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Monday, 24th July 2017
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Salomon XA Enduro review

by RobN
Tuesday 4th July 2017
 
 
There is no doubt that Salomon are one of the biggest brands for producing trail running kit, they sponsor many of the best athletes in the world and they generally have a reputation for making high quality, albeit expensive kit. Their shoes are extremely popular although this particular model is not one that I’ve seen many runners wearing so I was intrigued to try it.
 
Fit
 
The most important aspect of any running shoe is how well they fit which is clearly individual, depending on the size and shape of your feet. These feel slightly wider in the toe box than other Salomon shoes I’ve tried although if you have very wide feet they still might not be the best choice. The shoe upper integrates into the lacing system well which does seem to give a secure fit all around the foot. I never had any issues with this lacing system loosening off or coming undone which is a real benefit over traditional laces, although it does limit your ability to tighten or loosen specific parts of the lacing to deal with any issues.

Salomon 1

Grip/Stability
 
These shoes use Salomon’s ‘Premium Wet Traction Contagrip®’ which basically just means you get some very sticky rubber on the bottom of the shoes. I was really impressed by this grip, giving me confidence even on wet and slippery rock. The shoes felt stable and firm which was reassuring on rough trails and actually they still feel ok if you take them out of their natural habitat and try doing some road miles in them. The grip tread is what I would describe as a medium depth so it is great on firmer ground and rock but struggles in more muddy conditions. The wide spacing of the tread worked really well in that it meant there was no danger of mud building up between the lugs which makes the shoes heavier and would reduce the grip.
 
The Gaiter
 
The integrated gaiter on these shoes really caught my attention when first looking at them. To be honest I thought it looked a bit weird but I was hopeful that it would help solve that difficult problem for those of us who like running off the trails and paths, of getting bits inside your shoe. 
 
Firstly, when you’re actually wearing them the gaiter doesn’t seem so obvious, so you won’t actually look too weird if you’re wearing them for your local parkrun rather than a mountain race! More importantly the gaiter does generally seem to work very well, it keeps out the vast majority of dirt and bits of plants and due to its stiffened construction it never slips down, unlike some other gaiters. There is a downside to this, which is that the top of the gaiter at the back has been rubbing on my skin which has got quite sore on longer runs. Maybe I just have soft skin and if you built up the mileage slowly with them then hopefully it wouldn’t be an issue, but it is something to consider.
 
Materials
 
As you would expect from Salomon the materials used in these shoes seem of high quality and have stood up very well to the abuse I have given them over the last few weeks. Other than a few scuffs from rocks there are no signs of degradation. The mesh upper breathes very well and also drains water quickly which is particularly useful in standard UK conditions, or anywhere that you can’t always rely on nice dry trails.  

Salomon 2

Summary
 
Overall I have to say that this is a high quality shoe, it grips very well and other than the issues with rubbing, the gaiter functioned exactly as you would hope. It will be interesting to see if other brands now emulate this successful design.
 
I would recommend this shoe if you enjoy your running in the hills or mountains on or off the trails and paths. For me the grip was really good in most conditions although you may want to look at a more specialist shoe with deeper grip if you spend a lot of time on very muddy ground. As with any shoe it will definitely be worth giving it a good test of fit before purchase to check the width and also if you think you will get on with the feel of the integrated gaiter.
 
Stats
 
Weight = 300g (size 8.5)
Midsole Height = 19mm/10mm (9mm drop)
RRP = £130
 
Terms of Review
 
I was given these shoes by Run247 in order to test them. I’ve been wearing them on some of my runs for the last 4 weeks. I’ve worn them in the Oxfordshire countryside and the French Pyrenees. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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