Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gear Review - Salomon XA Pro 3D

Product Features and Impressions:
This is a very popular shoe that has some reason to be so. Most people will tell you that the fit of these shoes is awesome with blister free perfomance. I tend to agree as the shoes felt comfortable even during their first use; however, I find that in order to prevent heel lift, I have to tighten the quick lace system too tight which causes some foot discomfort. Thus, I would never use these shoes for long runs (>15km). I hear many people who have these shoes say that they're suprised that all shoes don't go to the quick lace system. My opinion is that there are benefits and some drawbacks to the quicklace. The benefit, obviously, is that it takes no time to tie up your shoes which is great for multi-sport sprint races like the MOMAR where time is critical. It is super fast but if you don't want the excess lace flooping around, you have to tuck it in the little tongue flap which adds time and doesn't give you much time benefit over a regular lace up. I find the main drawback to be the limited adjustability of the system. Adding additional tension tightens the lace everywhere. With a good lacing setup, you can customize the tension to your foot (ie: a loose toebox with a tight upper).

The grip on these shoes are terrible. Absolutely terrible. If you're running on something OTHER THAN roots, rocks, snow, leaves, road debris, loose gravel, branches, logs, wet pavement, wet concrete, wet anything, off-camber terrain, etc., than these shoes are ok. (read this as my road shoes grip way better than these shoes)

Overall Impression:
The fit and comfort of these shoes are very good. The quick lace system is great for multi-sport races where a few seconds saved in transition could win you the race; however, this type of lacing does not give you the level of fit as a good standard lacing system. The grip on these shoes is really terrible. No, extremely terrible. I still can't believe how many people wear these shoes and put up with how bad the grip is; especially on the west coast where it's going to be wet on the trail most of the time.
If you run on trails that you mountain bike on with slick tires pumped up to 60psi (not semi-slick, slick), then these shoes are the best.

No comments: