While I was in Chamonix, I tested out a pair of the new XR Mission trail running shoes from Salomon. Intended for short to mid distance running, the shoes are designed to work equally well on both pavement and trail. With a 10mm drop from heel to forefoot, these trail shoes balance cushioning on harder surfaces with a more natural feel over uneven terrain.
Constructed with a nylon mesh upper, the XR Mission trail shoes are nice and breathable for those warm weather runs. Salomon's Sensifit synthetic leather overlays are tied to the Quicklace system, cradling your ankle and mid-foot while keeping your foot securely in place inside your shoe.
I am a huge fan of the Quicklace system as it makes the trail shoes easy to get on and off quickly, plus removes any worry of your shoes coming untied mid-run. All Salomon shoes feature some sort of pouch for storing the end of the lace system out of your way. Unfortunately, the XR Mission pouch is right beneath the laces, meaning you have to tuck in the end before you tighten your shoes or it becomes very difficult to do afterwards.
With the rest of your foot secure, a roomy toe box lets your digits move freely as you run. The sides of the toe box feature a stretchy material that expands with your foot the longer you run, providing comfort and cutting down on blister possibilities.
The Contragrip lugs along the length of the outsole provide plenty of traction and enable quick stops or turns on slippery surfaces. After a planned short hike to a climbing crag at the top of the Brevent cable car turned into a full on snow slog, I can say these trail shoes even offer superior traction over snowy and icy slopes.
The women's version of the XR Mission is built on a completely different last than the men's, ensuring both sexes get a more comfortable and custom molded fit. The EVA midsole on these lightweight trail shoes (8.5 oz.) delivers plenty of cushioning for running along paved trails through the Chamonix valley or through the back streets leading to the various trail heads. A protective toecap erects a virtual pain barrier for the occasional stubbed toe on the trail.
Bottom Line: The XR Mission trail shoes offer a lightweight, supportive option to train for that upcoming trail race or for those who like to mix up their weekly running routine with a bit of pavement in addition to trail.
The Salomon XR Mission trail shoes come in a variety of fun color combinations for both men and women and retail for $110.