Verdict from 18 experts and 23 user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • Many runners applauded the water-repellent coating of the shoe that works efficiently.
  • The shoe remains breathable and flexible as noted in some reviews.
  • The Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine has a reliable cushioning on the uphill and downhill runs.
  • The Contagrip traction provides reliable grip on varied terrain, even on wet surfaces.
  • A significant number of runners were impressed by the shoe’s quick lacing system that allows easy-on and easy-off in one pull.
  • The shoe is durable as noted in some reviews.
  • Most of those who have tested this running shoe have considered it to be true-to-size.
  • The upper unit was able to keep the foot warm in colder conditions, a reviewer commented.
  • According to consumers, this shoe looked visually endearing.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Many runners were put off by the expensive price of the S-Lab XA Alpine.
  • Some runners found the S-Lab XA Alpine heavy.
  • It felt too narrow for some of those who have tested it.
  • Some consumers weren’t able to acclimate well to the underfoot platform, stating that it was too hard and unwieldy for them.

Bottom line

The Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine is a mountain running shoe. It has been optimized to provide exceptional protection and performance on high-altitude topography. Durable and efficient materials work together in order to make this model a force to be reckoned with.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Good to know

  • The upper unit features anti-debris mesh, which extends upward until it ends up as a high-cut gaiter. The foot enters the shoe after the runner has unzipped the gaiter from its lateral side. Stretchable Lycra fabric serves as the collar, hugging the lower leg snugly during the running session.
  • Dual-density compressed EVA acts as the main mid-sole cushioning unit of the Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine. It delivers a comfortable, responsive and springy ride. The Carbon Chassis provides lateral and medial firmness, which is great when it comes to maximizing the outsole’s traction capability; but it doesn’t sacrifice the flexibility of the platform.
  • The external section of the sole unit features the Premium Wet Traction Contagrip®, which is a rubber material that is highly resistant to abrasion. It also delivers traction on a variety of surface conditions. Dry or wet trails won’t pose a problem to the runner with this as the external tread.

The Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine has a standard running shoe length. The sizing schemes follow the measurements for men, but this shoe has been advertised as a unisex model. It is recommended for women to choose their equivalent from the men’s sizes. The available width is medium. It has a semi-curved shape, which mimics the natural curve of the human foot.

Just like in the popular Salomon Sense Ride 2, this shoe uses the Premium Wet Traction Contagrip® which is a durable rubber compound that covers the platform of the Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine. It prevents the abrasive trails from causing damage to the underside of the shoe.

Multidirectional gripping lugs allow the shoe to hold onto different types of surfaces with ease. They can even clasp wet surfaces, preventing slippage.

The forefoot section has a Climbing Zone, where the rubber compound is slightly thicker and the gripping lugs are slightly more aggressive. This section facilitates better climbing mechanics and surface control, delivering traction whenever it is needed.

The Dual-Density Compressed EVA is a high-quality foam that’s responsible for cushioning the foot throughout the running session. It’s long lasting, so it won’t break down easily. It’s also responsive and springy.

Similar to its recent versiom, the Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine 2, it uses the Carbon Chassis which is a platform design that prevents the foot from wobbling laterally or medially while traversing the topography. It basically keeps the mid-sole firm in that respect. But it doesn’t limit the flexibility of the sole unit itself. Runners can still appreciate natural movement, especially when gearing towards the toe-off.

An anti-debris mesh material serves as the main fabric of the Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine. It’s a strong material that protects the interior from small rocks, dust and other trail debris. It is also breathable.

The upper unit actually has a zip-up gaiter design, which extends to the lower leg. The runner can just manipulate the zipper in order to easily put on or remove the shoe.

Lycra fabric is used for the collar. This stretchable material basically secures the upper and locks down the interior foot-chamber, preventing any dirt or debris from entering.

The internal sleeve features the Endofit™, which hugs the foot in a glove-like manner. It doesn’t move against the skin, thus staving off skin irritation.

The interior wall also features a water-resistant textile, which prevents mild water infiltration. It’s effective against humid conditions and puddles.


How Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 43% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Bottom 25% Salomon running shoes
All Salomon running shoes
Bottom 45% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.