I talked a little bit about my training and my need for trail shoes yesterday, but I wanted to write a quick review of the ones I ran in. I ordered about 6 pairs from Endless.com to try on and test out. My husband does not understand why I didn’t just go to a store and try them on, but my friend E. had recommended we try Montrails and no stores around here carry them. I wound up not getting Montrails, because while I am a size 8.5, and I order a size up for running shoes, the 9.5 were enormous and the 9 was WAY too small – my toes touched the end of the shoe! In running shoes, my feet need room to swell, so that was not going to work.
I wound up ordering a pair of Salomons to test out as well, and I’m lucky I did. I got the Salmon XA Comp 6 shoes, and funnily enough, they were available at my local REI but I hadn’t tried them on. I needed something that would stand up to rocks and roots on the trail, so I was looking for something with a hard toe. The reviews on these shoes are mixed, but I’m giving them a solid 4 stars. I over-pronate a LOT, so I like to have good arch support, and I wanted a shoe I didn’t need my orthotics with.
There are a few things I liked about these shoes that other people do not. I have narrow feet, and the Salomons have a built in lacing system. This actually meant that I could get them pretty tight on my feet, but still have a roomy toe box. They are a clunky, heavy shoe. I was okay with this. If you are looking for a minimalist shoe, this is not it. For those of us who haven’t drunk the barefoot running cool-aid and would like to keep our toenails intact, this is a good shoe. It has a LOT of support. For trail running, I wanted that.
The major issue I had with this shoe is the lining. It’s heavier than I would like, and it did cause some blistering – not true blistering, but hotspots on various toes. The little lock-y thing on the built in laces is also prone to coming undone, but you just have to be aware of that and stop and say, “this shoe feels too big”. It did not let in nearly as much dirt as my road running shoes do.
The other problem with these shoes was simply that I didn’t break them in properly. In the category of, “do as I say, not as I do,” do NOT buy shoes two weeks before a race and only wear them for a 7-mile run. It is a bad plan. I knew better and did it anyway, but I was much better off than I would have been in my road shoes, so I would say I probably did not learn my lesson on this one. I was very happy to see my fuzzy socks and crocs in my race bag.