If you combine road and trail running, the Salomon XR Mission might be a good option for you. The Salomon XR Mission is an all terrain hybrid shoe, and the successor to the successful Salomon XR Crossmax.
- Out of the box
- Salomon XR Mission Upper
- Salomon XR Mission Midsole
- Salomon XR Mission Outsole
- Salomon XR Mission Conclusion
Out of the box
The XR Mission looks impressive, and the first thing you will notice is the simplicity of the shoe. It has no frills, no fancy gimmicks and is also a relatively lightweight (±325g) shoe. Another surprising thing about the XR Mission is the wide toe box, it has plenty of room for your toes!
Salomon XR Mission Upper
The XR Mission upper has the same ripstop nylon as with most Salomon shoes, and also features the Salomon Quicklace lacing system that neatly tucks away the excess laces into a nice sized lace pocket on the tongue of the shoe. I found that with the initial tightening of the laces, the pressure of the laces evened out after about 200 meters of running. The XR Mission also features a standard gusseted tongue to keep out debris and gunk from entering the shoe, but again like most tongues it’s not guaranteed to keep out ALL of the debris.
There are two main features on the XR Mission that we need to have a look at, SensiFlex™ and SensiFit™. SensiFit™ are the panels on the side of the shoe that prevents the foot from moving out of place, basically keeping the structure of the upper section of the shoe. The SensiFlex™ is the hexagon shaped part of the shoe near the toe box that expands and contracts as you run, basically your foot doesn’t get squished when it swells or shifts during a run. Both these features are unique and definitely work, I like where Salomon is headed with this technology.
The toe is nicely protected with a durable TPU cap and small rubber bumper that provides pretty good protection although I had stubbed my toe a couple of times on some gnarly rocks and felt the pain, it still provided sufficient protection.
The heel of the XR Mission features a stiff plastic cup with Ortholite® foam and provides very good support keeping the heel in place. Initially I thought the stiff heel would be a problem but so far it has been very comfortable.
Salomon XR Mission Midsole
The midsole of the XR Mission is a mixture of two different EVA composites that Salomon calls Light Weight Muscle (LT), the LT provides rugged and very effective cushioning. I found that the midsole was a bit stiff and hard when running on tar but as soon as I hit the trail the midsole became very responsive. With the exclusion of a rock plate the additional cushioning of the midsole provided more than enough protection.
Salomon XR Mission Outsole
Salomon uses the directional Contragrip pattern and it works. The chevron lugs point forward on the forefoot and backward on the heel. The lugs on the XR Mission are relatively small but the grip is outstanding, they did however catch quite a bit of mud and didn’t shed it that easily making the grip very slippery in muddy conditions.
Salomon have gone the extra mile by placing a more dependable durable carbon rubber (Contagrip HA) on the areas like the heel and ball of the foot, this addition has given the XR Mission plenty of traction and impact resistance. Another feature is the OS Tendon (Oversized Tendon), which is a series of TPU bands that are placed over the flex groves on the shoe. This system acts like a real tendon by flexing and rebounding to its original position.
Salomon XR Mission Conclusion
Being a road to trail shoe the XR Mission is a good in-between training shoe, for me though the shoe performed better on hard flat trails than the more technical / muddy ones, but this is personal preference. This shoe is perfect for beginner trail runners looking to switch from tar to trail but also perfect for experienced trail runners looking for a good training shoe. Overall the XR Mission is a very good road / trail running shoe.
One thing that is not covered in this review is the drainage of the shoe, unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to do a proper river crossing but I will certainly test the drainage over the next month and include it in the review.
The Salomon XR Mission retails for R1,300.00 and is available at most outdoor shops.
The Salomon XR Mission was kindly supplied by Salomon Sports South Africa.
Review by Nicky Swanevelder