Facts

Terrain

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Arch support

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who need arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

Price
$250
Weight
Men: 12.3oz
Women: 12.3oz
Show more facts

Road

Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

Trail

Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

Good to know

As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

Neutral / cushion / high arch

Shoes for runners who does not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

Stability / overpronation / normal arch

Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.

Motion control / severe overproanation / flat feet

Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

Good to know

- Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
- More about arch support in this video.
- Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

Daily running

Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

Competition

Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

Good to know

If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

Summary

We spent 8.7 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

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.


Rankings


Ratings

4.8 / 5 based on 6 ratings

5 star
83%
4 star
17%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%

My Rating

Expert Reviews

Experts are running shoe geeks, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

85 / 100 based on 16 expert reviews

  • 84 / 100 by Trail & Kale • Trail & Kale • Level 1 expert

    Salomon XA Alpine. Okay. This shoe's pretty damn cool.

  • 82 / 100 by Road Trail Run • Sam Winebaum • Level 5 expert

    Pick it up, flex it, etc... and it feels like a decently light running shoe but one that can also clearly climb, including with compatible crampons. 

  • 94 / 100 by Road Trail Run • Jeff Valliere • Level 4 expert

    For longer, faster days in the mountains, in varied conditions where one may encounter anything mountainous environments have to offer, this shoe is the ideal pick, with the utmost in protection, performance, quality, durability, traction, control and stability.

  • 91 / 100 by Road Trail Run • Jeff Valliere • Level 4 expert

    This could easily be tied for #1 depending on which day I answer this question.  Innovative, extremely competent all mountain shoe for the widest range of conditions and footing you might find in the high mountains.

  • 87 / 100 by iRunFar • Bryon Powell • Level 4 expert

    Ok, there are niche products and then there’s Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine. Quite simply, it’s designed for blazing the boundary of trail running and mountaineering. To start, there’s a fully integrated gaiter (with a nice angled side zip) that’s heavily reinforced on its lower extents with a medial ankle guard for added protection. 

  • 84 / 100 by It's All About the Vertical • Robert • Level 3 expert

    The performance is excellent on rocky and more technical trail terrain, dry or wet and is outstanding on off-piste scree, rocky steep ridges, boulder fields, and snow fields, once again dry or wet. 

  • 83 / 100 by Men's Running • Men's Running • Level 3 expert

    Even with a slightly firmer than normal S-Lab minimalist fit, a reinforced outer and a super grippy ‘wet traction’ sole, the shoe remains incredibly light considering its “valley floor to mountain top” functionality. Not an everyday gutty but awesome for Kilian-esque adventures and wet wintry trails.

  • 83 / 100 by Real Runner Reviews • Brian Goldman • Level 3 expert

    It can handle running on and off trails as well as on some very rocky areas.  The XA Alpine shoes felt lighter than they really are (350 grams or 12 ounces) and provide plenty of protection. 

  • 80 / 100 by Gear Junkie • Gear Junkie • Level 2 expert

    The integrated gaiter is breathable. Throw a pair of crampons on these bad boys to take you even higher.

  • 85 / 100 by Mpora • Mpora Staff • Level 1 expert

    These are not your shoes for jaunts around your local woods but for serious high altitude mountain running where you’ll possibly be above the snowline, enduring everything that a winter mountain marathon can throw at you.

  • 85 / 100 by Mpora • Mpora • Level 1 expert

    These are not your shoes for jaunts around your local woods but for serious high altitude mountain running where you’ll possibly be above the snowline, enduring everything that a winter mountain marathon can throw at you.

  • 82 / 100 by Amer Sports • Amer Sports • Level 1 expert

    Thanks to the high-quality, high-performance and breathable material – without disturbing contact surface – running in high altitudes turns into a safe and enjoyable activity.

  • 80 / 100 by Trail & Kale • Helen Dixon • Level 1 expert

    These are shoes designed for moving in the mountains, in the high alpine, where routes are steep, the rocks can be loose, slick and technical, and the weather unpredictable. 

  • 80 / 100 by Backcountry Magazine • Lance Riek • Level 1 expert

    The Wet Traction Contagrip outsole performed as billed—it impressed me by how well it stuck to slimy, damp rocks near small stream and spring crossings along the trail. 

  • 80 / 100 by T3 The Gadget Website • Kieran Alger • Level 1 expert

    A more expensive shoe, sure, but one that justifies the price jump with some serious tech leaps.

  • 70 / 100 by Project Ultra • Project Ultra • Level 1 expert

    A lightweight alpine/mountain running boot that offers great features but will not replace your everyday running shoe.

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Updates to Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine

  • 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.

Salomon S-Lab XA Alpine size and fit

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.


Outsole

Premium Wet Traction Contagrip® 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.


Midsole

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.

The Carbon Chassis 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.


Upper

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.