The first thing you notice about the Salomon XA Enduro is the integrated stretch gaiter, designed to offer protection from grit, dust, heather, sand and other off-road irritants that can develop into a hot spots and blistery nightmares when running long distance. Having run in these shoes over a 6 month period, we can assure you that it's no gimmick - the gaiter really does a great job of keeping the trail out of your shoe and under your feet where it's meant to be. The design is also impressive: the tabs on the front and rear of the gaiter mean it is easy to get the shoe on and off and once in place, the stretch mesh means there's no restriction in movement in the ankle area. In fact you barely notice it's there.
When it comes to grip, the XA Enduro is Salomon's most affordable shoe with Contagrip with Premium Wet Traction. Inspired by the sticky outsole used on the XA Alpine - Salomon's top of the range, distinctive alpine running boot - this ensures a grippy ride in slippy mixed terrain. The medium depth lugs are widely spaced (meaning you'll avoid getting annoying pebbles and mud stuck to the bottom of your shoe) and the ProFeel Film trail guard prevents unwanted rocks pushing up through the sole. If you're travelling regularly in uber-technical terrain then you'll want a more aggressive outsole but the majority will find the XA Enduro more than does the job in a variety of off-road conditions.
Fit-wise, the XA Enduro is a comfortable, snug and cushioned shoe. The toebox definitely has more volume and is wider than other Salomon offerings so the XA Enduro is great for long and ultra distances where you need space for your feet to expand. The flip side is that it may feel a little too spacious for those with a narrow, low volume foot or folks who prefer a more precise fit. Having said that, Salomon's proven one-pull Quicklace tightening system goes a long way to providing a further customized, reliable and secure fit and seems to work well for most runners.
With 10mm/19mm cushioning and a dual density midsole, the XA Enduro provides just the right amount of cushioning underfoot without completely sacrificing dexterity and feel. In addition to providing a cushioned ride, the shoe also performs very well on long climbs and technical descents thanks to the stiffness and stability provided by the Advanced chassis. And whilst the XA Enduro is a solidly built, stable shoe, it’s certainly no burly beast. Weighing in at just 260g, it’s one of Salomon’s lightest, high end trail shoes so it won’t slow you down out on the trail.
At £130, the XA Enduro may not be cheap compared to the premium price tag of the elite S/Lab range, but it’s definitely palatable. A high end, great looking shoe with some fantastic features, the XA Enduro is destined to appeal to a wide range of trail enthusiasts committed to pushing their boundaries off road.