Past protocol for introducing a new running shoe to my feet:
- Wear them at the store before purchasing.
- Wear them around the house for an hour (last chance to return them)
- Wear them for a miles-long walk
- Finally, wear them for a run
Protocol for introducing Salomon’s XA Elevate trail running shoes to my feet:
- Take them out of the box, put them on, and go for a run.
Granted, I didn’t log a 10-miler. Nor was I churning up dust. While years ago, I ran a 3:15 marathon and could cover two miles in under 12 minutes, nowadays I’m simply happy to be running, not walking, as I prepare for the Mancos Cowboy Half Marathon. Giddy Up!
During that initial run and for three dozen runs since then, the XA Elevate shoes have proven themselves exceedingly worthy over a wide variety of terrain and conditions.
My runs usually consist of a mix of gravel roads, dirt trails, and bushwhacking. I never run on pavement. (Yes, like being able to run my dogs off leash most of the time, I consider myself spoiled in this area.)
The XA Elevate are snug and secure without being binding. Even at my slower pace, I find it crucial to have lace comfort. Not too tight or loose over the instep, please. On flats, I wear my laces loose (The QuickLace system is a strong, one-pull system for easy tightening and loosening.). On climbs, descents, and ridge crossings, I snug them up.
Living in a canyon, any shoe must endure a lot of sideways pressure, since the way to climb 1,000 feet is via multiple switchbacks, often following deer paths or bushwhacking. The XA Elevate championed this task with ease, almost as well as the Salomon X Ultra GTX.
The shoes also performed well at the Geer Park Trail Series 4-miler, where I was the first woman over 50. (Okay, so there may have been only one woman over 50. Small detail.)
Where the XA Elevate reigned superior to its cousin for trail running is in the less clunky toe box and lighter weight. I do love the X Ultra GTX, but tend to reserve them for more technical, tougher treks.
Only one situation with the XA Elevates gave me pause: on the rare occasion of running through deep sand, the shoe’s upper didn’t keep out the sand. I could feel grains as they worked their way through my socks.
And only one situation remains, as yet, untested: I’ve literally not stepped on concrete or asphalt in them. On the closest surface – a tile floor – I can attest to their all-day comfort.
And what’s not to like about purple?