Salomon Men's XA Pro Mid GTX Hiking Shoe


Description:
Per the manufacturers website, the XA Pro Mid GTX are Mid height and fully waterproof, this iconic shoe for moving fast on rough terrain gets an improved collar design for more comfort, and updated outsole for superior grip on any surface.  There are several different versions of this shoe, I purchased the standard Black/Black/Asphalt version which is the one I will be reviewing here.  I purchased it from Amazon in 9/12 for around $160 and wore them on duty since that time until around 11/15 when I purchased its big brother, the 4D Quest Forces in black.




Reason for Purchase:
I was coming off of wearing "comfortable" but not functional all black shoes on duty the New Balance Men's MW577 Walking Shoe.  Very comfortable, but offered very little in the performance and support I required.  I was wearing my first pair of Salomon shoes, the Speedcross 3's and decided it was time to move up my duty shoe to meet my requirements.  Obviously I needed an all black shoe for duty work (policy) and Salomon was making their "forces" shoes as of then, even though I bugged their reps at the Warrior East Expo's I went to through the years.  The added ankle support was something I was really looking for and was my deciding factor in going with the Mid's instead of the standard XA Pro Ultra GTX.  As you can see by the photo below (and others), to fix the issue of having an all black shoe, I took a permanent marker to all the white/non-black areas, more on that below.


First Opinion:
The XA Pro Mid GTX shoes came in a very similar box as the SpeedCross 3's and wore very similar.  I began to wear them and realized they were more shoe than sneaker, while providing the active support and ability to conduct active movement.  


The soles were the same Ortholite branded type as in the SpeedCross 3's and that made the transition very easy.  To me they seemed firm at first but after a short time they did not feel any different than my other Salomon shoes, slowly loosening up but not in sacrifice of comfort or performance. 


The pull tab/cuff on these shoes double as a pad against rubbing/bruising for your Achilles, which is a well thought out part.


The toes are rubberized and waterproof.  While the whole shoe is not waterproof it is water resistant and dries pretty well if water manages to get inside.  


These shoes feature Salomon's Quick Lace system, which is one of my favorite aspects of Salomon shoes.  I have never had any issues with this feature and I highly doubt I will ever.


In the Field:
Everyday for about two and half years I wore these shoes on duty.  That is anywhere from eight to twelve hours a day, for at least 4 days a week for that entire period.  Where I live we encounter all four seasons and while I thought I was going to have an issue in the winter and summer months it all had to do with my sock choices.  In the winter I wore smart wool socks, which are the best socks you can possibly own for such weather.  Around the 40 degree mark I started to wear the medium weight/performance version and when it got anywhere below 30 degree's I wore the heavy weight/performance version.  On the hot side, when it got to around the 80-90 degree mark I started wearing Under Armor HeatGear No Show socks, which are pretty good at not letting your toes/heels get sticky hot.  


The above images shows the biggest issue I had develop, the back heel began to rub raw under the rubber material and it would make a "squish" sound when I walked.  That was probably a few months past its extended use date and required replacement.  


Aside from the heel rubber worn off at the edges, above shows the difference in the two, the right has more wear on the heel because it the foot I use to hit the gas/brake pedals.  If you look at the left shoe towards the front inner side you will see a big chunk missing.  That is from stepping on a pretty gnarly exposed nail and it ripping a chunk of my shoe off when I walked by.  That was about three months before I decommissioned the shoe from duty work.


The above image shoes a nice little hole from when I ran into a burning building.  Aside from being covered in ash, one of the shoe tops took a piece of timber or something that burned a small hole in it.  That was about a year or so into its use, I did get the occasional rain drop that would find its way in there, but nothing that compromised the shoes ability to properly function.  


Ownership and Usage:
These shoes were my workhorses for years on duty.  I regularly had to use a black marker to darken the non-black areas but no one ever mentioned anything to me about them.  Eventually the Salomon Forces Blackout version came out of this shoe, I guess I was in front of the wave on this one.  After two winters with these shoes and with the above holes and wearing from use I decided it was time to upgrade to a more traditional "boot" style which would have better luck in the winter than these would in their very used state, which made be go with my purchase of the Salomon 4D Quest Forces.  


Final Thoughts and Recommendations:
These are the best duty shoes I have ever worn.  They are comfortable in all the right places, easy on and off, fit the bill in terms of range of application and use.  I would have purchased the blackout's if they were available and a coworker who saw these did wait until the blackout versions were available and bought them, he is still wearing his everyday on duty.  If you work in warm climates all year round and the mid is just too much shoe for you, then the XA Pro 3D Ultra might be the ticket.  Just to point out that these fair as well as any other standard shoe in icy or wet conditions.  You will slip and slide in the right circumstances but warm/dry weather functionality is far superior than any other shoe I have worn. Other considerations are the Lowa Zephyr GTX MidUnder Armour Tactical Mid line of shoes and other traditional LE specific "duty" style boots like Danner's, though I highly doubt you will get the same level of comfort from those selections as you would from the Salomon shoes.  Next time you are looking for a good training shoe or a law enforcement / duty style or even a daily / EDC shoe that can take the rigors of serious use this shoe should be at the top of your list.

Just a note, if you were wondering, the shoe that is being reviewed/photo'd here is no longer available in that configuration as it was replaced by a Black/Black/Asphalt XA Pro Mid GTX shoe as well as the XA Pro Mid Ultra 2 GTX shoe.  The Blackout photo'd below is the same shoe, ostensibly, but completely black.


Pro GTX Standard:  

Pro GTX Ultra 2: 
Forces Blackout: 

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