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Salomon XA Trail Review

For a performance running shirt, we expect some compromise in durability for weight, but we were disappointed with how quickly this shirt broke down
Salomon XA Trail
Photo: Salomon
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Price:  $55 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, breathable, comfortable stitching
Cons:  Not very durable, restrictive fit, slow to dry
Manufacturer:   Salomon
By Jeff Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 8, 2021
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 12
  • Comfort - 30% 7
  • Breathability - 30% 8
  • Drying Speed - 20% 6
  • Features & Versatility - 20% 7

Our Verdict

Salomon is the leader in trail running apparel and footwear, so much so that we haven't been able to get our hands on a shirt to review, as they sell out so quickly. And, no surprise, the XA Trail has some amazing characteristics: it's lightweight, has well-designed merrow stitched seams, and is highly breathable. However, we weren't as impressed with the drying speed or the durability of the shirt. We may be harder critics because of our expectations, but on the durability front, the shirt showed pilling and wear after only two runs. Still, all things considered, this is a great option for slender runners, as the fit is a little tight through the shoulders.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Salomon XA Trail
This Product
Salomon XA Trail
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
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$49 List$35 List
$26.17 at Amazon
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$25 List
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, breathable, comfortable stitchingHighly breathable, comfortable, lightweight, quick dryingComfortable, fast-drying, breathableIncredibly soft, great fit, very comfortable, UPF ratingDurable, versatile, comfortable
Cons Not very durable, restrictive fit, slow to dryTaped seams on shoulders less durable than sewn seamsUnnecessary flap of fabric across the backSlow drying speed, no reflective accentsHeavy, slow to dry
Bottom Line For a performance running shirt, we expect some compromise in durability for weight, but we were disappointed with how quickly this shirt broke downExceedingly comfortable and fast drying are the two top attributes for the best running shirt you can buyThis shirt outperforms many of the best in terms of comfort and breathability without being cost-prohibitiveThe most comfortable shirt we've worn and it has specific features for runningA do-it-all adventure shirt that is casual when you're relaxing but can ramp up the octane when you're on the move
Rating Categories Salomon XA Trail Patagonia Airchaser Under Armour UA Str... Vuori Strato Tech REI Co-op Active Pu...
Comfort (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
10.0
8.0
Breathability (30%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Drying Speed (20%)
6.0
10.0
8.0
4.0
5.0
Features & Versatility (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Salomon XA Trail Patagonia Airchaser Under Armour UA Str... Vuori Strato Tech REI Co-op Active Pu...
Weight (size medium) 3.2 oz 2.6 oz 4.4 oz 4.3 oz 4.9 oz
Material 100% Polyester Recycled polyester 93% polyester, 7% elastarell 96% polyester, 4% elastane Polyester
Reflective Areas? Yes - 2 Yes - 2 Yes - 3 No Yes - 1
Seam Type Merrow Flatlock and Taped Flatlock Flatlock and Overlock Flatlock
UPF? Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated 30+ Not Stated
Odor Control? Yes Yes - HeiQ Fresh durable odor control Yes - Active biocide zinc microbes Yes - undeclared No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Salomon has decades of experience making excellent running apparel if at times critiqued as "Euro" or "techy." The XA Trail has a performance fit but a more casual appearance. We search for the feeling of nothingness from a running shirt that proves there are no points of discomfort and the XA Trail delivers, as it is among the lightest shirts we reviewed. What it lacks in drying speed it makes up for in breathability.

Performance Comparison


Lightweight and airy, the Salomon XA Trail is at home on high output...
Lightweight and airy, the Salomon XA Trail is at home on high output runs and workouts.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Comfort


A gridded polyester weave makes for a soft, though slippery, hand feel. Once we pulled on the XA Trail, the fabric felt nice against the skin, and the fit was comfortable if on the slender side.

Some of the magic of this shirt comes from the featherweight construction. When we run, we don't want to feel much from the shirt we are wearing. If we don't notice it, that likely means that the shirt is great, and we can trust that by wearing it, we are both decent in public and receiving some protection from the sun and the elements. At 3.2 ounces, the XA Trail is the second lightest shirt we tested. Despite being so light, we didn't experience the shirt bouncing or riding up at all. The length and design are excellent.

Merrow stitching is our favorite stitch in a running shirt because it has a minimal feel against the skin and places some of the thread and overlap of the fabric on the outside of the shirt. It is also quite durable. However, despite an effective seam design across the shoulder and back, we still found the sleeves of the XA Trail to be tight, putting some pressure on the back of the armpits.

Merrow stitching is a sign of quality construction. This pattern...
Merrow stitching is a sign of quality construction. This pattern across the back moved seams away from the shoulders which is great for hydration pack compatibility.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Breathability


We have only great things to say about the breathability of the XA Trail. The gridded polyester weave is loose enough to promote airflow through both the shirt's front and vent excess heat out the back. Salomon decided to use a uniform stitch and fabric throughout the shirt, and if the fabric breathes well, why switch it up? Based on how breathable this shirt is, we confidently recommend it for high output activities, from races to gym workouts.

From easy runs to hard effort trail workouts, the gridded mesh...
From easy runs to hard effort trail workouts, the gridded mesh polyester efficiently promoted airflow. During 60 minutes of high output tempo, the XA Trail kept us sweat free, a great indicator of breathability.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Drying Speed


The lightweight shirts in our testing field were among the quickest to fully dry, so we were a little perplexed when the XA Trail was still damp 20 minutes into testing. In our laundry experiment, it didn't fully return to its dry weight until 30 minutes in the dryer, landing squarely in the center of the pack. The upside is that we rarely found ourselves sweating in this shirt while running, thanks to the excellent breathability.

Salomon shares the above information on their site, calling out that...
Salomon shares the above information on their site, calling out that the XA Trail has "normal" drying time compared to "fast" or "very fast" which is in line with our observations.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Features & Versatility


With integrated odor control and two reflective logos for increased visibility, the XA Trail strikes a nice balance of performance features for a casual workout shirt. While we look for 360 degrees of reflective accents, many shirts opt for simple, more minimal reflectivity and there is an argument that this design adds to the "socially acceptable" versatility of the shirt.

A large Salomon logo on the left sleeve provides ample reflectivity...
A large Salomon logo on the left sleeve provides ample reflectivity for passing cars as does a smaller reflective insignia on the chest.
Photo: Jeff Colt

There is no added UPF treatment to the XA Trail, which we would like to see as it makes a big difference in sun protection and thermoregulation on long days of exposure. The other miss for this shirt is the durability. Durability is a big part of versatility, as a shirt needs to hold up to use with a hydration pack or backpack. With just one use of this shirt with a conventional hydration pack for running, the shirt pilled and contorted where the sternum straps connected to the pack.

Lightweight is nice, but if the material compromises weight for...
Lightweight is nice, but if the material compromises weight for durability, the shirt will not last long. This pilling appeared after a single use with a hydration pack.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Value


The durability issue is a big one for us, as the versatility of a shirt means it spends less time in our shirt drawer and more time on adventures. For runners looking for a shirt just for running, the XA Trail is a great option. For athletes who want a good shirt to run in, workout in, backpack in, and take on longer adventures, this shirt will likely wear down faster than others making that higher price a little harder to swallow.

Conclusion


The Salomon XA Trail performed on the trail and in the gym. We held this shirt in high regard, but when we took it out while wearing a hydration pack, we were disappointed to see that the shirt showed notable wear and pilling after just one 6 mile run with a vest. This is our one major reservation with the XA Trail. In most categories, it performed quite well, justifying a high total score. But those good marks in comfort and breathability come with a grain of salt, as durability is an important consideration.

With a perfect length and fit that drafts lightly on the torso, the...
With a perfect length and fit that drafts lightly on the torso, the XA Trail is a great option for runners seeking a performance tee.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

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