Ultramarathoners know shoes. So even if you’re just a greenhorn trail runner, pay attention when tester Nancy Meendering, veteran of the Western States 100 and other long-distance races, taps the XA Pro 2 as her favorite. She likes the no-slip fit of the rigid heel pockets and the unique Kevlar lacing system, which conveniently snugs the upper with one pull. That, plus feathery weight and breathable mesh uppers, combined with a stiff sole that enhances edging and stability, makes them one of our all-around faves.
But fit doesn’t suit narrow heels, and two testers wish the EVA midsole offered more underfoot padding. Two also complained of the laces requiring frequent retightening. The stiff midsole helps edging, but the sole rubber isn’t as sticky as we like on wet or polished rock. Despite the lightweight construction, the XA Pros received high marks for durability, thanks to plastic reinforcements on the lace rigging, heel, and toe cap. Best for medium- to high-volume feet.
Overall: 4.5 (5=perfect gear, 1=save your money)
Sizes: men’s 7-11 1/2, 12, 13, 14; women’s 5-10 1/2, 11, 12
Weight: 1 lb. 7 oz.
Contact: (877) 272-5666; www.salomonsports.com