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Gear Review: Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 CS WP Trail Running Shoe - Next Adventure

Gear Review: Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 CS WP Trail Running Shoe

Trailing running in salomon shoes
Don wearing his favorite kicks - The Salomon XA Pros
Okay, I know what you're thinking. A shoe had better be pretty impressive to live up to a name like that. Well, you're right. This is one special shoe (with a "special" name). Just ask my partner Don...this is the shoe he chose to take with him all around the country and then for a year of travel around South America. This shoe will be expected to climb volcanoes, walk Don around the streets of many cities both large and small, and even go on runs when he feels motivated to hit the pavement. So what makes this shoe so great? Let's find out with a little Q and A. Q: What is the best feature of this shoe? There are tons of great features - the climashield waterproofing, the quickdraw shoelace, the torsional stability. But okay, if I have to pick one, I'd have to say the climashield waterproofing. It has come in handy more than I expected and has truly kept my feet dry. Biking to work in the rain, hiking through creeks, even cleaning off the outside under a water had gotten in and my feet have stayed warm and dry. Q: How does this shoe handle rain, puddles, and creek crossings? Again, excellent, as long as the water doesn't get inside from the top, but that's going to be a problem with any shoe. I can't speak to the shoe's breathability because I haven't used them in really hot conditions yet, but your feet will stay dry in these shoes. Q: How about traction? Do you feel sturdy on all surfaces? What's great about these shoes is they strike a nice balance between being a tough hiking boot and a casual street shoe. They have solid grippiness on rock (I hiked to the top of the South Sister summit and back in them), and decent traction on trails and in sand and snow (a 14 mile backpacking trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan put that to the test). They don't have a super knobby sole like some trail runners, but that also means they are more comfortable when just walking on pavement. I guess I could use a little more traction in dirt, but again, balance is key. Q: How does the shoe fit? Is it true to size? Yes. I normally wear a size 10.5, and that is what I bought in this shoe and it has worked out great. At first I tried a size 11, thinking I should size big for a hiking shoe, but that turned out to be unnecessary. This shoe has a pretty wide toebox, which has accomodated my hobbit feet quite well. I was actually surprised at how much the shoe broke in as I've worn it. Q: If there was one improvement you could make to the shoe, what would it be? Sometimes the quickdraw shoelace does loosen up on long hikes, but I like the ease of the lacing system so much that I don't mind the occasional readjustment. Q: How do they look? Do you feel cool wearing them? Yes, always, but I'm not sure the shoes get all the credit. But seriously, they make a great lifestyle shoe as well as a trail shoe. The colors are subtle and match most anything. Well there you have it! This is a great all-around shoe that fits comfortably and has some unique features. Thanks Don! Get your own pair of Salomon XA Pros here!
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