Sean again! Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve shown up for something and you are just not prepared for what’s in front of you? That’s what trail running can feel like when you try to go out wearing the wrong kind of shoe! I usually run in a very lightweight trainer from New Balance that’s great for running on pavement through the streets of my hometown, but ends up with me slipping and sliding when I’m in the woods. Therefore, I was pretty excited when Charlotte offered me the Salomon XR Mission shoe to test out.
This wasn’t my first rodeo with Salomon products. They produce a wide range of sports equipment, and their ski gear that I’ve used has served me well. I had high expectations, then, when I put on the XR Mission’s. After some getting used to, it met those expectations. I decided to wear them to a group trail run in June that Charles River Running was doing in Adams Farm in Walpole. It has a different feel than a lot of conventional running shoes commonly used by runners. With a much wider base and a more even distribution across the foot, it felt heavier and slightly awkward when I put it on and warmed up in the parking lot. Once I got on the trails though, things were completely different. It was like all the rocks, branches, mud, and leaves on the ground weren’t there. The shoe has amazing stability and I found myself able to focus more on the run, rather than avoiding an uneven patch on the ground. The feeling of clumsiness went away within the first quarter mile, and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.
The XR Missions have a couple of great features that add to the solid foundation that they’re (literally) built upon. The upper part of the shoe is made from a breathable material that never feels tight or harsh on your foot, no matter the kind of sock that you’re using. Additionally, there are no regular laces on this shoe. Instead, there’s a simple drawstring that slips back into the shoe when you’re done tightening up. Nothing bugs me more than stopping to tie my shoe once I’ve hit my groove, so this was a huge relief. Finally, the color scheme itself just feels right for trail running. The shoe I tried, and that’s carried in store, is primarily green, with black and yellow trim. In a time when shoes come in every shade of neon, it’s a refreshing return to normalcy. Overall, the shoe is a great piece of equipment that’s sure to make a trail runner out of anyone. Just run with it!