Salomon S-Lab Xa Amphib

8.4
8.4 score
[Editors rating (8.5) + Users rating (8.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.4)/10

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Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
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Salomon S-Lab Xa Amphib Review Facts
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The Salomon S-Lab Xa Amphib is a unisex lightweight neutral trail running shoe. It was designed to race through wet or dry terrain and has great traction, ventilation, and drainage. Its open mesh upper dries quickly in case the wearer swims or goes through puddles on their path, and the Draining Windows let the water flow back out of the shoe. The Protective Synthetic Toe Cap helps prevent the toes from getting bruised. To keep the fit snug, it uses a Quick Fit asymmetrical lacing system with lace pockets and Sensifit overlays that connect the midsole and laces. The Premium Wet Traction Contragrip allows runners to go quickly over various types of trails without slipping, and the OS Tendon system helps improve balance and transitions while going over the trails. The midsole uses dual density compressed EVA foam and lightweight EnergyCell+ foam to make sure the foot rebounds into the air over the course of many runs, and Profeel Film to support and protect the midfoot. If you are looking for a racing shoe that can go on wet or dry terrain, read on to see if the S-Lab XA Amphib is the right shoe for you.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Comfortable, secure fit
  • Lightweight feel
  • Good grip on different types of surfaces
  • Good water drainage and breathability
  • Smooth transitions
  • Rebounds the foot back into the air
Cons
  • Runs a half size larger than previous Salomon shoes
  • Can be difficult to put on due to its snug fit
  • A few testers had trouble with traction on wet rocks
  • A bit more expensive than other running shoes
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The rubber outsole was designed for traction when going over trails and wet and dry surfaces. It uses Premium Wet Traction Contagrip, which grips these surfaces well and prevents slipping. It has lugs that are spread evenly throughout the bottom of the shoe so that it can grip even on slippery surfaces like mud. The grooves in the forefoot add flexibility so that it can bend with the foot during takeoffs. The outsole also protects the foot from feeling objects on the ground.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole uses a variety of technologies to provide support and responsiveness. It is flexible enough to pick up speed and durable enough to last for up to a few hundred miles. On the bottom layer is the OS Tendon system that stretches and balances the foot during transitions in order to make rebounds easier and better. Next is the lightweight EnergyCell+ foam that provides great rebounds. Then comes the dual density compressed EVA foam midsole that cushions landings, protects joints, provides a slight bounce to the wearer's step, and lightly stabilizes and supports the arch for neutral runners but not enough to control pronation. Last is the Profeel Film that supports the midfoot and protects it from rolling. The low drop helps keep the foot stable and allows the wearer to strengthen their muscles and tendons.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper was designed for drying quickly, draining water out of the shoe, and providing a comfortable fit. The Quick Fit asymmetrical lacing system has lace pockets for storage and works with the Sensifit overlays connecting the midsole to the laces in order to provide a snug fit. The open mesh dries quickly and allows air to flow in and out of the shoe to keep it dry and cool. The Draining Windows allow water to drain from the shoe. The Protective Synthetic Toe Cap helps prevent the toes from bruising and the heel cup helps stabilize the back of the foot. The upper is durable, flexible enough to move with the foot as it provides a snug fit, and lightly stabilizes and supports the foot enough for neutral runners to go over trails.
Weight
Weight

Weight

A size 9 shoe weighs 215 grams, or 7.6 ounces. The shoe is for both men and women (unisex). Testers noted how lightweight and comfortable the shoe felt while running in it. The heavier components include the rubber outsole, the OS Tendon construction in the midsole, the Sensifit overlays, and the rubber around the Draining Windows and Protective Synthetic Toe Cap in the upper. The lightweight components are the upper's laces and open mesh, and the midsole's Profeel Film and EnergyCell+ foam. The dual density compressed EVA foam is lighter in the middle and heavier around the edges.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Salomon S-Lab Xa Amphib has excellent breathability. The open mesh is quick drying to keep the foot dry and has lots of holes to allow air to travel through, keeping the foot cool and fresh. There are also draining windows to let water pour out of the shoe as runners exit rivers or puddles. The rubbery overlays have large holes so that they do not block air flow and do not cause hot spots or blisters.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The S-Lab Xa Amphib provides a comfortable and secure fit. It has a medium width and testers said that it runs about a half size larger than previous Salomon shoes. The heel cup, Quick Fit lacing system, and Sensifit overlays provide a snug fit around the rearfoot and midfoot. Due to its snug fit, some reviewers had trouble putting the shoe on. It has a small toe box compared to other shoes, but most people said that their toes were still able to move comfortably. Testers found that the forefoot and midfoot have a medium fit, the fit around the heel is medium to narrow. This works well for those with narrow heels, but people with wider heels may feel a little tight in this shoe. The EnergyCell+ foam and dual density EVA foam soften landings and the OS Tendom System stretches and balances the foot for comfortable transitions. The light weight and responsiveness of the shoe make it comfortable to wear during longer runs, and the drainage and quick-dry mesh make running in wet conditions comfortable.
Style
Style

Style

The Salomon S-Lab Xa Amphib is Black, Transcend Blue, and Racing Red. Most of the upper is covered in black mesh with the black Sensifit overlays on top. The heel and inside of the shoe are blue. The outside heel has a black block with a blue “S” in the middle. The inside heel has a red logo that says “XA S/LAB xa ampha” in blue writing. The outside toe has “LAB” in white block letters. The outsole is black with a blue trapezoid in the center of the heel, a small red triangle just beneath the forefoot, and lugs around the outside edge of the shoe and throughout the middle of the heel and forefoot. Reviewers liked the look of the shoe, noting that it looks good on both men and women: neither too feminine nor too masculine.
Durability
Durability

Durability

This shoe is very durable. The outsole was designed to grip wet or muddy surfaces, so its lugs can withstand going over abrasive surfaces. The midsole's OS Tendon system, EnergyCell+ foam, and EVA foam work together to soften landings, smoothen transitions, and rebound the foot back into the air for many miles. The upper is also durable, as it is quick drying and Draining Windows, a good lacing system, Sensifit overlays, a heel cup, and a Protective Synthetic Toe Cap that provide a snug and protective fit for up to a few hundred miles before starting to wear down.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The S-Lab Xa Amphib has some protective features. It protects against the rain with its quick-dry mesh and drainage holes. The mesh also protects against the heat so that the foot does not get blisters or hot spots. The upper protects a little bit against cold and wind but not against snow. The Sensifit overlays, arch support and heel cap protect against rolling or sliding. The Protective Synthetic Toe Cap protects the toes from bruising and the outsole protects the bottom of the foot from bruising.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The Salomon S-Lab Xa Amphib is very responsive, providing smooth transitions and rebounding the foot into the air. The upper and outsole are flexible enough to move with the foot throughout the gait cycle, but the star is the midsole. The OS Tendon system balances and stretches the foot during transitions, the EnergyCell+ foam provides good rebounds, and the dual density EVA foam adds spring to the wearer's step.
Support
Support

Support

This shoe has a few supportive features. The sole unit supports the bottom of the foot, with the midsole's dual density EVA foam supporting the arch and outside edge of the foot. The upper supports the midfoot with the Sensifit overlays connecting the midsole to the laces and the Quick Fit asymmetrical lacing system to make sure the fit is snug. The heel counter supports the back of the foot.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

This shoe has a few supportive features. The sole unit supports the bottom of the foot, with the midsole's dual density EVA foam supporting the arch and outside edge of the foot. The upper supports the midfoot with the Sensifit overlays connecting the midsole to the laces and the Quick Fit asymmetrical lacing system to make sure the fit is snug. The heel counter supports the back of the foot.
Price
Price

Price

The Salomon S-Lab Xa Amphib is a higher priced shoe, costing around 1.8 times the average running shoe price when it was initially released. The reason for the high price is that it has unique features that allow it to run on wet surfaces and to drain water, such as the Premium Wet Traction Contagrip, the Draining Windows, and the quick-drying open mesh. It is also lightweight for a trail running shoe and has great responsiveness because of the EnergyCell+ foam and the OS Tendon system. The current price range is between 25% off and full price, depending on the size chosen.
Traction
Traction

Traction

This shoe received mostly good reviews on traction. Its lugs with Premium Wet Traction Contagrip do a good job of gripping hard floors, dirt roads, paved roads, gravel, light trails, technical trails, and can go uphill and downhill while maintaining a good running pace. A few people had problems on wet rocks, so potential buyers should be cautious when going over rocks during their daily runs or competitions.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The S-Lab Xa Amphib has some flexibility but is also stable enough for neutral runners to safely go on trails. The outsole has grooves to allow the forefoot to bend. The midsole's foam is flexible enough to bend with the foot as it takes off and lands. The upper provides a snug fit, yet also moves with the foot to allow the wearer to pick up speed during races.
Stability
Stability

Stability

As a neutral shoe, the stability is light, but as a trail shoe, it needs a little bit of stability so the wearer can safely go over more technical terrain than a road running shoe. The low drop and low stack height help stabilize the foot while running, the OS Tendon system balances the foot during transitions, and the dual density EVA foam helps keep the arch and bottom of the foot stable to prevent injury while going over objects in the path. The upper's Sensifit overlays and heel counter help stabilize the midfoot and rearfoot against rolling, slipping or sliding. The heel fit is medium to narrow, so testers stated that they did not experience any sliding.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The heel height is 22mm and the forefoot height is 18mm, giving the shoe a drop of 4mm. This is lower than the average 10mm-12mm, which helps stabilize the foot while also allowing runners to build up the tendons and muscles in their feet. It also reduces the amount of forward momentum caused by extra padding in the heel, which can be a bit much when going downhill on trails or going over technical terrain.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

  • Quick Fit asymmetrical lacing system with lace pockets for storage

  • OS Tendon construction makes rebounds easier and better, stretching and balancing the foot during transitions

  • Open mesh upper is breathable and dries quickly

  • Sensifit overlays provide a snug fit from midsole to laces

  • Profeel Film supports and protects the midfoot

  • Dual density compressed EVA foam midsole

  • EnergyCell+ foam provides lasting rebounds

  • Premium Wet Traction Contagrip provides great traction without slipping

  • Draining Windows let the water drain out after swimming or running through water

  • Protective Synthetic Toe Cap prevents the toes from bruising
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Salomon S-Lab Xa Amphib is a great wet and dry trail running shoe. It is lightweight, flexible, and responsive enough for a smooth ride over long distances. It can grip just about any surface. It drains water and dries quickly in case the wearer needs to go through water. It protects against weather and bruises, supports arches, and stabilizes neutral runners against injuries while going over technical terrain. Possible areas for improvement include adding a heel loop to make the shoe easier to put on and take off, better traction on wet rocks, and adding wide size options so it is not too tight for people with wider feet. Overall, the S-Lab Xa Amphib is a good choice for someone who is planning to run cross country and needs something that can get wet without damaging the shoe.