- Highly stable and supportive
- Great for hiking and backpacking
- Grippy on various surfaces
- Durable construction
- Versatile: trail-to-road
- Lots of foot protection
- Generously padded inside
- Breathable mesh
- Quick and easy lacing
- Stiff and bulky for running
- High heel-to-toe drop
- Top 23% in trail running shoes
The most similar running shoes compared
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Who should buy the Salomon XA Pro 3D V8
The XA Pro 3D V8 is an iconic offering from Salomon. It is likely to fit the bill for you if:
- you want a crossover for trail running, hiking, and backpacking with lighter loads
- you need highly durable and protective footwear for both trail running and hiking
- you have flat feet or other foot conditions that require lots of stability and arch support
- you like the convenience of speed lacing with a toggle
Who should NOT buy the shoe
If you are after a trail shoe that is more running-oriented and lightweight, we think considering the Altra Lone Peak 6 or the Hoka Speedgoat 5 will do you good. These shoes offer a solid amount of protection for tough trails but without the bulk of the XA Pro 3D.
We also believe that these options will be appreciated by runners who find the XA Pro's 10+mm heel-to-toe drop too drastic.
Breathability is a nice surprise in this Salomon
Even though it is not clear at first sight, the mesh upper on the XA Pro 3D V8 is actually an almost see-through type of material. We appreciated the high level of ventilation provided by such a rugged shoe.
Of course, it is still not the kind of shoe you would want to wear in a temperature above 85 F, but it is breathable enough to prevent sweaty feet in moderate climates.
Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 (left), Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX (right)
Pumping smoke through the upper, we assessed the shoe's breathability as 4 out of 5, where 5 is the most breathable. You can also see how large its ventilation pores are in the transparency test below.
Sticks and stones won't break your toes
It's a beefy shoe that almost feels like a tank.
The shoe's reinforced toe bumper has become the star of the show as it made sure we felt nothing when kicking quite a few rocks and roots on the trail.
In addition, the stiff 3D Chassis at the bottom protected our feet from sharp rocks underfoot. It acts almost like a rock plate.
XA Pro 3D V8 doesn't know what ankle twisting is
The stability offered by this shoe is confidence-inspiring. This is attributed to the aforementioned 3D Chassis embedded into the midsole.
On a 1-5 scale where 5 is the stiffest, we ranked this Salomon shoe's torsional flexibility as 5 in our manual flexibility assessment. It is nearly impossible to twist!
When it comes to longitudinal pliability, the shoe is a little bit more forgiving (4 out of 5). However, measuring its resistance to bending, we found that it is still 24% stiffer than running shoes on average.
This is the reason why people with flat feet and overpronation happily choose this Salomon offering for their adventures on the trail.
Expect a firm ride
This shoe might not be considered a proper trail running shoe because of its rigid and firm platform. There are plenty of softer, lighter, and more responsive options on the market that are better for picking up the pace on the trail. Even from Salomon itself, there is the plush and well-cushioned Ultra Glide.
Checking the foam softness with a durometer, we can confirm that the Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 is 27% firmer than the average.
Disclaimer: To make sure that the measurement is accurate, we take it 5 times before noting down the result. The photo above shows the final measurement.
For those planning to take the XA Pro 3D V8 out on a cold day, keep in mind that the cushioning tends to get even firmer and needs a little breaking in. We discovered that the shoe's midsole got 19.3% firmer after being exposed to cold temperatures in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Plenty of support for long efforts
The cushioning may not be soft but it is very protective and there is lots of it.
Measuring the shoe's stack height, it turns out that it is considerably thicker compared to most trail running shoes. The XA Pro 3D V8 is 35 mm in the heel which is 2.2 mm thicker than the average.
Disclaimer: We always include the insole in our stack measurements. In the case of this Salomon shoe, it is very generously padded - 6.7 mm in the heel. For reference, the average for running shoe insoles is 4.6 mm.
The heel drop is too much for a running shoe
This shoe has a noticeably high drop. According to Salomon, the heel-to-toe drop in the XA Pro 3D V8 is 11 mm. We went to the lab to double-check this.
In the forefoot, our caliper's measurement shows 20.4 mm. This leaves us with a whopping 14.6 mm drop! This indeed makes the shoe unsuitable for mid- and forefoot strikers and puts it more into the hiking footwear category where landing on the heel is natural.
Toothy tread for navigating mixed terrain
The grip on this shoe is superb - be it on grass, mud, snow, hard pack trails.
The Contragrip outsole inspires confidence on a variety of terrains. The lugs hit a perfect balance between flatness and aggression which makes the shoe wearable around town as well. According to the brand, the lugs on the XA Pro 3D V8 are 3.5 mm deep.
Based on our measurements of the shoe's treads, they are actually a little shallower - at 2.9 mm. This is a little thinner than the average 3.4 mm for trail running shoes.
Mixed feelings about the fit of the XA Pro 3D V8
The glove-like fit of the stitch-free upper paired with the supportive SensiFit caging system works wonderfully. We felt no sliding inside the shoe and it provided plenty of lateral stability.
The forefoot is 99.2 mm in its widest part based on our caliper's measurement. This is 1.1 mm wider than the average.
Heel counter feels as if it is adding another layer of stability.
Even though we cannot numerically measure how slippery the heel is, we performed a manual assessment of the shoe's heel counter stiffness. On a 1-5 scale where 5 is the stiffest, it receives a solid 5 in our test.
Go true to size in Salomon XA Pro 3D V8
Having measured the internal shoe length from heel to toe, we can confirm that this Salomon shoe runs true to size. We got 260.1 mm in a men's US 8 which corresponds to the US 8 size in the brand's official size chart (260 mm).
To increase your chances of purchasing the correct size online, we recommend measuring your exact foot length and checking it with the chart.
The Quicklace is a revelation
Salomon's proprietary lacing system called the Quicklace continues to be our favorite in the XA Pro 3D V8. Here are the main reasons why we find it so convenient:
- hassle-free fit adjustment, no laces to fiddle with
- quick to adjust on-the-go
- creates an even and consistent fit throughout the foot
In addition, there is a handy lace pocket on the tongue which keeps excess lace cords out of the way.
The only concern is the diagonal lace that goes across the toebox. It rested right over our big toes and put some pressure on that area.
That tongue is a monster!
This is one heavily padded tongue and we loved it for it! In the lab, we proved it - our caliper showed a remarkable 8.7 mm!
Weight is the price to pay
Despite the brand's claim that the V8 is the lightened version of the original XA Pro 3D, it remains one of the heaviest trail shoes on the market. At 340 g per shoe, it is 40 g heavier than trail running shoes on average. It's more like a lightweight hiking shoe.
But if what you expect from the Salomon XA Pro 3D V8 is a durable hiking shoe that is light enough to do some running, then you won't be disappointed.