Salomon Forces ‘Sua Sponte’ Grey XA Pro 3D Mid GTX

If you’re looking to spend money on a pair of premium quality boots I doubt you’ll be disappointed by the Salomon XA Pro 3D Mid GTX. Whether your goal is to hike up and across hilly terrain or stomp across the urban outdoors this is a multi-use boot that will give you your money’s worth. Salomon is known for making hard-wearing, good-looking, technical boots.

Background

Sua Sponte – “Of Our Own Accord” – is the motto of the 75th Ranger Regiment. U.S. Elite used it as the code name for their project with Salomon Forces to create this limited edition XA Pro 3D Mid GTX in Wolf Grey. It is exclusively available at U.S. Elite. They note the exclusive wolf grey color is ‘optimized for urban and industrialized environments – perfect for those who operate in the shadows.’ I’ll tell you the boots look sick. They can be matched with a good pair of hiking trousers or shorts for use in the outdoors or a pair of jeans to head to a bar in the city. Use them for missions as well.

In the images I took of the boots the fabric looks a bit purple but that’s not correct. They are definitely grey, with just a touch of purplish highlights, but this is due to my iPhone and not the color of the fabric.

Good footwear is one of the most important pieces of equipment a person needs. Good footwear will always last longer than cheap ones. The idea that cheap footwear can get a person far isn’t true because in the short run it breaks down and you’ll end up wasting your money. Good footwear is more than a simple platform (the outsole) affixed to a leather, rubber or fabric upper. Good footwear is designed to be supportive of your feet, long-lasting and useful in most climates.

Eyestays hold the laces in place. The tongue has a pocket (beneath the letter “s’) to hide the lace tab

Let’s get into some background on Salomon. Salomon doesn’t make the cheapest boot around and that’s intentional on their part. The boots I’m testing retail for about $200.00. Keep in mind over the years the prices of Salomon boots has dropped substantially due to higher production, availability and consumption.

Salomon’s goal is to make novel, long-lasting product with a fresh style.  Salomon is likely the most inventive manufacturer in the outdoor industry and there are a lot of satisfied customers. Their footwear pleases most users and the brand offers boots and shoes that cushion, support, grip, and fit. There are pockets of disappointed users and we’ll go into some of the reasons why, below.

Salomon has been manufacturing outdoor gear since 1947. The company is headquartered in Annecy, France and is a part of a larger sporting goods company, Amer Sports. The company provides equipment for hiking, adventure racing, mountaineering, and trail running for over 60 years. Here are some of the details of the boot:

  • Breathable polyester mesh uppers feature thermoplastic urethane overlays to secure insteps and lock heels down; rubber toe and heel caps enhance protection
  • Lacing system takes just 1 pull for an exact fit; lace pocket hides lacing away
  • Gore-Tex® XCR® seam-sealed inner booties offer a high level of breathability while retaining complete waterproof protection
  • Polyester linings wick moisture away from feet; contoured Ortholite® foam footbeds enhance comfort underfoot
  • Triple-density EVA midsoles provide cushioning for all-day comfort and enhance durability
  • Thermoplastic urethane midsole inserts supply protection and stability
  • Salomon XA Pro 3D Mid GTX Ultra hiking boots feature nonmarking Contagrip® rubber outsoles to optimize performance on mixed terrain

I took the boots right out of the box and slipped them over my feet. Comfy! The boots are very lightweight and durable. The outsole is very strong and sturdy yet flexible. The boot itself is reinforced by rubber to protect your feet at the locations of the heel, midfoot and toes.

Nice protective toe-bumper at the fore of the toe-box.

Laces

Because Salomon uses speed laces instead of standard boot laces, the mouth of the boot can be opened widely, and you don’t have to waste time fidgeting with getting them over your foot and ankle. The speed lacing system is simple enough to use and makes life a bit easier when taking them off or putting them on. The lacing system takes just one pull for an exact fit. There is a lace pocket to hide the lacing away. The laces are durable as they are made of kevlar. They will last longer than laces made of traditional materials.

Waterproof

The boots are more water-resistant than water proof. I know the company advertises on Amazon.com as if the boots are waterproof but that is mis-classified. I’ve talked to users and I’ve read reviews by bloggers and I believe a few people get confused into believing the boot is going to prevent your feet from getting wet when crossing rivers and streams.  If you expect to trudge through ankle-high snow over a long period of time I recommend a different kind of boot. The combination of rubber, and mesh fabric is meant to give the boot flexibility, breath-ability, protection and comfort but it is not suitable enough for complete immersion in water.

The boot upper is a polyester mesh/thermoplastic urethane and the lining is Gore-Tex waterproof breathable membrane/polyester. The boot uses their Gore-Tex® XCR® seam-sealed inner booties and it offers breathability with some waterproofing protection. The bootie itself is a breathable membrane stitched into the mouth of the boot and throughout the body.

For Hiking

The boot is great for hiking. The tall, plush collar encapsulates your ankle very well due to the well-thought out construction. Rolling your ankle on technical downhills won’t be too easy due to the wide heel of the outsole that prevents overpronation or supination of your feet. The overall feeling is it gives you confidence to kick out your stride. The boot upper compensates just right while doing twisting motions as the boot lower provides excellent grip and stability. There is a loop on the heel of the boot to assist in putting the boot on or taking it off your foot.

The tongue is soft and thick. Those looking for a boot suitable for extreme mountain climbing should ramp up to something more substantial than the XA PRO 3D. This particular boot with its Contragrip outsole is good for hiking and less intense trail-running.  You can bang out speed miles on technical terrain or trek across hardball.

I’ve tried running in them and it’s doable but I recommend going with their low-quarter shoes for that purpose as you’ll get more ankle articulation. The boots can be used confidently to move on the gun range.

Let’s talk about the outsole. The thermoplastic urethane midsole inserts supply protection and stability to your feet. Thermoplastic is a sturdy plastic and is generally used to construct harder footwear such as inline skates, and ski boots. The XA 3D make good use of the well paced, multi-directional lugs and flex grooves which give you excellent grip for incredible traction and balance. Flex points at the toe box and ankle allow for generous movement. Hard rock, grassy knolls, and scree will not stop your ascents and descents.

Just like the Hoka Tor the toebox is ample and the foot sits nicely in the heel cup and boot insert without the foot feeling choked. Some consumers note that Salomon boots tend to be too narrow for their feet. I too have wide feet and can’t always find the footwear I want. Salomon hasn’t announced whether they will introduce wider platforms. The only solution I can see is to move onto another boot brand or version.

Salomon Men’s Shoe Sizing

Shoe Size Length of Foot
8 10.33
8.5 10.5
9 10.67
9.5 10.83
10 11
10.5 11.2
11 11.37
11.5 11.55
12 11.72
12.5 11.9
13 12.07
13.5 12.25
14 12.42

The boot front has a thick mudguard/toe bumper that wraps nicely over the toe to shield your toes from impact if you strike an object. The saddle, or the middle of the boot upper, has a nicely lain expanse of material to protect the flanks of your foot.

The boots utilize the OrthoLite insert that makes the boot extremely comfortable to the feet and can absorb the weight of most users. Combined with Salomon’s dual density EVA foam midsole you should have a good, cushioned ride that’s stable, yet responsive.

Conclusion:

The boots are lightweight and come in around 1 lb for a size 10 boot. We recommend going one size up if you are between sizes. They run a half size on the small side. Some users have talked about squeaking and that has happened on a few boots, but that’s rare. For ‘mass’ produced items there will always be a pair that doesn’t meet up to the standards but Salomon or sellers like REI, Amazon et al. will always take back the product for exchange. Some users have proclaimed the boots need a more robust outsole outside of doing 20 mile hikes. Consider your weight, type of  use (hiking, walking, running) duration on your feet, how many miles you want to get out of the boot and some other factors. You might want to look at more robust models from Salomon. The boot does not have any reflective material.

Issues: I had two hot spots from wearing the boots. Upon hiking in them my left Achilles and my right forefoot developed some irritation due to the fact that my feet are about 1/4 inch different in size. I wore some cheap cotton socks which didn’t wick well and sagged as I walked. I corrected my problems by cinching the boots tighter and by using a poly blend. Problem solved. Other than those issues, the boots performed well.

This is a very good boot. Most users will be very pleased. Salomon continues to put out great footwear. Worth the 2 dimes rubbed together ($200.00) and if you’re looking for something different, check out the Wolf Grey! Unleash the Wolf.

Functionality: 5/5

Weight: 5/5

Durability: 5/5

Cost: 4/5

Comfort: 5/5

Overall Total: 24/25

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