Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX

There’s nothing quite like hitting the trail for a long day navigating the unknowable terrain of nature. Few pursuits in running combine the pleasure of getting back to basics while delivering a challenging workout like trail running, but to properly engage in this activity a runner needs to have the proper footwear. If you’ve been itching to hit the trails and get dirty, the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX trail running shoe is one of the toughest and most versatile trainers for the task on the market today. This mountain shoe is meant to do it all on the trail: besides being designed to take on the most challenging terrains, the Ultra 2 GTX is a stability trail running shoe that provides great support for overpronators. Made up of trail-specific technologies that will allow runners to run over uneven topographies, slippery slopes, and even snow, this is a reliable trail running shoe made by Salomon, one of the most reputable names in the shoe market today

Featuring enhanced forefoot protection—including a reinforced toe box—the Ultra 2 GTX is a sturdy shoe meant to withstand the many potentially hazardous conditions that can be found on the trail. Its midfoot to heel support comes in the form of a large overlay that provides excellent midfoot hold and overall structure to the upper, while its outsole is outfitted with aggressive lugs along the perimeter and midsection, making this a versatile shoe that performs well in a variety of conditions, from ideal to extreme. Breathable but sturdy, the Ultra 2 GTX is a great trail running shoe for both beginners who may need the extra stability it offers to negotiate trickier terrains and its excellent traction and for seasoned trail runners looking for a dynamic trail running shoe that will take them where they want to go on the trail. Let’s take a closer look at the XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX and see if it can really perform in the rough and tumble conditions that can be encountered in the great outdoors.

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Pros & Cons
  • Breathable but waterproof upper
  • Offers superior durability and can handle tough terrains
  • Toe guard protects the wearer from impact with debris on the trail
  • Mud Guard tech keeps mud out of foot chamber
  • Cons
    • Poor shock absorption in the rear foot
    • Support could be better
    • Sizing issues Means runners may need  to go up a size
    • Key Features
      The outsole of the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is constructed to take on some rough and tough terrain. Its Non-MarkingContragrip outsole—a Salomon standard--is made of a rubber compound that provides sticky grip on the trail and is outfitted with flex grooves to enhance the shoe's overall flexibility. A stability shoe, this grippy outsole will keep a runner stable even when running on a slippery and uneven terrain.
      The lug configuration on the outsole of the XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is spaced to provide maximum traction. With this specific lug spacing, mud is less likely to enter the cracks and crevices underfoot. Aggressive perimeter lugs improve performance and aid in making quick, unexpected turns on difficult technical trails. Bigger lugs have also been added in this edition that runs from heel to forefoot, which delivers dependable grip and making a run on trails both light and technical more versatile. There's a bit of stiffness to the outsole that may require a breaking in period but the outsole's durability and superb grip make up for that small shortcoming.
      Salomon’s proprietary Energy Cell 2 midsole design is made with resiliency and energy return in mind. Composed of a dual-density EVA foam that provides full-length impact protection, this material provides solid shock absorption and a decent amount of energy return throughout the gait cycle.
      In addition, the midsole is injected with EVA foam, which provides enough support underfoot to keep overpronators from excessively pronating. Runners won't have to worry about turning an ankle thanks to the midsole's supportive construction. The heel of the Ultra 2 GTX features a 3D Advanced Chassis. This feature is placed between the midsole and outsole and is designed to absorb shock and cradle the heel for enhanced support and comfort. Part of this 3D Chassis system is a thermoplastic unit designed to correct overpronation, while the medial side of the midsole has been reinforced with high-density EVA to similarly address pronation issues.
      The Ultra 2 GTX's mesh upper is both breathable and protective. This mesh is made of a tough anti-debris material, with a Gore-Tex lining underneath that makes it waterproof. These quick-drying materials help keep things comfortable and dry inside the shoe. The lacing system of the Ultra 2 GTX is also original, featuring an asymmetrical lacing system with Kevlar laces. The laces are easy to tie and pulling the shoe on or off is easy and pie while also providing a secure fit throughout a run. The upper also features significant overlays that provide a solid structure and support, making the upper durable and able to withstand the onslaught of elements that the toughest terrains can present.

      The Ultra 2 GTX features a fairly heavy duty gusseted tongue that's meant to keep debris out of the shoe. The tongue also features a lacing pocket which is practical since the shoe's laces run quite long.

      The shoes' upper also features a Mud Guard lining meant to keep mud and virtually any other debris from seeping into the shoe. A comfortable Ortholite Sockliner is also included to provide step-in comfort. Finally, the shoe's solid toe cap will keep the runner’s forefoot protected from impact with trail debris like branches, rocks, and tree roots.
      Salomon’s Ultra 2 GTX is a heavy-duty trail running shoe, which means it’s going to have some heft to its overall weight. Weighing in at 14.3 ounces/405 grams for men’s and 10.9 ounces/309 grams for women’s, this is a rather heavy shoe. However, it should be kept in mind that this is a trail runner meant to stand up to the harsh elements and tricky terrains that are encountered in nature, and as such is loaded with tech and features meant to both protect and aid the runner in navigating such varying conditions.

      The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is a surprisingly breathable shoe for the amount of anti-debris and waterproofing elements built into it. The shoe's upper features a lightweight mesh that provides good ventilation and helps the runner’s foot breathe. Sweat is effectively wicked away thanks to its quick-drying liner materials, While the Gore-Tex lining underneath the outside mesh is waterproof and effectively keeps moisture out. It's surprising that this waterproof trail shoe is so breathable, but the XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX manages to ventilate quite well.

      Most reviewers remarked that the Ultra 2 GTX was quite comfortable. Its Ortholite Sockliner provides step-in comfort, while its Sensifit technology ensures that the fit is snug and secure. With a number of stability-promoting elements built into its midsole, the precise fit of the Ultra 2 GTX ensures that overpronation is controlled. In addition, the shoe's EVA foam midsole provides another layer of padding to provide comfort on the run.
      The Ultra 2 GTX also provides solid arch support. That said, those with flat feet may want to choose another trail shoe. The asymmetrical lacing system works to provide a snug and comfortable fit. This shoe can easily be used for long distance training without developing blisters. The Ultra 2 GTX is also a good option for training in the warm summer months thanks to its excellent ventilation. In addition, the midsole's 3D Advanced Chassis provides additional comfort when running on technical trails.
      The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is definitely an attention grabber. The shoe comes in various bright multi-colored color combinations in addition to more muted hues. The brighter colors are perfect for those looking for a high-visibility shoe, although traversing through muddy or dirty conditions may mar the overall aesthetic of this stylistic choice. No matter the color scheme, however, The Ultra 2 GTXis flashy with some unique design features. The asymmetrical lacing system is modern and eye-catching, and it’s a trail-running shoe that looks every inch (an ounce) of its tenacity. Whether hitting the trail or just putting them on to break them in, the Ultra 2 GTX is a trail running shoe that will garner attention—and perform as fiercely as it looks.
      The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is a durable trail shoe meant to protect you from a host of weather conditions and any kind of debris the runner may encounter on the trail. Wear and tear will only become noticeable after many miles have been put on a pair. Some reviewers have found that even with over 1200 miles on them, the Ultra 2 GTX was still in great shape.

      This shoe also features the 3D Advanced Chassis, which provides both a good deal of support and also increases the shoe's longevity. Trail runners who make the purchase will find themselves running in the XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX for a long time!

      The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX does a great job when it comes to protecting a runner’s feet. This trail runner can handle a variety of weather conditions, tough terrain, and especially wayward debris that are encountered on the trail. Its solid outsole, outfitted with tenacious lugs, similarly protects the runner from the jostles and sharp materials that may be found on the forest floor, while its Energy Cell 2 midsole provides a fair amount of protection from the shock of impact during a run.

      The Ultra 2 GTX features a solid rubber toe cap in the forefoot that keeps your toes safe from potential injuries that may occur bumping into rocks and other hazards in nature. It also features a Mud Guard, which is meant to keep mud out and off the shoe. Keeping mud out of the shoe ensures that you don't end up carrying extra weight while traversing forest trails.
      The Ultra 2 GTX is a relatively responsive shoe, featuring an outsole and midsole that are specifically crafted to tackle the varied topographies found on the trail. The midsole's injected EVA foam is tightly packed to help prevent degradation over time while providing a responsive ride. This construction of the midsole material is also meant to enhance the shoe's ground feel. The lugs on the outsole line both the perimeter and run from heel to forefoot to allow the runner to navigate the tricky terrain often found in nature with great agility.
      As most reviewers agree, the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is a supportive trail shoe. Its upper features a substantial overlay system that provides support and overall structure to the shoe, while its asymmetrical lacing system is meant to provide a secure and supportive fit after lace-up by aiding to eliminate inward foot rolling. The shoe's midsole cushion provides ample support underfoot, going from forefoot to rearfoot. The 3D Advanced Chassis is also meant to keep runners from pronating excessively. The Ultra 2 GTX also provides a good amount of arch support that's perfect for those with normal to high arches. Most notably, overpronators will find this shoe’s construction designed specifically to address their needs, providing support and elements that will help correct pronation during a run.
      There’s no other way to put it: the Ultra 2 GTX was built for the trails. Specifically, it was made for off-road running in all possible conditions. Runners don't have to worry about rock, mud, or water when hitting the trails in the Ultra 2 GTX. The shoe can take on a wide variety of topographies, from well-maintained trails to unruly ascending mountain peaks. Whether the runner is confronting the challenge of an obstacle course, Tough Mudder event, or the most rugged untamed trails out in nature, the Ultra 2 GTX will make quick work of even the most difficult route. Constructed from materials that ventilate and keep water and mud out, in particular, its Mud Guard and waterproof Gore Text lining, trail runners will be pleased by the Ultra 2 GTX’s performance out in nature and on the trail.
      With a heavy-duty trail runner that can withstand even the harshest elements—from snow to mud to rocky, uneven terrains—it’s no surprise that the Salomon XA Pro 3d Ultra 2 GTX is relatively pricey. Despite its high price point, it packs a lot of value into one package and is a dynamic shoe in which investing will certainly pay off when on the trail.
      The Ultra 2 GTX provides excellent traction underfoot. The Non-Marking Contagrip outsole is tough enough to handle a variety of surfaces. Outfitted with flex grooves, the sole of the shoe provides flexion and traction even on the most slippery of surfaces, while its tenacious perimeter and heel to toe lugs provide a tenacious traction that will keep the runner secure on a variety of surfaces.
      The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX allows for natural flexion of the foot while running. The shoe is flexible enough to provide a comfortable, natural-feeling ride. Its outsole is outfitted with deep flex grooves that keep the shoe feeling flexible while also providing the runner with a great amount of surface control.
      The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is just as stable as it is comfortable. The asymmetrical lacing system keeps the wearer's foot secure inside the shoe. The laces tighten the shoe on the sides and top to ensure the wearer doesn't feel unstable while running. The 3D Advanced Chassis also provides some support for the wearer. It's meant to keep runners balanced and ensure a stable ride. It is also constructed with the overpronator in mind, with a number of elements in its midsole designed specifically to address this issue. In short, this is a hardy stability trail runner that will be not just appreciated, but seemingly essential, for overpronators looking to hit the trail.
      Unlike so many other features of the Ultra 2 GTX, which are as unique as they are seemingly essential to its overall performance, its heel to toe drop is standard--10mm. This means that for runners used to the standard drop found in most running shoes, the drop of the Ultra 2 GTX will present no problems or necessitate a period of adjustment.

      Key Features
      • 3D Advanced Chassis provides stability on even the toughest terrain
      • Unique, asymmetrical lacing system
      • Injection-molded Energy Cell 2 EVA midsole with excellent energy return
      • Durable Non-Marking Contagrip Outsole provides excellent traction
      • Sturdy toe cap protects from impact with trail debris
      • Breathable QuickDry upper
      • Gore-Tex liner keeps water out of the shoe
      Bottom Line
      For trail runners looking to maximize their time and performance on the trail and are looking for a trail running shoe that will push their performance to the max, the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is an overall impressive trail shoe. Able to handle a variety of terrains and varying weather conditions, this comfortable trail shoe will stand up against the elements and the test of time. The protective features in the shoe to keep mud and water out of the foot chamber, and protect the wearer from trail debris are invaluable to those looking to step up their trail running game. As an added bonus, the Ultra 2 GTX also offers superior stability for overpronators, with a number of features built into it to address the specific needs of overpronators. Despite being a relatively pricey shoe, it offers a great amount of value for those seeking to hit the trail and run over rough and tumble terrain without missing a step.

      One particularly notable characteristic of the XA Pro 3d Ultra 2 GTX is its ability to ventilate. Even with a waterproof Gore-Tex liner, the shoe manages to be breathable. It won't be as breathable as most road shoes since it is a heavy-duty trail shoe. But it's breathable enough to provide comfort for the wearer. Offering protection, great traction, breathability, support for overpronators, and made of incredibly durable materials, the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX is a solid investment for trail runners that are looking for a trail running shoe that will help them push through all obstacles in their quest to run farther and through terrain they may not have dreamed otherwise to confront and conquer.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
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      Road Runner Sports Link
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      By Brian Price
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 28. 2021

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