Salomon XA Pro 3D Review

The Salomon XA Pro 3D is a trail running shoe rather than a fell shoe that I would normally wear.

However I do run on trails and wearing a more aggressive sole is sometimes overkill so with Salomon’s good reputation for their range of running shoes I was keen to put these to the test.

Salomon XA Pro 3D

green and clean

First impressions on opening the box were good, a nice bright green colour to contrast with the leaden winter skies!  The fit seemed fine, with my usual size 6.5 comparing similarly to other shoes and the asymmetrical laces ensured a snug fit.  One thing I did notice was that they felt very stable, almost as if they had a wider, flatter base than I was used to.  The Quicklace system is easy to tension but then a bit fiddly to tuck the end away.

I first wore them for a regular 8 mile training run over a mix of terrain including hard packed trail with some muddy sections and puddles, uneven stony trail and a wet, grassy uphill stretch.  The XA Pros felt comfortable straight away and gave a reassuring grip on all but the muddiest sections where a pair of Speedcross or Fellcross would have been more at home.  The protective rubber toe cap would be a good feature on looser, rockier trails where there is a risk of stubbing your toe.  The extremely breathable upper did let the water in but that’s an accepted hazard of British winter running – it will be ideal if we have another long hot summer!

One feature that I did really like is the flush tongue which means that mud and grit stays on the front of the shoe rather than getting in down behind the laces.  This makes cleaning the shoe easier than with a normal tongue.

Salomon XA Pro 3D

at home on hard packed trail

Satisfied with their performance on trail terrain I decided to try them out over more fell running type ground.  They performed reasonably well although I found it hard to contour on steep ground due to the stiff foot-bed and wide base whilst running downhill on wet grass was interesting!  This is a bit of an unfair criticism as they aren’t designed for this type of terrain.

They did however cope well with a dusting of wet snow that fell during my run.

Salomon XA Pro 3D

coping with a dusting of wet snow

I wasn’t keen on the Quicklace system, the laces were covered with gritty mud at the end and I had difficulty releasing the lace.  I prefer good old fashioned laces but I’m sure it’s something I would get used to and maybe isn’t as much of a problem in dry weather.

Salomon XA Pro 3D

a not so clean pair of heels

Overall I would say the Salomon XA Pro 3D is a good trail shoe for runners seeking style, breathability, stability and protection.  It is perfectly suited to some of the Peak District’s trails and I would use it as a training shoe for less technical, drier terrain. I would even consider wearing it for dry, summer fell races where an aggressive sole isn’t required.

Cotswold Outdoor stock the shoe along with other trail running essentials.

Inov-8 Roclite

Inov-8 Roclite have been my shoe of choice this year.

I’ve used them for working, training and racing.  Unfortunately the rough gritstone, coarse heather and acidic peat of the Peak District have taken their toll and after 878 kilometres (I know thanks to SportTracks training software which calculated it!) the uppers have given up the ghost!

Inov-8 Roclite

oops!

Interestingly, compared to the uppers the sole has fared pretty well with quite a lot of tread remaining.

Inov-8 Roclite

there’s miles left in them lad!

The shoes have done me well and have had some great adventures:

steep running on boulders

Roclites doing what they were designed for

Inov-8 Roclite

getting wet

And have seen some stunning running conditions:

Inov-8 Roclite

blue sky running

Ennerdale fell race

struggling on Ennerdale fell race – me, not the shoes!

So I reckon that I’ve had my moneys worth out of them and whilst I’m always reluctant to throw my favourite bits of kit away, the good news is….

I’ve got a shiny new pair!

Inov-8 Roclite

ooh – new shoes!

For out and out bog and mud I wear Inov-8 Mudclaws but for mixed fell and trail running I don’t think you can beat Inov-8 Roclites.  So I’m off to hit the fells with my new shoes – it will be a shame to get them dirty!