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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Salomon XT Wings GTX Shoes > Test Report by Jennifer Estrella

Salomon XT Wings GTX W

Women's Trail Running Shoes

Test Series by Jennifer Estrella

April 14, 2009

Skip to my Initial Report- December 6, 2008
Skip to my Field Report- February 10, 2009
Skip to my Long Term Report- April 14, 2009

Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Estrella
Age:  34
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California, United States

Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. (I also married a Sherpa to help.) I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.

Initial Report

December 6, 2008

Product Information

Manufacturer: Salomon
Product: Salomon XT Wings GTX W trail running shoes
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer Website: www.salomonsports.com
MSRP: $160.00 USD

Weight Listed: Model not listed on website
Actual Weight: 13.15 oz (373 g) each shoe
Size Tested: Women's Size 8
Sizes Available: Model not listed on website
Color Tested : Ciment Blue-X/Black/Agean Blue
Colors Available: Model not listed on website

Guarantee: 1 year against manufacturing defects

Toe and Back

Product Description

The Salomon XT Wings GTX is a low cut, waterproof women's trail running shoe. These shoes are a brand new addition to the Salomon trail running shoe line. So new in fact that there is nothing about them on the company web site yet.

I find the Salomon XT Wings GTX shoes to be very appealing to the eye. The shoes have a synthetic leather overlay and nylon mesh for the upper portion. The upper blue nylon material has a grid type pattern. The nylon uppers use what is called a Sensifit synthetic leather overlay used to secure the instep and to help lock the heel of the foot in place. The tongue of the shoe is attached to the shoe body with stitching to help decrease water from entering the shoe.

The shoes came in a visually appealing box of red, black and white colors with the "XT WINGS by SALOMON" written on every side of the box. One side of the box has the words "Take flight". The shoes had three hang tags attached and a GORE-TEX guarantee contact information sheet.

The shoes have an Agile Chassis System (ACS). This system is claimed by the manufacturer to integrate 3 components to increase runner efficiency: the skeleton, muscle and tendon. The tendon is located on the bottom rubber outsole of the shoe. The skeleton is located on the clear plastic just above the rubber portion of the shoe. The muscle is located on the upper rubber portion on the shoe body.

There are several locations on the upper portion of the shoes that the features are stamped or have tags. The shoes have the words "GORE-TEX" in gray on the synthetic leather located on the outer sides of the shoe. There is also a black tag on the outside heel of the shoe labeled "GORE-TEX" in yellow lettering. The Salomon brand name is in gray on the outside of the heel above the "GORE-TEX" label. On the synthetic leather the word "sensifit" is stamped in gray. On the tongue of the shoes there is a piece of blue nylon with the words "XT WINGS" in white. The Agile Chassis System (AC Skeleton and AC Muscle) of the shoes are marked on the upper portion of shoes as well.

Nice shoes

The shoe lining is a GORE-TEX waterproof breathable membrane with synthetic materials. This GORE-TEX liner is designed to help let the foot breathe and to protect the foot and the shoe from water. The synthetic components of the lining are designed to assist with wicking moisture away from the foot.

The mid-sole is a triple-density EVA, this is claimed by the manufacturer to maximize comfort and responsiveness with twice the durability of average EVA foam. The mid-soles are also indicated to have pronation control.

The support of the shoes is a thermoplastic urethane insert. This clear thermoplastic insert and outsole heel wrap are claimed by the manufacturer to act as the skeleton to facilitate heel-to-toe transition and side-to-side stability.

The insoles are what Salomon calls Ortholite. They have an antimicrobial treatment to assist with odor control. The hangtag on the shoes indicate Ortholite as "comfort from the inside out, air flow for a cool foot, long-lasting comfort, odor and fungus inhibiting, wicks away moisture". The insoles are constructed of a thin foam type of material measuring about 4 mm (0.16 in) in thickness with a textile overlay. There are holes in the foam material to help with moisture wicking. There is a dense foam that supports the foot below the forefoot. This foam serves as the heel cup, arch, and lateral support of the foot. There is no rigid support with this foam to support the arch of the foot. I can easily fold the entire footbed up in my hand. This concerns me as I need support for the arch of my foot.

Footbeds

Ortholite insoles

The lacing system of the shoes is called an asymmetrical Quicklace system. There is no tying of laces. To tighten the shoes it is just a pull of the laces and a pocket located on the tongue of the shoes tucks the tab away. The shoes come pre-laced with the laces running through six loops of nylon material (four of which have a plastic reinforcement in the loop) and one made of the synthetic leather. The laces also pass though two metal grommet holes attached to the shoes. The laces then pass through a plastic pull tab with a rubber piece at the end of the lacing system. This rubber piece is held onto with one hand while the other hand moves the pull tab to cinch the laces to get a tight fit.

Lace

Lace pull tab

Pocket

Lace pocket

The shoes have protective toe and heel caps to help protect the toes and heels from abrasion. The toe caps have more coverage where the big toe is located when wearing the shoes. Where the protective toe cap material ends there is a section of synthetic leather that is then double-stitched to the nylon material of the shoe body. There is also a sidewall mudguard on the shoes.

The running Contagrip outsole tendon is claimed by the manufacturer to act like a spring to collect heel strike energy and transfer it to toe-off for forward momentum The rubber outsoles have many different colors of rubber (black, red, gray, medium blue, and light blue). I find the bottoms to be very colorful and attractive to look at. But, when the heck would I be looking at the bottoms of the shoes. The outsoles have many features or names debossed on the bottom ("SALOMON, contagrip, AC TENDON, and Patent n").

On the Contagrip outsoles there are forefoot flex grooves, self-cleaning multi directional lugs, toe off and braking lugs. The outsoles are constructed of several different hardness of the Contagrip. On the upper section (toe and forefoot) of the sole the lugs face towards the back of the shoe. On the heel section the lugs face towards the front of the shoe.

Nice soles

 

On the hangtag attached to the shoes the manufacturer recommends to remove dirt and mud from the shoes using a soft, wet brush and clean water. They should never be washed in a washing machine. It states to dry the shoes at room temperature without the aid of the sun.


Initial Fit and Impressions

The shoes have a good initial fit. I have found that the shoes are easy to don and doff. I just slipped my feet into the shoes and held the rubber piece at the end of the lacing system and cinched the pull tab until the shoes were at my desired tightness. I wore the shoes on a short 1 mi (1.61 km) walk in my neighborhood and there were no pressure points or discomfort.


Field Report

February 10, 2009

Scrambling

Testing Locations

The Salomon shoes were worn for a total of 103 mi (166 km) and 31 days during the field testing period. This does not include days I wore the shoes around town or to work.

Newport Beach, California: The temperature was recorded at 55 to 57 F (13 to 14 C) with heavy rain over a course of two days. During one of these days I wore the XP Wings on a day hike in the Newport Beach area totaling 4 mi (6 km). I also visited this area for another day hike and hiked another 4 mi (6 km).

Red Rocks, Nevada: This was a three-day climbing/camping trip. The highs were around 55 F (13 C). The lows at night were around 30 F (-1 C). I wore the Salomon XT Wings GTX shoes while approaching the climbs and on the hiking trails in the park. We hiked about 10 mi (16 km) over the course of the trip.

Crystal Cove State Park, California: This was a day hike for a total of 5 mi (8 km). The temperature was recorded at 53 F (12 C) with light rain in the early morning. The elevation here is just above sea level.

Cleveland National Forest, California (San Mateo Wilderness): This was a two day backpacking trip on the Tenaja Trail to Fisherman's Camp then to Tenaja Falls. From Tenaja Falls we went back to Fisherman's Camp to spend the night. We hiked 9 mi (14 km) on the first day and 3.5 mi (6 km) on the second day, all up-hill. It hit 75 F (24 C) for a high and got down to 28 F (-2 C) at night. The high elevation was 2,000 ft (610 m) with a total of 1,300 ft (396 m) of elevation gain and loss.

Orange County, California: The shoes were worn for a total of 23 days on local walks for exercise on the river trail, beach trails, and on concrete. I also wore them for a light jog. The shoes were worn for an average 4 mi (6 km) each day. The weather varied from sunny, cloudy, to steady rain.


Performance in the Field

Over the past two months I have really enjoyed wearing the Salomon XT Wings GTX shoes. They were comfortable right out of the box with no break in time needed.

I noticed that there is no irritation on my feet from the inner lining of the shoes. The lining has two seams from what I can tell, one on the heel area and one on the tongue. Even when water entered the top of the shoes from water crossings my feet were comfortable (as they could be) with no irritation or hot spots. I also do not get any irritation from the tongue of the shoes.

I have been able to wear the XT Wings GTX shoes with many different types of socks (synthetic and wool) with various thicknesses. I have even worn them with a heavier weight type of backpacking socks on one of my trips. I think the Quicklace system of these shoes allows me to wear them with a larger selection of sock types. When the tension of the Quicklace is released to open the shoes to put them on my feet they seem roomier than traditional shoes. Plus I do not have to struggle and take time to loosen my laces near the toe area of the shoes. I did notice that if I tighten the pull tab in a seated position I almost always have to make it tighter when I am standing. On the trail I only had to tighten the laces from time to time after climbing, but it only took a few seconds.

The stability of the shoes is excellent. I believe this comes from the combination of the pronation control and the compounds of the Agile Chassis System (ACS)/thermoplastic urethane insert. There is no need for me to wear custom footbeds or aftermarket footbeds in these shoes. In most shoes I have to wear a footbed or orthotic to achieve my desired support and proper foot positioning. I have worn the shoes with a pack weight of up to 27 lb (12 kg) and there was no lack of support. I actually enjoyed wearing them on backpacking trip because they are lighter in weight than my low cut hiking shoes.

The XT Wings GTX shoes breathe well. I have yet to wear them in scorching hot temperatures, but in temperatures below 75 F (24 C) my feet did not excessively perspire. I thought my feet would have perspired more with the GORE-TEX lining. However, when water enters the tops of the shoes it stays inside and it has to be dumped out.

These shoes are definitely waterproof. I have worn them in down pours of rain and in stream crossings. Just as long as the water does not enter the tops of the shoes my feet stay dry. I am very impressed with how waterproof they are.

During my trip to Red Rocks I had to carry a pack full of climbing gear with the weight being approximately 22 lb (10 kg). I had to scramble up rocks and even had to take off my pack at times and hand it up to my friend while scrambling to reach the climbing areas. The toe areas of the shoes developed scuff marks on the black toe protector material. These scuff marks appear to have worn away the black toe protector (toe rand) material and some gray is showing. It appears that in one area a hole in the black toe rand goes through to the shoe fabric. The black toe rand material is very thin from what I can tell. I did not use the shoes in any extreme way on this trip. Even prior to my trip to Red Rocks there were some small scuff marks on the toe rand, but now there are many more. My toe rands on my other trail running shoes seem to be thicker and more durable. I can say that because they have been worn for over 150 mi (242 km) and the toe rands look like new.

Toe scuff marks

Toe scuff marks

The Quicklace system tab pocket on the shoe I feel is on the small side. When I have the pull tab and the remaining lacing stored in the pocket it bulges out. Maybe if the pocket was recessed it would help with the bulging. Sometimes my pants get stuck on the bulging pocket.

The shoes have good traction on wet and dry surfaces. They do not have a loss of traction on wet pavement as my other trail runners do. The Contagrip outsoles allow light mud not to get caked on the bottom of the shoes. I have not worn them in thick mud at this time, just wet trails after rain.


Long Term Report

April 14, 2009

 

Where is my hiking partner?

Testing Locations

The Salomon XT Wings GTX shoes were worn for a total of 167 mi (269 km) and 57 days during the entire testing period. This does not include days I wore the shoes around town or to work.

Crystal Cove State Park, California: The shoes were worn at this location on two day hikes during the testing period. The elevation was from sea level to 60 ft (18 m). The one day hike completed was on the beach mostly in wet sand as we followed the coast in and out of the tide pools. It was raining right before we left so it was a bit cool. The temperatures were between 50 F and 68 F (10 C and 20 C). Both trips were 5 mi (8 km) each. On one of the hikes in this location there was a light misty rain.

I hope I don't fall in.

Crystal Cove State Park

Agua Bonita Spring in the Santa Rosa Mountains, California: This was a backpacking trip that dropped from high desert to low desert. The high temperature was 75 F (24 C) and a low of 33 F (1 C) at night. The trip totaled 21 miles (34 km) with 2,950 ft (899 m) of elevation gain and loss.

Red Rocks, Nevada and Zion National Park, Utah: This was a four-day trip that consisted of assorted approach hiking, climbing and day-hiking. Our first day was rained out and got very cold but the next three days were great. Temps ranged from 40 F (4 C) to 72 F (22 C) with elevations ranging from 3,600 ft (1,097 m) to almost 6,000 ft (1,829 m). Winds were constant, but mild except for the first day when they were very strong.

Trail Angel

Taking a break at the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah

Whiting Ranch, California: This was a short 3 mi (5 km) day hike after a mountain bike ride. The elevation started at approximately 900 ft (274 m). The temperature was approximately 65 F (18 C).

Orange County, California: The shoes were worn for a total of 23 days on local walks for exercise on the river trail, beach trails, and on concrete. I also wore them for a light jog. The shoes were worn for an average 4 mi (6 km) each day. The weather varied from sunny, cloudy, to steady rain.


Performance in the Field

During the last four months of testing I have really enjoyed wearing the Salomon XT Wings GTX shoes. What I like most about them is the Quicklace system. When I put these shoes on I can be ready to go much faster than if I was wearing traditional trail runners with regular shoe laces. I found that the Quicklace system is much easier to adjust than a traditional lacing system. I just have to pull the cord a tad bit tighter or just loosen it some at the pull tab.

The Kevlar laces are in excellent condition and there is no wear through the lower nylon webbing lacing loop. This surprised me. I assumed with all the tension on the lower lacing loop I would see some wear. The plastic protectors on the upper nylon webbing lacing loops have not cracked or broke. The Quicklace pull tab is still in fine working order. On one of my hikes I had to scramble up steep rocks and high-step frequently. When I got to the summit I decided to tighten the laces more snug for the decent, mostly for stability purposes. I do not think the laces loosened, if they did it was very minor. I basically just wanted a snugger fit due to the known obstacles on the trail. On the Internet I stumbled across Kevlar replacement laces for the shoes. The kit comes with the laces, pull tabs, and the webbing protectors. This is good to know if they need replacing in the future.

The Salomon XT Wings GTX shoes are still very comfortable when I wear them. On one of my most recent trips I for some reason put on a pair of backpacking socks. I had an extra pair of lighter weight socks with me, but I was too lazy to change my socks on the trail. The backpacking socks did not fill up too much volume. However, my feet were sweating and when I removed the shoes my socks the inner lining of the shoes and the Ortholite footbeds were damp. The footbeds and the inside linings of the shoes do not seem to be retaining any foul odors at this point.

I am very disappointed in the durability of the toe rand. The fabric, synthetic leather, Kevlar lacing system, and the soles of the shoes look in good condition, whereas the toe rand is very scuffed with gray showing across the entire portion. This wear has significantly gotten worse over the testing period. The shoes would not be presentable for me to wear at work or in many public places. I have never had a pair of shoes that the toe rand wore so quickly. For future models of these shoes I would like to see a more durable toe rand. I do not have this problem with other trail runners that use a thicker toe rand. Even though the toe rand is wearing through my toes are still protected when I bump and kick rocks with the toes of the shoes.

Even with the Agile Chassis Systems (ACS), triple-density EVA mid-soles, and the thermoplastic urethane inserts I am beginning to see some outer border heel tread wear on the shoes. It is minor, but noticeable. Even with this wear my feet feel stable in the shoes. This wear was not noticeable during my field test reporting. Otherwise the soles are in excellent condition with lots of lug tread remaining. The wear is occurring because the soles of my feet naturally turn medially (inversion).

I usually wear orthotics or custom footbeds. These shoes significantly help my heel inversion, but it is still slightly present. I attempted to place a very thin moldable footbed into the shoe to help correct the problem. When I placed the footbed into the shoe and tightened the lacing system I noticed that the fabric near the nylon lacing loop was bunching up significantly. As that was very uncomfortable I decided not to use them and replaced the original footbeds.

My feet do not become overly fatigued in these shoes. They are comfortable on my daily walks, day hikes, and multi-day backpacking trips. The shoes are not thin soled that I feel every rock and bump when I am hiking. The traction is great on wet surfaces, sand, sand stone, rocks, grass, dirt, and pavement. The only time I had traction issues was on wet mossy rocks, which is understandable.

Generally with these shoes I have worn lightweight to mid-weight wool socks. On one occasion I did wear backpacking heavy wool socks. On a few occasions I wore synthetic socks that are very thin and they remind me of sock liners. I could feel the difference when I wore these socks as my foot did not feel as securely placed as they did with my wool socks. I have not received any blisters or foot irritation while wearing these shoes.

I wore the shoes in standing water on a few occasions during the long term reporting phase. In the tide pools at Crystal Cove State Park the shoes were in salt water. My feet felt damp. From what I could tell the water did not enter the tops of the shoes. I wanted to further assess this. So I put the shoes in a sink full of water and I submerged them being careful not to have water enter the tops of the shoes. Low and behold after about 5 minutes the insides of the shoes became damp. I could see where the water was leaking in and it appears to me it is a stress point of where my foot flexes. It is my understanding that GORE-TEX has a lifetime warranty so I am going to check that out in the future. The shoes have many miles on them and I think that is why the GORE-TEX lining is now failing. In my initial report the shoes were completely waterproof.


Summary

I am happy with the Salomon XT Wings GTX shoes; they are comfortable, have a great lacing system, the tread is great, and they can still be worn after having 167 mi (269 km) on them. What I am not happy about is after four months of use the GORE-TEX lining seems to have failed and that the black toe rand is scuffed and there is gray showing through. The toe rand scuffs is not inhibiting the performance of the shoes at this time. It is more of a cosmetic issue. Plus they look very old and abused with these scuffs. I will continue to wear these shoes until the sole wears out or until they fall apart. At that point I will look into another pair of Salomon shoes with the same lacing system.


Things That Rock

  • Quicklace system
  • Comfortable
  • No irritation from the lining
  • Good traction, even on wet surfaces
  • Foot stability

Things That Are So-So

  • The thin protective toe cap (toe rand)
  • Small Quicklace tab pocket

Remarks

This concludes my reporting on the Salomon XT Wings GTX trail running shoes. Thank you Salomon and backpackgeartest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test the Salomon XT Wings GTX trail running shoes.

 



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