Salomon XA Pro 3D ULTRA Trail Running Shoes Review


Double-tasking can sometimes come back and bite me in the butt. I know full well that I can only focus on one or two things at any given time before my productivity goes down the tubes. So, while the weather has been stuck in “autumn mode” here in Utah, I’ve been forced to focus on different activities other than what’s typical for this time of year.

With that nice Fall weather, I’ve been able to extend my trail running and mountain biking seasons about 6 weeks beyond what’s typical. As a result, the Salomon XA Pro 3D ULTRA trail running shoes saw more trail time than I had anticipated. I’ve found a solid, dedicated trail shoe that’s easy to love. Read on for my thoughts.

About the Salomon XA Pro 3D ULTRA Trail Shoes

Salomon’s trail running lineup is quite extensive. Whether you are a recreational trail runner or a seasoned endurance athlete, there’s bound to be a shoe for you. The XA Pro 3D ULTRA is Salomon’s top-of-the-line shoe for dedicated trail running and endurance athletes looking for stability and performance. It’s built on a platform that’s low to the ground for top-notch trail feel and stability.

With ample mesh for breathability, combined with the super-stable and low-profile 3D chassis, these trail runners are built for the long haul. And, if you run in wet weather, they are also available with GoreTex liners to keep your tootsies dry.

More features of the Salomon XA Pro 3D ULTRA Shoes:

  • Triple-density EVA cushioning
  • Contragrip outsole
  • Salomon asymmetrical Quicklace system
  • 3D Advanced Chassis for stability
  • Ortholite footbeds
  • 14oz. per pair (size 9)
  • $110 MSRP

Salomon XA Pro 3D ULTRA Shoe Review

I’ve been impressed with Salomon’s trail shoes in the past. For the most part, their shoes are consistently top-rated and are well-built for miles and miles of adventure. I’ve had the XA Pro 3D’s at the same time as the XT Wings and a handful of other trail running shoes from Vasque and Oboz. It’s been great having so many shoes around to compare these to.

I expect my trail shoes to be fairly versatile. To me, they should be able to handle occasional road miles, trail running and the occasional hike.  Some trail shoes are clunky on-road and others will struggle if you want to hike in them.  The XA Pro’s are a great mix of road and trail shoes with the occasional ability to slow things down and hike.

One of the best aspects of these shoes is the overall stability. This is due to the low-profile nature of the 3D Chassis, which spreads your weight across a wide and low platform. This chassis also contributes to pronation support and forefoot protection.

Traction is solid on damp, tacky trails as well as loose, rocky trails with minimal rock intrusion into the forefoot. These are much better than the XT Wings in their forefoot protection due to the length of the 3D Chassis and high-density EVA foam cushioning. However, with this lower-profile cushioning, my feet began aching just behind the balls of my feet on extended pavement runs of a mile or more–hence why they are trail runners. So, the level of cushioning, density and profile is good and bad on these, depending on your use and running style. For pure trail running, they were excellent.

I used the XA Pro 3D’s both with SOLE Dean Karnazes orthotics and with the stock Ortholite insoles. With my narrow and flat feet, I can’t typically wear any shoes without orthotics, but the Ortholite insoles cradled my feet and provided more support out-of-the-box than any other trail shoe I’ve worn. That said, a day after extended running with just the Ortholites, my joints were talking back to me, so I’d still stick with orthotics.

Overall fit is very comfortable for a regular-width and volume foot.  The toebox has just the height to allow me to use my ultrathin Lorpen socks. Occasionally, I’d cinch the Quicklace a little too tight, but micro-adjustments are quick and easy to do–much easier than Boa laces.

These are a great race-day shoe for something like the Wasatch 100 or an everyday shoe for those who prefer a low-to-the-trail feel. If you like a little more squish, opt for the Salomon XT Wings.

Good XA Pro 3D

  • Lightweight feel for race day (yes, there are lighter shoes, but these feel svelte on-trail)
  • Low profile provides awesome stability
  • Traction is solid up and down
  • Quicklace system keeps even pressure
  • Excellent toe protection
  • Good pronation support

Bad XA Pro 3D

  • Lacks cushioning for everyday training (for flat footers like me)
  • Proprietary lacing system can be difficult to replace if broken

The Bottom Line on the Salomon XA Pro 3D ULTRA Running Shoes

These are great trail shoes with excellent trail feel and stability. The 3D Chassis alone is a worthy upgrade from the lower models in the XA Pro lineup. I found these shoes to be very stable across all terrain (loose and rocky) and comfortable on long runs. An occasional road run should be OK in these, but for flat-footers like me, the Ortholite footbeds don’t cut it if you pound the pavement much. In that case, your chosen footbeds (Sole, Superfeet or custom) should work just fine.

Buy Now: Find Salomon Trail Running Shoes at REI

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly 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.


  1. Good question. The new 09 Vasque fit is a little wider and taller volume-wise than previous Vasques. That makes them a bit wider in the forefoot than the Salomon’s. Both the XA Pro and XT Wings fit perfectly for a low to medium-volume foot.

  2. Good to see an interesting review…anyone considering these shoes can decide now that these are worth every cent/penny…..I’m on my 3rd pair and these shoes can take a massive hammering, all day, every day. Enough said, buy them….you won’t find better.

  3. I bought these because I was getting into trail running but now I want to do a marathon. Do I need to buy another pair of shoes for doing that kind of distance on the tarmac?

  4. Hi, useful review – just wanted to ask advice on the support in these shoes though. I’ve been told by someone (who was recommended to me for gait analysis and advice) that I’ve got neutral feet and mustn’t go anywhere near structured shoes. Will I be ok with these as they’re technically neutral, or would they possibly be a bad idea? Cheers.

    • If what you mean by “structured” is a posted and supportive shoe specifically for severe overpronators, then these are nothing of the sort. These are a very neutral shoe in their support structure without too much support or mechanical compensation for overpronation.

      • Thanks, that’s good to know. They felt a bit strange at first (I’m new to the idea of running/trail shoes rather than wrecking my normal trainers) with the shape of the arch being more solid than other makes and although I was told that it shouldn’t matter because it’s nowhere near the structuring of shoes for over-pronators I’m glad of the second opinion 🙂

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