My family loves hiking. We plan annual trips to spend as much time as we can hiking in the mountains, usually the Smokies or Blue Ridge. This year, we’re going to the Canadian Rockies. That meant it was time for new hiking shoes.
When looking for hiking shoes, you can go several routes. Many people prefer boots because they add more stability for your ankle and also a higher physical moisture barrier if you have to cross through water. However, I’ve always preferred shoes. Even with the better boots, I tend to overheat a bit, which leads to more sweat, which can lead to blisters. Blisters and hiking are not a good combination.
Salomon makes great active shoes. I’ve had some Salomons before that I loved, and my ski boots are Salomons. They also stand behind their shoes with a terrific warranty and customer service. They will replace your shoe for any defect within the first 400 miles of wear.
With Gander Mountain liquidating inventory, I decided that was a good place to start. I tried on a variety of shoes but kept coming back to the Salomon XA Pro 3D CS WP, which is a nice trail shoe with a funny name.
Anyway, the WP at the end stands for waterproof. Salomon uses Climashield to provide waterproofing for this particular line of shoes. It works well. The mesh upper is also still breathable. You can get the same shoe without the WP designation, if you prefer.
The shoe gets great traction via a Contagrip sole. This is great for hiking over rocks or in other less-than-ideal conditions, like rain, snow, and mud.
The footbed is an OrthoLite sockliner, which I find to be very comfortable. There is a foam and EVA healcup.
The midsoles include molded EVA and a harder 3D advanced chassis. The EVA foam provides cushion while the chassis provides firm support. It’s an excellent combination that should also prove to be pretty durable.
The toecap is really tough rubber. I am very confident it will hold up well to the abuses suffered on the trail. There is also a harder “mudguard” rubber around the base of the shoe.
The laces are Salomon’s Quicklace lacing system. Basically, you don’t tie the shoe. You pull the strap tight and lock it down. Reminder, there are tales of folks who get that strap caught on stuff on the trail, so tuck the top of the strap into the lace pocket in the tongue of the shoe. I love these straps. They make getting and and out of the shoe super quick and easy.
The tongue is gusseted to keep debris from entering the top of the shoe during trail use.
This shoe is technically sold as a trail running shoe, but I think it’s a little heavy for a runner. Conversely, it’s light for a hiking shoe, which makes it a real pleasure on the trail. It is still plenty firm, offers great support, and has good grip, just like a hiking shoe.
So far, I’ve only put them through one day hike and then a shorter hike. They were terrific and made my old hiking shoes feel clunky and heavy by comparison. I’m looking forward to wearing these for our big hiking trip this summer. My feet are very happy I found these. My wallet is very happy I found them at such a steep discount.