The Salomon Raid Race shoe has become my do eveything shoe, despite being designed as a trail running shoe with adventure racing needs. Two years ago I bought the predecessor to this shoe and it took me to the top of the Grand Teton, twice! It was my approach shoe, scrambling shoe, trail runner, hanging around town shoe, you name it nothing can stop it shoe. After a couple of design and material changes, the Raid Race was born in 2001.
Now I primarily use the Raid Race as a rugged trail runner but I know that it is completely functional and reliable in just about any adventure I get myself into.
Born from the desire of adventure racers need to have a shoe that would do it all and take abuse in the meantime, the Raid Race was designed with some very specific features and needs in mind. The desingers set out to build a shoe that would fit comfortably, lace up and adjust quickly, incorporate a running shoe build and sole with the durability of a backpacking shoe, be lightweight, prevent rocks and debris from getting in, and breathe so your feet don’t overheat. I think the good folks at Salomon can mark one up for mission accoplished.
The most apparent feature is the quick fit kevlar lace system which allows you to adjust the fit in a split second. The lace will never break and it adjusts easily through a self locking slider. The excess lace stores nicely in the little neoprene garage which is built into the top of the tounge. This lace system comes in handy when you need to tighten your laces and you’re not interested in taking a break to untie and re-tie the laces. Just pull the lace and cinch down the locking slider. Voila! The ergonomic and assymetrical eyelets and lace system are designed to pull the shoe tight in a cross foot angled direction rather than the traditional accross the top of the foot which can bunch the tongue, leave the forefoot loose and cause discomfort. In addition, the lace system seems to snug more of the shoe to the foot while pulling the foot into the deep heel pocket. Its a design which I’ve found gives me the perfect fit weather I’ve got it tight or somewhat loose.
Ever been running and you step on a little pointed rock and you feel it for days to come? I know you’re nodding your head cause if you do any amount of running, particularly trail running, it’s happend to you too. Say good-bye to bruised trail feet. The Raid Race was built using an EVA foam midsole for nice cushioning and reinforced with a polyamide (flexible plastic for us non-engineer types) plate which is sandwiched between the EVA foam midsole and the outsole. This all but eliminates bruised trail feet and adds some torsional rigidity which comes in handy when the terrain gets more rocky and challenging. I put 30-40 trail miles a week on these shoes and I haven’t had my foot bruised once. The outer sole is made of Salomon’s dual compound Contagrip 2 which is basically two kinds of rubber to fit most any natural surface, firm or soft. Another cool feature is the molded heel pocket which is the yellow plastic outer of the heel as seen in the image below. This keeps the heel in place and helps to prevent heel slip. Lastly, the tongue is part of the continuous upper which is key for keeping trail debris out. It’s a rare day I have to stop to get a pebble or twig out of my shoe.
Overall these shoes rule. The Raid Race is the perfect shoe for the all around outdoor adventurer. They are built to last and if you’re looking for one shoe this summer that can do it all, look no further. It retails at $99. .
Some people find these shoes to be a bit much if you are using them primarily as a trail runner. If this describes you, perhaps you’ll like the Salomon Raid Sport or the Vitesse and Leona Divide from Montrail which provide the same functionality and durability as the Raid Race but in a trail running specific built.