SALOMON XA PRO 3D MID 2 GTX: VersatileTravel Shoe

COST: $165  ($135 on sale)

INTENDED USE:  All around travel, minimal/moderate trekking, exploring

COUNTRIES USED IN: Mongolia, Nepal, China

TREKS: 10 days in Tavan Bogd National Park Mongolia, 19 days on Everest Base Camp Trek,

WORTH IT: yes

SCORE: 8/10

WOULD I WEAR AGAIN: Yes

WHERE TO BUY: Amazon

When deciding to go an extended trip it is hard to select proper footwear.  The more versatile the better in my opinion and as I have mentioned before, all the gear that I write about is gear that gives me versatility for any situation I might find myself in on my travels.  The last thing that I want on a trip is to lug around a pair of boots that I only use a couple of times on a five month trip.  To me that is just annoying.  Therefore it is important to find something  that can be all around “athletic” if you will.  I needed something to withstand water, mud, dust, and to keep my feet comfortable and protected.

When I purchased the Salomon XA PRO Mid I knew that they would be perfect for about 70% of what I intended to use them for.  The other 30% I was unsure about, but was willing to gamble that they could get me through what I needed them to.  Particularly some treks.

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Battling the weather in Mongolia on a ten day trek. Salomons are still holding up nicely

I have always been a fan of having light feet.  I love that athletic feel to a shoe that a boot just can’t seem to give.  I am mostly a day hiker and love to move light and fast.  I have never really been an extended trekker perse, however for my last trip I knew that I was going to partake in some extended trekking.  On some of my previous trips I have made the mistake of bringing boots, thinking that I was going to use them all the time, when in fact I maybe only used them a couple of weeks throughout the entire trip.  And nothing beats that mountain man look of wearing the boots with the shorts and walking around a metropolitan city.  We have all been there.  I was hoping that these Salomons were versatile enough to get me through some pretty serious treks, but also be comfortable enough to wear in the cities and maybe even hit up a run if I felt like it.

I put them through two big tests: 10 day trek in Mongolia and the Everest Base Camp trek which was 19 days.  Here is what I liked about them:

  • They are easy to slide on and off which is a huge plus.  They are easy to kick off on an airplane, and easy to slide on when having to do some errands around the camp.
  • They dry easily.  About an hour in the sun is all that was needed to dry these boots.  Sometimes after a full day of trekking they would be a little soggy on the inside from sweat, but taking out the insole and letting them air out usually did the trick.
  • They repelled mud awesome.  There were sometimes in Mongolia and in Nepal where the trail was just plain slop, and these were high enough to get me comfortably through it.
  • They were in fact water proof, except for a few days in Mongolia where it just rained for three days straight and at that point nothing stays dry.  They never got too bogged which was nice, and kept their light feeling.  Some boots can feel like cinder blocks when wet.
  • I was able to get them on sale for about $135 which was a plus.

Here is what I didn’t like too much about them and I don’t think it is really even worth mentioning

  • Every so often the laces would need readjusting because of the quick fastener would come loose.
  • Cannot wear with ankle socks, because I would get blisters on my ankle bones.
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    Stopping for a quick break on a 60 hour bus ride from Ulaanbaatar to Olgi in the far West of the country

If you are looking for a versatile travel show that can get you through some unexpected treks and handle everything from the city to scrambling up mountains,  then these are awesome.  There is more good than bad to them.

The only time I would not recommend them would be for the sole purpose of extended trekking.   If trekking is the intended purpose then I would go with a boot.  Especially if you were going to have a pack over about thirty pounds.  Everyone should keep that in mind.  Boots are meant for increased stability which helps with heavier loads.  The first couple of days with a heavy pack left me questioning myself  a little bit, but that soon faded as the pack started to become lighter and my body adjusted to the weight.

For every day trail use and a quick three to five day trek, these were more than enough to get me through some pretty rugged countries.  For all around travel, they proved to be very efficient and did the job perfectly.  Awesome shoe for versatility and for the countries of Nepal, Mongolia, and China.

 

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Airing out after being soaked for three days straight. A little rain ain’t no big thang to stop the good time

In Nepal, the Everest Base Camp trek was a total of about 12 days.  The trails for the most part are pretty well trodden but can get pretty nasty because they are used by the whole community-people, yaks, donkeys, you get the picture.  On my trek back to Lukla the entire trail was swamped, to the point where it was hard to stand up with out sliding.  It can get pretty dirty and nasty when you have to cling onto the sides of muddy passages while twenty donkeys have to pass you.  These boots allowed me to at least keep most of the slop out which was a huge plus.  And like I said earlier, they did their job, even though they aren’t necessarily meant to do that particular work.  Check out all the tech specs about this product in the Rogue Shop

 

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