Footwear Reviews Gear Reviews

Gear Review: Salomon XA Pro 3D

Salomon XA Pro 3D gear review

Click Here to view a wear report update after 400 miles of use!

My favorite hiking shoe of all time was the first version of the Salomon Crossmax. The shoe fit my feet perfectly, and aside from the subpar outsole, was everything I looked for in a lightweight hiking shoe. I put thousands of miles on a few pairs of the Crossmax during a three year period. In my search to find a replacement when Solomon churned out a terrible Crossmax 2, I tried the XA Pro 3D Ultra. From many blog posts and shoe reviews, it seemed that the 3D Ultra was as close as I was going to get in my search to replace the Crossmax. The overall feel of the shoe was somewhat similar, but it failed for me due to a few key reasons. First, the larger toe guard led to the toe box feeling too narrow and constricting. I’m not on the extreme with this like some, and think shoes like Altras are too sloppy and imprecise to hike in. Salomons are known for having a closer fit than many shoes, but I’ve always enjoyed the precision, these just felt like foot binding. If I went up a 1/2 size or full size the shoe felt sloppy in the heel and my feet would slip. This leads to point two. With the size required for my foot to feel comfortable, I’d have to draw the quicklace and sensifit as tight as it would go, causing the sensifit system to grind my arches raw. My third minor complaint was on the placement of the lace grommets. I don’t quite understand the logic behind placing the two anchor grommets on the same side of the shoe. With this configuration, and having to pull the laces tight to accommodate for the larger size, the fit never felt right for me. Sending those shoes back was one of the harder things I’ve had to do, as I knew I was venturing of into no mans land of shoe selection, leaving the comfort of the Crossmax far behind.


Support Trail to Peak by purchasing the Salomon XA Pro from Amazon at the links below:

Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D | Salomon Women’s XA Pro 3D


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This year, Solomon came out with an update on their classic XA Pro 3D Ultra model. I was excited when I first saw the updates, because they included their new endofit technology. I have a pair of the Salomon Sense Mantras that I really love for trail running, and the endofit in those makes it feel like you’re wearing socks. After starting Tour du Mont Blanc in pair of Inov8s that failed miserably on my downhill walk to Les Chapieux, I picked up a pair of these new XA Pro 3Ds the following day in Courmayeur. I hadn’t planned on getting a pair, but in times of need, I stick to what feels best, and a brand that I’ve had history with. Another great piece of advice I’ve read is to stick with a brand that tests it’s products in a location similar to what you’ll be hiking in. Anyway, the addition of the endofit seemed to solve all of the gripes I had with the older version, and after a quick walk-a-round in the store, set out in a shiny new pair of blue, red, and yellow hikers.

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Here is the breakdown review now that I’ve put a good 150 miles on these in a multitude of conditions.

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Upper:

The majority of the upper on the XA Pro 3D remains unchanged from the 3D Ultra. This is not a lightweight shoe when compared to most trail runners, but compared to hiking shoes and boots, they’re pretty light. The structure is made up of well constructed overlays that Salomon calls SensiFit. I absolutely love this, as it allows me to dial in my ideal fit of a snug heel and midfoot, with a little wiggle room for the toes. The rest of the upper is made from a light breathable mesh. Having walked through days of mud and rain on Tour du Mont Blanc, I can tell you that these dry very quickly. The mesh has seemed a bit porous with the dusty trails here in the San Gabriels, but that’s the price you pay for breathability. The rubber toe cap is quite burly for a trail runner, but fits in quite nicely for a pair of lightweight hikers. The tongue is gusseted and does a good job of keeping out smaller pebbles that can find their way in to shoes. The greatest improvement on this new model is the endofit liner. The endofit is a thin neoprene liner that’s incorporated with the tongue. This means the shoe only has one contact point on your foot from your ankle to your toes, and does a great job at reducing potential friction points. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Salmon kevlar quicklace system, and with these shoes its no different. I wish they would ditch the same-side lace anchor attachment, but that’s just me being picky.

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Midsole:

The midsole of the XA Pro 3D suits my preferences quite nicely. The heel drop is a little higher than I prefer, but the stability of the shoe more than makes up for it. Salomon employs the 3D chassis system on these, keeping the shoe torsionally rigid. This is something I pay no mind to when day hiking with only water and a light layer. With a heavier pack, rockier trails, and day after day of 20+ miles, I need a little more structure to keep my feet and legs from fatiguing too quickly. The XA Pro 3D does this perfectly without feeling to stiff or constricting, with dynamic support in the heel and arch areas. Those that like a cushier ride may find these a bit stiff, but I like the well balanced platform. The 3D Chassis provides ridged rock protection from the heel to the midfoot, and a dual density EVA provides the push through protection in the oval shape on the forefoot not covered by the 3D Chassis. I wish they used something a little more robust as I can feel the rocks after about 20 miles on the trail, but it’s hardly something to complain about.

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Outsole: The newly designed outsole was clearly made for durability. I’ve put close to 150 miles on this pair and they show no sign of wear. This durability is great as most of my shoes blow out around 400 miles of wear, I’m thinking these should get closer to 600. The downside of the harder rubbers used for durability is that these shoes really lack for grip is certain conditions. I wore these for a hike up Half Dome, and really struggled for purchase on the granite section of the cables. It’s an easy sacrifice for me to make though, as most of my weekly hiking doesn’t require Stealth rubber.

In conclusion, this is another great shoe from Salomon. It’s a jack of all trades that doesn’t really specialize in anything, but can be used by just about anyone on any hike. As someone who has grown tired or lighter weight shoes blowing out and having outsoles disintegrate after 3 or 4 hikes, I’ll take a little bit of extra weight for the added durability. I listed three points above for reasons I didn’t like the previous version of this shoe. This new version did a great job of addressing points two and three by greatly improving the interior comfort and fit with the new endofit system. The toe box still feels a bit cramped due to the large toe guard, but this is mostly due to the toe box being low volume and not so much having a narrow last. I have yet to get a hotspot or blister, so that speaks volumes.


Support Trail to Peak by purchasing the Salomon XA Pro from Amazon at the links below:

Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D | Salomon Women’s XA Pro 3D


I'm Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

21 comments on “Gear Review: Salomon XA Pro 3D

  1. Pingback: Gear Review: Salomon XA Pro 3D Mileage Update Wear Report | Trail to Peak

  2. Well written informative article. Can you recommend a hiking shoe (not boot) that addresses pronation of the ankle?

    • Thank you! There are a lot of choices for stable hiking shoes that work with pronation, although pronation can mean a lot of things. My feet don’t pronate naturally, but my arches collapse after many miles with heavier packs, so I like support for hiking, but wear neutral shoes while running. I really like Solomon as they offer a few models with a stiff outsole offering great torsional rigidity, while still allowing for a free hiking stride. I’d go with this model, XA Pro, or check out their XT Wings. Other trail runners like La Sportiva Raptor/Wildcat offer a great stiff sole, but might need a new insole like Superfeet if you need more arch support. I see a lot of people wearing the Merrell Moab and I’ve heard they offer decent support as well, although I’ve never worn them. The two things to look at are arch support, which can be added later, and shanks or posts. Shanks are hard inserts in the outsole which offer stability, while posts are a different (dual/density) foam to keep the foot from rolling inward on each step. Hope this helps!

  3. Pingback: 5 Most Exciting Lightweight Hiking Shoes for 2015 | Trail to Peak

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  10. Thanks for finally talking about >Gear Review: Salomon XA Pro
    3D 8/10 – Trail to Peak <Liked it!

  11. Hi, I am in a dilemma between Salomon Pro Wings 2 and Salomon XA Pro 3D, which would you recommend. They look very similar to me but the XA looks more durable. Thank you! 🙂

    • Hello Aleksandar. I really like the new Wings Pro 2, and they would be my choice. They have better cushioning and are more comfortable in my opinion. The XA Pro 3D hasn’t been updated in a while, but Salomon will be releasing a new version later this year or in early 2017. I’m looking forward to trying that as well.

      • Thank you for the comment, I’ve tried both in the shop, and I was in a rush, because it was a sale and I wanted to buy while they had my size and I’ve taken XA. Yesterday I was hiking in a Saxony Switzerland and the shoes were amazing I also saw a guide that was wearing the same shoes and asked him about his experience and he said they are serving him well. 🙂

      • That’s awesome, Aleksander! I’m glad you picked up the XA. I wore that shoe on Tour du Mont Blanc and the John Muir Trail, and it served me very well. I went through 3 pairs, and they last a very long time as well. Enjoy!

  12. Hi there- I’m so glad i just found your website. So informative looking forward to going through it! I recently bought my first trail/light hiking shoe in the XA Pro 3D GTX version. Do you have any experience/advice with the goretex version or do you usually avoid it?

    I also had the same sizing issues that you had although i am having them with the XA Pro 3D. Regular size feels a bit tight (i usually prefer this secure feeling but people in store advised me to half size up) now feel like i have too much movement in the heels and need to have the laces pulled to their tightest so think i will go back to my regular size. Thanks!

    • Hello JR. The GTX version is nice for snow if you have the high top version or pair them with a nice pair of gaiters. For hiking and backpacking, the GTX will probably cause more problems than they solve. GTX doesn’t breath well, drenching your feet from the inside out. GTX also dries very slowly. So if you immerse your feet in a creek, you’ll have some issues. The final point is that GTX tends to eventually get wet. This is fine for a casual storm, but not so great for prolonged periods of exposure.

  13. Hi Drew, I have since read an article on your site and discovered that i have been sold down a river with the goretex version and will be switching these to the non XA Pros! Cheers, JR, london

  14. weiß nicht, was es bedeutet !!

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