Salomon XR Mission CS Trail Running Shoes Review

Salomon XR Mission CS Trail Running Shoes Review

One of the reasons I enjoy road biking so much is because I can begin my ride from my front door. While I’d love to have perfect singletrack right out my front door, alas, I do not. To solve that, Salomon has introduced the door-to-trail XR Mission CS trail runners to turn pavement into a gateway drug, taking you to your singletrack addiction.

Salomon XR Mission CS Features:

  • Climashield membrane provides waterproof breathable protection
  • Sensiflex upper provides support with personalized stretch areas
  • Quicklace system for one-pull lacing
  • OS Tendon structure improves heel-to-toe roll
  • Multi-density EVA midsole for stability/shock absorption
  • Contagrip outsole is designed specifically for both road and trail conditions
  • Neutral support
  • MSRP: $130

Salomon XR Mission CS Review

I’ve been a fan of Salomon trail runners for quite some time, but it’s been awhile since my last pair. The XT Wings 2 is still one of the better trail runners on the market and the XR Mission CS has learned a thing or two from the XT Wings platform. The gist of the XR Mission is to deliver a full-capable trail runner that can also run comfortably on the road. Hence,  “door-to-trail” is born.

While some trail runners are naturally comfortable on the road, others are a bit like driving an off-road Jeep on the Autobahn. It’s odd how they can go from their element to wonky at the flip of a switch. Enter the XR Mission CS. CS stands for Climashield, which is Salomon’s version of waterproof/breathable membrane. You can get the XR Mission for dry weather assaults or XR Mission CS for cold and wet weather adventures.

So, with the XR Mission CS at my disposal, I hit the trails and roads in unpredictable weather just to see how versatile these really are. Since these are trail and road-tuned, I wanted to see just how capable they would be on the dirt. Surely, they would show their limits when pushed hard. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find much that phased them. Rocky and loose all the way to wet and muddy were all meet with solid, predictable traction.

The oversized EVA midsole provides proper stability and cushioning for all trail conditions. I’d daresay these are some of the most stable trail runners I’ve got in the gear closet. But, all that stability does push these towards the numb side on the trail — alas, no shoes are perfect, so that’s a minor trade-off in the overall package.

One of the big features of these shoes is the Climashield (CS) membrane. The toebox and sides feature Salomon’s waterproof/breathable membrane to extend their capabilities. The non-gusseted tongue is on purpose to aid breathability (which works great), but it does mean these shoes do have a wet weather limit. Splashing through puddles and rain or snow is what these are made for.  If your runs take you through river crossings, deeper puddles or heavy rain, then your feet may get wet.

The membrane does its job within the bounds intended. The one thing that is a little odd is there is not DWR treatment on the exterior. Water is quickly soaked up by the outer layer and spread out across the surface, which is unnerving, but Climashield does its job so your feet remain dry.

On the road, these shoes are very capable (as expected). While I’m not going to use them to replace my typical road runners, these can do the job in a pinch. I avoid running on the road, but the few miles I ran were smooth and comfortable.

Rounding these out, I did find one oddity in the toebox. These are high-volume in the forefoot and not necessarily for a wide foot, but moreso in the height. I’m getting about 1/2 inch air gap between my toes and the uppers. With proper cinching of the Quicklace system, everything feels fine on the trails, but when laced loosely, that air gap makes for a disconnected feeling.

Good XR Mission CS

  • Solid traction on the trails and smooth stride on the road
  • Climashield membrane keeps your feet dry and comfortable
  • Breathability remains solid — even in warmer temps
  • Quicklace system is great for on-the-fly adjustments
  • Comfortable cushioning yet still responsive feeling

Bad XR Mission CS

  • Exterior should have DWR treatment for repellency
  • Larger-than-normal air gap in the toebox

Bottom Line: Salomon XR Mission CS

The XR Mission CS is a great option if your trail runs include a bit of asphalt. But don’t let the low-profile outsoles fool you, these have great traction on the trails and the Climashield membrane will ensure you still get out when the trails are soft and splashy.

Buy Now: Available at Backcountry.com

Written By

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground. Follow Jason Mitchell on Google+.