Salomon X-Scream 3D GTX -The Holy Grail?
I am personally after the holy grail of running shoes. A shoe that’s light flexible and supportive enough for the road but also able to handle some minor trails with ease. Is this such a shoe? Does such a thing really exist?
I did a lot of research over the summer months in preperation for my Winter workhorse. I was looking for a shoe to handle our Scottish winters. Our roads can be wet icy and snowy I also wanted a shoe that could handle some minor trails. Some of the road routes I take there are some minor trails I can use to vary up my runs especially on days I don’t want to do a full blown day on the trails. So I was after a shoe that would be my main go to shoe for everyday running. After lots of thought I decided I wanted to try a-Gore-Tex shoe. Last winter many days I got home unable to feel my toes due to the cold and wet so I thought Gore-Tex could help that issue. Most major shoe companies do Gore tex versions of a lot of their popular shoes so getting a Gore Tex version of a suitable shoe isn’t too much of an issue. I though was under no illusions that Gore Tex would keep my feet perfectly dry as water can always come in via the ankle but if it kept the wind out and kept my feet drier for longer that would be a good thing.
Last winter my main go to shoe for the road was the Puma Faas 600 which was a fine workhorse of a shoe and is one of my favourite general road/training shoes but the winter took its toll on it (and my feet) and as much as it’s a shoe I will happily return too I wanted a tougher shoe that could handle some minor trails as well.
So when looking I kept coming back to the Salomon Citytrail range. Salomon have been promoting these for a few years, the idea is a shoe that can handle urban environments including ever changing city trails. As much as I live in the country this sounded ideal for my purposes and my winter runs
I’ve never run in Salomon shoes before so I was very excited to try these as my first foray into their world. I settled on the X-Scream 3D GTX. The X series are all the City Trail range. In fact Max King ran a 2.18 LA Marathon in the top of the range X series shoe which has a similar sole to the X Scream so these shoes are not to be ignored as road shoes.
Salomon as with all shoe manufacturers like to give their developments lots of technical sounding names we have Sensifit, endofit, Quicklace, Contagrip and many more so I will attempt to explain these where appropriate.
Let’s start with looks, Salomon shoes always look good in my opinion. I picked the blue colour because I liked it and also it was the colour I could get a good deal on price from sportsshoes.com. They do also have them in a snazzy green colour but this was not on the same offer and as I have to be careful as I only have a limited budget for my running gear the blue and price won out. Overall to my tastes it’s a good looking shoe.
Generally I take a UK size 10 in shoes depending on brand occasionally I will go to a 10.5 except for adidas as I have no idea what’s going on with their sizing I have to go for an 11. My Feet are pretty average and like most people one foot is slightly bigger than the other. I don’t have overly wide feet but they are definitely not narrow. So I went for a size 10 with these. Due to where I live there are no big stores or places where I can try shoes so I have to go by research and a bit of luck. So my initial trying on of the X-Scream my foot felt encased (I think that’s the word I want). I have heard people say this before about Salomon shoes that they totally hug your foot. This is part of Salomon’s sensifit system which as the say is ‘designed to cradle the foot providing a precise and secure fit’. It can feel a little claustrophobic to start but it soon becomes unnoticeable. They fitted well but there wasn’t as much room in the toe box as other shoes I have. For example I find INOV-8 shoes very roomy which I like. The shoes felt comfortable but stiffer than expected but I do know the addition of Gore-Tex can make them a little stiffer. The listed weight is 306 grams which is a little heavy but in winter running I’ve not really noticed it and they don’t feel like a heavy shoe.
The X-Scream have a quite high 11mm heel to toe drop. I know many people get a little obsessed with these numbers I personally don’t think they’re as important as other people. I run in shoes with drops from 12mm to 4mm with no issues and I adapt well. I never get when people obsess over 1mm of drop when in reality that’s just the published drop and the individual shoe could differ due to manufacturing tolerances. Also when you run in a shoe over time the drop will change as you compress any cushioning, the evenness of the running surface, your own biomechanics and even the weather/humidity which may affect the materials. My priority for any shoe is comfort and I believe that is the most important part. Saying that I really don’t notice that these have quite a high drop going from these to a 6mm or even a 4mm one the change has really not been obvious.
I’m not a big fan of quicklaces I always find them difficult to get an even fit of the whole of my foot. Salomon’s quicklace system is better than most I still have issues with them but they are workable and I wont replace them. I find that the narrowness of the laces are the biggest issue when trying to get an even pressure over the whole shoe and personally I find them no quicker than tying a normal shoelace though they do have a nice little lace pocket at the top of the tongue that keeps them out of the way.
So onto my first run rather than doing the sensible thing and keeping my first run to a short 5k I decided on a 22k run that takes me out to a local bay with glorious views. Initially I found the shoe a little stiff but after the first 5k I got used to it and found it responsive and comfortable. It was a dry day so not a chance to try the Gore-tex out yet. I did find at the end of the run that my feet had been sweating more than normal. I know as much as Gore-tex allows you to breath it does though still restrict the escape of moisture. It was however a warm day and probably not the most suitable to be wearing Gore-tex shoes.
In subsequent runs I found that the shoes bedded in more, which for me is strange as I find most shoes I run in comfortable from the start. Over the past 250 km I have come to love them more. The outsole is pretty much the same throughout the X series using Salomons’s Contagrip sole. It is hard-wearing after the distance I have run in them there has been minimal wear so I am very impressed. The Gore-tex works well and has kept my feet dry and warm on many occasions. I have taken these down some minor trails and as much as the grip isn’t up to any serious stuff they are fine for the occasional detour.
So my final thoughts for my first experience of Salomon shoes I like them. They do the job well a little patience to bed them in is required and to me they have hit their sweet spot after around 200km. I would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a good all purpose, no-nonsense shoe that will take road and some minor trails. The Gore Tex is a great addition for winter running. My Negatives are the shoes are not the widest and looking back I wish I had gone half a size bigger just to give a wee bit more room in the toebox. Some wider footed people may struggle with the fit in my opinion. Also I’m still not a big fan of the quicklace system
So is this the Holy Grail of shoes? No but it’s close in my opinion and I’m looking forward to many more happy kilometres in these. A little more room in the toebox and a little more flexible and maybe these could be near that Holy Grail.