Salomon XT Wings Trail Running Shoes Review


Trail running becomes an addiction to me during the shoulder seasons–Spring and Fall. During the summer, all I can think about is mountain biking. While in singletrack riding mode, the only reasonable use of a trail is on two wheels, not two feet. But, once Fall hits, I’m pre-programmed to switch gears and take things a little slower.

Not only does it slow things down in preparation for skiing, it also burns every last bit of extra fat I’ve failed to drop during the summer months. That way I can at least go into winter at my svelte fighting weight in preparation for the inevitable onslaught of winter poundage. Recently, I’ve been flogging the Salomon XT Wings trail running shoe in what may be the last shoe review of the season. If so, these shoes deliver a pretty worthy sendoff.

About the Salomon XT Wings Trail Runners

Per Salomon, the XT Wings are described as having the “perfectly balanced combination between cushioning and agility”. This is achieved by building the shoe with two integral parts: Agile Chassis (AC) Skeleton and Muscle. Construction is such that this shoe is built with both asphalt and trail in mind–something that’s not always the case with trail runners.

The AC Skeleton is built of structural plastic composite that’s been molded specifically for light weight and stability by controlling fore/aft and side/side movements. This 3/4-length chassis system is built to provide a wide platform for the AC Muscle and outsole. On top of that, it complements the pronation control system to provide excellent support for flat-footers.

The AC Muscle is built to maximize comfort and responsiveness with twice the durability of the average EVA foam.

Capping the solid construction of the XT Wings is the asymmetrical Quicklace system, stylish uppers with a good mix of water-resistant and breathable materials and a Contragrip outsole.

More details of the Salomon XT Wings:

  • Quicklace system for one-pull fit
  • Stability, cushioning and responsiveness provided by AC Skeleton and AC Muscle system
  • Mixture of synthetic and nylon mesh uppers with toe-cap construction
  • Contragrip outsole
  • Weight: 13 oz. (Men’s 9)
  • MSRP: $120

Salomon XT Wings Trail Running Shoes Review

As I’m writing this, Alta Ski Resort is reporting 40-inches of new snow from the latest storm that dropped 4-inches on my lawn. Well, what a great pair of shoes with which to end the Fall running season… lots of positives to bring up, so lets get on with it.

Lets talk about my feet. I’ve got very flat feet, so the AC Skeleton and built-in pronation support is welcome for my feet. Not only is the shoe built with extra stability, but it also has excellent cushioning via the AC Muscle system. In fact, these are by far the most comfortable trail shoes I’ve worn. With many trail shoes, the overbuilt outsole tends to reduce the overall comfort and on-road feel… not so with these.

The built-in Ortholite footbeds offer some of the most comfort and support out-of-the-box of any insoles on the market today. I typically will automatically swap out the insoles for a SOLE footbed, but I kept the Ortholites in while walking around town without problems. On the trail, I swapped them out for a pair of SOLE Dean Karnazes orthotics and found them to just add to the already glove-like fit.

On the trail, these shoes fly while providing a stellar amount of cushioning and stability. You can really feel the shoes staying put with very little lateral motion. The only downside of the AC Muscle is that the forefoot cushioning and relatively-thin Contragrip outsole combine to allow for a little more trail feel than other shoes in this category. A couple of times, sharp rocks were very apparent on the trail.

I also found the outsole to be slightly lacking in uphill traction on dry and loose terrain. Some of the other shoes tested this Fall were better. On downhill sections, however, everything felt just dandy.

A huge bonus with the XT Wings is the stellar on-road performance. As I’ve found, not all trail runners can be comfortable both on and off-road, but the XT Wings are just that. I loved the cushioning provided overall and wouldn’t hesitate pounding the pavement with them.

NOTE: I’m 5’11 and 170 lbs. with pancake-flat, normal-width feet.

Good XT Wings

  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Stable feel–especially for flat-footers like me
  • Torsional rigidity (AC Skeleton)
  • Breathes very well
  • Lightweight feel
  • Lacing system is easy to use
  • Capable on-road performer

Bad XT Wings

  • Forefoot protection isn’t the best… sharp rocks can be too close for comfort
  • Uphill traction leaves something to be desired

The Bottom Line on the Salomon XT Wings

It’s been a few years since I’ve run extensively in a pair of Salomon trail shoes. What a better way to get back into a pair than with the XT Wings. The AC Chassis and Muscle system offers excellent support and cushioning for both on and off-road conditions. In fact, I’d say these are some of the most supportive and comfortable trail shoes on the market. I’ve heard of folks using these for marathons and loving them. The XT Wings are as versatile and comfortable as they come as a do-it-all trail shoe.

Buy Now: Find Salomon XT Wings 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. Thanks for the info.
    I saw these shoes yesterday discounted, so I quickly Googled for a review. And after reading yours, I’m convinced and by a pair this evening after work.

  2. Would you say I could use this shoes for road running only? I run triathlons and I need a shoe with great stability and comfort/support.

    • Hey Carlos… I think you could definitely use these for Tri’s. I recall reading a review by someone who used them for marathons for that reason (stability and cushion). I think you’d be good.

  3. Jason,
    How is the sizing. I normally wear Asics and wear a mens 10.5. I have read some reviews saying Salomons run small and others that say they run big. Most of these i’ll attribute to people not knowing their true shoe size, but it does make me wonder. Thanks.

  4. I felt the size 10 was perfectly-sized. I’m a 10 in most shoes, but sometimes have to bump up to 10.5. The Solly’s are great with thin socks. If you like to wear midweight socks, you could go up one size.

    XT’s are a great shoe… still one of the best trail shoes on the market.

  5. Thanks for the quick response, I just got some of the XTs ($45 They’re a little heavier, but the added protection is well worth the extra weight. In your opinion, what are the top 5 trail runner shoes on the market right now, regardless of price?


  6. Shoes are a hard one to pick because the fit is so personal, but here are my personal favorites from over the last year or so:

    Salomon XT Wings
    Oboz Burn (amazing traction)
    La Sportiva Wildcat
    Vasque Blur SL

  7. great shoes I run these in the summer and the gore-tex in the winter when I lived in Colorado. I’m in the Army so I ran 3-5 times a week plus hiking and biking on weekends. I moved to Louisiana and still run in them of course no need for gore-tex anymore but they still perform with the best results of any shoes I have owed including Adidas, nike, asics and New Balance. Only complaint I have is I have completely worn them out and have to buy more, but they lasted me about 8 months and probly over 100 miles of abuse

  8. It looks like the newest version of this model just came out but I have a question: how good would this shoe be for a suppinator like me? You mention that it has great protection for people with “flat feet” but doesn’t that mean that it’s a poor fit for people with “high arches”? It’s a shame if this is so because everything else about it sounds just great–especially for the upcoming late fall and winter.

  9. Support-wise, I think you’d be fine as the AC Skeleton will do for supinators what it does for pronators. However, since I overpronate, I can’t really speak to how they do for those with extremely high arches.

    The only concern I might have would be exactly where the laces hit on the top of your foot. The pressure might be in odd places, but other than that, I can’t see why they wouldn’t be good for your foot type also.

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  11. I bought a pair of those shoes. I´ve got to say that they are the best pair of on/off road running shoes i´ve ever owned. Great stability, fenomenal grip and awesome confort! If only they were lighter!

  12. As far as their ability to perform well for ultralight backpacking, I’m not so sure. I suppose it all depends on what you mean by ultralight backpacking, really. They could work, but what are you looking for exactly in an ultralight backpacking shoe?

  13. Hi
    i cant decide between these and the new Wings 2 version. i heard that the new version has more flexibility (without sacrificing durability) but it doesn’t have GORE-TEX technology that i want. what are other improvements in the new version? finally, which one i should buy? thank you

  14. Arman… hard to say, my friend. I have yet to try the Wings 2 version, so I really can’t tell you. However, I really dig these and would guess Salomon wouldn’t do much to muck with a good thing.

    Gore-Tex is great if you do run in gloopy sloppy conditions, but unnecessary for most uses.

  15. Hi!
    Can i also use these shoes for my work and just everyday walking in the city? Or should they(and any trail running shoes) be used for trail running only? thanks

  16. Muratbek

    You can definitely use these for around-town duty if you want. The low-profile treads won’t feel clunky in any way and the all-day comfort will be just fine. Go ahead!

  17. I’m flat footer as well (my road shoes are the Asics Evolution motion control). I can’t decide between the XT wings and the XA Pro Ultra. I stay on trail, only. My longest distances are 13+ miles. I’m curious which one you would recommend. I was previously running on Salomon’s Speedcross 2 which had great traction and some pronation control, but I wanted to try a more stable shoe to see if it would help with longer distances.

  18. Lem

    I’m now testing the XT Wings 2 trail runners and I like them much the same as the originals. However, in the time since I tested these, many great trail shoes have come online that I like a lot. I’ve had great luck with my Somnio Pacemaker road shoes, but their trail program needs a little work before I can recommend them.

    The XA Pro is much more efficient than the XT2’s, but may not provide quite as much cushioning. Some alternatives include: The North Face Single Track and La Sportiva Crosslite.

    I run with Sole footbeds and rely on them for my foot support instead of getting a motion control-type shoe. Good luck in your search!!!

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  20. Jennifer Hewitt on

    LACE WARNING: These are great shoes, but please remember to use the lace pocket in the tongue to tuck in excess lace (pics above do not reflect this!). I learned the hard way–the sole of my right foot caught the lace of my left foot. I fell knee first and dislocated and broke my hip (July 2009). I had major emergency surgery to repair the hip. One year later, I developed Avascular Necrosis as a result of the trauma injury, and was forced to have a total hip replacement four weeks ago. I can’t run anymore. All of this because I was not aware of the lace pocket until after I broke my hip. My shoes arrived with no instructions or indication of a lace pocket; it’s something that one has to figure out on their own.

    • Jennifer… so sorry to hear about your experience. WOW… very sorry. I’m surprised that the instructions don’t mention the lace garage at all. I found it naturally as I was wondering “now what do I do with the floppy laces?” Here’s to a speedy recovery and proper lace garage use everyone! Thanks for the warning.

      • Thanks Jason. I wish I had been as curious about where to put the excess laces. I certainly felt like there was a lot of extra lace, but it didn’t occur to me to look for a pocket! This is a very popular shoe where I live, and I have never seen anybody with the laces tucked in. I can assure you, I’m spreading the word.

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