Salomon XR Crossmax
Salomon, in my opinion, is a leader in manufacturing shoes that are meant for off road. As opposed to the “big brand” shoe companies who tend to develop their trail shoes based on their road shoe platform, Salomon starts from the dirt up. I’ve been wearing Salomon trail shoes for a few years now, and have owned several different pairs ranging from the XT Wings to the more aggressive Speedcross shoe and thanks to the Running Free Team lottery – I was able to get a pair of their newest Training model the XR Crossmax.
The Crossmax is advertised as a high mileage shoe that will manage everything from asphalt to gravel and some light trails, but over the year I pretty well threw everything at it (including some aggressive trails) and they held up rather nicely. Right off the get go, I noticed that the lower part of the sole of this model appeared to be beefier than that of
its brother shoes in the XT line. Once I flipped the shoe over I also noticed they have added a Tendon like component to the mid-sole of the shoe, upon researching this it is to improve overall efficiency with your heel to toe transition. If you’ve ever owned a pair of Salomon shoes then you’ve likely read the term “Contragrip” as it’s written on most of their lines. I finally looked it up and it’s actually referring to the outsole of the shoe which is a mix of hard and soft compound rubbers that in a nutshell, do all the right things at the right time. With a grip aggressive enough to handle most trails of a less severe nature, but yet not a hindrance on the flat stuff; the balance in this shoe seems just right and ensures the right grip on virtually any surface or terrain.
As far as comfort goes, you certainly get the same great Salomon feel that I’m used to. I used these shoes for shorter races as well as the Dirty Girl 30 kilometer trail run (the farthest I’ve run to date), and I’ve had no blisters whatsoever which is unusual for a heavier guy. These shoes come with the traditional lacing system that you see standard amongst most of Salomon’s trail shoes, as well as the “lace garage” to keep them from flying all over the place during your stride. There’s also a new sensiFLEX rubber compound on the upper that forms to the foot quite nicely and protects the shoe from tears you commonly get while skidding across rocks.
The Salomon XR Crossmax comes in two different versions, the Neutral and the Guidance. The neutral offers no extra stability control where the Guidance model has a control/stability post for the runners that need it.
Of all my Salomon shoes, I still prefer the XT Wings over anything else… but the XR Crossmax ranks right up there as being my favorite. If you’re in the market for a “Do Everything” walking or running shoe, I’d highly recommend the Salomon XR Crossmax – it will not only get you to the trail quickly, but it’ll take on whatever trails you have the energy to tackle.