrain

Terrain

The Salomon XA Pro 3D is well designed for the trails. It has plenty of support and grip to provide traction on all trails. It handled the compact mud, bridle ways and canal tow paths with ease. They handled the tougher off-road and off-trail terrain of woodland and rocky areas with equal ease and I had no problem navigating any conditions I could find. As mentioned before, the really wet deep boggy mud areas proved a little too much, but no other trails shoes would be suited to that terrain either.
Price

Price

This Salomon shoe seems to range around the higher price point, but you definitely get a great shoe for the price. Lots of added extras, protection, comfort and stability, plus the lace pocket and ortholite insole. With it’s slightly heavier mass, I would buy it as a lightweight hiking shoe and would say it was well worth the money. If you are looking to run trail races, then the extra weight might be an issue, but if you want a solid trail shoe that will protect and support you on the trails, then this shoe is worth the investment.
Traction

Traction

Plenty of lugs on the outsole and plenty of traction on all the terrain covered. Canal, compact mud, soft mud, woodland with tree roots and plenty of rocks could all be navigate over confidently in the shoe. Deep boggy waterlogged mud was a problem, but the sections that I covered would have been a problem for most fell shoes, let alone a trail shoe.
Flexibility

Flexibility

A firm shoe with plenty of support and protection, but flexibility wasn’t a problem. The weight of the shoe and the support does mean it isn’t as flexible as the more light-weight shoes available, but on the tough trails the traction and support would be my priority.
Stability

Stability

The 3D chassis placed between the outsole and midsole of the Salomon stabilises the foot without sacrificing forefoot mobility.
Drop

Drop

The stack heights (26mm heel, 14mm forefoot) and 12mm heel-toe drop. This will be something to get used to, for those who spend more time running in zero drop or barefoot trail shoes.
Comparison to different models

Comparison to different models

Compares admirably with other trail shoes in terms of traction. The Salomon offers more protection than many trail shoes with comfort and support a strong feature. With this, the compromise is the slightly heavier nature of the shoe when compared with other trail shoes.

The Bottom Line

The Salomon XA Pro 3D offers a shoe that provides support and what feels like indestructible protection on any type of trail. The shoe is well designed and contains lots of thoughtful additions. The rubber toe bumper inspires confidence while running over rugged terrain, tree roots, rocky areas and other trail landscape. The Quicklace system is easy to use and the lace pocket tucks the end neatly away to prevent it flapping and catching on anything.

The tongue cover prevents mud and debris from getting inside the shoe which is a great asset on loose terrain. I was extremely pleased with all aspects of the shoe except for my personal preference, it was too weighty for me to use on long distance trail runs. If you are looking for a durable, well-made trail shoe that offers lots of support and protection while looking amazing with its inspired colour combinations then this is the shoe for you.