Salomons have always boon good to me, as far as trail running shoes go. From an old heavy pair of Gore-tex ones, through a couple pairs of XA Pros, two pairs of Wings, and the Speedcross 2's I still use, I've always had good luck with them. So it was with high hopes that I tried out this pair of XR Crossmax Neutral's.
(These shoes came from a contest over on irunfar.com - Thanks to Bryon and Salomon for providing them.)
After a series of runs, both on streets, trails, and combinations of the two, I was left feeling a little non-plussed. They felt a bit clunky on the road, and too squishy on the trail. it was hard to picture taking these out for a serious road run, or equally a hard trail day.
I think my reaction to them is a combination of two factors -
First, this shoe is inherently a compromise. Anytime designers try to combine two things into one like this, it's not going to do either quite as well as something purpose-built. Think of an enduro motorcycle - the on/off road kind. It certainly isn't as efficient around town as a road cycle, nor as good in the dirt as a motocross bike. Same idea here.
Second - is my fault. I've been moving toward more minimal shoes in both my road shoes and trail shoes recently. The Saucony Kinvara and the New Balance Minimus are my go-to road shoes these days, and on the trails I really prefer my New Balance MT101s. Even my Salomon Speedcross 2s - which used to be my light, race-only trail shoes - are feeling a little heavy these days (but apparently the lightened it and lowered it in the Speedcross 3 - intriguing...) And of course, I try to get out in Vibram FiveFingers about once a week as well.