Salomon has carved itself a healthy niche in the adventure-
racing market with a range of shoes that are wonderfully protective, if a little hefty and rigid for those who just want to run in them. That has changed with its new additions, particularly its top-of-the-range X-A Pro. It still offers much of the same midsole and upper protection, but in lighter, faster, more responsive shoes. While the X-A Pro is not as runner-friendly as the Flagstaff
, it clearly has its roots in the running market.
The fit is quite spacious, especially in the forefoot, but snug around the firm heel counter. Its posted midsole has a much
lower profile than predecessors. Its also more stable and more
responsive, but is still a relatively firm ride. Although the outsole has big, deep lugs, which worked well on off-road tracks and rocky routes, it clogged up easily in muddy conditions. The most eye-catching part of the shoe, however, is the upper. Ignore the fancy colours, and its a surprisingly practical design. Its strong and rugged, yet breathes and clears water easily. The seamless construction and integrated tongue keep dirt and stones out of your shoes, and the quick-fit Kevlar laces are easy to tighten or loosen even with cold hands, and are great for quick changes. One of several nice touches on the shoes is that you can hide away the top of the laces in the tongue.
An excellent shoe for long-distance trail or off-road races, as well as anything else on the adventure-racing calendar.
Try it if you liked North Face Coyote Ridge (£60)
; Montrail Leona Divide (£60); Salomon Raid Race (£85)