Sunday, June 12, 2011
A few months ago, I dropped in to a Camper’s Village store in Edmonton (the capital of the province of Alberta) and discovered a big clearance sale in progress. Happily, I found a pair of trail runners in my size and in my price range. When does that ever happen!! The Salomon X-Trail 1 shoes fit my narrow foot perfectly, but I found that I needed a ½ size bigger than I normally wear. I liked the breathable uppers, aggressive tread, the very light weight but tough design features and quick lacing system. The colours were awesome too.
The lacing utilizes a one pull system. When tight, the lock and excess lace tucks up into an concealed, elasticized pocket in the tip of the tongue where it never comes out until called for. The lacing system is very well thought out and I love it. Now I should confess that I’m a hiking boot kind of guy, but since the price wasn’t too high, I decided to give the Trail Runners a try. I figured that even if they weren't all that great to hike in that they would still do well in the car, at the mall or on my treadmill.
Finally, on June 4th after a nasty cold and wet spring, I put the Salomons to their first test – the Wishbone Trail in Waterton Park. How did they do? The initial wilderness trail was mostly grass and dirt with the occasional brittle deadfallen stick to snap under my weight. The Trail Runners were stable and responsive and didn't transmit an excessive amount of force into the sole of my foot when I came down on pointed rocks or bumpy branches. As the 8km hike progressed however, I felt the pointy underfoot objects a little more than at first, but not too much more. We’ve had an excess of rain here in Southern Alberta and the trail was soupy in numerous places. I tried to skirt the temporary water holes, but soon decided that I should change my name to Davis Bogtrotter! So long as the water level was no more than a half inch deep, my feet remained dry, but some bogs were unavoidably deeper and soon my socks were soaked. The shoes were definitely breathable – at least everywhere except the soles! I tramped about 6km with wet feet before I saw my car again, but I got no blisters – and I liked that part! And the water seemed to leave the shoes as quickly as it came in. Near the end of the trail, I jogged a few hundred metres (they are trail runners after all). Their light weight was a welcome break from my usual hiking footwear, but I still raised my heart rate! Go figure. I did find that the Salomons allowed me to maintain a faster walking pace than my boots ever allowed me to – and I liked that very much. Greg, my hiking partner for the day, complained that even though I was 11 years his senior that he could hardly keep up with me. (It was just the shoes Greg!)
At home, I pulled out the wet insoles and thoroughly rinsed away all the dirty bog-water (with warm water in the bathtub). I set the insoles out to air dry and put my shoes in the dryer with four dry towels (to absorb water and shock). I set the dryer on the air only setting. After about an hour of banging around in the dryer, I let the Trail Runners dry for a day and then tried them on again. They fit just like they did in the store and seemed to suffer no damage whatsoever. I’m impressed! Even wet, the shoes felt good and I was pleased with their overall performance. I will definitely use my Salomons again! (Sorry Greg!)
For more info, visit Salomon USA or Salomon Canada