Men's SALOMON® XA PRO 3D Ultra 2 :: When thinking of a trail shoe, streamlined doesn't usually come to mind. But that's exactly what the men's Salomon® XA PRO 3D Ultra 2 is. Light, durable, and stable for the most demanding trails, with a sleek new design that puts it ahead of the curve. The competition will never see you coming. 14.1 ounces
I am a 160 pound avid runner. I have average arches and my feet are normal, slightly wider than average forefoot. I run predominately on trails. I train at a 5-6 minute mile pace and run between 15 and 20 miles a week.
I had been running in Pearl Izumi Synchro Fuel XCs for a year and a half - I thought the PIs were some of the best trail shoes I'd run in. PI discontinued the Synchro Fuel XC and I wasn't happy with some of the other shoes in their line. I had run in Salomons years before and after reading some reviews and customer comments on this sho, decided to roll the dice.
I am not sorry I did, these shoes are nothing short of phenomenal. The fit is excellent - I found them to be true to size with a roomy enough toe box for my feet. Part of the great fit comes from the unique lacing system which is a breeze to use, I'll have a hard time going back to conventional laces. The lacing system pulls the shoe together around your foot, it's almost like having a custom-fitted shoe. It's much more flexible and responsive than any conventional lacing system I've used. Normally, when you pull on conventional laces you get tensio nin the upper two or three eyelets and the rest of the laces are just there unless you pull each eyelet to adjust. With the Salomon laces you get tension throughout the lace every time you put the shoe on. My feet are probably like most folks - they are slightly different in shape and size depending on the day and the time of day - wit the lacing system on these shoes they always fit perfectly.
The construction is great - a very light mesh upper with a rock solid sole and surround, I think this probably gives the shoe it's "grounded feel". The shoe feels very light - despite it's 14oz weight which is quite a bit more than I was used to with the PIs. My legs haven't noticed the difference and my training pace hasn't suffered. The shoes breathe nicely, it might not be a great show for freezing climates but down here in NC they're perfect, and would probably be fine in hot temperatures as well. The toe shield is awesome - much more substantial than on most shoes - toes are protected and there is pretty much no chance of having your toe blow through the mesh at the top of the shoe which happened on my PIs (I run in some rough areas with a lot of obstacles that can wear on the uppers). The soles have a great tread pattern and are fantastic when wet. Not sure what materials Salomon uses that makes them different, but I have noticed that these shoes really grip, even on wet pavement, which is unusual for a trail shoe.
As far as structure, they have a very responsive sole but enough sole plate where I'm not feeling rocks and roots - I know they're there which is good, but no pain or undue pressure. The soles flare at the bottom to provide plenty of stability without being overly firm or restrictive. The sole is also flexible enough to allow a very smooth gait transition from heel to toe. I have noticed my balance is definitely improved with these shoes - I noticed specifically in part of my stretching routine where I'm on one foot and pulling up on my knee to my chest - almost no wobble in these shoes compared to my PIs.
One thing that really surprised me on these shoes is the insoles - I have run on aftermarket insoles for almost a decade because most manufacturers put a cheap foamie in their shoes. The insole on this shoe is light, but it's molded structure with a couple of different materials that really gives nice cushioning, arch support, and stability. I tried my normal RRS stability insoles and actually prefer the insole that came in the shoe, that's what I'm running in.
My overall impression on this shoe is that I love it. A perfect combination of stability, cushion, traction, and protection. It truly feels like it was custom fitted to my foot. My performance has reflected the quality of this shoe. Salomon's may cost a little more, but based on this shoe - it's worth every penny. I'm just hoping Salomon doesn't "improve" or discontinue this shoe too soon!
This is my 5th pair of the XA Pro's. I love them for trail running. I live in Pennyslvania (also known as Rocksyvania to hikers and mountain bikers) and these shoes are great in the mixed rock, mud, scree and slimy roots you find on our trails. The only slight negative I have is they feel a little hard on the road. If you do more road running than trail running, you should buy a hybrid shoe or use a road shoe (I use a more traditional road shoe if I'm going on pavement).
On the trail they give you great protection from the pointy rocks, etc., but still feel responsive. I have also used the XA pro's for various "mud runs" and two Tough Mudder (12 mile, 32 obsticals) events, where shoes should be destroyed by the course- you will actually see a pile of shoes at the end of the race where people tossed thier shoes out immediately. Not with these, you just pull out the insert, hose them out and you're good to go. I retire them from sheer mileage; not because of any wear on the upper or the sole. They wear like iron.
Bottom line, great for their purpose - trail running and very durable. After you retire them from running, you can still use them as a walk around, yard work shoe.
Good shoe, better than the last version
I just bought these to replace my last pair of XA Ultras. I liked the previous version well enough, but the Goretex was unnecessary and undesirable. For one, they got crazy hot. Additionally, I don't know where anyone else who wears these runs, but where I go if there's going to be water it's going to be more than ankle deep. Once they're filled, they didn't really let the water out.
The mesh on the Ultra 2s is a huge improvement - it sheds water and doesn't overheat. The lace system works great. Once I cinch them down they don't move. My feet are pretty wide, with one a slightly different size than the other and I'm able to get a good fit on both.
The soles seem to be thicker and/or stiffer than the last version too. Most of my trail running is done on the Appalachian Trail, and it's nice to not feel every one of those sharp, pointy rocks that seem to be more common than dirt.
I only have about 10 miles on these shoes, but based on that and my previous experience with the brand I'd fee comfortable recommending them. Thanks to the mesh I'll feel good about using them for the next Tough Mudder and other mud races.
Doesn't work for me.
For me this is a weird situation. The shoe is EXTREMELY comfortable on my foot, so I figured I would try a pair and see how they worked for me. I love trail running, and wanted to see what a pair of trail shoes from a company who specialized in trail shoes would feel like.
First, I agree with the poster who reviewed these who said the standard laces are bad. I changed them out to regular laces. Second, these shoes are heavy compared to others I have worn.
The traction in these shoes is excellent, and the sizing is good.
I'm not sure why though, but ever since I started wearing these shoes my legs have been bothering me. Despite the fact that the shoes feel awesome, I suspect that they are the cause of the leg issues.
So I'm going to go back to my old trail shoes and see if the legs feel better.
If the shoes worked for me, I'd stick with them.
XA Pro 3D Ultra 2
This shoe serves as both my running shoe and gym shoe. They are by far the best trail running shoe I have ever worn, but handle everything from pavement to rock. This is my fourth pair in the last six years. I tried the North Face 104XCR's last year and they just do not compare. When I switched back to the Salomons, I couldn't believe I tried something else. These are more comfortable, definitely higher quality, and more durable. I have owned both types, GTX and non, and prefer the non-GTX. It is nice not having wet feet (and they will get wet since these are mostly mesh), but the GTX builds up way too much heat when running over 5 miles.
Strong and comfortable trail running sho
I just loved these shoes. I was using the crossmax previously and already was in love with them and going with the 3D pro Ultra 2 was the perfect move for me. They are comfortable, fit perfectly and protect my feet really well.
I run about 50 miles a week of AZ trails and so far I had them for 6 weeks and they are pretty much intact at the bottom, which trails in AZ are rough on soles. I am about 190 lbs 6'1" and I need the cushion these shoes have.
Hope this review helps.
My favorite shoe
This is my daily 4-mile walking shoe. Always feels good at beginning, middle and end of walk. After discovering how good this shoe is for me, I was very pleased to find I could buy the exact same shoe to have a next pair ready and waiting. In fact, my 3rd pair is in a box in the closet now.
Old Town canoer
Nice Trail Shoe
Great shoe for walking and traill running. I am looking forward to trying them out on the street.
Laces ruin an otherwise good shoe
Laces on this shoe are very disappointing. Will not stay tight in wet and muddy conditions.
Mens Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 Trail Running Shoe
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