Salomon’s running history began in 2001 when it released its Raid Race trail shoe. Due to a combination of robust construction, comfort, and fit, it was a forward-thinking design for the time, and it brought some of the best features of hiking boots into a running shoe. Since then, Salomon has continued to expand and earn the trust of pro and amateur trail runners alike, and the company now boasts a deep roster of shoes for all kinds of off-road adventures.
The right shoe for: Setting a new trail race PR
We named the S/Lab Ultra as one of the best trail shoes of 2018, and it’s a top-shelf shoe designed for pro ultrarunners. The midsole is comprised of Salomon’s high-rebound EnergyCell+ cushioning material, and it delivers excellent energy return and durability over high mileage. An internal sleeve in the upper hugs the foot for a secure fit, and in the latest version, the outsole comes with an area of sticky rubber under the arch for superior grip on hard surfaces and rocks
The right shoe for: Runners who want a stable ride in an everyday trainer
The Predict RA is part of a Salomon’s new road line, and this shoe in particular brings some impressive technology to the asphalt. It provides a stable ride without any traditional stability features — a medial post or different density foams — because of a midsole with 10 firm outsole pillars that follow the major joints in the foot. The fit of the shoe is equally impressive, with one tester saying, “The toe box is roomy and the heel cup keeps your foot very secure. The sock-like lining around the ankle also added to that feeling.”
The right shoe for: Ultrarunners who want a shoe to conquer all conditions
The Ultra Pro is based on the S/Lab Ultra above, but it offers more cushioning and makes a better pick for non-elite athletes. Despite the added cushioning (which comes in the form of a durable polypropylene insert), the Ultra Pro is not a plush shoe. It has just enough cushion to keep you comfortable over uncertain terrain and longer distances, but it’s firm enough to give you good ground feel. Like the S/Lab Ultra, the Contagrip outsole and deep lugs on this shoe provide great traction, and it’s a solid choice for a go-anywhere trail shoe.
The right shoe for: Tackling all kinds of trails with extra support underfoot
Salomon’s top-selling trail shoe, the XA Pro 3D is a direct descendant of the XA Pro first released in 2002, and it can handle nearly any surface you’ll encounter outside. Designed for stability, it’s a hefty shoe (about 13.4 oz for men’s and 11.6 oz for women’s) that’s geared toward heel strikers due to its high drop (11mm). The shoe also uses Salomon’s 3D Advanced chassis in the midsole to provide extra stability and responsiveness. A wet traction Contagrip outsole gives you sure footing across all kinds of terrain, both wet and dry.
The right shoe for: Ripping through the mud (and maybe impressing your fashionista friends)
The Speedcross has attracted interest from the fashion world, but don’t let that fool you: This shoe is built to keep you going through mud and more, and it has been a central part of Salomon’s trail lineup since its release in 2006. Its deep, widely-spaced lugs are designed to claw into soft and mucky terrain, the Quicklace system makes it easy to dial in the fit exactly how you want it, and a wet traction Contagrip outsole provides superior traction on slippery surfaces.
The right shoe for: Racing over various terrain
This shoe blends a road-racing-flat feel with trail running technology to create a trail race shoe that’s both aggressive and nimble. It’s lightweight, with a slim 26mm-thick midsole that features a slim piece of EVA, and it’s best suited for light gravel and smooth, flowy trails, with moderately outsole lugs that help you stick to the various terrain.
The right shoe for: All-weather trail running
The original Sense Ride was designed to meet the needs of European pro ultrarunner Kilian Jornet, and the Sense Ride GTX continues from where that shoe started. The Sense line of shoes are designed to promote your natural stride, so the Ride lacks the beefier support features of shoes like the XA Pro 3D. Instead, you get Gore-Tex’s latest waterproof membrane integrated into the upper for superior waterproofing, a Quicklace system for an exact fit, and a lightly cushioned, flexible Vibe midsole that’s built to move with your foot for a natural stride.
The right shoe for: Runners who divvy up their miles between paved roads and dirt paths
The XA Elevate is the rare shoe that performs well both on the road and off. Salomon’s Quicklace system provides a consistent fit and keeps laces out of the dirt, and this shoe features the company’s Advanced Chassis midsole construction for extra support (although, overpronators might need something more). Like other Salomon shoes, the Elevate has a Contagrip outsole for excellent grab on rough terrain, but the shallower lugs on this model make it comfortable to wear on pavement, too. Topped off with a breathable mesh upper, this shoe can take you anywhere you want to go.
More details: www.runnersworld.com