Hands-on Gear Review

Salomon XA Pro 3D Review

Price:  $130 List | $103.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Great motion control, amazing foot protection, very durable
Cons:  Super heavy and burly, feels like a hiking shoe
Bottom line:  This popular trail runner is a beast, providing max protection.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Salomon

Our Verdict

Now a popular trail running model, the Salomon XA Pro was designed originally for adventure racing. This shoe is a beasty tank of a shoe that offers optimal protection on any trail. It is one of only two shoes in this review that professes to offer motion control, and the added support in the arch is both noticeable and welcome for those who over-pronate. While it is a very heavy model, it doesn't skimp on protective features and is a good choice for those who feel that they need more shoe than the average traditional shoe has to offer.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Trail Running Shoes for Men of 2018

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Andy Wellman

Last Updated:
Wednesday
March 29, 2017

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Hands-On Review


The Salomon XA Pro 3D is a shoe that is designed to be indestructible. And for many new trail runners, this is exactly what they need in a shoe. Whether coming from a road-running background, or from a mountain or trail hiking background, trail running has a learning curve which will include plenty of abuse to the feet. This shoe will protect you better than any other in our review, and as such is a great option for a first-time trail runner.

Performance Comparison


Salomon doesn't shy away from bright colors! The very protective upper and outsole of the XA Pro 3D. We wish the outsole was not made of so many different pieces...
Salomon doesn't shy away from bright colors! The very protective upper and outsole of the XA Pro 3D. We wish the outsole was not made of so many different pieces...

Foot Protection


One tester described this shoe as a "total tank." This shoe literally feels like it would stomp all over the low-profile shoes in the review, just think of a monster truck rolling over its competition. For this reason, we rated it 10 out of 10 in this metric. The midsole rockplate is solid and inflexible, giving unprecedented underfoot protection, while the upper is made almost completely of multi-layered synthetic leather. Simply put, no other shoe will protect your foot like this one, except for perhaps the HOKA ONE ONE Stinson ATR which uses a completely different tactic, going all in on cushioning.

Land with confidence on any pointy rock. The XA Pro 3D scored a perfect 10 on foot protection.
Land with confidence on any pointy rock. The XA Pro 3D scored a perfect 10 on foot protection.

Traction


The outsole of the XA Pro 3D is made of similar Contagrip rubber as the Salomon Speedcross 4, but with a much different pattern. In contrast to the Speedcross 4's single piece of rubber with large spaced out lugs, the XA Pro 3D's sole is made of a couple pieces featuring smaller and more closely spaced lugs. The stickiness is good on rock, but we believe that Contagrip is soft and wears down quickly relative to other shoes. The shorter lugs don't perform quite as well on snow or mud as the Speedcross 4.

The XA Pro 3D is meant to withstand any terrain it encounters  here steep mud.
The XA Pro 3D is meant to withstand any terrain it encounters, here steep mud.

Stability


This shoe is one of the more stable ones that we tried, and indeed even includes "stability control" in the midsole. This control can be felt inside the shoe as added arch support, which helps keep the foot from over-pronating. Additionally, the cinch lacing system does an incredible job of tightening the shoe comfortably over the top and sides of the foot, holding the foot perfectly in place. Those interested in the "stability control" feature should also consider looking at the ASICS GEL-Kahana 7.

Comfort


Comfort is going to be a very relative category for this shoe, probably dependent on how much you like the added arch support. This shoe needs to be broken in, and until we did so, we had complaints of pinching and just a really stiff upper overall. The shoe runs wide in the toe box, a quality welcomed by some people.

With a stiff rockplate and midsole  the XA Pro 3D has no problem kicking steps through snow. However  if it gets wet it is slow to dry...
With a stiff rockplate and midsole, the XA Pro 3D has no problem kicking steps through snow. However, if it gets wet it is slow to dry...

Weight

Weighing in at just over 1 pound per shoe for size 11  the XA Pro 3D was by far the heaviest shoe we reviewed.
Weighing in at just over 1 pound per shoe for size 11, the XA Pro 3D was by far the heaviest shoe we reviewed.
This product weighed in at 32.4 ounces per pair for size 11, far and away the heaviest shoe we reviewed. In our opinion, this restricts the performance for running applications. This shoe just feels heavy as soon as you put it on.

Sensitivity


With great protection comes a distinct and noticeable lack of sensitivity. When running on trails we appreciate a shoe that makes us feel light and nimble on our feet, and the Salomon XA Pro 3D felt instead like a tromping shoe. With this shoe, there is no need to dance over the rocks, just crush them into submission.

Best Applications


In our opinion this product feels more like a hiking shoe than a running shoe. Make that a hiking shoe that one can still run in. We think it would do great on long mixed hike-runs, burly multi-day events where foot care is important, backpacking, or for people who specifically need motion control.

The XA Pro 3D worked great for mixed running and hiking/scrambling  where its extra weight was not such a factor.
The XA Pro 3D worked great for mixed running and hiking/scrambling, where its extra weight was not such a factor.

Value


This model runs $130 per pair, which is more expensive than most of the shoes we reviewed here. You certainly get much more shoe for your money, but not higher performance. Considering its durability, this shoe could net you a ton of miles for what you pay, but we would probably rather spend our money on a shoe that made us feel like a better runner.

While they are heavy  the XA Pro 3D is incredible protective for scrambling use and the Contagrip rubber sole sticks well to rocks.
While they are heavy, the XA Pro 3D is incredible protective for scrambling use and the Contagrip rubber sole sticks well to rocks.

Conclusion


It is hard to consider the Salomon XA Pro 3D a high-performance trail running shoe, and yet we can't deny that it includes many admirable features for that purpose. Its foot protection and durability are second to none, and it also offers stability control and pretty good traction. While we wouldn't anticipate running our very best race in these shoes, we love them for tromping around in the mountains.

Andy Wellman

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 29, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (3.0)

75% of 4 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
6 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 67%  (4)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 17%  (1)
1 star: 17%  (1)
Climber

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   Jul 26, 2016 - 03:13pm
SewellyMon · Climber · So Cal

Shoes are highly personal, so YMMV…

-Super uncomfortable. Ankles banging again a not-low- enough cuff.
-Claims to have motion control but felt off-camber underfoot.

-Lacing system is not as effective as multiple grommets and shoe-laces.

I've had better luck with a myriad of La Sportiva running and hiking shoes and opting for La Sportiva Men's Synthesis Mid GTX.



Runner

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   Jun 7, 2016 - 08:16am
NikiGT · Runner · Szombathely
I have used these shoes for 500+kms of trail running and hiking, so we know a couple of things about each other.
First, if you are looking for a light shoe, this is not it. These shoes will get you through everything, they are waterproof as much as possible, the build quality is superb, the soles have a good grip, but light they are not.
So I would recommend them for everyday trail running and hiking. I would not recommend them for running on streets (they will slow you down a lot and you will destroy the soles), for walking around (they are not cushioned a lot so your feet will probably get tired - this is not what they were designed for), or for race day (they are heavy).
But they are wonderful for trails that include rocks and technical paths where you need good traction and shoes that hold your ankles and feet in place. Also great for long hours of hiking.
So in general:
+ Great traction, absolutely waterproof, good quality, great foot and toe protection, quick lacing system, breathable, durable, leaves enough room for your toes so is comfy also on long sessions.
  • Minimal cushioning, heavy, not a quick pair of shoes.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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   Mar 5, 2016 - 06:34pm
Foof Ssnjoff · Hiker · Croatia
I have just tried my second pair of xa pro 3d women's or third, if a gtx pair is taken into consideration.
A new model is quite bulkier then the old one (frankly, do not remember how long I have them, but it seems loooong), a bit more rigid, looking good, though.
First impressions are good.
Although bigger then the old model, they're narrow and with enough toe box space. First miles went well. So far, I recommend.
Same model  same size...
Same model, same size...



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

Skier

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   Feb 29, 2016 - 09:33pm
Srlle · Skier · Zagreb

Although I have not owned this particular model, I did own a more expensive model (the GTX), and I'm chiming in here because I think my complaint is relevant to the brand in general, not just my particular model.

Thing is, Salomon's quality control is bad, and their 2-year warranty is basically a lie. A heel of my shoe delaminated on the outside (see the first pic), which was clearly a manufacturing defect (layers being glued inadequately), and my warranty claim was refused by Salomon (after three weeks) on the basis that the soft part on the front of the sole was slightly worn (nothing unusual, see the second pic), which was apparently a proof of the wear and tear.

The worst thing was that the guy in the shop said this happens all the time. Many people take them back, and most warranties get refused.

The 2-year warranty implies high quality, but in this case, the warranty seems to be just a marketing trick.

I'm staying clear from Salomon after this disappointment, especially when it comes to more expensive gear (skis, or ski boots).

Delaminated heel
Delaminated heel

Would you say this is a worn-out sole?
Would you say this is a worn-out sole?



Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.

Hiker

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   Oct 7, 2015 - 03:36am
thinkdriver8 · Hiker · Conifer, CO

Have been using these for light trail running, reguar workouts on the treadmill & other equipment at the gym, and everday around town. Love them, and agree what the editors have to say both good and bad. the XA Pro 3D is dreamy comfortable and impossible not to fit well (for a medium width foot) due to the great lacing pattern and quick lace mechanism. Breathable, stable, and comfortable all day. Durable too - I put 10-12 miles per week on them at the gym alone and they are in like-new shape even after a year. Likely too heavy and a bit to square of a footprint for a serious trail runner, and not at all suited for racing. Great all purpose shoe for training on the road and (groomed) trails.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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