Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX review and lab test

HEAVY-DUTY!!

 

This shoe is burly. Its construction is built to withstand anything you can throw at it. With a thick rubber toe bumper and suede overlays, rocks and debris pose no threat to the XA Pro 3D. 

This shoe is sold as a trail running shoe, but ultimately I see this more as a light hiker. It’s a bit heavy and stiff compared to other more modern trail runners. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Pieces.jpg

But, if you’re racing up summits and bounding down scree fields, this shoe does offer something a lot of trail runners don’t. 

Who should buy the Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX

But the Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX if you are looking for a burly off-trail or technical trail shoe, or a light hiker to move fast in. 

It’s ideal for trail enthusiasts who need a bit more support and stability in their trail shoes as well. 

Who should not buy it 

Don buy this shoe if

  • You want a true trail running shoe. Check out the Salomon Sense Ride 4 instead. 
  • You are looking for a super plush, soft-riding trail shoe for long comfortable days out on the trail. Look at the Salomon Ultra Glide.
  • You want a race-ready trail shoe. The Salomon S-Lab line has plenty of race day options. 
  • You want a modern tech shoe. Other than colors, this shoe has not really been updated in the past few years. On one hand don’t fix what’s not broken, but on the other, there is newer and lighter technology out there for those looking for a true trail running shoe. 

Runs a touch narrow in the midfoot 

As most Salomons, these run a bit narrow in the midfoot, but the toe box is a light bit roomier once you finally get the shoe on. For wider footed runners though, the shoe can be a struggle to get on. 

The toebox measured 102.9mm, compared to the average shoe at 98.4mm, however from there back the shoe narrows, and the heel is actually under the average shoe (75.4mm) at just 74.5mm. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Width.jpg

Salomon does offer these in a wide version as well but unfortunately, you’ll have to go sans GORE-TEX to get these in 2E widths.

Otherwise, these fit true to size, and I didn’t really have any heel slipping thanks to the distributed lacing system and Salomon’s wonderful speed lacing system.  

Comfort Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX

I didn’t find these shoes to be overly comfortable by any means. First off, they run a bit narrow on my wide feet, but also, these are really stiff shoes. 

The XA Pro 3D is built on a dual-density EVA platform which does provide a bit of underfoot cushioning but it’s mostly focused on reducing or controlling overpronation with its firmer foam. 

Motion-control shoes usually come with a sacrifice of a lack of softness, These are not a Hoka Stinson style HD trail bruiser!

One nice addition though is the OrthoLite insole which adds a touch of padding over your typical generic running insole. Most people may swap out their insoles, but this one is decent enough to leave it be. 

XA Pro 3D GTX runs stiff 

The ride on the Salomon XA Pro 3D is stiff… It’s really more like a hiking shoe than a trail runner. 

It measured in at 41.5N on our flex test, which is not a ton stiffer than average shoes (38.8N) but all that flex is in the toe, the midfoot of the shoe really doesn’t flex at all, making the gait on this shoe more ideal for hiking than running.

It has a 14.9mm drop as well, which is really more in the hiking shoe/boot realm and not all that ideal for trail running.  

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Cutaway.jpg

There’s not a lot of ground feel either, which is a nice feature for trail running shoes that I personally look for. 

I think these would be fine for speed hiking, day hiking, light backpacking, and the occasional summit run or short trail run, but they are just too stiff and heavy for a dedicated long trail run or any run where light and nimble was of any importance.

Adaptation period

Everything about this shoe is stiff. It needs to be broken in overtime. Be sure to allow for ample use before any races or big trips in these shoes. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Side.jpg

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX is HEAVY

At 13.1 ounces (372g) this is really a heavy trail running shoe. Too heavy in my opinion. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Weight.jpg

This is more of a quick hiker or hybrid shoe than a true trail runner. 

Outstanding durability

Together with the anti-debris features on the mesh upper and the gusseted tongue the shoe has zero problems preventing debris from entering the shoe while running. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Upper Toe.jpg

There’s a thick rubber toe bumper as well to protect from sharp rocks. The shoe is heavy duty and should last. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Outsole Heel.jpg

The 5.8mm thick outsole is hard too, at 86HA (average running shoe outsoles are 80.5HA) it should wear slowly. But again, this is more of a hiking outsole than a running one. 

The grip on the XA Pro 3D

The Contagrip outsole shines on varied surfaces but does struggle a bit in really wet or muddy conditions. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Outsole.jpg

It features 2.8mm lugs which really are just moderately aggressive compared to other Salomon trail shoes. Again, a sign that this shoe is more for slower-paced hiking than fast-paced technical running.

Breathability isn’t great

This is a waterproof shoe with a full GORE-TEX membrane, which is great if you need waterproof shoes, but it’s a breathability killer. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Logo.jpg

I’d personally rather go for the non-waterproof version of these shoes, and just deal with wet feet on wet runs, which are rare here in Colorado. 

Also, non-membrane shoes tend to dry out faster, and as a low-cut shoe, it’s really only waterproof up to a few inches so you’ll still be getting wet on stream crossings and on any seriously wet adventures. 

Reflective features

A nice touch is Salomon did design these with a few reflective elements on the sides of these shoes so you can be somewhat visible after dark. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Reflective.jpg

Salomon speed lacing on the XA Pro 3D GTX

These have Salomon’s asymmetrical quick lacing system which I love! I think this is the best lacing system on the market. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Lacing.jpg

It’s easy, quick, doesn’t absorb water, and makes entry and exit simple. 

I also like the mesh pocket for the lace toggle so the excess lace doesn’t bounce around or get caught on anything mid-adventure. 

Value or not? 

At $150 the Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX are a bit pricy for a running shoe that’s this heavy and stiff, but for a day hiker with a GORE-TEX membrane, I think these are actually a good value. 

Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX Front Angle.jpg

They offer great support, an easy lacing system, a grippy outsole, and features that are nice like reflective elements and added durability. 

Recommending these really depends on what you’re using them for, but as an all-around trail shoe that can do a little of everything, I think they are worth a look. 

Complete lab-specs overview 

  XA Pro 3D GTX Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g) 372 266
Drop (mm) 14.9 8.5
Flexibility of the shoe (N) 41.5 38.8
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 56.1 50.0
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 35.2 35.5
Lace slip test with the knot (N) N/A 24.6
Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 3 3.2
Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 5 3.4
Upper
Thickness - Tongue (mm) 15.7 5.5
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 102.9 98.4
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 74.5 75.4
Lace Stretch (1-5 scale, 5 being the most stretchy) 1 2.8
Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 5 3.1
Tongue: gusset type Both sides (full) -
Heel: pull tab Finger Loop -
Midsole
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 104.0 112.2
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 83.0 89.2
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 19.3 24.5
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 34.2 33.0
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 36.0 22.8
Outsole
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 5.8 3.5
Lugs Depth (mm) 2.8 3.0
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 86.0 80.5
Insole
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 7.0 4.3
Insole: removable Yes  

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Trail
Weight: Men 14.3oz / Women 12.5oz
Drop: 12mm
Arch support: Stability
Base model: Salomon XA Pro 3D
Update: Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 GTX
Forefoot height: 15mm

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Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.