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275 Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX Trail-Running Shoes 2010-09-01

Salomon Ultra Trail Running shoes

In the summer of 2009, Amy and I were climbing the Colorado fourteen thousand feet peaks. It was a relentless effort as every day was a new challenge. Going into the trip we were concerned about all of our equipment, clothing, and footwear; but we felt footwear would be the key to our success.

Taking inventory all of my old hiking, scrambling, and running shoes were worn to the point that I would probably only get a few days wear out of each pair. I ordered a new pair of scrambling shoes and a pair of waterproof/breatheable lightweight boots. The new shoes would be by main footwear and I would use three pair of old shoes and a pair of mountaineering boots to augment my selection.

I bought my new shoes too late to throughly test them at home. Not many days into the trip I discovered that I did not like the scrambling shoes and the lightweight boots just didn't fit. They gave me blisters.

Blisters are always bad; but when you do not have rest days to let the sores recover, they can be especially bad. I needed new waterproof shoes, that did not require any break-in time. We adjusted our schedule to Leadville and shop for shoes at a small outdoors shop.

I tried on the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX Trail-Running Shoes, took them off, and then tried them on again. The shoes seemed comfortable; but they were expensive. Amy decided to buy the shoes for me as a Father's Day gift. I think she was just tired of me whining.

We drove to the San Juans and the Stewart Creek trailhead. I pulled the shoes out of the box and climbed San Luis - a twelve mile round trip. For the rest of the trip they were my primary shoes.

Some foot notes...

  • Number one concern - no blisters, sores, or hot spots - ever.
  • Colorado had a lot of snow when we started our trip in June. The Gore-Tex was critical.
  • After removing the insoles the shoes dried overnight.
  • The shoes were grippy on rock. They were not as good for scrambling as a climbing apporach shoe, but they were adequate.
  • The shoes were stable trail shoes. I do not remember even turning an ankle while wearing them.
  • The Kahtoola crampons worked well with the shoes.
  • Mine showed wear by the end of the summer, but they traveled many miles of rocky trails and scrambles.
  • The shoe laces wore thin and then broke. They are supposed to be unbreakable kevlar laces. Anyway the good news is that even though I had a lace repair kit, I found the best solution was just to tie the broken pieces together. I used a fisherman (as in single fisherman) knot and then covered the area with glue.
  • I never ran in the shoes in the Rockies and they are a bit heavy for a trail running shoe in the southeast.

The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX Trail-Running Shoes are a great trail hiking/scrambling shoe. Give them a try.


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