When you have narrow feet, your options are pretty limited. But the Salomon S-Lab X-Series Urban Shoe is one shoe designed to fit both men and women and that gave me the rare and wonderful opportunity to try shoes from Salomon; Something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.
As the saying goes, your mileage may vary with this review.
Maximus vs. Minimus
I’ve switched to running almost exclusively to Hoka One One’s (Clifton & Challenger). Hoka’s are considered “maximum” cushion shoe. On the other hand, there are the Salomon shoes, which are more “minimal” in cushioning. Transitioning between the two shoes was a bit of a challenge, but from what I’ve read online, wearing different shoes minimizes a chance of injury. So, the changeup is a good thing. Would I run an ultramarathon in the Salomon’s? Well, no because that’s not what they are are designed to do.
What is the X-Series?
The “X” symbolizes the cross between a road shoe and a trail shoe. The idea is that when running in an urban environment, you’ll find bricks, cobblestones, stairs, curbs, asphalt, dirt, grass, etc. So, the shoe is designed to handle all those aspects with stability in a neutral shoe. Whatever comes along, the S-Lab X-Series is designed for superior performance and could even be used on some packed trails. Although some have called it a trail/street shoe, I wouldn’t necessarily go that far in the desert of Las Vegas. However, for the “trail running” in urban parks and well traveled trails (such as to the Wishing Tree or Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles) the shoe would perform well. It’s designed as a performance/speed shoe, so I would expect to get 200-300 miles from the shoe.
OMG: It fits
As I mentioned before, I have very narrow feet. My feet are in the A-B width category, which means… Well, women’s running shoes fit very nicely, although most manufacturers don’t make shoes in my length. So, if you are planning on wearing the X-series, and you have a normal width foot, expect a very snug fit. For me, they were a bit loose, and I even had to cinch up the laces considerably. However, I was shocked (and happy) to discover that, once snugged in, the shoes not only felt like they fit, but were very comfortable with very little “foot slosh” (my feet slopping around inside the shoe) I normally encounter in shoes with a “D” width (men’s width).
So if you’re a man (like me) with narrow width feet, or a very top-of-the-foot flat foot (like me), then these Salomon’s are probably just about the only shoe that will feel like they fit that aren’t a pair of women’s shoes.
Well played, Salomon. Well played.
After running in Hoka’s, the first thing you’ll notice about the Salomon is they are very, very firm. To me, these shoes feel like running barefoot – which for many in the crowd is exactly how you want your shoe to feel. They are light and snug, and they hug your feet but still have plenty of toebox for your toes to expand as your feet warm up. I find the shoes a hard, harsh ride – but I’m coming from Hoka’s. When I ran in the Brooks PureCadence series of shoes they felt the same as the Salomon’s. So, it’s what you are used to running in.
The Technical Aspects
DESIGNED FOR :
- PRECISE FIT
- CUSHIONING: 5
- DURABILITY: 3
- MIDSOLE HEIGHT: 19mm/11mm
- AGILITY: 3
- GRIP: 5
Weight: 7.7 oz (size 9)
Available Widths: D=Medium
How It Fits (based on width D)
- Sizing: Standard running shoe length
- Heel: Medium to narrow
- Midfoot: Medium to low volume
- Forefoot: Medium to narrow
- Toe-Box Height: Medium to low
- Arch Structure: Medium-high
- Shoe Shape: Curved
- Snug Fit (Normal Fit for us B-Width guys and the ladies)
- Good tread for varied urban running
- One of the cushiest Salomons
- Solid grip on a variety of surfaces
- Short Life (200-300miles – but this is true of any racing shoe)
- Wide-Foot types might find this shoe too snug
- +Harsh ride – Although it lists cushioning as a “5” above, I found it more like a “3” – but that’s my Hoka perspective.
- +8mm heal-toe drop. I prefer a drop the realm of 4mm, which, believe it or not, the Hoka’s have.
+ – These are just personal opinions based on my normal running shoes. That said, keep in mind the best thing you can do to avoid injury is to not only cycle through two pairs of shoes, but to run in a variety of different types. Or, so I’m told.
Believe it or not, I will be wearing my Salomon X-Series shoes for training runs and speed work. I will not be running them during races or while trail running the deserts of Las Vegas, but having a variety of different shoes and running in a variety of different environments is, I believe, a good thing.
If you’re a minimalist runner, or a one of the “hybrids” between maximus and minimus, and you live in New York, Los Angeles, or in any major metropolitan area, these shoes will do excellent for you. In fact, I wish I had worn them when doing a trail run to the Hollywood sign recently: They would have done much better on the hard packed trail than my Hoka Clifton’s, which had little grip down the steep dirt trails and, more than once, had me sliding on my butt.
In fact, if you live in LA or San Francisco, then the Salomon is *the* shoe for you for those times you run to Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon, Muir Woods, or the San Francisco Marathon.