Rating 9.6 / 10
Value for Money 1.8
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 Pro 3D. There is also a Gore-Tex Version of thi shoe the Salomon XA 3D Pro GTX.
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 as well.
The soles of the shoes 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. Advice about these shoes, is that they need to be ‘worn in’ to gain their maximum comfort but I haven’t found this to be issue and will wear them straight on a long hike and this is one of my criteria when choosing shoes to wear.
The XA Pro 3D 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 specular 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.
This is one product that is often on special so by paying close attention you can pick up a good deal, particularly on the average sizes.
If these shoes fit your foot type, you will very quickly fall in love with them.
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Women’s and GTX (Gortex version) as well as a mid height version with additional ankles support (not at size 14 US)
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer
Salomon XA Pro 3D
View of the sole