User Review: Salomon Women's XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $86
These are excellent trail running shoes. I can take sandy switchbacks without concern and they grip those slabby exposed and angled rocks you'll find on trails with the greatest of ease.
I wear these shoes trail running in the mountains of Colorado. The trails I spend most of my time on are rolling singletrack and hills with roots, rocks, sand, and other obstacles. Because I live in a semi-arid climate, I don't get to splash in puddles or get all muddy very often. Ah well. I got the shoes at a discount through my work (a general sporting goods company). Having tried them and loved them, I would pay full price if I had to.
I did not have a significant break-in period with these shoes. They hit my ankle slightly higher than all of the other shoes I wear, so there was mild rubbing which was mitigated by wearing ankle socks instead of no-show socks. The rubbing subsided after maybe two runs. This model is for overpronators (that's me!). I find that they provide good support for my mild overpronation.
Although GoreTex is a magical material, it's not something I would just slip on in 90 degree heat. It is not significant (to me), but my feet get warm in these shoes if it is warmer than 85. That would be my only note about the shoes, which is less the shoes and more the weather. I don't get hot feet on cool mornings and will have happy, warm feet in the winter.
I am a particular fan of the fastening system. It is a kevlar cord with a slider that holds tight until you hit a button and loosen the lacing. The tongue even has a shnazzy pocket for stashing the excess cord so you don't catch it on a rock and face-plant (it's kevlar, so it's not going to break).
The shoes are well-made. There is a lot of granite where I run which is super rough rock that does a number on a great many fabric items (let me show you my holey wardrobe from bouldering). Unlike my other trail shoes, these don't have any significant snagging or abrasions.
I have also worn them scrambling and they performed well. I was able to do some edging work while the people I was with (in hiking shoes and road running shoes) couldn't keep up. The shoes would be good approach shoes for climbing with the easy on/off kevlar strap instead of laces. The GoreTex is an added bonus for the winter. It keeps my feet dry and warmer (fantastic in the winter, maybe not fantastic in the summer).