New in for review is the Salomon XR Crossmax, Salomon's new trail-running shoe, which the French outdoor brand is touting as a 'run anywhere' sort of foot weapon, which will cope with both trail and hard-surfaced road and pavement running.
Door To Trail
At first encounter, it's pretty obvious that the Crossmax is packing significantly more underfoot cushioning than Salomon's pure off-road shoes like the XA Pro or Wings 2. The thinking behind it is that it's a single shoe that you can use 'from door to trail' taking in some pavement, some off-road and then back onto the pavement again.
It's also an untimely reminded to our biking/walking skewed legs that they're supposed to be running the Salomon Kielder Marathon in a month or so's time – terrain where the XR Crossmax should be spot on.
Underfoot there's a Contragrip sole with a mix of hard and sticky rubber for all-round grip plus that blue strip you can see in the images is Salomon's OS Tendon mid-sole, which is claimed to add spring to your stride with a return energy system. There's also a bit of adidas-style detachment going on with the heel block.
It looks pretty cushioned too, not as much as a pure road shoe, but certainly there's a fair chunk of EVA there by trail-running standards at least. Tread is a kind of medium in terms of aggressiveness. It looks like it should be okay on anything short of proper gloop.
Up top, the shoes give a great fit for us, maybe slightly roomier in the forefoot than the XA Pro, but smooth and snug. A lot of the upper's seams are welded, so there aren't any potentially uncomfortable stitched seams to fret about either. The tongue has a neoprene cover and there's a speed-lacing system for quick on-ing and off-ing.
Finally, they're nice and light at pretty much 700g for a pair of size 43s. Living on the edge of Peak, a lot of our running is a mixed-up mess of road to get to the trails, followed by rocky and gritty moorland stuff, maybe with some slabs thrown in and topped off with a bunch more pavement to get back home again, so in theory, these should be spot on and we're looking forward to using them, both on and off road.
As longterm Saucony users, we definitely like a bit of spring from our shoes, so it'll be interesting to see if the OS Tendon gives that – it seems to work well in the Wings Sky boots we've used.
The shoes here are the 'Neutral' version by the way, there's also a 'Guidance variant aimed at those who need an anti-pronation shoe.
Time for a(nother) run then... More details at www.salomon.com. There's also a Salomon video explaining some of the features of the shoe at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB6G_mJsdjI.