Salomon XA Elevate

9.0 score
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Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
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Salomon XA Elevate Review Facts

The Salomon XA Elevate is a new entry in the 'On & Off Trail' line-up. The shoe is designed for pursuing high alpines. It is ideally suited for challenging underfoot conditions and steep terrain. The shoe is built on a stable eight-mm midsole. The outsole, made of Wet-Traction Contragrip clings to everything and anything.

You may see similarities to last year's XA Enduro. The XA Elevate is basically the same shoe without the Enduro internal bootie. Complaints of the heel slippage caused by the bootie are likely the reason for the update. The XA Elevate has a deep cup heel area that is highly padded and semi-rigid heel counter. A very comfortable toebox is more than wide enough for toe splay. There is no room for unwanted movement or slop. As the shoe breaks in, the lower side volume begins to open. Devoted Salomon fans will be happy with the fit.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Great cushioning having strong rebound energy
  • Suitable door to trail shoe
  • Reinforced top cap
  • Heel cage with soft padding
  • Accurate and fast Quicklace system
  • Effective on most terrains
  • Contragrip sole
  • Narrow fitĀ 
  • Stiff midsole


Tried and true Premium Wet-Traction Contragrip is the rubber compound that is used. It has been found to be among the best for durability and traction. The lugs have enough depth to bite into mud, gravel, and sand but still handle asphalt and fire roads with ease.

They are well-spaced which means they easily she slush and mud. Salomon uses this or a similar outsole pattern and Premium Wet-Traction Contragrip on nearly all of their shoes because the combination is so versatile and dynamic.


Salomon uses what they refer to as Advanced Chassis to provide a stable platform. It is a dual-density midsole that uses super dense EVA foam rather than plastic. The midsole provides a supportive and stable ride that is comfortable on long trail days and outings mixed with running.

Testers gave the thumbs up to the midsole, reporting the fit gave the proper amount of support without weighing down the shoe. Nearly everyone appreciates the wide toe box. There are different likes and dislikes about the narrow forefoot.

The midsole is moderately firm but does not feel like a brick on the foot. It has a perfect blend of stable upfront cushion and a fairly cushioned heel. The shoe does not have a vibration reducing insert that would soften heel shock vibration.

A firm density layer wraps the heels above the outsoles and extends to the first line in the midsoles. The firm area contributes to stability in the heel area on any surface. A small thick piece of outsole extends to the midsole to stabilize the midfoot.


The upper of the Salomon XA Elevate is a combination of quality durability, breathability, fit, comfort, and confidence inspiring foothold. The fit of the shoe is true to size but is best suited for lower volume feet. Adjusting the Quicklace system accommodates a wide range of feet. Proper snugness can be achieved by pulling on the quick laces. There is no need for adjustment regardless of the terrain or speed.

The shoe has excellent heel hold. There is enough forefoot room for swell and splay without feeling sloppy or insecure on technical terrain. Internal Sensifit overlays have no pressure points and are very comfortable.

Open mesh covers the Sensifit overlays on both sides of the shoe. The shoes are well-ventilated and quite airy. The heel is remarkably stable. It provides excellent lateral stability and confidence on technical descents.

The tongue of the XA Elevate is thickly padded. The Quicklace system can be ratcheted down without pressure on the top of the foot. A full gusset on the tongue top keeps out debris and dirt. The XA Elevate has a robust toe guard with a layer of material under the welded overlay. Concern about the tongue and heel absorbing water and drying out is unfounded.


The XA Elevate weighs 295g. It is not the lightest shoe available. Lightweight is sacrificed to provide the shoe with protection, comfort, cushioning, and support. A size 12 shoe weights slightly under 12 ounces per shoe which is light for shoes that offer the underfoot protection of the Salomon XA Elevate.

It is approximately a quarter ounce heavier than previous models. The weight sets itself apart with a more stable ride, better traction, better, and a more forgiving cushion. The average weight of men's shoes is 10.3 ounces. Women's shoes average nine ounces in weight.


The XA Elevate does not have the external Sensifit overlap or internal Endofit stretch booties. The midfoot holds internal laminated straps. A very strong fishnet-like mesh is used on the outside and a fine, dense mesh on the inside.

The area is entirely breathable. Testers liked the breathable open mesh of the upper. The breathable mesh of the upper is quick drying. The Premium Wet-Traction rubber compound is forgiving yet provides exceptional breathability and a precise fit.


The narrow, snug fit was a concern for testers. The shoes are built on a performance-oriented last that is deliberately designed to be close-fitting. Preventing a runner's foot from sliding when the trail turns off-chamber, up, or down was the goal.

Testers found the Salomon XA Elevate to be too restrictive for comfort. It must be noted; the shoe performs admirably on the trail. Stepping into the shoe is not a plush experience. An area of concern is the toe box.

It tapers to a narrow point and is low across the top. One tester felt the inflexible bumper at the front, and low toe box made the front end too tight. It is unlikely that a larger size would solve the problem because the rest of the shoe fits well. Larger sizes may work for those who prefer a relaxed fit, have higher-than-average foot volume, or are between sizes.


Salomon XA Elevate is a good-looking, well-built shoe. They are a blend of light hiker and trail running shoes. They are available in bright colors and all black.


Rough terrain requires a sturdy running shoe. A stable trail shoe must have a durable construction. Only high-quality materials should be used. The overall design needs to be well-made. A trail running shoe needs to be sturdy from the outsole to the upper.

Shoes designed for rugged trails have a durable outsole that delivers protection in high-abrasion areas. The XA Elevate is constructed from a grippy outsole fitted with five-mm lungs, an internal, secure Endofit upper, and a chosen rubber compound referred to as Premium Wet-Traction Contragrip.

Though the cushioning is a bit firm, it delivers a level of protection against rocks that is nearly unbeatable. A firm ride goes unnoticed on mixed terrain. On smooth, hard surfaces, traveled at a faster pace, it is somewhat evident.


A full-length ProFeel Film provides underfoot protection. It is a flexible stone guard protecting feet from roots and sharp rocks. The full coverage protection is an improvement over past Salomon trail shoes. There is no exposed foam.

The midsole has a built-in flexible thin rock plate. One critic felt there should be more material underfoot for shock absorption, needed from trail obstacles. Substantial protection from errant kicked rocks and dust is offered by the upper. A taller toe bumper was suggested by a runner who ran a wear test.


The dual-density midsole of the XA Elevate is a combination of proprietary Energy Cell+ and EVA foam. Testers found the midsole to be firm, almost to the point of being uncomfortable and unforgiving.

The heel was cited for providing a harsh, jarring ride. This shoe lacks the vibration-dampening insert that is being inserted in newer Salomon models. The shoe is well-suited for those who prefer a firm shoe underfoot. It does not provide the lively or energetic response some trail runners like.


The use of EVA foam rather than plastic provides a supportive ride that is content. The Advanced Chassis of the XA Elevate is not a rigid plastic piece used in first trail shoes. It is a denser foam between the outsole and the midsole.

There is nothing wasted on the exterior of the shoe. It has beautiful support structures and integrated fabric. The weight of the XA Elevate adds to its support. Comfortable padding around the ankle and Achilles areas helps prevent ankle roll and support the foot. The combination of a sturdy midsole, good grip, and ankle support gives the runner confidence when running downhill.


The Salomon XA Elevate is a shoe designed to challenge a runner to take higher adventure runs. It inspires confidence in rugged or smooth trails and ensures traction on dry or wet surfaces. Rebound energy transference and cushioning help with forwarding propulsion. Starting a trail ride on the road is not ideal, but it is good to know the shoes can deal with such a situation and not cause discomfort to the feet.

It is a door to trail shoe. When running through mud or water, the ProFeel Film keeps the foot from being completely submerged. Separated lugs give extra grip needed for rugged terrain. The Salomon XA Elevate provides a protected and fun ride on gnarly trails. Excellent uphill speed is also offered. The midsole protection of the shoe prevents ankle rolls and allows runners to beast the downhills. The nearly bulletproof exterior will endure many tough trail runs.


Testers have rated the flexibility of the XA Elevate as eight out of ten. Sensifit support was created with welded overlays that wrap and flex with the foot. Salomon used a different material in the XA Elevate that does not move or flex as much.

It is an improvement for overall security but is a little uncomfortable for those with wide feet. In time, the shoe breaks in and lacing tension can be adjusted for optimal long-term comfort. The shoe provides a platform that is torsionally rigid. It has just enough toe off flex. This is not a flimsy or flexible shoe. The rigidity makes it an excellent choice for uneven terrain or hiking with more than a backpack.


The MSRP of the XA Elevate is $130. The men's version ranges in price from $85 to $204 on Amazon. Women's XA Elevate shoes are priced from $91 to $160. The $130 price tag is more expensive than other trail running shoes, but testers commented the shoes were worth the price.


Traction is an area in which the Salomon XA Elevate shines. The Premium Wet-Traction Contragrip of the outsole clings to everything. Finding a trail running shoe with better traction is hard. The premium wet-traction rubber compound coupled with moderately aggressive tread helps the shoes excel.

In wet conditions, the Contragrip performs with excellence. The separation between the lugs provides extra grip when the terrain is rugged. Foothold is not a concern for trail runners not matter the running style or terrain.


The material used in the XA Elevate is an improvement for lateral stability. It feels somewhat crinkly while in the break-in phase. The midfoot wrap may be tight for those who have wide feet, but it provides incredible lateral stability on trails that are uneven. Testers found the shoe to be among the shoes with the most secure fit. Salomone uses the Advanced Chassis to provide a stable platform. A dual-density EVA foam provides a supportive, stable ride.


The 26mm heel and 18mm forefoot create an eight-mm drop. A ten-mm drop is standard. Testers approved of the eight-mm drop saying it feels like a sweet spot for certain hiking styles and running gaits. It gives an advantage when running uphill with stretching the hamstrings and calves. The eight-mm drop is the average drop of the XA Elevate. The men's version has a drop of 7.8mm, and the women's has a drop of 8.3mm. A drop over four-mm causes the heel to land harder during descents.

Key Features

EnergyCell+ midsole delivers substantial durability and cushioning
Molded EVA sock liner provides anatomical support and excellent cushioning next to the foot
Premium Wet-Traction Contragrip - The high rebound compound offers exceptional energy return.
ProFeel Film chassis that engages in the transition phase to improve rolling of the shoe during toe off and support the foot
Quicklace is a minimalistic and robust lace for one-pull tightening, easy-off, easy-on.
Sensifit cradles the feet from the lacing system to the midsole providing a
virtually customized fit around the feet that is secure and snug.

Bottom Line

Runners looking for a shoe that does a little bit of it all, find the solution with the Salomon XA Elevate. The durable outsole grips dry and wet trails, but forgoes lugs that are extra deep which makes the shoes road-ready. Fast-paced runs are kept nimble by an upper of breathable open mesh.

The shoes are great for technical trails. They do not feel like trail shoes when running on roads. A single tug of the Quicklace quick-pull system tightens or loosens the fit. The laces are then securely locked in place. Some runners are not fond of the forefoot that is slightly stiffer than what they are accustomed. The stiffness and narrow fit are the only criticisms. The shoes perform well overall.