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Preview: Salomon X Alpine Pro || For scrambly runs, maybe high routes

Update (October 19, 2019: Read my full review of the Salomon X Alpine Pro.

When running and racing on trails, I normally wear Salomon Sense or Salomon Ultra shoes.

But for hiking and backpacking, I currently have to look elsewhere. For two years my go-to has been the La Sportiva Bushido (my review; and my preview of the Bushido II), which is perfectly suited for high routes: they’re securely fitting, durable, grippy, protective, moderately stiff, lightweight, and low to the ground.

Will the new Salomon X Alpine Pro be another option for this niche application?

The new Salomon X Alpine Pro is designed for techy mountain trails and scrambles, and maybe high routes.

The X Alpine Pro is best considered a toned-down variant of the S/Lab XA Alpine (or a beefed-up variant of the X Elevate). Salomon carried over the outsole, narrow fit, and midsole construction; removed the integrated water- and debris-resistant gaiter; and reinforced the now-exposed mesh upper.

The X Alpine Pro weighs 10.4 oz (295 g, for men’s 9; 9.5 oz, 270 g for women’s 7), and will retail for $160. It will be available in August 2019.

A Salomon rep described the X Alpine Pro to me as “the perfect 14’ers shoe.” It’s light and nimble enough to comfortably run the lower sections. But it’s sturdy, grippy, and protective enough to scramble through the techy alpine bits up top.

The outsole is made of Salomon’s proven Premium Wet Traction Contagrip, which Salomon may rebrand simply as Contagrip . The lugs are 5 mm tall, and are larger than those on the Sense Pro 2, Sense Ultra, and S/Lab Ultra. In the interest of durability and grip, I’d love to see a few more lugs. The “climbing zone” lug across the toes should be excellent for talus-hopping and scrambling.

The outsole is made of Premium Wet Traction Contagrip, a proprietary rubber that has been proven on other Salomon models.

To increase lateral stability and control, Salomon stiffened the midsole, or perhaps just the heel. It’s branded as a Carbon Edging Chassis, but details on the exact construction were unclear. Stack height is 24/18 mm at heel/forefoot, for a drop of 6 mm.

The upper is reminiscent of other Salomon Sense shoes: breathable mesh with TPU film overlays, an elasticized mid-foot yoke (“Endofit”), and Quick Laces. The extra reinforcement is notable, however — the TPU film is thicker and more widespread. I hope it will be enough defense against brush and mineral-infused granite, we’ll see.

The upper looks like other Sense shoes: mesh with TPU overlays, elasticized tongue, and Quick Lace. The TPU film is thicker and more widespread, however.

Questions about the X Alpine Pro? Leave a comment.


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Posted in , on November 12, 2018
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11 Comments

  1. Jason on November 12, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    This is Interesting as I have sent a couple emails to Solomon about making a tougher soled trail runner after my XA pro’s wore out after 1 high route trip. Guy said he would send to dev team, wonder if I got through..?

  2. Tobias on November 13, 2018 at 5:57 am

    I had a Salomon for a long time but somehow I did not like the quick lacing system as much, do you feel it is okay or have you haver had any issues with it?

    Otherwise this looks great, I love the Bushido and this seems similar. I found that the trails here in Brasil are to rough/steep/rocky for the more looser fitting shoes such as an altra or the new balance I use for trailrunning.

    • Andrew Skurka on November 13, 2018 at 7:49 am

      I’ve had issues with the Quick Lace in sandy/gritty environments. Grains clog the gliders and embed in the cord, and slowly chew apart the sheath. If it’s just one spot, the easy solution is to tie an over-hand knot to isolate the damaged section.

  3. Brandon on June 28, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    Has there been an update on when the XA Alpine Pro releases? Haven’t seen any info on this shoe since it was reported back at the end of ’18.

    Thanks,

    Brandon

    • Andrew Skurka on July 1, 2019 at 10:11 pm

      I’m told that it’ll be available at the end of July, though I’m not sure if that is for public release or if that includes just a media batch.

      • Jason on July 2, 2019 at 10:25 am

        Sweet,, I’ll take a pair of 11’s Skurk.. 😉

      • Brandon on July 2, 2019 at 1:27 pm

        Thank you for the update, Andrew!

  4. Chris on August 25, 2019 at 7:46 am

    I used these shoes for running up very steep inclines that are sandstone. The toe grip is by far the best I have used. The shoes also stay locked to your feet, I have no problem doing some light climbing in them. Personally I really like them, I don’t have a ton of experience with other shoes but as I do I will report back. Also Andrew excellent review and website.

    • Jason on August 25, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      How is the width?

  5. Theo Katz Battaglia on September 11, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Hi Andrew! As an owner of the father model, slab xa alpine, I was eagerly expecting these shoes. Got them as soon as they were released and just finished hiking the TMB on them, with no complaints. Just one point made me wonder. On the lateral of the father model midsole, it’s written “carbon chassis”. On this one, “advanced chassis”. You noted on your review that midsole construction was unclear. It looks like they removed the carbon plate. Do you have news on that matter?

    • Andrew Skurka on September 11, 2019 at 6:44 am

      I recently received a pair and will be writing a full review. I don’t know the answer to your question, but I’ll look into it.

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