I bought my first pair of Salomon shoes about five years ago. An entry level pair that lasted a year, about standard for any decent pair of trail shoes, depending on the distance you cover.
The shoes were comfortable right out the box, drained well when wet and I really liked the draw string “laces”. The down side to them was too little support for my ankles, I found my ankle kept going over, not badly, but too regularly for me to run freely and rely on the shoes. After six months the shoes were showing serious signs of wear and tear, more so than their owner for once. I stretched them to a year and then despite some of my misgivings about the shoes, and armed with a Salomon discount voucher, I bought another pair. Things were pretty much the same so I swapped brands when that pair retired.
I have worn various brands since, NB and Montrail to name a couple but in desperate need of new shoes I decided to go for the Salomon XR Crossmax.
My big race for the year was going to be my first attempt at the Tuffer Puffer. I did not get in but the run encompasses about 160km of tar and mountain in the Cape Peninsula. The Puffer is run from Cape Point to the Waterfront and the Tuffer Puffer starts at the Waterfront and runs there and back, this year’s route is lightly different I believe. Either way the event involves a large chunk of tar including a -+ 56km stretch in the middle, something I am not used to running on in any large distances. I would have needed to buy two pairs of shoes, one for tar and one for trail. This is where the Crossmax come in.
The Salomon ARCrossmax is a multipurpose shoe which should do as well on trail as it does on tar or vice verca. Perfect, one pair of instead of two. They are fairly pricey at about R1400 pair, (Cape Union Mart shelf price) but I managed to get a discount from the good people at Salomon and soon my shiny new red AR Crossmaxes were been ripped from their box.
First up – they are comfortable and I managed a few easy runs of just over an hour on both tar and trail without any hassle. I did a two hour road run on tar and experienced some pain/discomfort under the soul of my foot. I put this down to them been new shoes and me running longer than usual on the black stuff. Two weeks later I put them through a much tougher test; the Ocean2Ocean, a 50km guided trail run from Muizenberg to Camps Bay via the mountains, about 95% trail including some beach running.
I love this run, I have done it often. I have run it all conditions from very hot to well…very cold. This year was cool – cold at the peaks but otherwise pleasant without much sun. Dirk lead the faster group of 20 who finished in 11 hours and I accompanied the slower group of 10. We finished just after 6pm, more than 12.5 hours on the go – remember this is a pack run with two seconding points and regular stops but always a fun day out on the Cape Mountains.
The shoes, I’m happy to say were fantastic, comfortable, no need to take them off for sand or pebbles, no pain, good grip in the dry and not bad on the wet rocky sections as well. I did discover a large popped blister once I took off the shoes but never felt it on route.
The shoe is a neutral shoe; they also have a guidance version with more control for over-pronators. So far so good – my next longish run on the hard stuff will give a better indication of their suitability to my road running needs – but off road – very happy. Next 020 is on June 11.
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