By Don Jurries
With tag lines such as “Bitumen is Boring”, Salomon is sponsoring a number of events and tours in several countries around the world to encourage the uptake of trail running and speed hiking. For Spring 2012, Salomon has designed a range of innovative, lightweight and responsive shoes for this type of experience, with the new XR Mission trail running shoe the centerpiece for all-terrain middle and long distance trails.
Modelled in part on the successful XR Crossmax, the XR Mission trail running shoe has similar fit management in the upper, including Sensifit to cradle the foot from the midsole to the lace system for stability, Sensiflex stretch panels to allow natural foot expansion in the upper forefoot area, and the one-pull Quicklace system with a single kevlar string fed through friction-free lace eyelets.
The sole construction uses Salomon’s Contagrip technology to optimize grip and durability, where the last has been designed for increased spring off the toe. The XR Mission also includes a protective TPU toe cap and an Ortholite sock liner to help with moisture management. These trail running shoes are lightweight, clocking in at around 300 grams (10 oz.), depending on your size.
The difference to many trail running shoes in this category, however, is that the men’s and women’s versions of the XR Mission were designed separately and specifically for each gender. While both have many of the same features, the women’s version has an upper designed more asymmetrically to fit the female foot form.
The women’s outsole has a more flexible Oversized Tendon, or the band of stretchy TPU placed between the midsole and outsole that connects the heel crash pad to the mid foot and forefoot to better guide your foot through the entire strike and add snap to your toe-off. The women's outsole also has an additional Flex Groove, making it easier for women to achieve greater flexibility in the shoe.
The Salomon XR Mission trail running shoes will retail for $110 and be available early Spring 2012.