Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Waterproof Trail Shoes

Today I took a late afternoon lunch break and ran on extremely wet equestrian Trails in Hollis. I wore a pair of Waterproof Gortex Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra Trail Runners that I had never worn before. I think the whole idea of a waterproof trail runner is a little ridiculous, (and the long-ass name of the shoe is a little pretentious). I figure that if I'm going to run on wet trails the water will probably be well over the top of my shoes at some point on the run. I suppose one might suggest I add a waterproof gator to the waterproof shoe, but that gets even more ridiculous. What next, hip waders and a yellow rain slicker?

Back to the shoes...the Waterproof Gortex Salomon XA Pro Trail Runners. They were on clearance from Sierra Trading Post and about the same price as the non-Gortex model so I bought them along with a non-Gortex pair. I love Salomons. I love the fit, the flexibility, and the grip of the sole, especially on wet roots and rocks. I speed laced up my new shoes (yes, I love the speed laces) and took off. It was pouring rain and everything got wet within seconds except my feet, which felt kind of left out of the whole rainy run experience. My feet stayed dry for about half a mile because I made a special effort to avoid deep pools of water, bush whacking out into the black berries instead (you should see my legs, ouch!) Before long I came to a puddle that was like a small pond and I decided to abandon the dry feet idea and splashed through. I have to say, the cold water felt great on my feet! My feet stayed wet and happy for the rest of the run.

The shoes were great, just like all the Salomons I have run in. The Gortex does seem to shed the mud better and they didn't look trashed at the end of my run like any other shoe would look after a run on muddy horse trails. They also seem to be drying out a lot faster than my non-Gortex pair which are still very wet from this morning's short run. I give the shoe a good review, I'm happy with them. If it were up to me I'd shorten the name by leaving out the "Waterproof" part, that word will only encourage tender-feet to take up trail running and no good can come from that.


  1. I agree Laurel, I have a pair of northface gortex trail runners and they don't do anything to keep my feet dry unless I am running on wet wet or damp trails....when there is water, puddles and rain my feet get wet reguardless.

    The difference is in fact the durability and drying time....the Gortex doea much better. I wore a pair of New balance Tuesday and they are still wet.

    To their benefit, I did abuse them as I almost went swimming in some of the huge puddles(ponds) I ran through.

  2. Maybe what Solomon had in mind was winter running. Wearing gore-tex shoes in the summer months is like wearing a rain jacket when its 90 degrees out, you may not get wet from the rain, but you will be soaked in your own sweat. Personally, i'm with Laurel on this! I'ld rather feel the cool wet rain on my body, then be soaking in sweat bath any day. I do like the fact that the mud does not stick, makes the shoe lighter and easier to maintain. Recently broke down a pair of One Sport (Montrails) Morraines i've been hiking in for about 14 years. The soles are coming off the uppers. I considered having them repaired, but figure its time to buy new. Maybe get a similiar model of the newer version of the Montrails. These have a rubber toe cup, which my old ones didn't. Maybe i'll get 20 years out of the next pair, if they survive hiking the AT. If it rains saturday, I may skip the mtb ride at BCE and go into N.Conway to buy some new kicks and then give them a test drive on the trail.

  3. Pathfinder, They did stay remarkably clean and dried out very fast. No grit has worked its way into the shoe, which happens with my other shoes when I run on wet muddy trails. So I think you are right, durability will be greatly increased.

    KC, I didn't think of winter running, but they probably would do well on snow that wasn't too deep or was packed well. It's not going to rain on Saturday so you'll have to live with those flapping Montrails for a while longer.