Salomon first released the XA Pro over a decade ago. So, why in the world are we reviewing the current Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX? Well, because we can, and because we wanted to see if the iconic shoe still stands up to current standards.
The XA Pro 3D GTX is labeled an “adventure shoe.” We take that to mean that it should be down to stick to the trail whether you’re running, hiking, biking, scrambling, or any other type of adventure you can think of. So, we did all that over the last three months while wearing them. How did they fair?
We found the XA Pro 3D GTX to be a great, all-around adventure shoe that loses out a bit to more specialized shoes in specific activities. In other words, you can use it for all sorts of activities without changing shoes. You’d have to buy at least four pairs of shoes to cover what the XA Pro 3D GTX can do. It does make some sacrifices to accomplish so much – it’s heavier than a running shoe and not as supportive as a hiking boot – but we think those tradeoffs don’t outweigh the pure utility of having one adventure shoe to do it all.
For starters, the XA Pro 3D GTX is an extremely stable shoe. Chalk that up to Salomon’s 3D Chassis (which is where we get the 3D in the name of the shoe). The goal of the 3D Chassis is to increase lateral and torsional stability without sacrificing forefoot flex. We found the shoe to be barely touching the edge of too-stiff for trail running purposes. But, that stiffness came in handy while hiking and was a surprising blessing while biking.
Salomon normally makes shoes on the narrower side. In the case of the XA Pro 3D GTX, they hit the sweet spot. The shoes fit our tester’s hobbit feet well, but also can cinch down to stabilize narrower feet as well. Salomon’s Sensifit tech did a good job of hugging our feet without creating any hot spots. Length is pretty standard, so grab your usual size. You’ll have enough room to avoid jamming your toes on the downhills. Salomon has perfected their Speedlace system to the point that it’s completely unnoticeable – that’s a good thing. However, the Speedlace system sacrifices the ability to adjust different zones – you can’t tighten the laces over the instep while keeping the forefoot loose.
Traction comes in gobs. Salomon uses their proprietary Contagrip, but it’s much more complex than that. There are a total of seven different compounds on the sole of the XA Pro 3D GTX. Salomon uses both Contagrip HT (High Traction) and Contagrip HA (High Abrasion) to create the perfect balance between durability and traction in all trail conditions. That’s a lot of crap that really means that you’re going to have a tough time getting the XA Pro 3D GTX to slip. We hiked and ran on muddy trails and wet rocks and even got to play in the snow while fat biking. The shoes stick to everything pretty well. Bonus for the burly, rubber bumper on the toes that protect you from stubbing your digits against the mean things the forest throws in your way.
April and May were especially wet months here in Colorado. The transition between ski season and everything-else season is called Mud Season for a reason. As the snow melts, it saturates a lot of the western half of the state. Toss in some heavy thunder showers and you have mud, everywhere. The XA Pro 3D GTX kept our feet dry throughout, thanks to its layer of Gore Tex.
Unfortunately, you’ll notice from the pictures that our testers were all black. That makes it tough to take good photos and also elicited comments from our significant others that we looked like we were ready to head to our fast food job. Thankfully, the XA Pro 3D GTX also comes in a sort-of olive drab colorway in stores and is also available in a dark grey with light grey highlights online.
Grab the Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX as your do it all adventure shoe. It can carry your feet through just about anything without missing a step.