Gear Review: Salomon XA Pro 3D CS WP Trail Runners
According to Appalachian Trials’ Appalachian Trail Footwear by the Numbers post, Salomon is the most popular brand seen on the trail- and it’s for good reason. Salomon has a great warranty and product. Since my thru-hike and the years after, I have owned six pairs of Salomon trail shoes (some waterproof, some just breathable mesh).
I recently had the opportunity to test out their latest and upgraded model of the XA Pro 3D CS WP trail shoes. For clarity, Salomon offers a variety of shoes with this stylistic look. The difference varies on design and more noticeably on the waterproofing: breathable mesh, Gore Tex, or Climashield. I have worn all three. The breathable mesh is perfect for summer. I did not notice a difference in the effectiveness of the waterproofing when Gore Tex and Climashield are compared. However, both waterproofing did tend to wear after months of consecutive wear. More differences from the earlier models will be discussed in this review.
Check out my review of Salomon’s previous models, Salomon’s XA PRO 3D Ultra 2 & XA PRO 3D ULTRA 2 GTX Trail Runners.
This review will focus on the Salomon XA Pro 3D CS WP, waterproofed with Climashield. This pair of shoes are marketed by Salomon as shoes that are designed for “control, durability, and weather protection.”
- Men’s: 1 lb 12 oz average pair weight*
- Women’s: 14.46 oz (US size 7)*
- Weight when I weighed the pair: 13 oz for one shoe, 1 lb 8 oz for the pair
- *These weights were found online and don’t make much sense to me. Maybe it’s for one shoe, not the pair?
Midsoles: Molded EVA & 3D Advanced Chassis
Outer Soles: Contagrip
Salomon has a fabulous warranty and is willing to help out thru-hikers. Typically, Salomon will replace your shoes if there is damage under 400 miles. Visit this link to learn more about Salomon’s length warranty plan.
Test Subject & Area:
Test subject size: 6.5
Test subject area: Colorado (Golden, Fort Collins, Estes Park, Boulder)
My first impression had everything to do with color. They definitely added a bit more pizzazz in the color scheme than the past models I have worn. And, I liked that. Don’t worry, they do still offer black, green, and gray. I also noticed Salomon moved toward a different, more bubbly font. However, upon first impression, I did not notice any difference in function or fit from the previous models I had owned. But, that’s how first impressions go. Spoiler alert: there is a functional difference.
My first hike in these shoes was not on a normal dirt trail. The trail was extremely snow-packed and icy. In my review of the previous models, I had mentioned that the grip needed to be broken in a bit to function very well on ice or wet rock. I figured I would be sliding all around because I had yet to break in the grip. However, the grip worked great on the snow, ice, and sludge. I actually was faster than my hiking partners because of how well they functioned. Thanks Contagrip, you’re alright.
I will always and forever love Salomon’s Quicklace lacing system. I never have to stop to tie my shoes or tighten the laces. I know some people have had trouble with the lace system whether it be from them breaking or causing holes in the shoe’s tongue. I have had four Salomon shoes with the Quicklace system and I have yet to experience any error.
Hikers new to the Quicklace system: Please don’t forget to TUCK YOUR EXCESS LACE INTO THE TONGUE POCKET after you tighten and cinch the laces.
Added Midsole Material
This is it! This is it! It took some serious examination skills but I figured it out! The added midsole material is the functional difference between the earlier models of the shoe and this newer model. The midsole is the material between the footbed and the outersole. The previous models only had molded EVA in the midsole. This model has molded EVA AND 3D Advanced Chassis. Disregard the silly material names. The EVA is a foam-like material while the Chassis is a hard plastic-like material. The one thing I noticed in my older models was that after some wear, the midsole (EVA foam) started to look “scrunched” from all the pressure of hiking. The newer model’s addition of the harder Chassis material looks like it will reduce the “scrunching” and keep the midsole in better condition.
I had mentioned toe protection as a pro in my previous review as well and Salomon did not let me down in this model either. The toe is protected with a hard toe cap. This hard toe cap has saved my toes from many bangs and bumps against hard rocks.
The Climashield waterproofing is top notch. During my super snowy hike that I mentioned above, I also ended up dunking my entire foot into a deep cold puddle. My foot remained dry and I just kept on hiking like nothing happened. If that’s not perfect waterproofing then I don’t know what is. I enjoy a good waterproof shoe and have tried GoreTex shoes and Climashield. They both function beautifully. This model does come in GoreTex waterproofing; that shoe is called the XA Pro 3D GTX.
However, if you are hiking in the summer, waterproof shoes can get real hot. Luckily, this model also comes without waterproofing. It is simply called the XA Pro 3D (this pair is also cheaper than the waterproof pair).
Needs Breaking In
As in my previous review, this model, the XA Pro 3D CS WP trail runners, does need to be broken in because the shoe is a bit stiff. If you like the stiffness of a boot, this actually might not be an issue for you. For me, the problem with the stiffness is more prevalent around the ankle. The stiffness at this part of the shoe caused me to have some rubbing/irritation at the ankle and back of the heel.
However, from my experience, continuous wear does loosen the fabric and the stiffness is not longer an issue.
This Salomon model is somewhat like a hybrid between a boot and shoe. The sole is thick, the toe box is thick, and the look is sort of wide and boxy. This is the only issue I have with the style of the XA Pro 3D CS WP Trail Runners. Although I have done many technical hikes with this shoe with zero problems, the shoe does hinder my utilization of small cracks during scrambling/bouldering/climbing.
Yeah, yeah I just talked up the laces in the pros section but you must be aware that these laces are hard to replace if they were to break, making the laces a con as well.
The Ortholite insole really isn’t the best. It does not offer much support for long distance treks. However, I have never had a problem when it comes to week long benders or weekend outings.
Comparison to Previous Models
Here you can see my lovely Salomon shoe collection. Sadly, I no longer have my pair without waterproofing. The magenta pink pair is the newest model. This is just to show the design difference; you can even see a design difference between the two older models as well.
Based on my own experience, I have rated these shoes on a 1-5 scale, 5 being the best rating.
I give the comfort a 4 because of the Ortholite insole and the irritation I experienced around the ankle and heel from the stiffness.
Speed & Efficiency: 4
This shoe is referenced as a trail runner. However, running in this shoe is just too heavy and bulky. However, hiking in the shoe is fabulous. Like I said, I was a faster hiker in slippery, icy terrain because of these shoes. Therefore, I only knocked a point off.
Five for traction is a definite. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the shoe held up in the snow. There was no slipping. I had the confidence to take less careful steps in the ice and snow because of how well the traction worked for me.
With the improved midsole, thick toe box, and amazing grip, I give the durability a great score. I did base the score on my past experience with the previous models. I have no doubt that this pair will take me through hundreds of miles of trail. I did take a half point off because some hikers have had issues with the laces (sigh).
This is NOT a cheap shoe. You are truly paying for the design and function. Suggested retail is $145. However, I have seen discounted pairs online for about $115. I kept the score high because many quality hiking shoes and boots hover around this price AND Salomon’s warranty is great.
OVERALL RATING: 4.4 out of 5
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These are the upgraded version of mine that are so close to death! Thanks for the review =] I do like the waterproof feature. Mine still dry quite quickly even if they do get wet inside. Anyone know if there’s a real difference between the CS and GTX?
I’m glad you liked the review Marietta! Now, I’ve tried the waterproofing with Climashield (CS) and with GoreTex (GTX). To be honest, I really did not experience a difference in quality. They both worked fabulous for more for hundreds of miles and many trips and day hikes. AND, they both lost their effectiveness slightly over time after hundreds of more miles. During my research, I came across some people claiming that CS is warmer or GTX dries faster, etc but I never found a true answer to the difference. In my experience with both, there is no real difference.
Thanks! Maybe I’ll just go with the GTX since that’s what I had before? I’m also excited about the new colors! Much better than the generic light ones from the earlier models
For sure! If it worked for you before then I wouldn’t change a thing! Omg right? I was sooo excited to see more color. 😀
My wife just picked up the exact pair, for the reason that she loves that color combination.
One problem we’re experiencing is the noise, which seems to be coming from the mesh rubbing against the waterproofing membrane. It sounds like you’re constantly stepping on a pile of wrapping paper. Did you experience something similar? If you did, does that noise go away?
Hola Jason, yo tengo el mismo problema.
What Do You Think?