Salomon XA Pro Ultra
I’ve been using both of these shoes for nearly a month now, mainly for dog walking and it’s obvious they are very different shoes. The XA Pros feel like running shoes, while the X-Overs feel like leisure shoes.
The XA Pros fit my feet well. Even though I’ve taken one size up, the fit is very good with no sloppiness. The lacing system pulls my heel firmly back into the heel cup. While there is some cushioning, I feel in touch with the terrain. They are slightly stiff to start with, but are now perfect, giving the right balance of flexibility and support. Not surprisingly, they share some similarities with the Fastpacker boots, given they have a similar chassis. I really like them. My one gripe is the tread pattern is quite shallow, so I wouldn’t trust them on muddy slopes.
The X-Overs flatter to deceive. They look good, with a superior sole pattern compared with the XA Pros. However, the tongue is over padded and the lacing system is not precise enough to keep my heel firmly located in the heel cup. They feel quite sloppy. The front section of the sole is also very soft, which seems to make them less stable. It’s not that they are uncomfortable, just that they don’t feel positive enough to go off piste. They are fine as leisure shoes, which is what I’ll use them for, but they don’t hack it as backpacking shoes.
It’s a shame that the XA Pros don’t have the tread pattern of the X-Overs, as I think that would make a fine shoe. In summary, the XA Pros are good shoes, suitable for backpacking, although the shallow tread limits where you might want to use them, but the X-Overs are really a lifestyle/leisure shoe rather than a serious approach shoe.