Our verdict

The Salomon XA Pro 3D v9 GTX is a waterproof trail runner that supports, protects, and pampers our feet while keeping them dry through all our outdoor adventures. Thanks to its 3D Chassis and grippy outsole, we enjoyed an extremely stable and surefooted ride while testing this shoe, whether out for a light run or a backpacking journey. While it could use a bit of a diet as a more serious running shoe, we think that its versatility and the comfort we experienced make it worth every penny.

Pros

  • Incredibly protective
  • Extremely stable and supportive
  • Great traction even on wet surfaces
  • Watertight Gore-Tex upper
  • Flexible and forgiving on the foot
  • Makes a great hiking companion
  • Effectively dampens landings
  • Generously padded from heel to tongue
  • No lace bite whatsoever
  • Durable, high-quality construction
  • Simple yet snazzy design

Cons

  • Could be lighter
  • Rather firm cushioning
  • Upper needs breaking in
  • Lacks the agility for technical trails

Audience verdict

83
Good!

Who should buy

We recommend the Salomon XA Pro 3D v9 GTX as a great choice for:

  • Outdoor enthusiasts looking for a versatile shoe that can handle some light jogging or accompany them on their next hike or backpacking adventure
  • Those looking to keep their feet dry with a pair of waterproof shoes as they run or hike the trails
  • Overpronating runners looking for a stable supportive shoe to hit the trails with
  • Trail runners who frequent mixed and rocky terrains and need a shoe with grippy lugs

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX g efg

Who should NOT buy

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX is quite heavy for a trail shoe, making it a little too burdensome for our speedier or longer runs. For those who prefer a lightweight shoe to tear along the trails in, we recommend the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GTX instead. 

With a heel drop of 13.5 mm, the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX might feel a little too steep to suit the stride of forefoot striking runners. The Saucony Peregrine 13 (3.9 mm) and the Brooks Catamount 2 (6.4 mm) are alternatives that offer less drastic offsets that are more conducive to forefoot landings. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX fs bfwsd

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's midsole is quite dense and firm which adds to the shoe's stable ride and makes it a good option for backpacking as well as running. However, for those who prefer a more plush and luxurious ride out of their trail shoes, we recommend looking into the Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX or the ASICS Trabuco Max 2 as more pillowy alternatives. 

Breathability

As expected, the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX doesn't let a wisp of smoke filter through its watertight upper. This leads us to give it a predictable 1 out of 5 for breathability. While this confirms the impermeability of the shoe's upper, it also means that the shoe traps heat and feels rather toasty when we tested it on a warm day. 

To further illuminate the insular nature of the upper, we backlit a cross-section of the shoe and found that it completely eclipses the light source. This clearly shoes that neither air nor water have any avenues to make their way into the shoe. 

Our microscope shot of the unreinforced Gore-Tex at the toebox shows that it's made of an incredibly dense network of waterproof fibres braided in a compact and uniform pattern. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Breathability

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Breathability

However, it's important to note that if water does get into the shoe through the top, the Gore-Tex membrane will keep it from draining out. As such, we don't recommend gambling on the depth of a murky puddle or splashing through riverbeds in this shoe. If getting the goot submerged in water is a possibility, we recommend looking into the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX; a lightweight hiking boot with a trail shoe-esque ride that keeps our feet dry no matter what. 

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 1
Average 3.3
Compared to 78 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

In the first of our series of durability tests, we fired up our Dremel to 5K RPM and set it against the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's toebox with 3.2N of force. 

After four seconds of grinding, we found that the tool only managed to smooth out the criss-cross pattern on the rubber; leaving a mere scuff in its wake and leaving the toebox material below completely unscathed. This earns the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX a perfect 5 out of 5 for toebox durability and means that we need not fear stubbed toes or significant damage to the toebox while braving the elements in this shoe.

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Toebox durability
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 5
Average 3
Compared to 58 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The heel collar proved to be a lot less tank-like in its constitution as our Dremel was able to make quick work of the lining and roughed up the soft padding within. 

This earns the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX a heel padding durability score of 2 out of 5 as there was still some material left behind within the crater left behind in the aftermath of the four-second test. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Heel padding durability
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 2
Average 2.8
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's Contragrip outsole gives us a durometer reading of 83.5 HC. This is about as hard as our current lab average and usually denotes a good mix of grip and durability, the latter of which will be put to the test in the next section. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Outsole hardness
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 83.6 HC
Average 85.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

For the final appearance of our Dremel, we fired it up to 10K RPM and set it against one of the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's outsole lugs. 

Using a tyre tread gauge to measure the damage after twenty-two seconds of grinding, we found that we had lopped off 0.8 mm of rubber from the outsole. This falls in line with our current lab average and leads us to predict that the shoe should comfortably last 400 miles before developing any significant signs of wear and tear to the outsole. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Outsole durability
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 0.8 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 51 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's outsole is about as thick as the average trail shoe's at 3 mm thick. This gives us a healthy amount of rubber above the lugs to keep our feet protected from underfoot hazards as well as adding to the longevity of the shoe. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Outsole thickness
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 3.0 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

Weighing in at 12.7 oz (359g), the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX is certainly a heavyweight among trail shoes. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Weight

This added heft wasn't an issue during our easy runs or even while hiking in the shoe, though it did feel much more burdensome towards the end of our longer runs as achy legs and fatigue set in. It also makes the shoe a less-than-ideal choice for speedy runs. The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GTX is a much lighter waterproof option that we found to be much more conducive to faster or longer efforts.

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 12.66 oz (359g)
Average 10.34 oz (293g)
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's heel stack falls in line with our current lab average at 33.5 mm thick according to our calliper measurements. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Heel stack

Having this much foam underfoot elevates our heel from any harsh obstacles underfoot and ensures that we're well protected from impact during landings. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Heel stack
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 33.5 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

Moving up to the forefoot, the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's stack is shorter than average at only 20 mm thick. Having such a low profile at the forefoot gives us a natural and intuitive sense of the ground which greatly factors into the stability of the shoe. We found this to be very beneficial not just while running, but when taking this shoe out for hikes or backpacking adventures. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Forefoot stack

On the other hand, it does mean that forefoot striking runners have much less protective foam underfoot in this shoe. This shouldn't be an issue when it comes to easy runs over short to moderate distances but will feel lacking when pushing the mile markers beyond 15K. For a shoe that boasts a higher forefoot stack, we recommend checking out the Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Forefoot stack
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 20.0 mm
Average 24.4 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

While advertised as having an 11 mm drop, the difference in our stack measurements leaves the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX with an actual offset of 13.5 mm. This still puts it in the category of high-drop shoes which is beneficial for heel strikers and those with lower leg or Achilles tendon issues as it promotes smooth heel-to-toe transitions and shifts the load to our hips and knees. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Drop

Forefoot strikers, however, may find this a little too steep to suit their running gait. For those runners, we recommend checking out the Saucony Peregrine 13 with its 3.9 mm drop instead. 

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 13.5 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 100 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

At 5.5 mm thick according to our calliper measurements, the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's insole is slightly thicker than our current lab average. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Insole thickness

This not only provides us with good arch support during our test runs but gives us a nice and cushy footbed to sink into within the shoe that complements the midsole cushioning. 

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 5.5 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX feels rather brick-like underfoot, an opinion that we confirmed with our durometer which gave us a decidedly firm reading of 32.5 when we pressed it against the midsole. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Midsole softness hhb

As such, the midsole doesn't compress very much under our weight but does effectively dampen the impact of our landings and has a relatively responsive rebound. However, the cushioning is far from pillowy or springy like what we find with the ASICS Trabuco Max 2.

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 32.5 HA
Average 23.0 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 77 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.1 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

to measure the effect of cold conditions on the midsole foam, we placed the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX in the freezer. Once sufficiently chilled after twenty minutes, we pressed our durometer against the foam once more and found that it only became 12.8% firmer. This is a much more consistent performance than average and means that, albeit firm, the shoe's cushioning will feel the same all year round. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 12.8%
Average 26.8%
Compared to 77 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

We were amazed at how well-planted and stable the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX felt during our test runs. This is thanks in part to the firm midsole that our feet don't sink into and the low forefoot that keeps us feeling nice and grounded as we go. However, the shoe has a few more stability tricks up its sleeve that we'll explore in the next sections. 

Torsional rigidity

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX makes use of the brand's 3D chassis technology in the form of a rigid, U-shaped piece of TPU embedded between the midsole and the outsole. This serves to give the shoe a high level of torsional rigidity that we scored a 5 out of 5 on our subjective scale as we were barely able to get the shoe to budge as bent and twisted in our manual assessment. 

As such, the shoe resists any lateral rolling or twisting of our foot throughout our stride and, in that way, maintains a level base that facilitates stable landings even when we traverse uneven terrains. This also makes the shoe a supportive choice for those with overpronating strides as it helps promote a more neutral stride. 

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 5
Average 3.5
Compared to 95 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter is also quite rigid, earning a score of 4 out of 5 on our subjective scale. This provides us with a secure rearfoot lockdown that feels secure as well as comfy as it allows for some natural lateral movements of our heel without squeezing the life out of our tendons. 

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 93 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Using our calliper, we measured the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's midsole to be 111.1 mm wide at the forefoot putting it right on par with our current lab average. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Midsole width in the forefoot

This gives us enough of a base underfoot to ensure stable landings during our test runs without the shoe feeling too blocky as we snake our way around corners and obstacles. 

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 111.1 mm
Average 111.9 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Back at the heel, the midsole is considerably narrower than average at only 82.2 mm wide according to our calliper measurements. However, with the midsole being so firm, we don't expect this to feel too precarious for heel-striking runners as the shoe isn't wobbly by any means.

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Midsole width in the heel

 For heel strikers more accustomed to a wider landing platform, we recommend the Hoka Challenger 7 with its robust heel as a more suitable alternative. 

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 82.2 mm
Average 89.6 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

With 24.7N of force needed to bend the shoe 90 degrees after securing it to our workbench, the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX is more flexible than the average trail shoe. This is thanks to the shape and positioning of the 3D chassis within the shoe which, as previously demonstrated, gives it a high level of torsional rigidity while still allowing it to bend relatively freely. 

As such, the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX is able to bend along with the flexion of our foot rather naturally, giving the shoe a comfy and forgiving ride that still feels adequately supportive for ascending and descending hills. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Stiffness
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 24.7N
Average 28.4N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Difference in stiffness in cold

While its midsole performs quite favorably in the cold, the flexibility of the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX isn't nearly as consistent. Becoming 48.5% more stiff, the shoe will fee notably less forgiving on the foot during frigid winter runs. 

Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 48.5%
Average 35.3%
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
102%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

At 2.8 mm thick according to our calliper measurements, the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's lugs are a little shy of our current lab average. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX

However, their pattern along the outsole combined with their grippy nature means that we enjoyed good grip and traction over various terrains while testing this shoe. Only muddy and very slick surfaces seemed to be able to get the better of the shoe. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Lug depth
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 2.8 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Using our caliper, we measured the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's toebox to be 101.2 mm wide at its widest point. This is wider than our current lab average which means that the shoe will provide a roomy fit for those with narrow to normal-width feet. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 101.2 mm
Average 98.7 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Up at the big toe, the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's toebox tapers quite significantly to only 75.7 mm wide, making it narrower than our current lab average.

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX

This doesn't give us much room for natural toe splay which can lead to developing hotspots and/or blisters over time, especially for those with broad feet. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 75.7 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 63 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX doesn't feature a typical gusset that attaches the tongue to the shoe but instead has a layer of mesh between the laces and tongue. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Tongue: gusset type

This acts as an external gusset that keeps bits of grit and debris we kick up from entering the shoe as we run. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Tongue: gusset type
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX None

Comfort

Tongue padding

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's tongue is incredibly chunky at 10.3 mm thick according to our calliper measurements. This is much thicker than average which, along with the nifty lacing system, means that lace bite was the least of our concerns while testing this shoe. This also helps us achieve a secure and extremely comfy midfoot lockdown.

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Tongue padding
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX 10.3 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

The're a snazzy strap at the heel of the XA Pro 3D v9 GTX that not only looks cool but also makes it a little easier for us to slide the shoe on. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Heel tab
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX Finger loop

Removable insole

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX's insole is fully removable so replacing it with an aftermarket one or a custom orthotic is possible if necessary. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Removable insole
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

The XA Pro 3D v9 GTX doesn't feature any reflective elements throughout the shoe, so we don't recommend running or hiking along dimly lit roads at night without using additional high-vis gear. 

Salomon Xa Pro 3D v9 GTX Reflective elements
Test results
XA Pro 3D v9 GTX No