Road tested: Salomon XA Pro 3D XCR

I am becoming the Imelda Marcos of running shoes. To round out my ever-expanding collection, I recently purchased the Salomon XA Pro 3D XCR (is that not the most unmemorable model name you’ve ever seen?). They’re made for trail running (which I would like to do some of soon), but can be worn for street running too. Best of all, they’re waterproof (or claim to be — I’ll know later today) due to the GoreTex liner.

I shopped different models before buying these. I looked at The North Face’s line of trail running shoes, but users rated them as heavy/clunky. Then I looked at Montrail’s line, but kept seeing posts/reviews from people who said the shoes were great except for the fact that they tend to fall apart quickly. The reviews for the Salomon’s were almost universally positive. What did we do before the Internet?

I wore them yesterday on an interesting run: I decided to run to my polling place and vote, then complete my run. Although the voting stop was a mere mile into my run, I’m sure I stank when I got there. But the place was full of giddy Democrats (myself among them), so I don’t think anyone noticed or cared. I hope.

The remainder of the run was a five miler, and the shoes felt very good from the get go. No chafing, pinching, stiffness (although I do have a small blister on the top of one of my smaller toes on the left foot…hmm). They are also surprisingly lightweight. I think they may weigh even less than the New Balance 901s I use for racing. Maybe I’ll try these for my next race.

They are sized slightly large. I normally wear an 8 (well, I do on my right foot. The left foot is a 7.5), but those were too big, so I exchanged them for a 7.5 and they feel great. They are on the narrow side (but, again, not tight), and are longer than my other shoes.

The lacing system in interesting. It’s a single cord loop that you just pull up on (or loosen) to adjust, then slide a stopper in place. The eyelets are well-located…in fact they’re located perfectly for me, as I have a bunion on the left foot that doesn’t get along with certain shoe designs and lacings. For example, I like my Asics Gel Kayano XIIs, but I have to do a custom lacing on the left foot or my bunion screams bloody murder after about six miles.

The drawback to the lacing system is that I won’t be able to attach a timing chip to the shoes using the laces. That’s hardly a showstopper, though. I have about 9,000 safety pins in the car from previous races.

Today is quite rainy and I have a 10 miler planned for the afternoon. Having waterproof shoes completes my rainy day running wardrobe. With my new shoes (and a newly cleaned House), I’ll be running with a spring in my step later on…

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