Cotswold Outdoor kindly asked if I would test a pair of Salomon XA PRO 3D trainers which they wish to promote. I must admit this is a chain of shops that has been off my radar until they contacted me with this request. Their shops cater extremely well for campers and outdoor walkers but I must admit as a runner I too found the shop interesting, with trail running shoes and other bits of clothing I wear for running, like Helly Hansen thermal tops. They are probably more appealing to off road and hill runners than road runners but if you happen to pass one of their shops have a look in, you might find it worthwhile. They also have a good online store at:-
After recently running a few road marathons, I’m finally getting round to properly testing the pair of Salomon XA PRO 3D.
When I initially put them on I thought the arch inside felt a bit high and I was concerned it might rub while running but after running in them I’ve found it not to be a problem and the inside of the shoes seem to cup the whole of my foot extremely well indeed.
The cushioning is firmer than I would personally like and I wouldn’t like to run too many miles on the road with these trainers. Over the years I’ve been more used to running in cushioned road trainers so I suppose I would probably think this. That said, they are trail shoes and as soon as they leave the road for the trails they come into their own. The outer sole works well on gravel trails and has great grip. In deep slippy mud they still grip well and they don’t seem to clog up with mud like some other shoes that do and consequently lose their traction. I’m really impressed. The grip is nowhere near as rough as fell shoes but works brilliantly off road. They are a very robust, sturdy trail shoe with a tough sole which protects the soles of your feet from feeling some of the sharp stones on the trails.
I like the idea of the tough rubber outer toe to protect your toes should you stub them on rocks or trip on uneven ground. While running over rough terrain I almost feel like my feet are safer than if they were in some lighter more flexible trail shoes which I’ve previously worn. I’m sure it makes the front of the shoe more durable too.
These shoes have a cleverly designed thin cord for laces with a quick release slider so no tying of laces and more importantly struggling to untie laces when they are all muddy or in the winter when your hands are too cold. There is also a little pocket in the tongue to house the end of the laces which I think is a neat idea. Although at first I found it a bit awkward to use, after a few goes I found a quick way of doing it.
I’m enjoying building up the distance I’m running off road in these shoes and finding no problems with them. I’m sure they are more than suitable for some tough off road challenges.
In conclusion, I would give these trail shoes high marks for fit, durability, grip and innovation for pure trail use. But if you are considering a pair of trail shoes for a mix of trail and road use then I would suggest you be aware of the firm cushioning as they may be too firm for any prolonged period on the road.