I’ve been a fan of Salomon sportswear for years now – be it skis, jackets, ski-boots or running shoes. However, after buying my last pair of trail running shoes, I fear the word “fan” might get downgraded…
“A good shoe. But nothing more than that.”
Aggressive, durable and nicely designed. Putting them on was a piece of cake – step in, pull the lace – done! I was a bit sceptical about Salomons Kevlar Quick lacing system at first but after reading numerous positive reviews I changed my mind. Shoes felt incredibly comfortable, gripping my feet firmly all around. They did feel a little stiffer but I considered that as a bonus for the intended hardcore outdoor use.
I must admit, running them in took some time and given the fact how comfortable they felt when first put on, that was a bit of a surprise. At first, I felt awkwardly clumsy – the sole was quite hard. Traction was great though – grip no matter what I stepped into. Same goes for stability. I’ve given them a few runs in the dried river stream nearby and I all I can say is that I never wore anything quite like that. Big rounded rocks, wet rocks, gravel, slippery roots – nothing really bothered me. Rubber shoe tips did a superb job protecting my toes from hard frontal root and stone impacts. Blisters couldn’t be avoided though. It took a full month of 24/7 use for my heels to accept the fact this is what I’ll be wearing for some time – the whole back design of the XA Pro 3D is quite angled.
Can I swim with them?
Temperatures outside prevent me from finding that out – but i did courageously step 6-7 inches deep into the water on some occasions. Outcome? Dry feet. The membrane was doing its job on a demanding level. Shoes were quite warm too – with temperatures well below freezing point I never felt the need to wear thicker socks.
Razor sharp rocks and dust of hot mediterranean
Summer came. 3D Ultras were still my weapon of choice and I was increasingly getting happier with their versatility. I gave shoes a good test in a really hot and dry climate with surface so ruthless in places, I decided to hike alone and leave my dog home on more than just a few occasions. Razor sharp and pointy rocks marked me with a few cuts on hands, bruises on my knees and elbows but my feet were well protected. The sole was glued to the surface at all times and no matter the angle. But…they were a pain when it really got hot.
“Sharp rocks of the Croatian Velebit”
I never expected these to be very breathable but there were moments when I literally had to take shoes off and rest for few minutes as I had the feeling my feet will burn out. Steady paced trekking was somehow digestible while running certainly wasn’t. Shoes are simply to warm for hot summer days.
Sadly, not. Mine snapped after 6 months of regular use which was a bit of a letdown. Funny thing is, they snapped just below the point where you grab and pull them. I managed to sort out the problem. Local dealer gave me new laces and with a bit of internet help I managed to fix a nasty problem. Considering Salomon didn’t manage to make these laces last, a classic, conventional, two lace method would probably work better here, especially given the fact you cannot get spares everywhere (which, on the other hand, is where you DO go with these shoes :))…
Hey, where has the grip gone?
Another month passed and so came the first refreshing rain. As usual, I jumped into my shoes, put on a fleece and went out for a late afternoon jog. I knew the terrain well, but on that special day it was all new to me. It was slippery. My feet struggled to land good and had to use my hands a lot. Could it be the sole was starting to loose the grip already? My sometimes overconfident jumps became cautious steps. The grip was evidently gone.
“Worn sole 1”
The sole looked pretty worn too – The tread depth wasn’t really huge to begin with, but mine certainly seemed like they covered a whole lot more than just 700 miles. I have to add though, in the last few weeks, there was quite a lot of asphalt running. The back of the sole took the abuse a bit better…
“Worn sole 2”
…and what happened to water resistance?
A few days ago I went for a walk with my dogs over a large grass field. Autumn mornings are wet even when there’s no rain, but I was well equipped for dealing with conditions of that kind. Or so I thought. Just a few steps into a foot high grass field I felt the moisture on my toes. As I continued to walk on, the coldness of the water ingression became more and more present. If I could live with any of the flaws these shoes had, this wasn’t the one. I admit. I didn’t treat them nicely – I didn’t use any grease or cream, no renewal sprays – zero. But at this price range, I expect a shoe to be working flawlessly for at least one year. And I was 4 months short of that…
A solid performer that impresses at first, but let you down too soon. Perhaps my expectations were too high? Some facts and figures: app. 800 miles of running, trekking and walking, mostly in solid dry, sharp terrain (30%), dry asphalt or concrete (20%), wet and muddy terrain (20%), loose gravel (20%) really damp – river streams (5%), snow (less than 5%). Temperatures: from -9 degrees celsius up to +40 degrees celsius.
Feel great – superb cushioning
Wonderful traction and stability
Protect feet great
Lightning speed lacing
Waterproof – they do the business when new
Not too heavy for runners
Take a while to run in (could be my feet!)
Not really durable laces
Sole looses grip quite fast
Thread sands of to fast
Don’t hold water after 7 months