9.0 / 10
Value for Money 1.4
My hiking shoes and boots are on the larger size (size 14 US) and that means there is a very limited range of hiking footwear from which I can choose to achieve not just that ‘perfect fit’ but also a level of comfort. Over the past few years I have been experimenting with various hiking shoes to determine my ideal shoe and for me it’s come down to the Salomon XA 3D Pro. Over the past six months I have been playing with the Gore-Tex version of this shoe, the Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX shoe to see what the difference was and why I would choose one version of this popular shoe over the other. The following write up of the GTX version will read very similarly to the standard version but I have added a section immediately below that identifies the differences between the two versions and why you would choose one over the other.
Salomon originally marketed these shoes as trail runners. As a beginner’s shoe for trail running they work well as they are bullet poof enough to protect the most inexperienced runner from themselves. In doing so they are heavy for a trail running shoe being approximately 25% heavier than the other well-known Salomon shoe, the Speedcross. However it’s this extra weight, due mainly to the built in protection, that make them ideal as a hiking shoe.
Shoe selection is a personal choice based on foot size and shape as well as arch height amongst other criteria. While I have large feet, my foot width is average and as such I find that this shoe supports my foot along the entire length. These shoes come with an above average insole which I quite like and would be happy to use as is. However, sourcing replacement insoles is not easy as they are not usually a product that stores keep in stock and usually require a special order. I replace the standard insole with Blue Superfeet premium insoles. And find that this combination provides me with an extremely comfortable shoe. I originally tried the Green Superfeet insoles and found that the already generous shoe support meant that the Green insoles didn’t work with this shoe.
The soles of the shoe are made up of two rubber compounds. The first one on the bottom of the shoe provides excellent grip during both dry and wet conditions and will comfortably last about 1200 km. The second compound directly blow the feet provides the cushioning. As a trail runner they need to provide this impact protection and this makes them very comfortable hiking shoe. Salomon advises that these shoes need to be ‘worn in’ to gain their maximum comfort but I haven’t found this to be an issue and will wear them straight out of the box on a long hike and have absolutely no issues at all which means that if a pair of shoes die mid trail, then I can replace them and keep on going which is one of my considerations when choosing footwear.
The XA Pro 3D (both versions) has unique lacing system that Salomon calls a ‘Quicklace’ that you either love or hate. Essentially it’s a thin nylon lace that cinches shut with the cinching clip tucking into its own built-in protective pocket on the top of the shoe tongue. I have owned a few pairs of these shoes and have never managed to break these laces before the shoes wear out. Should this ever occur the lacing system is replaceable and if worst comes to worst, you could always use a thin set of shoes laces as a stop gap.
The colour choice on these shoes can only be described as spectacular so long as you don’t have large feet. Once you pass the size 13 mark your choice is very much limited. These shoes are widely available both in-store and online so if you’re travelling they are easy to replace which is one of my criteria when selecting shoes. A word of warning here: they are available from overseas at a very cheap price but pay close attention to the freight cost otherwise you may end up paying more for them than you would in a store. Now I am a strong believer in buying from Australian stores or websites but at the time I purchased theses shoes, which was just after Christmas, I couldn’t locate a pair of UK 13.5 anywhere so had to order them from an overseas website. I have worn the Salomon XA 3D Pro for around five years now and know my sizing very well.
The GTX version of this shoe is not on special as often as the non Gore-Tex but when it is take the opportunity to get a good deal. If these shoes fit your foot type, you will very quickly fall in love with them, particularly for those of us with big feet.
What’s the difference with the GTX version of this shoe as oppose to the stock standard Salomon XA 3D Pro ?
Now I own both types and will use the Gore-Tex version though the cold months and the non Gore-Tex version in the warmer months. If I could only buy one pair to do me year round, I would choose the cheaper Salomon XA 3D Pro
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This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer
Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX
View of the sole