Salomon XA Elevate Review Facts
Salomon is synonymous with protection for all runners who desire to run in complicated, irregular, technical and even aggressive terrain, where they can run at a quick pace without caring too much where they tread. The Salomon XA Elevate, a new entry in the brand’s ‘On & Off trail’, maintains the same philosophy offering protection and stability in trails. Despite their robust appearance, they are light and skillful in their construction. With the patented Premium Wet Contagrip in the outsole, the traction offered is great and with the exception of deep mud, there is no terrain not suitable for the XA Elevate. Of course, the phrase “make the goat for the mountain” literally fits what the brand promises us with these shoes. The XA Elevate is also available in Gote-tex which is a waterproof, breathable membrane that keeps the foot nice and dry.
This shoe features Salomon’s premium wet traction Contagrip which does a good job of being a sticky, durable rubber on a variety of wet and dry surfaces.
The lug pattern is trapezoidal in shape which has a large surface area thus allowing superior traction on slippery surfaces. The lugs are also spread out which creates channels for mud and slush to wick away easily. You can see the Profeel film which is a flexible and protective piece of plastic that runs the length of the shoe.
The midsole consists of dual-density foam in an advanced chassis which makes a nice horseshoe shape by the heel. The advanced Chassis is a dual density EVA foam that acts like a heel stirrup which is useful especially on steep descents. When your foot strikes the ground, the heel will sink in and lock into place creating great stability. This keeps your feet from rolling in or out.
It also has a full-length energy Cell+ that brings some bounce into the shoe.
Providing an extra layer of cushioning is a molded EVA sockliner which is not only soft to the touch but also has much-needed odor control properties during trail runs.
Sensifit does a good job of holding the midfoot in place. This is important on technical terrain because your foot is likely to slide around in the shoe and the Sensifit can lock it down. On the front of the shoe, we can see a protective toe cap which does a good job in protecting the toes when you accidentally kick rocks and roots.
The shoe goes for Salomon’s patented Quicklace system. This system allows runners to tighten or loosen the laces with one quick pull on the clicker. There is a little pocket on the tongue in which you can store your rolled up laces, so you don’t have to worry about tripping or having to re-tie them. The laces are supposedly 4 times stronger than traditional laces and tuck nicely into the lace garage at the top. On the inside of the shoe, we can see the Ortholite memory foam sockliner which provides great step-in feel everytime a runner puts the shoe on.
The XA Elevate comes in at 10.4 ounces for men and 9 ounces for women. They are very lightweight in their construction to keep your feet feeling energized. Something that is a little different in the XA Elevate than other trail running shoes is that it does not contain a rock plate. What Salomon does to compensate is putting a Profeel film which takes over protecting your foot and saves some weight.
Read also about waterproof runners.
The breathability is adequate but could be better. They do a good job maintaining air flow in moderate temperature but on very hot days, you may feel the heat. This is because the mesh just above the toes is thin while it is comparatively thicker on the sides making it a little difficult for sweat to evaporate quickly. While this shoe is not waterproof, it offers resistance to splashes of water that runners may come across on tough terrain.
If you require a shoe that can offer complete waterproofing in puddles or rivers, you can go for the Gore-tex version of this shoe.
The Salomon XR Elevate has a firm cushion that feels hard during initial runs but begins to soften as the miles pass. It has a roomy toe box that allows for enough room for toes to splay without being excessively wide. If you’re looking for a trail shoe to provide a pillow-like feel on your foot, the Salomon XA Elevate isn’t for you. Although the midsole is composed of a dual-density compressed EVA, it is firm and focused on keeping the shoe stable. One reviewer had to wear an ankle brace with this shoe and felt that it had enough room to accommodate both.
The XA Elevate is very similar to the XA Enduro in terms of support and durability but in a much more fashion-forward design. It has a classy upper with the vibrant colors and maintains the Sensifit although hidden. There are 5 colorways available for men and women. The blue/lime colorway is the most popular option and the shoe also comes in a military-style black/balsam green colorway which has its own takers.
Salomon has built a reputation for offering durable trail running shoes which will not give into disrepair easily. The tough rubber material with deep lugs holds up really well in tough technical terrain with no complaints. The Profeel film which is a tough plastic coats the outsole and prevents tearing on the trails adding to the durability of the bottom of the shoe.
Runners have tested the Elevate for 200 km and have seen minimal wear in the shoe with the upper scratch-free even though the vegetation was abundant on the trail. The other characteristics remained intact: It maintained the same level of grip as at the beginning and the collar did not show deformity which can allow us to confirm that the XA Elevate is highly durable.
The Profeel film does a great job of blunting out rocks and roots that may attack your foot from below. In some of Salomons older trail shoes, Profeel was found only in the forefoot but this shoe has a longer layer which creates a full protective zone. The advanced Chassis in the midsole does a great job of providing stability and protection for the ankle and the heel. Because of these features, we can say that some surface sensation is lost, but running safely sounds like a good trade-off to have.
The heel cup is padded thickly which grabs and holds the ankle on steep climbs. The tongue features a full gusset that keeps out dirt and trail debris adding to the level of protection provided by the shoe. This feature can also be seen in the Salomon XA Pro 3D.
The rebounding factor is provided by the combination of EVA foam and Energy Cell+ in the midsole. While this shoe does not make for a springy ride, it absorbs the shock of impact and provides slight responsiveness to the foot. Since this is a trail shoe designed to provide stability and protection from trail elements, the aspect of speed is not the primary focus.
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The upper holds your foot in snugly due to the mesh upper and the Quicklace system. The thickly padded heel supports the ankle and prevents it from rolling which is a danger in rough terrain. The supportive features are great for long-distance runs or hikes in mountainous terrain. Not having an internal bootie may have fans of previous Salomon shoes feeling the absence however other features make up for it.
With the exception of abundant mud, the traction of Salomon XA Elevate provides guaranteed safety at all times. This can be attributed to the Premium Wet Contagrip on the outsole which can handle surfaces, such as dry or wet grass, rock, track, sand, trails with loose stone or roots and, technical terrain with ease. The lugs are trapezoidal in shape and 5mm in depth to handle sand, gravel, and mud without wear and tear. The firm rubber of the outsole can handle all sorts of trail debris. One running group mentioned that they covered their run during the rainy season on a wet surface and still felt a strong grip
The XA Elevate comes at a reasonable price point for a technical trail running shoe. The shoe can be considered a top contender in the trail running shoes on the market because of its superior stability, protection, good grip on many rough surfaces and durability.
The traction is where the XA Elevate truly shines with the Premium Wet traction Contagrip providing solid grip over varied surfaces. The 5mm lug depth helps keep the foot steady even when a runner changes directions on tough terrain
. The internal support of the foot is also maintained, regardless of the terrain on which runners choose. Hence, between traction, stability, and support, these shoes allow you to perform technical descents with no fear of slipping.
This shoe is torsionally rigid which means that it will keep you from falling over on uneven trails. Flexibility is not the highlight of most trail running shoes and this shoe is the same with its focus on stability and grip. This shoe works well when you’re hiking on difficult terrain with more than just a backpack.
Salomon’s Sensifit technology in the midsole uses welded overlays that wrap and flex with the foot. The XA Elevate, however, uses a stronger material that doesn’t flex or move as much. This helps the shoe provide greater lateral stability but it might be a little uncomfortable for those with narrow feet. Most of its stability can be attributed to the Advanced Chassis.
In older trail running shoes like the XA Pro 3D, X Ultra 3
, or Wings Pro 2
, Salomon used a plastic 3D chassis to provide a solid underfoot ride. But for this shoe, a dual density midsole with EVA foam is used instead of using plastic. This does not compromise stability in any way but adds a touch of comfort which is needed on long runs.
With a 26mm heel height and an 18mm forefoot, this shoe has an 8mm drop which is standard for trail running shoes. This is a moderate drop which helps arch and ankle articulation while allowing some ground feel. This type of drop is best supported with cushioning on the feet so that your muscles are cushioned during the strides.
Contagrip Wet Traction outsole
5mm Trapezoidal lugs that grip the surface and provide channels for water to escape
Energy Cell+ EVA midsole for a moderate rebound
Profeel film Chassis in the midsole for protection against trail debris
Sensifit Upper to cradle your feet around the upper
Quicklace lacing system
The XA Elevate builds on last year’s XA Enduro with a redesigned upper sans Enduro’s internal bootie. There were issues regarding its bootie which didn’t provide the best heel protection so the XA Elevate certainly provides an improvement over it.
The XA Elevate makes true of its promises by offering great grip, stability, and protection in a visually clean package. At its price point, this shoe is a great option for runners who are looking to explore technical terrain.
The shoe fits true to size and is less wide in the toe box compared to previous Salomon shoes. With a firm and stiff midsole, the XA Elevate can take your focus out of your feet and into the terrain and your run itself.