If you are looking for a shoe that can handle muddy trails and water while still being able to drain efficiently, this is the shoe for you.
After hearing many opinions and seeing some of the best runners on the planet wear Salomons, I finally decided to buy a pair and see what hype was about.
I chose the S-Lab XA Amphib first because of the traction and the draining capabilities.
Specifications & Fit
With a weight of 7.6oz or 215 grams, the Amphib is a lightweight shoe that has minimal support and cushioning but still comfortable. I was surprised that the shoe did not require a break in period like most new shoes.
The shoes have a tight entryway when putting your foot inside initially, however once inside, the insole provides a snug fit and prohibits your socks from sliding.
Unlike most shoes, the outer material of the shoe is comprised of a plastic-like “Energy Cell” outsole, which is durable, surprisingly comfortable, and does not feel like plastic.
The grip of the shoe is the same as all S-Lab shoes, being made of the Contragrip lugs, which offer extreme traction on both dry and wet terrain. The heel height is similar to all Salomon S-Lab shoes at a height of 18mm and heel drop of 4mm.
Upper & Lacing System
The Asymmetrical Quicklace system made from durable Kevlar fibers has its very own lace pocket found on tip of the tongue of the shoe.
This pocket is meant to store the shoelaces so they will not become inconvenient.
Durability & Performance
I have ran over 100 miles on trails in my Amphibs and the sole and the Contragrip lugs are still as good as new. Salomon advises runners to avoid using this shoe on the road because it will wear down the tread rather quickly.
The Energy Cell material shoes show no sign of damage after 100+ miles and many races. I primarily use this shoe as a race shoe rather than a training shoe, due to its expensive price and sole sturdiness.
This is my go-to shoe when I compete in obstacle races and low mileage trail runs that I know that will have muddy conditions. However, I cannot detest to how this shoe would perform in snow.
The grip, ability to drain water, and light weight are the best features of this shoe. The toe box is spacious enough to provide ample room for my toes, while still maintaining minimal yet sufficient cushioning.
The ventilation is excellent and is probably the best I have ever experienced in any shoe.
- Superior ventilation
- Simple lacing system
- Exceptional grip
- Drains water efficiently
- Expensive price
- Not suitable for training
- Minimal cushioning
I have never found a shoe that is more suitable for racing in wet and muddy conditions than the Salomon S-Lab XA Amphib. The Contragrips lugs are excellent for gripping slippery terrain.
The shoe runs true to size and the quick lace system offers a secure fit that will not loosen during use. The cushioning and support of the shoe is minimal but still offers decent comfort and impressive durability.
The cost is the main drawback, but I would say the shoe's performance makes up for the price tag.
Overall, this is an excellent shoe and is worth the price if you compete in obstacle racing or trail runs with wet conditions.
Good to know
- The Salomon S-Lab XA Amphib is a versatile running shoe specially designed for swim-run activities. On dry ground, the shoe offers adequate support and protection for efficient, long-distance runs. In wet conditions, it provides fantastic traction and ventilation.
- This shoe can navigate both torso-deep river crossings and steep uphill trails. The Premium Wet Traction Contagrip lugs enable a powerful and effortless grip on wet and watery surfaces.
- The open mesh is excellent in maintaining optimal ventilation even in wet conditions, while the draining windows efficiently drain water and moisture. It allows the foot to keep a steady stride, even on wet rocks.
- An all-new material called EnergyCell+ is featured in the midsole and provides a snug fit, resulting in a high-energy rebound.
The XA Amphib is a neutral shoe that fits runners with a medium-to-low volume of the foot. While it fits true to size, the toe box height runs relatively small as it aims for a precise fit and encourages a relaxed wearing sans socks, so it’s not recommended for wearers who prefer a wide shoe.
Being a unisex shoe, the width profile available is D – Medium for men, while the women’s equivalent of it is D – Wide.
Made of a durable rubber compound, the outsole covers the platform of the shoe and prevents abrasive trails from damaging the underside of the shoe.
Just like in the popular Salomon Sense Ride 2, this shoe features the Premium Wet Traction Contagrip, an outsole that delivers non-slip, highly-rugged traction on a variety of terrain, either wet or dry. This enables the wearer to focus on running without the distraction of wet ground.
The XA Amphib’s massive lugs are made deep and tough, which help get a grip and shed mud when exiting mud trails, enhancing climbing mechanics and surface control. The lugs are emphasized in the forefoot and heel area to give an emphasized level of traction.
Introducing the EnergyCell+ dual-density compressed EVA, the midsole enables a maintained cushioning and reduced underfoot shock. This high-quality foam provides substantial cushioning and support throughout the running session. It is a platform design that prevents the foot from wobbling laterally or medially.
The OS Tendon System is a running construct acts like a real tendon by flexing to provide stretch and balance during the heel-to-toe transition, thus resulting in a better and easier rebound.
The Profeel Film is the XA Amphib’s midsole frame made of TPU, which provides protection without the loss of ground feel. It supports the foot and roll of the shoe during the first steps.
The integrated sock liner allows the runner to wear the shoe comfortably even without a sock. It’s soft and it adds a bit more cushioning.
Featuring an open rubber mesh, the upper is made breathable and quick-drying, well-suited for wet-to-dry trail encounters as it evacuates both water and humidity. The mesh stays lightweight even when wet and dries fast on the ground.
Throughout the upper are strategically placed draining windows for efficient water drainage, especially when transitioning from swimming to running.
The upper also features Endofit, Salomon’s original internal fit sleeve designed to wrap the foot like a sock, thus improving feedback.
Meanwhile, the Sensifit are the overlays on the upper act as a cradle-like protection for a close, secure fit. This technology carries the foot from the midsole to the laces.
A protective synthetic toe cap keeps the toes safe from bruising while on the trail.
The closure system is an asymmetrical quick lace technology made from durable Kevlar fibers, which enables a one-pull tightening move to ensure the shoe is on and off the foot with little effort. The laces can be tucked in the Lace Pocket to prevent snagging and getting caught while running.