Salomon XA Pro 3D Mid GTX Ultra
Materials: gtx gore
Break-in Period: none
Weight: 1lb 14oz
Price Paid: $140
OK, this is a real world review. I purchased this boot as an experiment in using very light boots for backpacking. I wear a size 10.5 US. On a digital scale this pair weighed 1 lb. 14oz. My friends thought I was nuts. The trip was a nine day backpack in the mountains of southwest US with trail head signs reading "Trail Not Maintained and Difficult To Follow". On the map we used there were warning signs reading "hazardous for livestock".
These warnings are not exaggerations. The trails are disappearing in the region. Dead fall and overgrowth make navigation very difficult and the trails are often a possibility rather than a visible route. The terrain is rocky and often very steep. I carried a 35lb. pack upon day 1. As food disappeared the pack lightened. Our shortest day was 4.5miles. Our longest day was 11miles. We had cool days and cold nights. At times we spent time wading in water at times as deep as our thighs.
The Salomon boots performed very well in all conditions. They protected my feet surprising well at all times. I had no problem with stone intrusion from the soles. Ankle support was very good and possibly better than heavier boots I have used in the past. The flimsy looking lacing system worked flawlessly though I did need to tie a bow knot just above the cord lock to keep the lace adjustment tight enough.
After the trip was over I did not find unsuspected wear or failure. The soles were in good shape. I used Ed Viesturs EV Ultra Sole Footbed in this boot. I had to order 1/2 size larger than usual to accommodate the footbed. The toe box of the xa pro3d mid is OK but not roomy. The last of the xa pro is cut with the toe box angling in toward the front end of the boot too sharply. If Salomon would carry the toe box out less steep so that the lateral toes had more room to roam, I would not be losing two toenails.
I realize this boot was designed for running. As a runner I can still recommend relaxing the angle of the boot on the lateral side by extending the lateral sole further up the side of the boot before curving around toward the great toe. This said, I would recommend the boot. I will use them again. Before doing so I will attempt to stretch the boot at the little toe and the one next to it. This could make them a 5 rating. No, I won't say where we were backpacking.