Salomon Kalalau Review Facts
The French-based athletic brand Salomon has been one of the world’s most acclaimed athletic companies since the late 1940’s. Having tested out their clothing and equipment high in the Alps during their early days, it’s quite safe to say that they know how to create the right gear for rough and rugged environments. Where similar companies have failed, however, is their attempts at creating the proper footwear. Some don’t take breathability into account, while others make their shoes so cumbersome that they’re useless on everyday terrains. Thankfully, according to many enthusiastic reviewers, Salomon has mastered the art of making shoes that easily transition from the trails to roads and sidewalks. Their Kalalau model is the perfect example. Its lightweight design, breathable comfort, and durable traction make this one of their more popular models, as well as an ideal selection for beginner trail runners.
The key to the Kalalau’s durable grip and versatile wear is in its Non-marking ContaGrip Rubber
outsole. Engineered by Salomon, this material provides incredibly durable and flexible traction through wet or dry conditions on a number of different terrains. Buyers can just as easily wear this shoe for gym workouts as they could for running trails. Greater range of motion is also included thanks to the OS Tendon TPU frames that are in place along the outsole. As the name suggests, these features act as an extension of the foot’s tendons and completely follow the runner's movements as they travel. This also allows for a smoother heel-to-toe transition and a decreased likelihood of accidents
Though footwear brands
are now creating their own material for their midsoles, ensuring a more customized support system, Salomon has instead chosen standard EVA foam
for its Kalalau model. Though it has proven to be less durable than more recent creations, reviewers still state that it made no negative impact on the shoe’s levels of comfort or support. Whether they were running across rugged trails, on everyday streets, or even having a training session at the gym, these shoes are able to provide adequate shock absorption and energy transfer no matter what environment that runner is in.
The Kalalau upper is constructed of quick-drying nylon
mesh, making it both incredibly breathable and fit for use in different types of weather. Sweat is easily wicked away during warmer days, and light rain or splashes dry rapidly, ensuring greater comfort throughout the run. A Sensfit overlay system, featuring a zig-zag design on the foot’s medial and lateral sides, is in place for greater structure and security. This is further enhanced with an EndoFit inner sleeve, which also has seamless construction for a more comfortable wear. Like many trail running shoes, this model features a quick lacing
system for a truly secure and more customizable fit.
It isn’t unusual for trail running shoes to be a bit more substantial, considering that they have more durable and protective features. Yet, with men’s sizes averaging at 8.8oz and women’s rounding out at 7.4oz, the Kalalau proves to be an incredibly lightweight
shoe that is still more than effective on rugged terrains. The custom materials that construct its outsole and upper have been carefully engineered to be highly efficient without the inclusion of unnecessary bulk.
Aside from being quick drying, the Kalalau’s nylon mesh upper also provides an extremely high level of breathability. This feature is greater enhanced by the shoe’s EndoFit inner sleeve. Not only can wetness caused by splashes and light rain dry away rapidly, but hotspots can be easily targeted, allowing for optimal temperature and moisture control. This also greatly reduces the likelihood of foot odor, as well as any blisters
or infections that may occur due to excessive sweating. This allows for an exceptionally comfortable wear during warm weather
and throughout high-intensity runs.
For the most part, the Kalalau has proven to be quite a comfortable running shoe. It’s EVA foam midsole provides an adequate amount of cushioning, shock absorption, and energy transfer to support the runner through workouts on various levels. The seamless constriction of its EndoFit inner sleeve eliminates any irritations
that could be caused when stitching rubs against skin. Furthermore, the breathable nature of its upper provides high levels of temperature and moisture control and allows any sudden wetness to dry quickly. Unfortunately for some consumers, these features are negated by the shoe’s narrow fit. Many reviewers have recommended purchasing this model at least half a size up.
Many buyers are incredibly pleased with the Kalalau’s appearance, between its sleek athletic design, slightly rounded toe box, and various color schemes. The brand name is featured prominently on both sides of the heel clip, and its logo can be found at the edge of the tongue. The Sensifit overlay system creates a zig-zag pattern on both sides of the shoe, giving it even more of a stylish flair. Both men and women can choose from a number of eye-catching color
options that include purple, green, blue, or orange. Of course, there are grey
and black options for those who like to keep things simple as well.
While there is very little online information that discusses how durable the Kalalau is, the materials used in the construction
of this shoe indicate that it is built to be incredibly sturdy. The most durable of these features is its Non-marking Contagrip rubber outsole, which is engineered to be long-lasting, flexible, and provide extremely reliable traction. The Sensifit overlay system strengthens the shoe’s mesh upper while also enabling it to retain its shape. Stitching is also included across the forefoot and along the lacing system for stronger reinforcement. Reviewers have stated that they feel completely secure running through a number of different terrains and have not noted any significant wear and tear after a short period of use.
Given that it’s a trail running shoe, it’s safe to say that the Kalalau provides an incredible amount of protection. The Contagrip rubber outsole shields the foot from rough and jagged surfaces while also providing incredibly strong traction in both wet
and dry conditions. Though not as advanced as newer materials, the EVA foam midsole is still able to provide enough cushioning and shock absorption for most runners. The quick-drying breathable mesh ensures that wetness is instantly removed, and the likelihood of irritations and infections
is greatly reduced. The Sensifit overlay system guards the shoe against possible damage caused by the elements. The Quicklace System ensures the greatest amount of protection, allowing for a completely secure fit without the risk of tripping.
Responsive features are absolutely necessary when it comes to trail running
shoes, no matter how light or heavy their intended purpose is. This model’s Contagrip rubber outsole takes on the bulk of this feature by providing durable yet flexible traction on terrains that range from light trails to everyday streets. OS Tendon frames enable this further by acting as a more stable extension of the foot’s muscles, providing a much easier run. The nylon mesh upper is not only quick-drying but also works rapidly to reduce the inner temperature. This is aided further by the Endofit inner sleeve, which also allows the foot to maintain its natural movements. While it still proves to be responsive enough for the average runner, some say that the EVA foam midsole is a bit lacking compared to much more recent materials.
The Kalalau’s outsole proves to be an incredibly supportive
and durable base for this versatile running shoe. It’s aided even further with the inclusion of OS Tendon frames that are fixed in, providing a smoother transition and easier run. The EVA foam midsole provides ample cushioning and shock absorption to allow most runners to move along comfortably. As for the upper, the Sensifit overlay system and Endofit inner sleeve enable the shoe to retain its shape and keep the foot from wobbling around within the chamber. Runners state that they feel completely supported while wearing this shoe, no matter how long they run or what environment they run through.
Part of what makes the Kalalau such a popular model is its ability to adapt to a number of different terrains
. As a trail running shoe, it’s specially designed to keep the runner secure and steady while running through rocky trails. Yet it can easily be used for road running, at the gym, or even as casual footwear. This is particularly due to its lightweight design and more streamlined tread pattern. Though this design does make the shoe somewhat unfit for more advanced trails, it also means that it’s the perfect option for beginner trailer runners.
When compared to a number of trail running shoes, the Kalalau's lower price
tag is surprisingly reasonable. Quality athletic footwear typically costs around $120, and similar models created by the Salmon brand can average around $170. When reviewers take note of these significant cost differences, as well as the overall durability of this model, it becomes clear to them that they will have a shoe that would be more than worth every penny they spent.
A vital trait for all trail running shoes is incredibly strong traction, which the Kalalau definitely offers. The triangular gripping lugs work well for this style of shoe, as it allows for a secure grasp without feeling cumbersome. The tread pattern on this particular shoe gives the runner a firm and steady run across light to intermediate terrains while still allowing for easy movement across roads, sidewalks, and other everyday surfaces. Reviewers do note, however, that this particular model is not quite suitable for more rugged and advanced trails
. Those who frequently partake in this level of running are encouraged to find another option.
Aside from providing durable traction, the Non-marking Contagrip rubber outsole also allows the Kalalau to be quite flexible. This is thanks primarily to the low-density material that's located in the center, as well as small flex grooves that are carved along the medial and lateral sides of the sole. The EVA foam midsole, which is typically used for casual shoes, provides the runner with even more pliability. Of course, it's the nylon mesh upper and Endofit inner sleeve that truly allows an unrestricted range of motion. Even the Sensifit overlay system adds structure without impeding on the runner's stride.
All of the Kalalau’s individual features work together to ensure a completely stable ride for runners of all levels. The shoe’s Contagrip rubber outsole is specially engineered to provide highly durable traction, and the OS Tendon frames act as extensions of the foot’s muscles to encourage a smoother heel-to-toe transition. The EVA foam midsole keeps the foot cushioned and stable by giving the runner adequate shock absorption and energy transfer. While the quick-dry mesh upper is not exactly a stable feature on its own, the addition of the Sensifit overlay system gives the shoe some much-needed structure. Finally, the Quicklace System enables the runner to better customize their fit for a truly secure wear.
According to several online retailers, the Kalalau features a heel-to-toe drop of 7mm, which is a notable difference from the average height of 10mm. On most trail running designs, this feature is typically lower than it would be on a normal running shoe. This is to ensure better balance and posture on difficult terrains as well as provide that close-to-the-ground feel that most trail runners enjoy. This particular height allows for a more natural gait yet still provides enough heel support to satisfy most runners.
-Non-marking ContaGrip rubber outsole for durable traction
-OS Tendon frames provide a smoother heel-to-toe transition
-EVA foam midsole for cushioning and shock absorption
-Quick-drying mesh upper for greater comfort and airflow
-Sensifit overlay system gives added stability
-EndoFit inner sleeve is seamless for an easier wear
-Quicklace system provides a secure and customized fit
-Reasonable price tag
-This model does not fit true to size
For the most part, the Salomon Kalalau proves to be a highly innovative and effective running shoe. It's designed to be lighter than other similar models, allowing an easier and more versatile use. Runners greatly appreciate its breathable comfort, as well as its durable yet flexible traction. It is definitely better fit for lighter trail runs, which also makes it an excellent choice for those who are just getting into trail running. This model isn't without its downsides, however, as buyers have complained that this model has quite a narrow fit. Yet, upon finding their perfect size, most were happy to add this carefully engineered running shoe to their collection.