Through no conscious decision, I’ve become a bit of a Salomon footwear collector. Currently, I have three pairs in amongst various other brands that I use on a regular basis in my outdoor footwear container that sits in our utility room. Each shoe or boot waits in that box, which is positioned by our back door, like a beloved pet dog waiting to be let out to play. Well, after enjoying and battering a pair of Salomon XA Pro 3D shoes for the last 18 months or so, the great people at Outdoor Supply got in touch to ask me whether I’d like to test something from their great range. I jumped at the chance and, once I knew they stocked Salomon, I knew what I wanted. Consequently, I’m sporting these rather fetching red and orange Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX after deciding to make the switch from trail runner to hiking shoe.
So, if I loved the XA Pro 3D so much why the change? Well, the XA Pro 3d are designed to be a trail runner. However, I never really used them for that purpose, preferring instead to stick to my trusty iNov8s for that particular activity. As such, I have used them in the drier months as a cracking walking shoe and have covered some serious, serious miles in them over all sorts of terrain. So, again, why the change, if you loved them so much? Put simply, I often opt for non-waterproof trail runners as my feet get too hot running in the warmer months in Gore-Tex lined trainers. While, I’m running, if I get caught out by a shower I know I’m never going to be that far from home, so it’s not going to negatively impact me too much for the sort of distances that I run. If I decide to wear these for a day in the hills or a wild camping weekend; however, a lack of waterproofness would be a major issue.
However, the Salomon XA Pro 3D have a Gore-Tex version in their ranks so why not just upgrade to them? To be fair, this was a consideration. However, another pair of Salomon’s that are stored in that box by the back door are an aging pair of Salomon X Ultra Mid boots. Now, these boots are donkey’s years old but every now and again I find a trail perfect for them or just fancy dusting off their cobwebs. It then got me thinking: if these were shoes and not boots would I get far more use out of them? I came to the conclusion that I would. You see, that storage box has a good few boots in it and they’re all pretty much geared to harder grade stuff or winter activities. I suppose that I’ve just become accustomed to shoes, certainly for our family hikes where gradient and terrain are more forgiving.
My mind was made up, I didn’t need another boot, and I have trail running shoes to actually run in. What I needed was a lightweight, waterproof and supportive shoe to soak up mile after mile of glorious walk. And boy have I found it! Coming in at an appealing 380 grams, the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX strikes that perfect balance between support, protection and feeling great on your feet.
It still retains the Quicklace system that I loved so much on the trail runners, which makes adjusting them out on the trail a breeze. It also means that I don’t have to worry about lacing becoming undone on ridges. Furthermore, the Contragrip outsole, which is Salomon’s premium outsole compound, performs brilliantly in the wet as well as the dry. That’s obviously good news now that I’ve opted for the Gore-Tex lined version of these shoes as I fully intend to use these throughout our typically wet British seasons. That’s why I’m willing to forego the slight increase in foot temperature that these lined shoes bring. Apologies in advance to anyone who shares a tent with me in during the warm weather though haha.
I’ve already racked up some very decent miles in these shoes and the I’m really happy with my choice from Outdoor Supply . Along the coastal paths of the Llyn Peninsula they dealt with rain, rock and sand brilliantly and along the Offa’s Dyke Path through North Wales they ate up the changes in gradient and never felt cumbersome (a hallmark of older style walking shoes) on any ascents or descents. They’re comfortable and do the job perfectly that I had mapped out for them in my brain. I’m not saying that I won’t be adding to the already ridiculous number of outdoor shoes I own sometime in the future, but I do know that I won’t need to search for another walking shoe for as long as these last me.
Product: Salomon X Ultra 3 Gtx
Available from: here