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Salomon Trail Low Review

A trail running gaiter meant for low-cut footwear that's hampered by a few design flaws.
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Price:  $35 List | $19.50 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, thick instep strap
Cons:  Strange fit, instep strap oddly aligned, need to be readjusted
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 26, 2018
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 10
  • Water Resistance - 20% 5
  • Debris Protection - 20% 7
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Comfort and Breathability - 20% 6
  • Ease of Attachment - 10% 7
  • Weight - 10% 8

The Skinny

These low-ankle gaiters are meant for running or thru-hiking on dusty, duff-covered trails. They feature a large velcro attachment, sturdy instep strap, and elastic heel band. We like the idea of them, we just have some issues with their real-world performance. For a similar product that delivers on fit and protection, consider the Outdoor Research Overdrive Wrap.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

We took these gaiters out on the sloppy trails of northern New England in early spring to see if they could stand up. We found that this pair had some thoughtful features that unfortunately weren't executed in a way that maximized their performance. The instep strap extended from the main body at an odd angle, leaving a gap for mud to find its way onto our socks and the elastic heel strap just never quite hugged footwear like we wanted it to.

Performance Comparison


These gaiters go best with sneakers.
These gaiters go best with sneakers.

Water Resistance


The Salomon Trail will keep your socks dry in a light rain, but that's about it. We were pleasantly surprised by how well they did, but as a trail running gaiter, they are not designed to aggressively repel water. We also found that the angle of the instep strap meant that there was sometimes a gap between our footwear and the bottom of these gaiters.

These gaiters had a little mud seepage from the bottom on an early spring trail run.
These gaiters had a little mud seepage from the bottom on an early spring trail run.

If protection from precipitation is a primary concern, we would recommend a heartier gaiter that is designed to be used with sturdier footwear such as the Black Diamond Talus.

Debris Protection


These gaiters were solid at keeping out dirt and pine needles. They fit snugly around our ankles, so even when we kicked up some duff we were able to keep on moving.

They are not very versatile though. Even using them with high-ankle trail shoes (let alone something even more substantial like a boot), we found that they didn't offer a meaningful amount of protection.

We stretched the functionality of these gaiters. It's clear that they weren't meant to be used with hiking boots.
We stretched the functionality of these gaiters. It's clear that they weren't meant to be used with hiking boots.

Durability


We tried our best to trash them, intentionally running through bramble and over rocks that we thought would scuff them up, but these gaiters held up surprisingly well. Because of their fairly low profile, they don't really get caught on anything more than a sock typically would. And in the few instances that they did get snagged, they ultimately came out no worse for wear.

We are also impressed with the instep strap. It's made from sturdy rubber and is the thickest and widest strap of any of the trail running models that we tested. Though it is not replaceable like the cord on the Rab Scree and Black Diamond Talus, it would take a lot of miles on some seriously rough terrain to be able to wear through it.

Comfort and Breathability


The Trail sits just above the ankle. This makes this model fairly comfortable insofar as it doesn't feel much different from a sock. This also means that breathability is less of an issue because it just doesn't cover that much skin. Our testers noted that when we wore them on hot days with low-cut socks and they were against bare skin, there was more ankle sweat than they would have preferred.

The instep strap sits oddly far back on the foot.
The instep strap sits oddly far back on the foot.

Ease of Attachment


This model is conceptually easy to slip on and off; just slide the instep strap under your arch and velcro the gaiter around your ankle. In practice, we always seemed to need a few tries to get it feeling right. Either the velcro wouldn't line up the way it is meant to or the instep strap would sit too far back, or both.

We had trouble adjusting the gaiter so that the instep strap was flush against footwear instead of bowing out.
We had trouble adjusting the gaiter so that the instep strap was flush against footwear instead of bowing out.

Another thing to note is that there is a right gaiter and a left gaiter. They are marked, but many other models do not make that differentiation, so we had to remember to check each time before we put them on.

Weight


These gaiters are pretty lightweight. They are marginally heavier than either the Outdoor Research Overdrive Wrap and the Outdoor Research Surge. It seems like the added ounces come from the thick instep strap and large velcro attachment. The practical difference in weight isn't significant for most purposes though.

Best Applications


The Trail is best used for trail runs or thru-hiking. This model is designed to be worn with low-cut, low-volume shoes, so if boots are your regular backcountry footwear of choice, you should look elsewhere for gaiters. Their very limited water resistance also makes them better-suited for arid climates where puddles, precipitation, and muck are less likely to be an issue.

Value


At $35, they are just about average for a pair of trail running gaiters. The material is resilient and the rubber instep is thick and durable, so we would expect them to be solid for a lot of miles.

Conclusion


The Salomon Trail is a rugged, lightweight trail running gaiter. We had some issues with its fit, so if you are looking for a similar product with better performance, we would recommend the Outdoor Research Overdrive Wrap.


Ben Applebaum-Bauch