I’ve been testing a pair of Salomon XA Comp 7 Trail Runners for the past month as a potential replacement for the Inov-8 Terroc 330′s that I’ve hiked with since 2010. Inov-8 totally redesigned those old trail runners (see Has Inov-8 Wrecked the Terroc 330?) recently and completely eliminated the mesh which I rely on to drain my shoes in the constantly wet and muddy conditions I hike in. After that, my brand loyalty for Inov-8 vanished.
After kicking around with the XA Comp 7′s on my local trails for a few weeks, I took them on their first big test on some long hikes in the White Mountains. The results were not good, I’m afraid.
While Salomon bills the XA Comp 7′s as trail runners and hiking shoes, their traction on wet granite sucks. I had 4 major falls in 18 miles of hiking, all caused by slipping on wet rock. While all of the falls were bad, one was especially so and could have cost me a knee if I hadn’t landed the right way.
It’s too bad, because the XA Comp 7′s drain very well when they get wet and dried much faster than my old Terrocs. They also have better toe kick protection from rocks and fit me perfectly, with a large toe box that gives my toes space to spread out and good midsole support.
If you have any suggestions about other trail runners to try for hiking in New England, here the features I’m looking for:
- Mesh walls that drain water quickly – no breathable membranes, please
- Excellent traction on wet rock
- Stiff midsole shank
- Good durability in the 300-400 mile range or better
- Excellent ground feel transmission through the ball of the foot
- Good toe kick protection
- Medium to medium low heel drop
- Little to no break-in period required
- Under $125/pair
I’d appreciate any suggestions about where to look next. Thanks.
Disclosure: Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) purchased these shoes with his own funds.
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