They don’t know it at the time, but shoes are in for an ill fate when my name is slapped on their shipping label and they leave the comfy, clean shelves of their stores to make their way to my doorstep. I’ve never had a shoe last me for longer than a year, not because I don’t take care of them, I just torture them (there’s a difference I promise). Not only do I hike in my shoes, but I also take them on river walks, salt marsh fertilization, rock climbing (when I don’t have my climbing shoes), beach adventures, and the list goes on. For pun’s sake, I put them through their paces.
When I look for a shoe I try to find something that would be good for any condition, rugged enough to withstand my hikes, waterproof (because I hate wet tosies), but still light enough to be used for everyday activities. Usually I find something that covers one or two of my criteria, but falls short on another. I’ve never had a shoe I didn’t like, but there are definitely those that I like more than others.
This past January, I decided it was time for a new shoe, so I hopped onto the interwebs and started my usual obsessive amount of research, and finally narrowed it down to the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 trail runners. I was a little skeptical of the lacing at first, but ultimately decided that tying my shoes was painful enough to risk the new pulley design. The 3D Ultra 2 uses Gore-Tex waterproofing along with a great tong design that allows the shoe to hug my foot while still remaining waterproof up to the sock. They have a rugged design that is easy to clean and looks pretty cool, too.
When I got the shoe on for the first time it was literally like walking on a cloud, thanks to the memory foam footbed, which is extremely comfortable and fairly supportive (not quite as supportive as I’d like but the comfort more than makes up for it). The lacing took some getting used to, but it’s actually pretty awesome not having to worry about stray branches catching on and pulling them apart. The shoe’s tread is great for gripping onto rocks–I have yet to slip on a trail, though they have a tendency to squeak when walking on tile floor.
The waterproofing is probably my favorite part, I’ve never had a shoe that was better protected against moisture, even when submerged up to the sock-line. The waterproofing has two main downsides: it adds a little extra weight to the shoe (I have no problem with this, but I know some people do), and they not only keep water out, but in as well, so if you don’t like sweaty feet and stinky socks, waterproofing is not for you.
So far these shoes have held up better than any other shoe I’ve used in the past and I’ve had no problems using them for running, hiking (even rough hikes), trail running, and everyday adventures. I could probably still pass the off as new. They’re my favorite shoe I’ve owned so far, (excluding the awesome light-up’s I had when I was 3), and I would highly recommend them to anyone with similar shoe criteria as me.
On a side note, Katie is currently searching for her perfect hiking shoe for the summer, so if any of our readers have a favorite shoe they would like to suggest feel free, we’d love to hear your input. And as always, if you have any questions about the shoes, give us a comment and we’ll help you as best we can!
P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all the hiking moms out there!