Salomon XA Pro 3D Mid GTX Ultra
Solid (lightweight) Gold.
- Comfortable — excellent support
- Good traction
- Good sensitivity/flexibility
- None yet
I bought these as my go-to backpacking shoe. I can safely say I've never owned better footwear for the job.
After trying the Skurka method of going everywhere with just bare-bones trail runners, I realized I no longer have the invincible 18-year-old feet I once did (I'm 32). A few years back, I twisted an ankle on some ice, and to this day my achilles will occasionally flare up with pain when I try to walk. Also on the same foot I later developed a case of plantar fasciitis that never seems to completely go away.
I have a pair of Asolo Fugitives which do a good job with ankle and arch support, but they are heavy and clunky. The Salomons offer the same support for about a pound less per pair. I have owned them for eight months now. Most notably, they got me through an 85-mile week-long trip on Isle Royale in total comfort. No aches, no blisters, not even one hot spot. Ok, let's go down the list:
Fit: I have fairly average feet, maybe a bit on the narrow side. The fit of these shoes is great, they cup the heel well with no slippage, and the ankle is supported without restricting movement. The included footbed is comfy, but I need massive arch support, and I've had great results using a pair of Keen insoles that I have. The lacing system keeps everything nice and snug, with little to no slippage.
Comfort: There was no break-in period for these shoes. They were perfect from the get go. Like I said, on an extended hike I experienced not even a hint of the beginning of a blister.
Water resistance: No complaints here. I've slogged through plenty of mud, dripping undergrowth, even knee-deep snow (with gaiters) and my feet have stayed dry. A friend of mine who has owned a pair for longer than I have seems to think the waterproofing on his has failed. Mine have yet to suffer a similar fate.
Traction: Also excellent, in pretty much any condition. Good on dirt, rock, mud, even snow, to a point. I LOVE how flexible the soles are, even with the plastic insert. I never liked really thick, clunky traditional hiking boot soles; I want to be able to feel the nuances of the terrain underfoot, especially on uneven rocky surfaces, or when rock-hopping across a river. The Salomons provide this feel while protecting my soles at the same time.
Temp control: As long as I pick the right sock, my feet have never felt too hot or cold, from late summer to winter conditions.
Durability: It's a little too soon to tell. They have lasted for 8 months of occasional intense hiking stints and light day-to-day use without any problems or signs of impending failure. I was skeptical of Salomon's lacing system before I bought these, but so far so good.
If these last me at least a couple years I will buy them again, unless I find something better, which is hard to imagine. Happy trails!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $170
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.
Materials: gtx gore
Break-in Period: none
Weight: 1lb 14oz
Price Paid: $140
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