Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Salomon XR Crossmax review

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 - Thanks to Bryon and Salomon for providing them.)

Right out of the box, they felt great - just like all the other Salomons I've worn. Almost zero break-in time is a great selling point for the brand. The lacing system was of course familiar - the lace was a bit long on this pair, but it tucked nicely up under the tongue flap. Everything felt fine, and I wore them to work for a day to give my feet a chance to settle into them before running in them. No problems - fit was fine all around.

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.

So, really, I think the XR Crossmax is just "to much" shoe for me right now. If I wasn't heading in the minimalist direction, these might find more of a place in my shoe line-up. And if I was looking for just one shoe to run both trails and road in, I can see that this would be a good choice. But that's not me. I need to have lots and lots of shoes...


slowrunner77 said...

"lots and lots of shoes" indeed!
I dug the Salomon might too. Under 10 ounces (for a normal size foot, not yours or mine) and a 4mm heel drop. You'd have to win a pair, though...$170! I think not.

Courtney Holmes said...

Thanks for the write-up on the run! I will post it tomorrow on our (Big Blue Adventure's) Facebook page.

Darren said...

I won a pair of these at the Big Blue race. The weight and heel drop does concern me but there free right?

Like you, I'm partial to the MT100/101 and have recently been running in the Rouge Racer (Montrail) which is also a nice shoe. I do own a pair of Hoka Bondis for the LONG races and while they seem juxtaposed to the above shoes they're very light (8.5 oz) and have about a 5mm heel drop...just a boat load of cushion in between (too squishy for you maybe?).

Thanks for the review.


Darren said...

Umm, that second sentence should have the word "they're" and not there...sorry.

Turi Becker said...

I do like the looks of the Rogue Racers. The Hokas - I just can't wrap my head around it. Would love to try a pair on sometime.

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