The Salomon XA Pro 3D ULTRA Trail Running shoe is my new favorite everyday shoe. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have serious trail running chops — its lacing system, its light weight and its stellar fit all ensure that. But I think that the sole isn’t as viciously grippy as a trail runner should be, and I think it sacrifices cushion for lighter weight. If they could fix those two things, I’d be stoked.
Let’s start with the positives:
- It is very cool looking — sleek black, with a few gray and white highlights. Not dorky at all — that’s why it’s my favorite new hanging out shoe. This Salomon shoe is also available in black + yellow, and in a GTX version (Gore-Tex).
- The fit is perfect for my average arch, average instep, average heel cup. Also — lots of trail runners I have been testing lately have a toe box that is waaaay too boxy. The Salomon XA Pro 3D trail running shoe has a low toe box (not so much space above the toe). I usually wear a size 10 in most non-athletic shoes, and 9.5 in athletic shoes (except for Nike, which I have to wear size 10 because of how narrow Nike tends to run). These Salomons are a size 9, and I can wear them comfortably with thin Pearl Izumi ankle socks — the fit hugs well, without hot spots. But if I were to want to wear cushioned socks with these shoes, I would get the Salomons in a 9.5 just like my other athletic shoes.
- However, even with the fitted toe box it still has a good, sturdy rubber toe cap to save your big toe nail from getting crushed when you stub it full-speed into a rock or a root.
- Salomon’s asymmetrical Quicklace system takes a minute to figure out, but once you do you will love it. It has a solid (not stretchy) lace that pulls through several hard plastic loops (for smooth pulling) and secures tightly like a Boa system does, but without the bulk or over-engineering. See attached pics…
- The tongue of the Salomon X3 Pro 3D ULTRA shoe has a small pocket to hide the Quicklace bracket, so that you do NOT have any laces flopping around while you run. I LOVE this sleek lacing design.
- The Salomon X3 Pro 3D ULTRA is light weight. Couple that with a sleek design and secure fit (not sloppy) and I’ve found my favorite everyday shoe.
A couple of drawbacks:
- The heel cushioning seems marginal — just EVA. I wish there were some sort of gel or air or something, as long as it doesn’t lose it’s secure fit or become bouncy.
- The sole is not very grippy. If you do a lot of trail running, then you’ll want something with real teeth on the sole, like the Vasque Celerator which has one of the best outsoles of any trail runner I’ve tried.