Salomon XR Crossmax CS ReviewMarch 23, 2012
- Comfort—the upper and footbed are as comfortable as a trail running shoe gets
- Responsively firm in forefoot without sacrificing comfort
- High-quality materials
- Warm & Waterproof for winter running
- Excellent for long runs and flat, packed trails
- Below average stability in rocky, off-camber terrain
- Slow turnover & overall speed
- Pull tab laces are difficult to stow or micro-adjust
- Gets very hot in warm weather
- “Contragrip” rubber showed very quick wear & tear on dry terrain
For heel striking runners who are chiefly looking for comfort on mellow trails and very long runs, this is one of the most comfortable trail running shoe we’ve seen—and excellent for cold-season running. It is too high off the ground, too heel-oriented, and too heavy for really quick, agile running in technical terrain.
This is one of the most comfortable shoes we’ve tested—full of padding, with an foot-cradling, Ortholite sock liner, fat tongue and a high cushioned heel.
All the extra padding makes this a little heavy for speedier runners—it’s definitely a slow, cruising, comfort ride.
One thing works for the agility of this shoe—a firm forefoot, which gives you a clear, crisp sense of the trail underfoot. Two things work against it: 1) The heel is quite high, so the shoe feels tippy in off camber terrain, and 2) the laces don’t do a great job of locking this shoe on your foot; unless you have high-volume feet, the fit will likely feel a little sloshy in the rocky stuff. Thicker socks help (after all, this is tailored somewhat to be a winter-ready shoe).
The lugs are not big, but this shoe had good traction on dry terrain. A strip of soft, red rubber (Salomon’s winter specific “Contragrip”) down the middle of the sole showed very quick wear and tear in volcanic rocks, while the stouter black rubber did not. I did not test the shoes in wet or snowy conditions.
Pull-tab laces have their fans and detractors. One of the problems is you can’t really customize the fit of the cross lacing—there is no friction in the lace grommets, so you can’t really cinch the forefoot while leaving the top of the arch looser, or something like that. Overall, that means it’s harder to dial in the perfect fit for different foot shapes, and there’s less security of fit.
In these shoes, in particular, the pull-tab laces have a flaw. The laces themselves cinch down onto the lace pocket, making it hard to tuck the laces where they belong. (If you fail to tuck the laces away in the little pouch at the top of the tongue, it’s a serious tripping hazard. I took one of the worst trail running falls I’ve ever taken in a pair of shoes when I failed to secure the laces and they caught my foot during a fast tempo run).
This is a pricey shoe—but it’s made with premium materials, and has a very high quality construction. You can find shoes that offer similar performance for up to about $30 cheaper, but probably not one this comfortable.