Salomon’s new X Alpine Pro shoe is made with high mountain environments in mind, specifically the hard rocks or loose scree of being above the tree line. We tested the shoes in those settings, but also put them through the paces as a regular trail running shoe. We found them slightly firm on smooth trails, but very effective at combining stability and mobility on rocky trails. An ideal application would be for fast, peak-bagging days, when you need to move efficiently through lower forested sections at the base before traversing granite boulders when approaching the summit.
The last of the X Alpine Pro is similar to the company’s Sense Ride series, with a noticeably wider forefoot than the S/Lab series that should accommodate most users. Connection between the midfoot and upper is locked down with Salomon’s Sensi-Fit system, and the Endofit internal sleeve wraps the foot comfortably. The mesh-welded uppers have extensive reinforcement in high wear areas, which maximizes their durability but slightly compromises breathability. Customary Salomon Quicklaces help secure the shoes with a single pull, but we had a hard time tucking the end of the loop into the lace garage, because the top crossing of laces sits almost directly on top of the pocket.
Within the midsole and under the center of the foot, is a firm Advanced Chassis shank that is designed to help take pressure off of the foot when climbing extreme grades or over extended periods. In our testing, we found this helpful in providing support and power transfer while climbing – and because the shank does not extend to the forefoot, it doesn’t create excessive stiffness when running on flat terrain, although there’s still a slightly rigid feel. The 6mm drop platform is a sweet spot for allowing a natural foot strike on level ground but providing heel protection when bombing downhill.
We found grip to be very solid on all surfaces, thanks to the full-coverage Contragrip TA rubber compound with aggressive 4mm lugs that are angled to maximize traction in the rearfoot—especially in the “climbing zone” lugs under the first and second metatarsals that grab the dirt when grinding up steep grades. Grip seemed equally effective in muddy or dry conditions, and the lugs have shown minimal wear in about 100 miles of testing. The only downside to the full-coverage outsole is that all the rubber adds a few ounces to the overall weight of the shoe. However, energy return from the midsole platform helps compensate for that by promoting quick leg turnover, which is particularly helpful when dancing your way through a scree field on the descent after a summit grab.
- Weight: 10.6oz men’s / 9.5oz women’s
- Stack heights: 24mm heel / 18mm forefoot
- Drop: 6mm
- Welded reinforced upper
- Endofoot internal fit sleeve
- SensiFit system wraps foot from midsole platform
- Quicklace system with lace pocket
- Midsole: Energy Cell EVA foam
- Advanced Chassis system between midsole and outsole
- Contragrip TA outsole with angled climbing zone lugging in forefoot
- MSRP $160
The Salomon X Alpine Pro is now available at www.salomon.com and other online retailers.